Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Abundance Myth

About 10 years ago, there was an especially vapid, best-selling book titled The Secret that did damage to the social mindset of this nation.

It encouraged us to live and spend in the now, rather than realizing that now is merely a point in the continuum of our lives and to get prepared for that rainy day.

The reigning TV narcissist in chief, Oprah Winfrey, had the author, Rhonda Byrne, on her talk show to promote The Secret. They even trotted out new-age experts to sell the snake oil.

Together they promoted the notion that there is a natural law, called the law of attraction, whereby a person’s actions produce a frequency and that frequency attracts people of like frequency.

The law of attraction seems harmless at first glance because Oprah and Byrne sold it to people by saying that merely by thinking positively we can gain happiness and better health.

There is nothing wrong with thinking positively, but engaging in Pollyanna thinking is dangerous.

Narcissists need Pollyanna thinkers.

The law of attraction encouraged us to feel that we deserved everything we wanted “just because”, but not because we earned them first.

That is extremely dangerous thinking.

The law of attraction, Oprah and Byrne said, also holds that positivity will result in its practitioners learning to live abundantly because money will find them.

And the unicorns shat rainbows because Oprah said so!

Because of Oprah’s celebrity power, the book sold tens of millions of copies worldwide and ushered in the notion of “why wait when you can have it now?” thinking.

Oprah’s famous “You get a car and you get a car, and…” episodes, as well as the ones where she gave many gifts to people in the audience, only promulgated the notion that abundance just magically happens.

If you want a bigger house, buy a bigger house, rather than a house sized to your actual living needs.

How is it that the Japanese live well in homes much smaller than the typical American house’s footprint?

If you want a status-screaming car, buy a status-screaming car, rather than one that will return durable and reliable transportation for several hundred thousand miles.

In 2005, I bought a fully optioned Mustang GT for nearly 35 thousand dollars.

I was married then.

My ex-wife—to this day—believes in living abundantly and encouraged me back then to order the car exactly as I wanted it, rather than buying the V6 model and saving a ton, like I intended to.

Yes, it was exciting to take ownership because it was a magnificent vehicle, but the reality is that I could have had as much enjoyment for 13 thousand dollars less.

I had intended to drive my Mustang  forever, but a driver ran a red light and totaled it. It had 110 thousand miles on it and would have easily gone another 100 thousand. I maintained it well and replaced natural wear-and-tear components.

I have an abundant life, but I earned every aspect of it.

I have an abundant life, because I do not live beyond my means.

I was raised by grandparents who worked hard and paid cash for purchases, rather than use a credit card.

Whenever they did use the card, they paid it off in full when the bill came.

A few years ago, I incurred some unwanted credit card debt and I lost sleep until I had it fully paid off.

Although my grandparents liked to go out to eat, it was not very often. My grandmother made better meals at home.

I don’t eat out frequently and, as I have redoubled my efforts to cook more at home, and in so doing, I have reacquainted myself with just how well I can cook.

As an adult, I have never lived with the notions of “there will always be another paycheck” or “spend it all” each month because I get paid 10 months out of the year (i.e. only the months I teach).

Thus, I have had to save up.

We Americans tend to live in a fool’s paradise of credit cards, and buying way more than we need.

In short, we are not frugal.

Being frugal does not mean living a hair shirt existence.

It means making money last, building up some savings for a rainy day, and creating an abundance born of making intelligent financial decisions.

Preppers tend to live in authentic abundance because we endeavor to think intelligently and strategically about our daily lives as well as that rainy day.

We always have food and shelter and in a SHTF event we will rely on our stored up abundance to weather the storm.


Live frugally and prosper.

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