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The Media is Not Your Friend

What do you think the media's top priority is? To inform you or to scare the living crap out of you?

In theory, the media plays a very important role in a functioning democracy. It is tasked with the job of finding problems in the political system and then pressurizing politicians to make changes.

The problem is that weaknesses in the system are not sexy news and does not drive traffic. What does drive traffic? Scandals and sensationalism. People want to read about the member of parliament that held a 3 day orgy at a 5 star hotel and then made the taxpayer foot the bill.

The media wants to deliver content that will excite and titillate so we remain engaged throughout the news cycle. Power, fame, disaster and sex are the four horsemen of the apocalypse off of which the media feeds. People are guaranteed to click on this shit - me included. Our appetite for sensationalism is the same as our weakness for junk food. We are not evil, we are just weak willed and predictable. We secretly want to do the same things that were committed during the scandals.

The media is not your friend. Do not rely on it to generate informed and objective opinions about the world.

FIVE Ways Social Media Keeps Your Poor

Social media does a great job in connecting people, but stands in the way of your financial freedom. The more time you spend on social media, the more you are being manipulated by algos that "tell" you what to buy and what to believe. Google and Facebook are not doing the manipulation – they are getting you addicted to their platforms. The manipulators are the influencers that use these platforms to sell you their stuff.

This is different to traditional advertising – TV, billboards and magazines. The algos are observing you, tracking what you do, see and watch, and then looking for ways to change your behaviour. When it comes to money and finance, influencers are able to get inside your head and live there rent free. Here are the 5 most common lies that influencers feed you and keep you financially enslaved.

Lie 1: Anyone Can Make Money Trading the Stock Market

All you need is a laptop, a few weeks of online training, and you too can become a professional trader. How often have you come across this promise? If you found a secret way to make quick and easy money from trading, would you tell the world? Of course not. You would hold that secret as close to your chest as possible, because the more people that know the strategy, the less profitable it is going to be.

Trading is a zero-sum game – for every 1,000 that is made in the market, someone must be losing 1,000. In order for the winners to win, there have to be losers that are losing. If the whole world has a "winning" strategy, it will soon become a "losing" strategy.

You want to be on the lookout for scams that promise exceptional returns from trading stocks, options, forex (foreign exchange) and bitcoin. I am not talking about INVESTMENTS in these markets. Investments are long term strategies. I am warning you about short-term trading strategies that promise quick and easy money.

Lie 2: Anyone can Become a Financial Guru

There is no shortage of financial “gurus” on YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and other social media. Kids think they can read a couple of books, watch a couple of videos and suddenly they are qualified to offer financial advice. It is true that it is not difficult to understand the basics of finance, but financial education and proficiency is a lifelong journey.

In a world that focuses on instant success and gratification, it is easy to be sucked into the belief that financial mastery is easy. On social media, semi-illiterate financial gurus and influencers are giving advice to completely illiterate disciples. This is creating a vicious downward spiral that will end in money being lost and financial dreams being shattered.

Lie 3: Financial Freedom is about Flashy Cars, Large Mansions and Sumptuous Yachts

Financial freedom is not about leading an opulent life of luxury and leisure. At the core of financial freedom is the ability to flip your relationship with money – as opposed to working for money, making money work for you and then using this freedom to pursue a meaningful life. A meaningful life is not the pursuit of pleasure. Humans are not adapted well for security and utopia. Sure, we like a degree of security because we are vulnerable, but we also want a foot in something with a degree of uncertainty and risk.

A meaningful life is achieved through the pursuit of noble aims. Financial freedom means not having to worry about basic daily needs, and focusing on doing things that makes a positive impact in the lives of other people.

Lie 4: It is Easy to Make Money with Digital Products

Start a blog, publish an e-book, create an online course, set up a drop shipping website. These all sound like great ways to make money, and social media will make very compelling arguments in their favour. For example, all you need is a laptop and an internet connection. The cost of the product is essentially free – all you need to do is dedicate your time and creativity. Everyone in the world is a potential client. You can make money while you sleep. There is no better source of passive income. It is hard not to be sucked into the marketing rhetoric.

There are three reasons why it is exceptionally difficult to make money from digital products. Firstly, what makes you think people will interested in your content? There are no barriers to entry to the digital economy. You are competing with thousands – if not hundreds of thousands - of people that are all looking to do the same thing. It is estimated that in 2021, there are 32 million bloggers in the US alone. Secondly, what makes you think people will pay for your content? Udemy alone has 130,000 online classes as at July 2021, covering a range of diverse topics. What special skills do you bring to this platform that would justify charging for your course? Thirdly, the amount of free content on the internet is astounding. We are used to free stuff. It is inordinately difficult to monetize digital products in 2021 and the Pareto Principle applies – 20 percent of the content creators capture 80 percent of the revenue. As in life, there is no normal distribution of riches in the digital world.

Lie 5: Financial Success is the Norm

People present themselves in social media in such a way that you quickly start to believe the following: everyone has exciting and glamorous careers, everyone is always busy doing important stuff, everyone is happy and fulfilled. In reality, these things are exceptions rather than the rule. Most people are struggling because life is hard. Financial success is not the norm, and it is not easy. If it was easy, everyone would be wildly successful. The road to financial success is paved with dedication, commitment and determination.

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