Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Ignore the "Mainstream" and live a better life for it.

Conventional Wisdom sux.

"Mainstream Media" is held in contempt these days, as it gives you a biased view of what they refer to as "news" - which is actually just mayhem and cacaphony on steroids.

"Mainstream" healing practices are actually a minority view on this planet, held as a majority view only over our Western society. Most cultures on this planet don't use our Western drug-induced healing techniques. Yet our government will issue fines for anyone saying that something other than "Medical Doctors" can "cure" anything.

Many professionals I've read state that if you really want to make some money - figure out where the majority are going, then go another (or the opposite) way. I can tell you how this works out in research - anyone who is making money off the majority view is already there in that market and you'll only be able to slice off a small section of that interchange if you're extremely lucky.

Money is actually made by finding (or creating) a niche and then filling that niche with your excellent service (any product is a service, actually). You scratch your own itch, then tell other people you will ship your solution to their (similar) itch for what they think it's worth. Do this often enough and you will have a sizeable sum after awhile.

The Long Tail is the Bell Curve folded down the center. "Early adopters" and "Laggards" are both simply niche markets - one is growing larger and spilling over into other niches, whice the other is shrinking, but still a viable market share.

Yet the bulk of our modern marketing theories revolve around only servicing the bulk of humanity and figuring out how to get nearly everyone's attention (and wallets) at once - and then keeping that attention to sell them more and more of that product.

To do this, they commonly sell addictive products. Not just cigarettes, but also soft drinks, fast foods, political parties, credit cards, etc.

In fact, elections are won by accumulating political niches behind a single candidate (or against another candidate). This is true more and more. Factually, we would be better served if we had several parties and government had to operate from a common base - as Lincoln had to during his Presidency. While he was Republican, there were three other major parties, which he had to get a common, or majority consensus from. He didn't issue the Emancipation Proclamation for months after he wrote it, simply because at that time it left his pen, it wouldn't have had popular support.

While this seems to operate different from my opening thesis, lets look at that. By having more choices, one can elect a candidate which more closely aligns to one's own preferences. Then, the skill of those elected would be put to the test in making sure they brought home what their constituents wanted.

Right now, we have just two parties and they both think that the recent election said something different to them. And the inherent problems each has created in our system ensures that the party in power has huge advantages over the other. So shifting a few seats either way means that this former minority party is able to make a huge shift in agendas.

If we had many parties, a very small party could gain advantage by boycotting the proceedings it they were ignored - and so there would never be enough people to continue the governing actions. So there would be a balance of power - more equitably distributed.

Now most of this "two-party" scene only plays into the hands of the "Mainstream Media", which loves equally balanced and opposing forces - it makes their stories last longer, since each side has unsolvable conflicts with the other and the press can string this out. Our two-party system more or less plays into this press scene and hopes that getting into the "news" gets them votes when they run for re-election again.

Actually - and this is borne out historically - people think that all politicians are crooks and scoundrels (except the one they voted for). While some of these might rail against the President because of his "approval rating", they should look at their own - which is always, always much less. Pot calling the Kettle black.

But back to our story - how can you ignore the mainstream and improve your life?

Well, certainly you can turn your back on TV, radio, and newspapers for "news", as the Internet gives you better data that can be verified or debunked. You can even choose the slant you want.

You can forget about the "latest trends", as pop culture has given us an obese, diabetes-prone physical scene, and a crime-prone and responsibility-free lifestyle. If something bad happens to you, you can always sue - and pay half or more of what you get to the lawyer (who gets paid regardless of whether you can collect). Hip-hop culture endorses illegal guns, drug use, profanity, and living off government handouts instead of working or providing real service to anyone.

Even if you only followed the "baby boomer" trends, you'd see the roots of that above irresponsibility.

The largest majority of people on this planet want to help people around them survive better and have better lives. But where they continue to listen to the "mainstream" opinion, they suffer for it and waste their lives as a wage-slave, if they work at all.

Those people who really "make it", who really gain a place in this world - these people actually stand out from the crowd around them and make their own decisions for what they want to do with their lives. And they keep making independent decisions all of their lives.

But this type of person is a true minority. In the US, it is composed of only 3-5 percent of any given population.

But for the minority who choose to radically improve their lives, there is another 3-5 percent who commit the majority (if not all) of the crimes in any given population.

And there are shades in between - but the point is that the bulk of the wealth in this country is created and controlled by a handful. It is that way because they chose that path and continued to make smart decisions.

Those few who make it tough on all of us (if only that our taxes go to support them in prison or pay for their funerals) - also continue to make truly stupid decisions, every single day of their (hopefully short) lives.

The kicker is that anyone, even those criminal few, can start making really smart decisions and get a great deal of wealth and security flowing toward them. It's just a matter of making decisions.

Now don't expect your local news agency, politician, or fast-food "restaurant" start handing out texts on how to make decisions. They each and all have a vested interest in keeping you making just enough smart decisions to keep you locked into your wage-slave situation. They want you voting their way, buying their products, working for them.

So you'll have to learn to think for yourself, make your decisions and stick to them, and ignore all "free" and family and neighbors' advice. Unless your advice comes from someone who is legitimately successful in their lives, you can safely ignore anything anyone says, including me.

You have to decide what you want to think and then think for yourself.

There are innumerable books on making a fortune in real estate, stocks and bonds, on the Internet - and any number of legitimate ways you can kick over your own traces and strike out to find your own fortune.

And perhaps the funniest thing about this is that you don't even have to quit your "day job" to start getting ahead. Instead of getting a second job, start your own business. Find out what service you could provide which people find valuable.

There is a person my town who found out, after he was laid off after years of work for a company, that he could make a good living doing the "honey-do" lists that people needed done around their homes - but couldn't make the time to do these themselves.

Another person found that if he saved and invested in one or two rental houses a year, he could retire after 30 years with an income greater than he made during his career (do the math yourself: Buy 40 houses, sell half to pay off the others - then find yourself working only a few days each month to collect rent and hire repairmen to keep those properties up - in my neighborhood, this comes up to about $96,000 a year raw income, or maybe half that if you keep a lot of reserves or insurance).

I never tire of hearing Earl Nightingale re-tell the story of his trying to find the secret of success in his Depression-era childhood from people who couldn't think about how to make their success - they only thought of how to somehow "make do" with what they had.

But he tells in his "Strangest Secret" Gold Record how he did eventually find that secret of success - and became rich and world reknown, even though he left one of the most high-paid studio announcer jobs in the country. He was already making himself a success, but went on to found the whole industry of motivational tapes and recordings - so he could help others become successful.

In doing so, Nightingale found a niche which had been overlooked by so many others - including the recording industry. And he became wealthy in his own right. But he refused to listen to the naysayers on the way up, even if these were some of his associates and friends in the industry.

Each one of us, where we really want to succeed, needs to start ignoring the "mainstream" and find our own current of success. It's there for each of us. Usually right under our noses. But you have to decide to find it.

And that's the first step: decide for yourself.