Arthur C. Brooks has been talking about “Earned Success” as being the magic ingredient for a long time now. So what is it? What makes “Earned Success” the magic elixir for curing America’s ills?
How did the caveman earn success and hence feel good about the world? Probably by beating an animal to death and thus feeding himself and family. Probably after learning about fire and cooking over it he felt amazingly secure and successful warming his toes over the fire after a delicious Tyrannosaurus Rex Burger. He probably won the Daddy of the Week award.
Zoom forward a couple millennia and we see money is now the tool we use to beat to death our food and what not: and the chasing down and the killing of it is the free enterprise system. That is how we now measure our success. That is how we win the Daddy of the Week award.
In our civilized world we use money as the measuring tool for our survival and greatness. It is what gives an individual the chance to test his strength in the struggle for success against others without the blood and gore. But the struggle and competition remain and it is my stipulation that it is the struggle that matters. It matters more than the measuring stick, be it money a gun or a club.
People that say we can just give someone money and food and clothes and education and cell phones and anything else we think necessary and then expect that person to be happy is badly mistaken as we have seen in the last 40 years. You see it at Christmas with a 5 year old who is happy with 1 or 2 presents but gets bored after 10. If a person had to earn those things as a measure of his/her success then that is something they value and will protect.
Sitzfleisch in German means the ability to sit and think a problem all the way through. Since few do that anymore the meaning has morphed into a negative meaning of being able to sit through for a long time a boring lecture or of getting “the ticket” because you were able to wait in line for twelve hours. You could say some Trump supporters had “Sitzfleisch” the ones waiting for hours to get into the Trump rallies.
Along those lines. One good way to bettering America is for those who once could think, to start that old habit up again and for those who have never been taught, shame on the education system and their parents for not demanding they be taught how to. Time to get the education system back to that basic - post haste. Time to teach children and everyone else not what to think but how to think.
When talking of genius Michio Kaku defined it as “The force of will to make all the mistakes necessary to get the right answer.” Later he said: “What matters is you keep your eyes on the prize.” From the movie/documentary Einstein. That implies sitting and thinking problems through (sitzfleisch) then doing something constructive about your conclusions.
Not many people today are willing to sacrifice all the luxury things that take our minds off our problems in order to solve our problems, hence back to Kaku’s idea of our force of will to make all the mistakes to get the right answer” and to “keep your eyes on the prize”.
The problem today is the lack of necessity for sitting and thinking a problem through and getting up and out and earning your success. Today that is all taken care of for you by the government.
All except the “earned” part of success.
It is that selfish pride in earning their success individually that selflessly drives society on to greater things, together they are what made America great. Putting the emphasis back on individuals and creating opportunities for them to earn success will help them make America Greater.
It seems our individual responsibility to find that “something” we can do and do it - earning our success. I’ve found that there is always something that needs doing and by the doing I find others things to do and soon I find something I really like doing and seem good at and by doing that I earn the happiness I measure my success by.
It is the government’s job to help us in this our struggle by keeping the rules of the game the same for everyone when possible but to get out of our way as we try. It is our job to demand that right.
Regards, Bob Carr
Live Dangerously, Tell the Truth