Let’s Just Be Regular People

For all you whipper snappers out there who think school is a waste of time, good grades are a waste of effort, and working towards a great career is for losers, you might be right!  It’s all about being a nonconformist right here, right now.  You can live the life of your dreams on your own terms, or at least that’s what everyone is saying nowadays.

Watch one of the all time classic scenes from The Cosby Show where Dr. Huxtable asks his son, Theo how he expects to get into college and earn a living with poor grades.  What transpires is one of the most hilarious interactions ever!  In this 4 minute clip, you’ll learn everything you need to know about minimalism, relationships, budgeting, work, taxes, career, love, and happiness.

It’s absolutely perfect to be a regular person so long as you are happy.  There’s no need to be successful in anything you do frankly.  So long as you are satisfied with what you have and the direction you’re heading, that’s all that matters.

There are too many people telling you what you should and should not do.  Forget about it!  Do as you damn please, because regular people rock.  Just don’t let the Dr. Huxtables of the world slap any sense into you. They don’t know what they’re talking about because you’ve got it all figured out.

Readers, are you afraid to try because you’re afraid your brain is going to explode and ooze out of your ears? Is what Theo says in the end really “the dumbest thing you’ve ever heard!”?

Updated: 6/4/2014

Best,

Sam

Sam started Financial Samurai in 2009 during the depths of the financial crisis as a way to make sense of chaos. After 13 years working on Wall Street, Sam decided to retire in 2012 to utilize everything he learned in business school to focus on online entrepreneurship.

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Comments

  1. Kevin @ Thousandaire.com says

    Theo thinks he would be satisfied with that life, and he might be right. But his father is telling him that he probably won’t be happy with being “regular people”. No one knows, but I bet Theo is happier if he follows Dad’s advice. He’s just too young to realize it.

  2. DoNotWait says

    I like regular people! The thing is most of them are not truly satisfied with it. It’s a common human being quality to want more. Having goals and achieving them is so fulfilling that when you’ve done it once, chances are you’ll want to do it again. And the older you get, the bigger are the goals!

  3. retireby40 says

    Man, that was hilarious. I never understood the show when I was a kid.
    Being Theo’s regular person is perfectly ok. However, before embarking on that trip Theo needs to know it’s easy to go that route, but extremely difficult to get out of. Dr. Huxtable can change to be a regular person at anytime, but a regular person usually can not move up to be like Dr. Hux. I heard a story on public radio a while back about people dropping out of society to be homeless. The freedom is fun for a while, but then they get stuck and can’t come back. Life is rough on the street.

    • Financial Samurai says

      Really great points! It’s about having the OPTION to bring it down and then bring it back up again. I mentor a couple high school kids myself, and one always complains why it’s unnecessary to get good grades so long as they are learning. I ask him, “Why not learn AND get good grades to at least give yourself options?” Too cool for school perhaps. As long as he’s happy!

      The video is so hilarious, I had to watch it 5 times last night! Classic!

      • Roshawn @ Watson Inc says

        Philosophy, as I don’t think some younger people appreciate what’s involved in building a life because the lives that they envy is not their parents.

        I echo RB40 points…it’s the trap that is concerning. Once you become disenfranchised, then your options are so limited. It’s not impossible, but many will tell you it feels like a losing battle.

  4. Everyday Tips says

    I remember watching this episode! Poor Theo, he always struggled…

    Teens can be so stubborn, but sometimes things sink in and you don’t know it until later. I know as a parent, I want my kids to do and say all the right things so I know they will be alright. However, it has to happen over time as kids need to mature. (And so do many parents.)

      • Everyday Tips says

        Well, my kids have been brainwashed since their time as a fetus that they will do well at school and they will go to college. My daughter is literally an A+ student and her goal is to get a free-ride to college. Therefore, I think she would roll her eyes at Theo and tell him to grow up. I did show the video to my youngest and he said ‘that sounds like a bad plan. Driving a bus would be boring, and I want more leftover every month than 200 dollars’. My oldest would think Theo was funny, but would not agree with him.

        I have told so many stories about where I grew up and what a bummer it is to have no money that I don’t think the ‘regular person’ plan would sound like a very good idea to any of them. But you never know, maybe I have harped on it too much.

        Great video Sam.

        • Everyday Tips says

          Well, we will see how they actually turn out. I did show it to my daughter (beforeshe and I went clubbing), and she thought it was funny, and agreed with Bill Cosby. She loved how after Theo was saying “Love me for Who I am”, and Dad said that was the stupidest thing he ever heard.

  5. Charlie says

    Thats one of my favorite episodes. I think Dr Huxtable said it all perfectly. I would never let my kids get away with Ds. Ds are not for regular people, Bs and maybe a C or A mixed in are for regular people. If everyone tried as hard as they could at work and in life think how much better the world would be. Kids especially need role models and strong supportive parents pushing them to succeed and reach their potential. Parents that dont care how their kids perform should be ashamed. Effort is the key, perfect grades are not.

  6. doctor S says

    This is by far one of my favorite episodes of any show that has ever aired. It’s so simple and yet it has such a strong message that is often ignored by youth AND their parents that should be delivering it.

    But damn its hilarious watching Theo, his body language, and the disguist his dad’s face when he isn’t buying any of the rubbish that Theo is dishing!

  7. Suzan says

    Can’t believe this video is blocked in this island country governed by China Friendly Ma! The Cosby Show used to my most favorite TV show!

    (The popped up message says “the video contains content from Carsey-Werner LLC” which has blocked it on copyright grounds.)

    I am a minimalist and so happy to be one. Don’t know what Dr. Huxtable has taught his son!?

  8. Forest says

    B*****ks….. Darn video is blocked in my country. Love Cosby though! Normal folks do rock though and greatness is what your own perception of greatness is :).

    • DoNotWait says

      That is what I’m saying! Many regular people got trapped in it because they did not put the effort. That does not mean they would not have want more, especially when you grow up and see your siblings with a house, kids, cars and all that. Some really enjoy it. Which is fine with me! But it is not always the case. I’ll give you the example of a younger cousin. He has so much talent in school, was a very smart student. Some day, he just decided he did not feel like it anymore. He dropped out school. He is now over 20 (23 or something), has no job, no degree at all, no girlfriend, not so many friends, etc. Needless to say he admitted recently he could not stay the same all his life and that he was not happy about his situation. The thing is, at his age, who would hire someone with no experience at all, no degree, no nothing? His only issue is going back to school but that demands much more effort it was demanding 5-7 years earlier when he decided to drop out. So my point is, you might be satisfied for a while, but many “regular” people are not along the long run.

  9. LifeAndMyFinances says

    I think it’s important to do what it is you feel lead to do. For myself, I can’t really picture myself working a corporate job all my life. I see the hours that the big bosses put in, and it’s really not all that intriguing! I’d rather spend time at home with my family.

    I have recently started a website about financial success. Now, while this website might bring in some advertising dollars, I understand that it will most likely not bring in enough for me to quit my job. But, perhaps it will allow me to be more flexible in my career choice. Maybe I can start doing what I love to do rather than doing what I HAVE to do.

  10. Miss T @ Prairie EcoThrifter says

    I agree with Do Not Wait. People may think they are happy momentarily but then they realize they want and need more. Many of us are driven to try new things and experience. I think this is the important thing to remember. We have the right to try and experience what we want and with what makes us happy. If what makes you happy is quitting your job to travel through the Alps, then go for it. Don’t worry about someone saying you need to think about your future, your career, your retirement. As long as your happy, that is all that matters.

    I think this is where people get confused and often aren’t true to themselves. They end up striving to be someone else to make someone else happy when really they should be doing what makes them happy. It all comes down to managing expectations and being true to yourself.

    Great post Sam.

  11. Romeo says

    I needed this post–a nice break from my term paper. I think that we are incorrectly defining regular people by associating the regular with those who are struggling.

    I think regular is fine–and I wish I were regular sometimes. The “regular” are the ones who are less stressful about life in general. I think that it’ll be freakin’ sweet to sit on my butt all day like a “regular” person and not have a worry in the world. A doctor and a lawyer may earn lots of money, but they sure do work a lot more than the regular person.

    On the most basic level, the only thing that ALL of us really need is shelter, food, and health (and the Internet, of course). If these things were free, do you think that the majority of people would want to work?

    We extraordinary people are the ones who stress about living debt-free, building wealth, saving for retirement, making sure that our kids are well educated, educating other, resisting the “luxury” vehicles because we know that the decision is dumb although we secretly long for it, etc, etc.

    Like I explained in my 31 Oct post, “Ignorance. Well, it is bliss.”

      • Romeo says

        Well, I’m not the “average” college student. I’m attending a grad school — already got an undergrad degree in EE. Have been in the military for about 12 years now, the last 5 of which being a submarine officer — a super anti-regular job if I may add.

  12. First Gen American says

    You know, when I was in high school, my mom and I fought like cats and dogs. I had a minimum wage job and I distinctly remember 2 events that changed the path I took in life.

    Event 1, I worked 5 four hour shifts during Xmas at the mall..when malls were packed and it took 45 minutes to find a parking spot. I eagerly awaited my paycheck because I worked 5 days that week and it was like $112 after taxes. Revelation #1..minimum wage jobs are a tough way to get ahead.

    Event 2, I calculated how many hours/week I’d have to work to move out of my mom’s apartment and get a place of my own it was close to 80.

    Part time jobs are great for high school kids. It shows them how tough it is to make any kind of money in a “regular guy” line of work.

  13. The Saved Quarter says

    Is this the episode where they are his landlords and charge him for the room, after taking everything out, and running the kitchen as a restaurant? That was a very good episode! Those are parents who are trying to teach good money management!

    I’m back in college in my 30s, after being a “regular” person and then staying home with kids, and it is MUCH harder than it was in my late teens, when I didn’t have kids! I will certainly be pushing college for my kids. If they want to be “regular” people after that, good on ‘em. But they’ve seen me and my husband struggling and know how hard we have to work, and I’d hope that they would want to avoid some of that struggle if they can.

  14. Monevator says

    There’s an interesting book out called “The Age of Absurdity”, which I’ve got but have only half read so far.

    His thesis is that by trying to be all these things we can’t be — but are ‘told’ we should be, whether by peers or by the media/advertising — we’re turning our backs on the only things that can convincingly make us happy, which is love, family, friends, health etc.

    Food for thought. Poor Dennis Coleman had a bit of a troubled life though, from memory?

  15. Sunil from The Extra Money Blog says

    not sure how much more clear and concise one can get after what BeathingTheIndex stated so eloquently

    i do disagree that time on this planet is short. it’s a matter of perspective i suppose. here is what i mean. for those that have not traveled very much, the world is tooooo Big. for others who have seen the world, the world is simply just not enough. it is too small

  16. Mike- Saving Money Today says

    Great clip from the Cosby Show! I remember that episode, it was great. I didn’t get a lot of the humor when I was a kid so I enjoy watching the re-runs when I can.

    I guess there’s nothing wrong with “regular people” as long as you’re happy. But personally I have the hunger to learn and do a lot more than just settle.

  17. Money Reasons says

    Great message!

    If we don’t try to achieve and instead just settle and let life put us were it may… Someday we will look back and start rattling of the “What ifs”, and be disappointed with our life.

    If everybody just settle to be average, the world would be a pretty sucky place…

  18. The Happy Homeowner says

    Ahhh…this is my favorite episode of the Cosby Show!

    My perspective is that Theo makes a seriously valid point about being accepted for who he is, but he’s short-changing himself if he applies that mentality to his finances. Being accepted and being financially secure are two different things.

    Based on this episode, it’s more of Theo equating a “regular” life to being easy in terms of a workload, therefore justifying his laziness with his studies. I love his facial expressions as his father is pulling his money out of his hand. Although he didn’t admit it at the time, if those were real dollars, I’d be willing to bet he’d cave to his father’s suggestion of working harder.

  19. Untemplater says

    I love that episode. I watched that show regularly growing up and learned a lot of good lessons from it. Making money and being independent takes work no matter what.

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