9 Obvious Harsh Realities To Tell Your Children (That You Never Fully Understood Until The Great Recession And You Got Old)

My kids are kind, considerate, and empathetic. Where did I go wrong?

1. Money really is power, freedom, and pretty teeth. While it can’t buy you perfect health, it can help – a lot. While it can’t “buy you love,” it can help – a lot. People are often attracted to money. Freedom isn’t free – it’s expensive.

2. Volunteer work is good for a hobby if it makes you feel good, but don’t count on it paying the rent, or mortgage, or medical bills. Yes, all those studies show that giving makes us feel good and could even help in long term health, but it also assumes you can take care of yourself first. Not many homeless superstars are curing cancer or uplifting millions from the very poverty they themselves are oppressed by.

3. Follow your passion only if you can get paid well for it. Sure, you don’t want to work at a job that makes you miserable, but often you don’t understand what miserable is until you can’t get any job. And the job you really enjoy can make you miserable in unforeseen ways if you cannot afford a vacation, or car repairs. There is nothing like getting a fair paycheck that sufficiently rewards your hard work, creativity, dedication, and concern.

4. Others will take advantage of you. If you offer your work for nothing, you will get paid nothing. All organizations will try to get the most from you for the least amount of money. Find a better job for more money, then demand a better wage or move on.

5. Lie. Not in everything of course. Often people are lying to you without even realizing it. I’m not suggesting blatant lying, saying you’re a chemical engineer when you know nothing about chemical engineering. However, inflating your work experience just enough to bolster your chances is almost expected now. Trust that you can teach yourself and fill in the gaps later.

6. Nice guys often do finish last. If it seems that psychopaths rule the world, it’s mostly true, psychopathology disguised as calculated risks and derivatives. After you’ve “earned” your millions, you can say it was because of your obvious superior intelligence. You were not afraid to crush your opposition. So cultivate your inner psychopath. (The trick is to do this without hurting others, a paradox for sure.)

7. Compete. Even when you are cooperating with others, you are competing. Even if they don’t know it, or admit it, they are competing – and so are you – being unaware of it merely means that your chances of “losing” are increased.

8. Study finance. Try to understand balance sheets, statistics, mathematics as much as possible. Only then can you defend yourself from those who would profit from destroying your humanitarian work.

9. People love to criticize. You will be criticized often, and will often be unfairly criticized. Critical thinking to solve problems is good. However, people criticize to compete, to push you down so that they can get ahead of you. The chief aim of such criticism is to throw you off, to disorient you from your goal, assuming you have at least one, which you should, otherwise people will criticize you for not having any goals.

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