At some point, probably in the eighties, a collection of people came together and decided to brainwash the masses into an unthinking stupor. The tools used were short quirky soundbites of mock advice and the masses liked it. People were instructed to Take The Road Less Traveled but weren’t warned that the reason that particular road was less traveled was because of the monsters, the washed out bridges, the poisonous insects and the crack heads waiting in the shadows to rob you.
College students were told to do what they love and the money would follow. Sadly the job markets for chronic masturbators and video game players were filled to capacity with people willing to do those jobs for free. It was a plumber accepting my check for fourteen thousand dollars and smelling of raw sewage that told me there’s more money in doing what other people hate. But that slogan doesn’t look good on a book cover or a bumper sticker.
The people who have their heads filled with useless, and sometimes dangerous, motivational quotes are also armed to confront anyone with any small amount of common sense. The people with a brain who actually question such inane statements as, “Fake it 'til you make it,” are to be referred to as “negative” or, lately, “haters”.
Never was this example more evident than after a business talk I gave in San Diego. As the meeting wrapped up I looked outside and the building cloud banks and made the statement, “It looks like it’s going to rain”. The response from one of the participants was immediate, “Stop being so negative!” she yelled. Literally. She yelled at me for making an observation about the weather. Her brain had been so washed that she was unable to see any statement that may not work in her delusioned favor as anything but “negative”.
I was shocked but calm when I explained that there was something between a positive and negative statement. A neutral statement. A statement of observation, opinion or fact. She refused to accept my explanation. This woman was under the sway of a pyramid scheme guru who had warned her to disregard all statements not positive. She had been convinced that this was the key that rich and happy people had discovered and that she just needed to believe in it. She even gave evidence in the form of stories of people that went from poverty to driving BMW’s and living in mansions while sitting in the pool accepting paychecks earned by passive income.
It was months before her guru was finally arrested. It was a year when a book came out from some of his underlings explaining how they were lied to and stolen from. But that wasn’t until later. At that moment I had been confronted by someone desperately convinced that I was a negative person. There was no saving this woman yet. So I did the only thing I could do. I left her standing there in the negative rain.