Busy, Not Productive

Like most of my colleagues, I was always busy. Being busy was a status symbol. It still is. If I was always in a hurry, it meant that I had a lot of important things to do, that I was that important person doing it. Saying that I was busy was a way of bragging without seeming to brag. 

I have been rushing all my life. In the first year of college, I was already missing classes to work at an advertising agency, and in my second year, thinking that the course was going too slow, I sold my car and went to study design in London. I was always running; I frequently had the impression that I was on a train looking at my school friends standing on the platforms. 

Years later, with multiple branches and clients in different cities, I was proud to mention to my friends that I had just arrived from a business trip and would be leaving for another next week. I was always doing something – except the things that mattered. I had little time for family and even less time to think about my life and admit what I was doing with it.

Also, working hard is always an effective way to get out of challenging situations like having difficult conversations with your partner or kids. It’s easy to become distant, to be less close to those around you when you always have a super-big-important meeting to attend.

I always thought I couldn’t leave or reduce my job based on the premise that financial success comes only through struggle and sacrifice. But the truth is that today the most certain predictor of someone’s future income isn’t hard work but the income of the family they were born into, how much their parents earn, and whom they know.

But this is not publicized because our oligarchy works hard to spread the myth of meritocracy. The myth that anyone can succeed thru enough hard work.

The dissemination of this lie is intended to make the middle and lower class believe that they deserve whatever they are earning in the “free market.” If you work for someone who pays you a low salary, you have only yourself to blame. And if someone amasses a billion dollars, he must deserve it because that’s the free market awarding them.

Furthermore, the rare examples of people born poor that managed to become rich are exhaustively publicized in books and movies, while their family connections or lucky events are removed from the narrative. No one talks about the fact that Bill Gates’s mom sat on the same board as the CEO of IBM and convinced him to take a risk on her son’s new company. Or that Jeff Bezos started Amazon with $300,000 in seed capital from his parents and more from some rich friends. Or that Elon Musk’s dad owned an emerald mine in South Africa. We only hear about their garages.

The goal is that everyone believes that the wealth of the rich is the just payments with which society rewards those who contribute to the community while those who don’t have money didn’t make enough effort to amount what they could have.

Most people don’t realize that the system that allows wealth to be kept in the hands of the same families for decades and decades is shaped and maintained by politicians who were elected with money from those same families.

The truth is that we live in a land of opportunity where, thru hard work, any man can make riches – for his employer.

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Have a wonderful day,

A couple of years ago, I left my house, business, and city to live with my wife and five children, traveling in a motorhome.

I still don’t know where we will arrive – and I’m slowly learning to be ok with it.

Click here if you want to read from the beginning.