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The Man

In my life, there is no such thing as “The Man”.  Some people might respond, “Of course not!  You’re a white male…that makes you the man.”  Obviously that isn’t true.  I don’t go out of my way to make anyone’s life harder and I’ve never met anyone else who would either.  I’m not claiming those sorts of people exist; one could argue that the shooter at Fort Hood, the DC sniper, Timothy McVeigh, or even the 911 hijackers intentionally tried to make someone’s day worse.  I’m also not going to claim that unfortunate situations never happen to me; I just don’t blame the man.

That’s Life

When I was younger and I would whine to my parents that all my friends had nicer and cooler things than me, my parents would respond, “well that’s life”.  If you think back, your parents probably did the same thing.  There really is no such thing as some imaginary man trying to keep you poor or unhappy.  And by throwing up your hands to declare defeat to the man, you’re only hurting yourself.  By passing the blame to someone else, you’re given up control.  You’ve said, “This situation sucks and there’s this person out there to make sure I don’t do better.  I’ll just save everyone the time and give up.”

Often things won’t go the way we want them to and that’s life.  And many times, when it feels like the man is holding you down, it’s really for the better.  If you follow the school of thought presented by Napoleon Hill in Think and Grow Rich!, then you know it is really just the universe helping to guide you down the proper path.  If you’re religious, then it is God playing the role of your parent.  He knows you want donuts for dinner, but you need to have broccoli.

Dealing with Life


You might have been held down today, but you need to decide why that was.  It might take years to know for sure, but you need to start right away.  Reasons why you might have been held down:

  • This was just something you should have never done; it would have brought more pain if you got your way
  • You had the right idea, you were just too early or too late
  • You or someone else dropped the ball
  • There is something better and you haven’t seen it yet

It is very important to not point fingers, blame, or feel regret.  Whatever happened, happened.  Hopefully you were making the best decisions you could make at the time.  The best thing you can do is tell yourself, “this is where I am today and it’s ok, but what is the best move from here?”  That’s right!  I said that even in your crappy situation, it’s ok to be there.  But what are you going to do about it?

Real Examples

I had a house for sale and was set to close next week.  I was very excited and a lot of people made or were going to make a lot of money for this entire process.  I felt great and thought I did my part to keep the world moving along.  Tuesday I got a call saying everything was progressing fine; Thursday I got a call saying the deal was off.  The whole thing turned into a big mess.  Stories are flying around and not one seems to agree with the others.  Truthfully, I really have no idea why the deal ultimately failed.  What I do know is that I made decisions that I thought were the best decisions at the time.  I hired the people who I thought were the right people, I made all the right calls, and I applied the appropriate pressures.  It didn’t work out, but that’s life.  There’s no time to blame anyone, feel regret, or even get angry.  This afternoon I’m meeting with a new potential real estate agent and we’re going to start from scratch.  Notice I said “potential real estate agent”.  Although I’m focusing on the future, I still looked back to learn the necessary lessons.  One of those lessons is that I want to treat business partners just like I would a new girlfriend.  I want to get to know them and develop a relationship of trust before making any large commitments.

On Friday I told my boss, by the end of the day, he could count on me having a certain thing done.  When I left Friday evening, it wasn’t done.  I could blame it on the man.  I could blame it on my distraction with my real estate troubles.  I could blame it on the guy who wrote the difficult-to-read code, or the guy before him who wrote very amateur code.  I could even blame my own lack of mental super powers.  The truth is, it would be hard to single any one of those things out as the cause for my failure.  They all worked together in concert to make sure that I couldn’t do what was needed. On top of that, it doesn’t matter what odds are against me.  I get paid to make magic and that is exactly what I’ll do.  The man held me down, but as soon as I publish this article, I’m heading to work for round 2.  He can’t keep me down forever; I won’t let him.

Choose your own Results

Life is going to deal great things and it’s going to deal terrible things.  Just keep asking yourself, “where am I right now?”  And once you figure that out, “what should my next step be?”  Sometimes it might be appropriate to decide between fight or flight.  But you have so many more options like divert, circumvent, etc..  If you can get yourself where you handle life’s upsets in stride and continually take the next step, you’ll have taken another step towards infinite happiness.

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