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“But I can’t do math. My brain isn’t wired that way.”
“But I’m accustomed to a certain lifestyle.”
“But I can’t lower my standard of living. What will people think?”
I’ve heard these excuses, over and over, again. And every time, I roll my eyes .
People who give these types of lame excuses usually come from a place of privilege. Because privilege gives you the luxury to choose what you want or don’t want to do. When you don’t have that privilege, you have no choice but to do the math, live life within your means, and lower your standard of living.
But guess what? I don’t envy people with privilege. Because even though privilege can help you get ahead, it can also be a handicap.
Yup, that’s right. I’m just going to come out and say it “privilege makes you soft.”
And let me be clear, the type of privilege I’m talking about here is financial privilege. Those who’ve never had to worry about money.
Now, those who have been following the Millennial Revolution for some time know that I never saw my upbringing as a handicap. Instead, growing up poor is the reason why I’m where I am today.
By developing creativity, resilience, adaptability, and perseverance, I was to able to use those skills to retire decades before everyone else—even people who grew up rich.
Which is why I’ve never envied privileged people. Because in my eyes, privilege is a weakness, not a strength. Privilege makes people soft.
Now, there are many of you who would probably disagree. You see privilege as a winning lottery ticket that propels you ahead of everyone else. But just like majority of lottery winners, privileged people quickly lose their windfall because they never learned how to keep it. That’s why there’s a saying that “wealth only lasts 3 generations”. Statistics show that 90% of wealthy families lose their wealth by the 3rd generation. This is because the first generation started with nothing, so they had to work their butts off to earn their wealth. This generation quickly learned how to keep it because every dollar they earned came from their own blood, sweat and tears.
The second generation, having seen their parents sweat it out and work for their money, ended up learning how to manage their finances and not squander it because they saw how much hard work it took to become wealthy.
The 3rd generation, however, is the generation who destroys it all. By growing up privileged and being handed a butt-load of money, the 3rd generation end up too soft. They never learn how to work hard and handle their finances, so they promptly squander it.
Why does this happen? I believe growing up privileged causes the following mistakes to be made:
Not Learning How to Manage Finances
When you grow up rich, every time you make a mistake and spend too much, it’s no big deal. Your parents will just bail you out. As a result, you never learn how to optimize and plan out your finances. You simply make mistakes, and since there are no consequences, you can just keep making the same mistake over and over again. Not appreciation your resources causes you to never learn how to manage them. As a result, you end up wasting your resources as an adult and running out when the safety net is removed.
But when you grow up poor, you have limited resources. Which means you HAVE to plan. Otherwise, you’d run out because there’s is no safety net. An example of this was my meals as a kid. Anytime I dropped food, I wouldn’t get a second helping. There’s no messing around when money was tight and food was scarce. My mom even went as far as making up a story about how eggs make your head explode, so I wouldn’t want to eat expensive eggs that we couldn’t afford. By valuing the food I put in my mouth, I learned not to waste resources. This ended up being a valuable skill because as an adult I learned how to make budgets as efficient as possible.
Getting A Degree with Bad ROI
Having the luxury to choose whatever degree you want is a curse instead of a blessing. By following a road that has no obstacles and is fun and easy, privileged people end up screwing themselves over. By picking a “fun” degree rather then a useful one and racking up a ton of debt, privileged people all too often end up finding that later down the road, not only are they not getting a return on their investment, they’re going to have to spend years paying off that debt.
But as a poor person, you end up being very cautious when picking a degree. You don’t get to pick a fun and easy degree because your parents can’t afford to bail you out. So you end up having the constraint of picking a practical degree. Sure, it’s might be as fun as sliding down banister made of razor blades, but when you out-earn all your peers who had the luxury of picking the “fun and easy” degree, you realize it was all worth it.
Inability to Handle the Slightest Discomfort
When you grow up privileged you don’t have to be adaptable, because your parents always had money to throw at your problems. Don’t like Brussel’s spouts? That’s okay. The nanny will just make something else. Don’t like your school? No problem. Your parents will just transfer you to nicer, fancier private school.
As a result, later on in life, you can’t handle even the slightest discomfort. “What do you mean you don’t have Stevia? I can’t drink my low-fat soy macchiato without Stevia!” “Oh I can’t take public transportation! EW, what will people think?” or “This bed doesn’t have one thousand thread count sheets?! What the hell!”
But for people who grew up poor, we learned how to tough it out, how to adapt, and how to evolve. Discomfort doesn’t bother us at all. All we care about is achieving our goal, whether it is travelling the world, becoming financially independent, or living a fulfilling life. All those petty little things mean nothing.
Constantly Needing to Have Your Feelings Validated
When you grow up privileged, everyone around you actually gives a SHIT about your feelings. When you’re not happy or stressed you tell your parents, nanny, or teachers and they immediately respond by validating it and trying to help you “feel better”.
While this might sound great, it actually has the tendency to cause problems down the road. Because constantly having your feelings validated means that as an adult, you expect everyone around you to stop what they’re doing and deal with your feelings. This can be extremely annoying to everyone around you and can hold you back from actually getting shit done.
For those of us who grew up poor, having people validate our feelings is a luxury we couldn’t afford. Our parents never had have time to give a rats ass about our feelings. They definitely didn’t have time to drop everything to help us “feel better”. In fact, whining about your feelings usually results in them rolling their eyes, telling you how good you have it, and then rushing off to their second job. As a result, we learned how to adapt to our situation, suck it up and solve our own problems. Feelings don’t matter. Results do. Which actually becomes extremely helpful later on, because while our friends and classmates are all sitting there whining about what someone said which hurt their feelings and why oh why does the world have to be so cruel, us poor kids are working our butts off and zooming past them. We don’t let feelings derail us. Because when it comes to accomplishing our goals, feelings don’t matter.
For example, in engineering school, I was constantly on the verge of an emotional and mental meltdown. But I knew talking about my feelings wasn’t going to help me graduate, so regardless of how sick or stressed I was, I persevered. One time I caught strep throat during exams, which kept me from sleeping for two weeks straight. The only way I could stay awake to study was to chug an UNGODLY amount of Buckley’s cough syrup. If you’ve never had that stuff before, it basically tastes like spoiled poo. I ended up downing an entire bottle during my two hour exam because the horrible taste was the only thing keeping me awake. I ended up JUST barely passing that exam, but I never let my stress and the anxiety derail me. In engineering, nobody gives a crap about your feelings. You either find a way through or you fail.
And that’s how I was able to get to where I am today. Because I never had the luxury of having my feelings hold me back.
As a result of these handicaps, privileged kids grow up all pampered and coddled. So what happens if something goes wrong and their parents, friends, or the government aren’t there to save them? They’re screwed.
Whereas kids who grew up with nobody to rely on but ourselves can whether even the toughest storms. We had to solve our own problems. We had to save ourselves. As a result, we learned how to be independent and not have to rely on our parents, banks, or governments to bail us out.
So the next time someone says “they are accustomed to a certain lifestyle” or they look down at you for “living such a deprived life”, just remember:
Privilege makes them soft. And by being soft, they leave the door wide open for you to kick their ass and retire DECADES earlier. Then you will be the one living a life of freedom and fulfillment while they continue bleeding money and remain trapped in their corporate prisons.
So they can complain about their entitled life as much as they want. But we all know that’s just code for “I’m soft.”
And I don’t know about you, but when shit hits the fan I’d much rather be a badass than soft and dependent. Because I’ve learned to be adaptable and take care of myself, while all the “softies” can do is complain and wait for other people to rescue them.
What do you think? Does privilege make you soft?