It’s frustrating to “help people.”
In plenty of cases, and probably more often than not, charitable giving does no good whatever. Poisonous ideas about wealth, success, and the rich — ideas that Tom Woods Show guest T. Harv Eker catalogues in his book Secrets of the Millionaire Mind — keep the recipient stuck in his original position no matter how much help you extend.
If you want your individual giving to do some good, you have to know the recipient and his situation in detail.
I’ll be blunt: I give away plenty of dough. Until recently, I can’t say my track record in terms of actually helping my recipients was all that great, for the reason I’ve just given. But over the past 18 months I’ve helped plenty of good folks who have the right outlook, and who have fallen on hard times through genuinely no fault of their own.
I jokingly tell them, “I am the secret benefactor of suffering libertarians.” (I don’t want their friends to know about my assistance.)
So it’s not as if I don’t want to lend people a hand when I can. But when I saw a viral video the other day, posted by Bernie Sanders — perhaps you’ve seen it? — about an Amazon employee living out of her car, I went berserk.
We know nothing about this woman’s circumstances, her decisions, her lifestyle, nothing. What we know is that with a salary of $2000+ per month, she is living out of her car.
That salary, while not enviable by American standards, puts her in the top 2.24% of income earners in the world.
What gets me is this: she spends much of the video spewing envy at Jeff Bezos. She says: he’s one of the richest men in the world, and I’m down and out. While he’s enjoying his steak dinner, I’m eating cheese and crackers.
This woman is not ever going to succeed. Few things in this life are certain, but that sure is.
I’ve been down and out at various points in my life. Not in a million years did it occur to me to be bitter toward people with more than I had. They were not responsible for my situation — and in any case, what good did that kind of mental poison do me?
In particular, suppose that $13.25 per hour, which the woman in the video earns, is the most that anyone on earth is willing to pay you, and your current employer is the only person anywhere who will pay you that much.
Would you think it was a sensible idea to denounce the one person on earth who is improving your material condition?
Of course not. That would be deranged.
For that matter, why would you not condemn all the employers who are paying you $0? Why let them off the hook?
Even now, there are obviously a great many people who are more successful than I am — podcasters with larger audiences, authors with more book sales, affiliate marketers with more commissions.
I am at peace with this. After all:
(1) Those people owe me nothing.
(2) Those people have nothing to do with my success or failure.
(3) Success brings me satisfaction if it comes from my own efforts, rather than the pity of others.
(4) My life is happier if I congratulate successful people, learn from them, and work on improving myself and my skills, than if I stew in envy.
I’ll give you a recent example: Katie Wells of Tom Woods Show episode 995 makes her entire living from her health website. She is a much more successful online marketer than I am. Instead of resenting this, I featured her on my show so you good listeners could learn from her.
Here’s an even more recent example: Sara Young, from episode 1215. She is much more successful online than I am.
Far from resenting her, I admire her. As a mom of 7, she figured out how to build content-rich websites that help people and that generate income. She could do this work without leaving her house. Sure beats digging ditches.
And my listeners who have worked with her, including my own mother, swear by her.
In my experience, approximately 100% of people want something like what Sara has, but 98.453% of those who try have no idea what they’re doing.
She and her business partner, both of whom have excellent reputations, are doing a demonstration/presentation for my audience in the coming days. Nobody (myself included) has ever spent an hour with them without learning valuable stuff, so I hope you’ll join us.
As an added benefit, at the link below you also get to see my full beard, which many deranged folks in my Supporting Listeners group think I should keep. (I had to grow it out because of a temporary skin condition; if I were growing the beard on purpose I would trim the neck area, of course.)
The beard, and everything else, is but a click away: