Something For Nothing: Selfishness

The Only True Test of Any Theory

In business and in the free market, the only test for the validity of an idea or course of action is, “Does it work?”  The only way that you can tell whether or not a theory or principle is true is by testing it in the real world. Does it work? Does it bring about positive results? Does it bring about better results than another other system or theory?

The good news is that in the material world, all results are measurable.  In the business world, all results are measurable in financial terms.  You can tell if something works in reality by simply looking at the numbers. If it is a good and worthwhile idea, it improves the quality of life and well being of people in measurable terms. If it is not a good idea, it decreases the quality of life and well being of people, again in measurable terms.

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Results Speak for Themselves

Throughout the world, whenever freedom and the free market have been introduced, especially into previously poor nations, they have achieved results that are often astonishing. Asia is one of the best examples. In 1945, both India and Japan were impoverished nations.

Most of Japan had been bombed to rubble in World War II. India was just emerging from 300 years of British Colonization. It was extremely poor and underdeveloped.

Japan introduced the free market. The great monopolies were broken up, capital poured in, and the free market was encouraged to thrive.

Within three decades, Japan became an ultra modern industrial powerhouse, with its people enjoying some of the highest standards of living in the world.

After World War II, India achieved its independence and immediately introduced a socialist system. From then to now, it has remained poor, corrupt and backward, with hundreds of millions of its citizens existing on subsistence wages.

The free market was soon introduced into Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and Korea. Once it caught on, the economies of these countries boomed. Their living standards rose dramatically.

By 1995, the resource poor island of Singapore surpassed England in annual income per person. Hong Kong became one of the most entrepreneurial and affluent places in the world. Taiwan boomed and flourished, achieving living standards twenty times greater than those of China across the straits.

From 1970 to 2000, a period of 30 years, the average annual income in Korea went from $200 per year to $10,000 per year, an increase of 50 times! The soaring skyscrapers, beautiful hotels, super highways and vast industrial complexes of these countries are tributes to freedom, free markets and free people. These are the kind of results that count

Eternal Vigilance is Necessary

John Stuart Mill once wrote, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

The forces of compulsion and coercion, the something for nothing people, are always waiting and watching for an opportunity to get back in, no matter how prosperous people become with freedom and free markets. The “Thievery Gene,” activated by the E-Factor and the desire to get something for nothing, infects countless people at a deep level, like a cancer that has gone into remission, always capable of being reactivated and spreading throughout the body.

The Killer Emotions

I mentioned earlier that emotions distort valuations. There are two negative emotions that are used to justify and stimulate the worst qualities of human nature, envy and resentment. Like the thievery gene, the feelings of envy and resentment lurk just under the surface in the minds and hearts of many people.

Shakespeare wrote, “A touch of nature makes the whole world kin.” He said that envy of the successes and accomplishments of others lurks just below the surface in almost every person. It can easily be triggered by an appeal to our sense of vanity. People prefer to believe that the reason that someone else is more successful than they are has nothing to do with their own talents, abilities, attitudes, actions or behaviors. They prefer to believe that people are successful, not because they have worked long and hard to achieve it, but because they have simply been “lucky.”

Democratic senator Richard Gephardt said a couple of years ago, “Those who have been successful at the gaming tables of life must be forced to share their winnings with those who have not done as well.” This is the kind of thinking that dominates much of the policy making in Washington, and in the individual states.

Someone Else Is Always to Blame

Each person has a deep need to rationalize away his own failures and deficiencies. The easiest way to do this is to blame someone else for your problems. Politicians, eager to get votes by appealing to the lowest common denominator of human nature, will eagerly step forward to encourage people to believe that the reason that they are not doing well is because others are doing better.

Of course, this is the same as saying that “The reason that you are sick is because someone else is healthy.” The reason you are doing poorly is because someone else is doing well. The reason that you are unfit or overweight is because others are fit and trim. The argument is absurd, but reason and rationality have no place when it comes to an emotion such as envy, especially when it is combined with resentment.



About Brian Tracy — Brian is recognized as the top sales training and personal success authority in the world today. He has authored more than 60 books and has produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on sales, management, business success and personal development, including worldwide bestseller The Psychology of Achievement. Brian's goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin and Youtube.

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