How Beliefs Influence Our Ability to Create Happiness in Our Lives

This morning I came across a news feed on my YouTube feed it was by The Young Turks and it was focused on CEO pay, specifically the disparity between CEO pay and the pay of the average worker. The commentary in the news video was focused on how unfair the disparity of the average CEO pay was from the average worker pay. Here is the problem I have with the video, am I to imply that in the event the average pay for CEO is reduced significantly that this would improve the average pay of workers?

Most people who are asked this question would answer no, this is because subscribing to the belief that the success or failure of others affects my success taps into a primitive mindset which desires to relieve me of any and all responsibility for any unfavorable conditions I find myself in. The problem with not seeing myself as responsible for my circumstances, is that it leads me into seeing myself as powerless to change my condition.

One Size Does not Fit All.

I enjoy playing puzzle games and the thing with what makes a really good puzzle game, is that there are more than one way to solve the puzzle. This rule also applies to our everyday lives. If I were to engage the hosts of the above-mentioned video about why I disagree with their stance, they would immediately point to the number of reasons why the average worker is unable to get a chance to achieve economic freedom. They will say things like, “not everyone can go to college” (this is true), or that minimum wage is not a livable wage (also true). However if I were to retort with the statement that there is no problem we cannot work through, I will be accused of living in la, la, land. However the reality is that not all paths towards success is the same, as a matter of fact success means completely different things for different people. Most people have been brought up to believe in a one size fits all paradigm, starting in the home and reinforced through institutions of learning. Most people do not know themselves, most people have a poorly defined sense of identity and as a result will continue to hold unto a beliefs and values that do not truly define who they are. In truth, no arguments can solidly be made to support the notion that only way to economic achievement is through college. Generally speaking, there are multiple paths to multiple goals, and every goal has more to one path towards reaching it.

You Have More Power Than You Think.

As children, our powers are limited. It has been hard wired into our brains that fitting in with the beliefs and values of our immediate family followed by our community will increase our chances of survival. As adults we become solely responsible for what we choose to believe and keep believing. While it is true that there are a number of unpleasant things that could happen to us, likewise there are also a number pleasant things that could happen to us. The reality is that the number of pleasant things that could possibly happen to us are increased three fold when we actually take steps to make our desires a reality. When we focus on other people having things we desire, which we do not have, we become susceptible towards buying into beliefs that limit our potential to excel.

So the next time you come across any bit of news information that tells you how unfair life is, and how others have more leverage than you, ask yourself one question; “how does this help you?” If it is more income you are trying to bring into your life, your efforts would be best spent looking up information that tells you specifically how to bring in more income into your life. Or, how to retire in x amount of years, or how to fund your child’s education and so on and so forth. A video on how unfair life is, is not really telling you anything new, instead it is keeping you grounded in old thinking that has most likely not worked out for you to date.

So here’s wishing you live your life to the best of your potential.


Ugo is  a psychotherapist and professional life coach.

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Why Kanye West Should Learn About the Non Aggression Principle

So I recently watched an episode of the The Young Turks on YouTube, where they gave a commentary on Kanye West and Kim Kardashian’s run in with a foul mouthed hooligan. Although, as the story unfolds, Kanye West proved to be more hooligan that the man who disrespected his wife, or wife to be.

The story is not what fascinates me, what inspired this post was the commentary by The Young Turks (TYT), where there seemed to be some consensus that Kanye was well in his right to pummel someone for verbally disrespecting his wife. This is the same channel that has a video regarding the ridiculousness of how a series of text messages led to a shoot out at a public venue.

To be specific I have two issues with the commentary, the first is the kid gloves members of the media often seem to use to addressing people of color, specifically Black people.

“Oh… You knocked that guy out for cursing you out? What was that? He used racial slurs? We understand, he had it coming.” It truly is a dangerous message for young people to digest, the idea that you get a free pass for losing your composure, simply because someone hurts your feelings.

In my opinion, this is a set up to get caught up in the American legal system. No, I am not advocating for blind obedience due to fear of authority, or obedience for the sake of fitting in, instead I am advocating for the practice of empathy, a by product that comes from adherence to the non aggression principle.

What is the non aggression principle? Fundamentally the non aggression principle is the commitment to not resort to  violence or the threat of violence to resolve disputes. An obvious exception would be when your life is truly in danger and you have exhausted all options in keeping yourself safe. In the story, Kim Kardashian gets racists insults directed at her from  a man, she calls Kanye, and Kanye shows up,  tracks the man down and beats him up.

The second issue I have with the TYT commentary on the Kanye West story, was the passive promotion of machismo. The idea that it is okay to seek retaliation is antiquated thinking. Violence only begets more violence. Take for example, the man has now pressed charges against Kanye West, with the help of the State. So Kanye now finds himself at the mercy of the State as the evidence and eyewitness testimony is overwhelmingly against Kanye. So now at the request of this man,the State now has the option of visiting violence against Kanye West by taking away his freedom, or a significant portion of his money or both. Just like when a parent, spanks one of his children for hitting a sibling.

One thing I learned from my military experience, is that the attitude of machismo is not practical, and therefore not rational. Machismo is impractical because there is always someone stronger than and more willing to resort to greater degrees of violence that  you are.
It’s nice to think that you can go about beating up on anyone who hurls insults at you, but what happens when you encounter someone who’s better at violence than you are? Then what?

Violence is overrated and bad for the brain, please give peace a chance. Furthermore if you are a black person reading this, and you take offense to what I said about the media and violence. Please understand that my pride for my heritage, comes from a place of love and not from a place of unrealistic expectations regarding how others should regard me.



My video response.

The Young Turks Video

Ugo is a psychotherapist and life coach.

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Is Fairness An Innate Trait?

I recently came across YouTube video by TYT (The Young Turks) about a research study on fairness and money. Actually what drew me into watching the video was the video title, “How Being Rich Can Make You A Dick”

The video is about a study conducted by the University of California Berkeley on on the advantages of having wealth. According to the study two participants were kept in a windowless room and were asked to play a game of monopoly. One of the players was given an unfair advantage during the start of the game by way of extra cash included with bonus cash for every move he made, while the other player received less money all around. During the course of the game, the researchers observed that the advantaged player displayed more aggression and arrogance during the course of the game, as compared to the other player. Looking at the TYT video, it appeared the main host Cenk, was alluding to the idea that having wealth over others makes human beings more arrogant and less empathetic towards others with less wealth. If this is what he meant, I would have to disagree with his misinterpretation, and here’s why.

People have an innate sense of fairness, because people who are sound of mind have awareness. Awareness affords us the benefit of knowing right from wrong. So if I give my six year old two dollars and I give my three year old (who just witnessed my interaction with the six year old) one dollar, my three year old is going to ask why the six year old received more money. Why would the three year old ask this? Because her expectation that I give her the same amount of money I gave her brother is reasonable, this is what her sense of awareness informs her.

The concept of fairness is so ingrained in our DNA that you see it play out in the workplace. Once at a former job, a human resources manager who got fired, sought her revenge on her last day by “mistakenly” sending out an email to all members of staff that listed our positions and our respective salaries. I became so angered when I noticed that two of my co workers were making more money than myself that I resolved to ask for a pay raise. The next day in my boss’s office, in anticipation of what my grievance was about (I am guessing) , my boss gave me a pay increase which equated to what my coworkers were making. So I believe that it is reasonable to write that given that my boss clearly valued my work, his sense of awareness informed him that I was not going to be happy with the report I received via email and he also anticipated that I would approach him for a pay increase. While I was pleasantly surprised by his response, it made a lot of sense.

We all know what is fair and what isn’t, so what does this have to do with the study? My interpretation of the study is this; the reason for the boisterous  behavior of the unfairly advantaged monopoly player is because that player was overcompensating for his feelings of inadequacy.

Consider this scenario, let’s say I am sprinter, and I  am preparing for an upcoming race, when my coach approaches me with a proposition to use steroids or some other type of growth hormone to win the race. If I accept my coach’s offer, it simply means that he does not believe I will win the race and that I agree with him. Heck it could also be presumed that my coach may not be a big believer in my abilities as a sprinter. So even if I use drugs to cheat the race and I win the race, my feelings of inadequacy wouldn’t go away.

Chances are high that due to the turmoil I will experience internally, I will act out behaviorally even after I have won the race. I may display a great deal of arrogance and immaturity, just to overcompensate for my feelings of inadequacy or feelings of being a fraud.

I do not believe that inheriting money from your family leads to feelings of inadequacy, however money that is stolen or earned through ill gotten means certainly can level leads to feelings of inadequacy. So if I were to rob a bank or a store, what I am telling myself and others through my actions is that I do not believe I have what it takes to make a honest living.

It’s like the saying goes, “hurt people hurt people,” so when you see people behaving arrogantly, they are probably  coming from a place of inadequacy.

The video is below.

Ugo is a psychotherapist and life coach.

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