Is This Your ‘End Game’?
By Jim Sheridan.
Welcome back, brothers and sisters…
This week, I share with you one of the greatest secrets of success in the form of some past lessons from your cousins across the pond…
I’m writing to you mid-Atlantic, on a night flight to England, and I just finished watching Meryl Streep’s latest film, ‘The Iron Lady’. If you haven’t seen it, please do, because she’s amazing in it. Streep’s not an actress, she’s a vessel- she actually becomes the character. And that’s not acting, it’s being.
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In ‘The Iron Lady’, Streep plays the woman who was the British Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Margaret Thatcher (somewhat a parallel to the Reagan era). Anyway, the film touched me perhaps more than most because I was living and maturing in the UK during her time. I witnessed England before her, and after her, and the differences were stark. Up until 1979, the UK was in the grip of trade unions, but she changed the country forever, pulling it out of post-war decline, and assuring it’s place in one of the G-8 countries with a AAA credit rating (that’s higher than America’s, by the way).
This is all going somewhere that directly affects YOU, so please bear with me…
But in the UK today, the word “Thatcher” has become a dirty word, in spite of this. Brits seem happy to enjoy a good economy with all the modern comforts and facilities, as well as a corporation tax rate of just 19% (compared to America’s 35%) to encourage entrepreneurship. All this is Thatcher’s legacy.
Why the intense disgust?
Because Margaret Thatcher made tough, but necessary decisions in order for the country to survive economically. Entire communities were decimated as she closed or privatized coal mines and steel works (though why the hell they weren’t always privatized in the first place is beyond me!). She sold off nationalized industries, including British Airways, and the stock market grew rich from the fact. I knew people whose lives were destroyed as a direct result of her policies. So it’s understandable why this anger towards her in engrained in modern British society. Think of an industry that your town revolves around, and then imagine what would happen if it closed…
But what was the alternative? Oblivion. But she had the guts (yes, “SHE”, a woman…) to do what the male politicians wouldn’t: to NOT pander to the voters, because she knew what was good for the country, and the voters CLEARLY did not- they had proven as much by voting for policies that were destroying it because they have no knowledge of economics. And the voters didn’t WANT to look at the new opportunities being created by Thatcher, such as buying shares in British Airways, an airline that, at the time, was a total monopoly (a monopoly, and an airline on an ISLAND. Think about it…). No, people just want that ‘steady’ paycheck each week.
Thatcher lived in reality, not fantasy. And she made the hard choice. She was a responsible politician who grew up during World War II under the blaze of Nazi bombs in the blitz of 1940, a time when people had a sense of unity, responsibility, and patriotism. She was a modern day Queen Elizabeth I. She would openly give tough advice to the 80s British population straight out of food-rationed, wartime Britain- things like: “If you’re on a tight budget, then don’t go grocery shopping on an empty stomach.” (Nancy Patterson of Wednesday’s Easy Street newsletter would approve, I’m sure…)
And that’s why she was so unpopular. People don’t want reality, they want fantasy. They don’t want the pain, only gain. In short, the Western world isn’t populated by adults as much as children…
Human psychology can be boiled down to some very simple axioms, and one of them is this: most of what we do on a daily basis revolves around PAIN AVOIDANCE.
I’m not just talking about physical pain, but emotional, financial, and just about any other kind of pain. In caveman times, this is exactly what we needed to survive. This pain avoidance instinct is why we’re here today. But it also betrays you in this modern world…
Much of our actions are hard-wired from an ancient time in our evolution tens of thousands of years ago. Let’s take eating, as an example. Our brains are hard-wired to give us a pleasurable sensation when we taste fatty and sweet things on our tongue. Is it any wonder why losing weight is hard?! But of course, what our evolution has done is reward us to store up energy in the form of fat in case we (cavemen) hit a food crisis. But these days, you could throw a rock in any direction and hit a fast food joint somewhere!
Our safe and comfortable existence is relatively new in our evolution. If you think about it, it’s really only the last 100 years at most that we knew where the next meal was coming from. What’s 100 years compared to 40,000?!
So we are literally programmed to avoid reality, to avoid the hard decisions we know we must make deep down. In fact, most people wait until the looming crisis is on top of them before they do anything. Why do you think we hate going to the dentist so much? We get toothache and hope it will go away, but we only make it worse for the day when we inevitably must go…
Take diseases as an example, diseases like diabetes, cancer, etc. It’s a fact that by the time you’re actually showing any symptoms, all you’re seeing there is the tip of the iceberg. The damage that has been done under the surface, the part you never saw, built up over time, and now curing the problem is even harder. As the saying goes, ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’.
So what about YOU? Do you have the discipline to make the hard choice? What have you been putting off that you secretly know that you shouldn’t be? Take an honest look in the mirror and write it down. And then honestly picture the END GAME, the final event that will play out as a result of your choice to be ignorant…
What are your eating habits and where are they taking you? (Please read last week’s issue!)
How are your relationships? Are you putting off something that you know will eventually happen? Are you in denial instead of being open and confronting an issue? Get it off your chest.
How are your finances? Listen, honestly minus all your expenses from your income, and if the number is a negative, you are technically insolvent. That’s to say, you are steadily getting poorer each day, when you should be getting richer. You have to slash expenses (tough choice) and boost income somehow, and FAST. Where expenses and PASSIVE income meet is automatic and permanent solvency. By passive income I mean income that comes in without any work, like property rentals or royalties.
It’s time for you to do what these limp-handed, spineless politicians can’t: make the tough choices. You don’t have a printing press like they do, so you have to live in the real world and make real choices with a real consequence (for the better ultimately, even though it may hurt today).
And you know what? Often the perception of the pain we imagined isn’t half as bad as we thought it would be when we actually face it. Worry is a death you have over and over, every day. Actual death isn’t nearly as bad, and it only happens once. As the saying goes: ‘A coward dies a thousand times, but the brave die just once.”
Sometimes we blow this worry out of all proportion until we turn the lights on and see that the monster under the bed can be tamed, or even USED to our advantage. Fear is power, and any power can be harnessed for strength.
Margaret Thatcher’s central message was the thing that made her most unpopular: Stand on your own two feet and be all you can be. Life is what you make it. The rewards are out there, and if you want them, go for it. But if you don’t, then get out of the way of people who do.
I mean, was she an evil woman, or what?! Jeez, what a total witch for telling people things like that.
How does her central message make you feel right now? What is your end game…?
As a sidebar, notice how Thatcher didn’t privatize Britain’s health service though. Maybe because she thought that if you pay taxes all your life, you should get something back in old age. Maybe she believed that when you’re 70, you should be taking your grandkids to McDonald’s, not serving the burgers there so you could get health insurance. I don’t know what propaganda you’ve heard from big pharma serving politicians, but take it from someone who’s lived there and experienced it, the UK’s health service is a jewel in Her Majesty’s crown. If you ever visit, and you get in an accident, they will care for you until you’re completely well… and nobody will ask you for a credit card or even care that you’re not British.
Anyway, I’d better close this laptop and stop rambling because it’s getting a bit turbulent as we hit an Atlantic jet stream. I think I’ll get some sleep. And when I wake up, I’ll be in what seems like a foreign country now, only it happens to speak English. And it’s grey and raining.
Why does it feel foreign? Because the American Spirit is in my blood now. I can’t relate to a country that despises someone like Margaret Thatcher, despite the health service I admire. I came to America because it embraces a can-do attitude and chasing your dreams, so it upsets me when so many Americans betray that spirit or waste it away.
I will do what I have to do- see my great son- and then get back to the place I call home, and where the two adoring pairs of brown, almond eyes of my wife and daughter await my return.
Still, I can comfort myself in the pubs with ale. By the way, if you’re not an ale drinker, but maybe you drink lager (Budweiser, Miller, etc.) give real ale a try. I recommend Newcastle for entry-level… and work your way up to Guinness. More flavor, more body, more variety of tastes. Let me know if you have any good ale suggestions. And ladies, the Heineken factory tour in Amsterdam will tell you why you don’t like beer as much as men! Because women tend to sip, and men tend to gulp. If you sip beer, you tend to get the bitter taste of the foam only. So ladies, gulp! Or use a (more lady-like) straw…
A Dollar and a Dream
“A dollar and a dream”… This was the famous ad slogan for the NY l.o.t.t.e.r.y. several years back. Your chances of winning are virtually zero. But hey… It’s only a buck!
Well what if you could get hundreds, thousands, or even a million people to give you one lousy dollar just like the l.o.t.t.e.r.y.? That’s what’s happening here!
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Cheers! Until next time, my friend…