“You could at least acknowledge your privilege.”
That’s a LinkedIn comment I received last year after posting about the successful businesses I’ve built. Now, think about this: I was posting on LinkedIn (a business social media network) about building successful businesses because I’m a person who helps people to be more abundant in … business.
And some dude is worried about my “privilege.”
Unfortunately, and not surprisingly, it’s not uncommon.
A few years ago, I posted a video from the beach, where I was spending a Wednesday afternoon with my children. One of the benefits of homeschooling is that we don’t have to adhere to a strict schoolroom schedule.
And one of the benefits of having built a life of abundance is that I can choose to spend a Wednesday afternoon at the beach with my kids.
“He must’ve married rich.”
“Must be nice.”
Those were just a few of the comments I received, including one that hinted my wife was somewhere working while I was relaxing on the beach.
Apart from the recent political movement to obsess about the “privilege” of others, I call this success shaming.
The roots of success shaming can be found in the programming that has filled our subconscious minds since birth. Programming from schools, churches, media, parents, bosses … society in general.
If you’re someone who watches the show, Shark Tank, and only feels disgust at the amount of money the sharks have, then you were programmed to feel that way. And if that’s your programming, you’ve likely hit the ceiling of whatever money you’re going to earn (or are close to it) because you have a bad relationship with money.
The notion that poverty is virtuous and wealth is evil is one that is rampant. Hell, as someone who attended Catholic schools for the first twelve years of my life, I know about “guilt programming.”
Far from being virtuous, however, it is corrosive.
Take, for example, the woman who recently posted this comment on my friend’s Facebook feed:
“It’s unreasonable for one individual to have billions of dollars…I don’t care if they worked like crazy for it.”
I’d be willing to bet the only way that person will ever have a billion dollars is if she wins the lottery. Even then, I’d bet she’d lose that money quickly. Why?
It’s obvious she is programmed for scarcity. She’s programmed for guilt. She’s programmed to success shame those with money, even if “they worked like crazy for it.”
She’s not singling out an individual “bad apple” who stole his or her money or came upon wealth by unethical means. She’s making a blanket statement about wealthy people, even adding that this includes people who worked for it.
Nevermind the jobs that wealthy person probably created; or the products that person created that is serving other humans; or the taxes that wealthy person pays that funds that woman’s government programs. And, by the way, since she made a blanket statement, it also damns those wealthy people who donate millions to charitable causes and fund the churches (which turn around and damn the wealthy people.)
Doesn’t matter. They’re all guilty.
They all deserve to be shamed.
Money is bad. The rich guys are always the villains. Poverty is a virtue.
That is a scarcity mindset which is a result of lifelong programming which will lead you to wallow in guilt and envy and lead a life of victimhood.
But here’s the good news: You can reprogram yourself. But it takes discipline. It takes daily meditation and affirmations. It takes the daily practice of gratitude as soon as you wake up. It takes turning off the TV, avoiding scarcity-minded Hollywood movies and books, avoiding toxic, envious people and realizing that wealthy is a byproduct of creating products or services that help other people.
But if you’d rather shame successful people, more power to you.
Money isn’t everything, but it’s not evil. What’s evil is a corrosive mindset of guilt and envy that is preventing you from reaching your potential and changing the world.
Because when you change the world, your bank account just might fill up as a result. Would you feel guilty about that?