In most cases a conversation between parties appears to be the best way to pass an important message to readers. Here is a conversation between a rich man and a guy who has struggled so much but never become rich.
“You’re so lucky, man.”
“What do you mean?” I always respond.
“I mean, you get to travel all over the world, surf, meet cool people and don’t have to worry about money,” he says.
“That’s lucky?” I ask.
“Yeah man! I mean, I could never do that!”
“Why not?” I ask.
“Because I don’t have enough money! Plus, I have kids and a car payment. And I can’t leave my house for too long because I have to take care of the yard,” he explains.
“So… that’s why I’m lucky? Because I don’t have all of those things that you have?”
He pauses, “No, I mean, I’m not saying that I’m unlucky; I’m just saying that I wish I could do the things that you do. You’re just really lucky to be able to do all of those fun things
and have money.”
I look at him straight in the eye, “How much money do you think I have?”
He avoids my eye contact, “I don’t know. But a lot. I mean, you inherited a bunch or someone gave you some, so you’re lucky.”
I look deeper into his face that isn’t looking back at me, “You think I inherited money? You think that is why I can live the life that I do?”
“Yeah,” he says sheepishly.
“I haven’t inherited a dime. I choose the priorities in my life, and personal responsibility is one of them,” I answer.
Taken back he angrily says, “What the heck does that mean? You think I’m not responsible?”
“Well, you’re not enjoying the things in your life and you are jealous of me. You don’t have the power to pursue what you want.”
His face immediately turns red, “You think I don’t have the power?”
I calmly respond, “You just told me I am lucky to be living the way that I do. Why can’t you?”
“You have money, you don’t have kids and you have no responsibilities! I already told you!” he snaps.
“Listen, everyone’s background is different. Some people are given better starts in life than others, but it all comes down to discipline and responsibility. There are plenty of rich kids that have pissed away their parents money and there are plenty of poor kids who have become rich.
Whatever situation you are in is a direct result of what you have chosen. If you don’t like what your life is, then change it. But, don’t come to me with jealousy and attempt to make me feel guilty for the misfortune that you have created in your own life.”
Now he’s looking at me in the eye, “You’re an asshole, man.”
I look at him back in the eye, “Hey, if I were a real asshole I wouldn’t have just told you that. I would have bounced some run-of-the-mill statement about how life is all about luck and that we’re all on a strange journey.
But, guess what? We all have the choice of where we want to end up, so have the courage to step up and take responsibility for where you want your life to go.”
He’s still hot, looking right at me. He knows I’m right but doesn’t want to admit it. It’d be embarrassing.
I continue, “I’m not trying to be a jerk to you, but how do you think I ended up doing all the things I wanted in my life? Do you think I casually stumbled upon some desire to pursue my dreams?”
He responds, “You probably had help from someone. Someone gave you the tools to get where you are. To travel and surf whenever you want.”
“First of all, I don’t get to travel and surf whenever I want. I work my ass off and sacrifice all kinds of things so when I do have the time, I can surf and travel. Secondly, you’re right,
I was given the tools to get where I’m at,” I say.
He quickly says, “See! Someone did help you!”
I smile, “Yup. It was a conversation almost exactly like this one, where someone told me to stop complaining and take responsibility. They told me to shut my mouth and take accountability for my actions.”
Staring at me silently, he begins to open his mouth, “But it’s different for…”
I interrupt, “No, it’s never different. Ever. You can say it’s different, but then you’d just be lying to yourself and you’d be cementing the position that you’re already in.”
He silently stares at me.
“The most successful people in the world have the ability to admit when they mess up and they have the ability to change the direction they are going. They adjust to their environment in order to create the life they want. It takes a lot of work, but at the same time it’s very easy.
The rewards far outweigh the sacrifices, so don’t be afraid to take a real constructive look at your life. Make adjustments and create what you want.”
“Whatever, man. You’ll just never know what it’s like to be on your own,” he says and walks away.