“This is your last chance. After this there is no turning back. You take the blue pill: the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill: you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.” – Morpheus, The Matrix
When I was 13, I accidentally swallowed the red pill when one of my close friends died in a car accident. He was driving too fast at night when he lost control and hit a tree. Not only did he die, his front passenger also died as well. This was the first time she had ever gone out. Both of them were only 15.
Since that unfortunate evening I've seen the world with an extremely critical eye. Why him? And why so soon? Why was there so much poverty juxtaposed with so much wealth? Why did another friend have to go so young due to cancer? When will it be my turn? Shit got real, quick.
As I grew older, I felt myself slipping away, not really caring what became of me. I got into fights in school. Was suspended a couple times. Experimented with drugs. Then I ran into trouble with the law and somewhere between sitting in a jail cell one night to facing the judge, I snapped out of my funk and stopped taking my life for granted.
The Truth Will Set You Free
I went to a marketing get together the other week, and the speaker told the audience how it was important to make your clients feel loved. The more they feel good about using your product, the stronger the connection, and the greater an ambassador they will be.
“Feel good, create love,” is what I jotted down in my notes. I was determined to write a post that made you guys feel good about yourselves the next week.
Then something inexplicable happened. Instead of publishing an “attaboy attagirl” post, I published What If You Go To Harvard And End Up A Nobody? I didn't even realize I did exactly the opposite of what I wanted to do until the negative comments started rolling in. It was then that I also realized I was firmly stuck seeing the world for what it truly is, a merciless place where only the fittest survive.
The reason why I don't often publish fluffy posts that try to make you feel better about yourself is because I don't want you to stay stuck in a suboptimal situation that you'll regret years later. The people who don't give a damn about you are never going to give you the truth. They'll just tell you “good job” or “well done” and move right along.
To the commenter who was upset with my post who went to University of Chicago for business school, the post is exactly addressed to you. I didn't realize this until a reader pointed it out, but going to Berkeley and then to Chicago to work in investor relations at Wells Fargo Bank is a waste of your talents. There's no way to put a positive spin on all the scandals. Setting up millions of fake accounts and charging unsuspecting customers is wrong. Get a new job and let your soul free. You will thank me for it later.
Don't Let Words Hurt You
I don't understand how we've become so sensitive to words today. It's almost as if nothing can be said without offending someone, somewhere. Maybe it's because I've been called derogatory names for much of my childhood as a minority that I've become desensitized as an adult.
Realize that it does take about $300,000 a year to live a middle class lifestyle in an expensive coastal city today. Know that there is nobody who will save you when you're old if you didn't spend your life saving and investing for your future. Also realize that the job you spent decades working at doesn't matter.
If you become impervious to words, I swear you will be much happier. You start doing things that matter to you.
I highly recommend everybody start their own website and take control of their destiny. Own your own narrative and don't let sites like Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, and Twitter get rich off you. Get rich off yourself, build your brand, and be free!
About the Author: Sam worked in investment banking for 13 years at GS and CS. He received his undergraduate degree in Economics from The College of William & Mary and got his MBA from UC Berkeley. In 2012, Sam was able to retire at the age of 34 largely due to his investments that now generate roughly $250,000 a year in passive income, most recently helped by real estate crowdfunding. He spends most of his time playing tennis and taking care of his family.
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