Social Media is Killing Your Prosperity

(Friday Filosophy 6/09/23)

Happy Freakin’ Friday!

Welcome to another Friday Filosophy, my weekly postcard to you with a question, topic, or challenge to contemplate.  This week let’s explore the danger social media poses to your health, happiness, and prosperity.

Do you know anyone who has experienced a strange or even radical personality change over the last five to ten years?  Do you know more than a few? If you do, it's a pretty safe bet that the changes you've seen have been in the negative direction.  Symptoms include being more argumentative, strident, judgmental, narcissistic, jaded, distrustful, cynical, depressed, fearful, and prone to conspiracy theories. In my case, I've seen at least 15 friends and loved ones go down this rabbit hole. (Sixteen, if I count myself.) Sometimes, symptoms like these are a medical issue that should be checked.  But I'll posit that the majority of these cases are the direct result of manipulation by computer algorithms, with the biggest dose of it coming from social media platforms.

We've made great gains in mental health over the last few centuries. Unfortunately, social media has wiped out decades of those advancements.  And the rate of mental health deterioration in our society is increasing almost exponentially.  If this continues at the current rate, most of the first- and second-world countries will be warring tribal societies on the Mad Max level by 2035.  Only those people with the highest levels of wealth (and critical thinking) will be able to escape to fortress-like enclaves of the Galt's Gulch variety.

Social media is causing more societal decay than any other factor in the world right now, and by a huge margin.   And it's doing it by destroying your ability for rational reasoning, civil discourse, and critical thinking.  It is causing brain decay in hundreds of millions of people.  

If you're like most people, you foolishly believe you're inoculated against being manipulated to do things against your will that are harmful to you. And if you are like most people, you're wrong. I've written extensively about the computer algorithms marketers are unleashing on you in this post, and a deeper dive in my book Radical Rebirth, so I won’t repeat that information here.  As dangerous as that mind manipulation is, it pales in comparison to what is being done to you on the social media platforms today.

Most of the corporate world today is incestuous, quick to jump on a trend their competitors are doing successfully and social media platforms are no different.  There is a proven model that works magnificently. Offer people free access, then track every click and interaction they do to find out:

Once that data has been accumulated, you will be subject to the most sophisticated mind viruses, mental manipulation, and brainwashing ever developed in human history.  The only way those platforms can give you those free memberships is by selling your eyeballs to advertisers. At that moment, the profit moment kicks in and an army of marketers, computer scientists, copywriters, phycologists, and the aforementioned computer algorithms spring into action to feed you content that makes you feel virtuous, attractive, angry, afraid, and outraged.  (Usually, all of the above.) If you think this is just a manifestation of blood sport political issues like vaccines, masks, and MAGA vs. woke, you're being hopelessly naive.  The situation is way bigger than that and it affects every area of your prosperity.

There is not a single human on earth, no matter how self-aware you are, who can resist this onslaught of programming. Not you, not me, not anyone.  If you think you're the exception because of your Mensa IQ, then you're a bigger idiot than someone with a room temperature one. 

The launch of the new Apple Vision Pro this week starkly drives home just how sophisticated the technology is becoming.  It can detect your mental state based on data from your body and brain. This is done with measurements like eye tracking, electrical activity in the brain, heart beats and rhythms, muscle activity, blood density in the brain, blood pressure, skin conductance, etc. They can even predict when you're going to click on something before you do it.

Quoting from Sterling Crispin who served on the development team for ten years, " Generally as a whole, a lot of the work I did involved detecting the mental state of users based on data from their body and brain when they were in immersive experiences.

"So, a user is in a mixed reality or virtual reality experience, and AI models are trying to predict if you are feeling curious, mind wandering, scared, paying attention, remembering a past experience, or some other cognitive state. And these may be inferred through measurements like eye tracking, electrical activity in the brain, heart beats and rhythms, muscle activity, blood density in the brain, blood pressure, skin conductance etc.

"There were a lot of tricks involved to make specific predictions possible, which the handful of patents I’m named on go into detail about. Your pupil reacts before you click in part because you expect something will happen after you click. So you can create biofeedback with a user's brain by monitoring their eye behavior, and redesigning the UI in real time to create more of this anticipatory pupil response."

Those short three paragraphs speak to the breathtaking breakthroughs that are happening in the space.  And they should also scare the shit out of you...

We've always had trolls, crazy uncles, and kooks in society and we always will.  What we didn’t have was the internet, media, and social media seeking them out and amplifying them to keep you on their sites and apps for longer and longer times.  And the best way to do that is speak to your dark, basest instincts: Making you fearful of other people, causing you to feel lonely, alienated and under attack, and sucking you down the rabbit hole of tin-foil hat conspiracy theories.

Think of the most batshit crazy conspiracy theory you can think of: e.g. There is a shadowy international cabal of terrorists who are using red Toyotas to assassinate schoolteachers. Make a post on Facebook or Twitter asking your followers if they know anything about it.  Your followers will start sending you replies relating to suspicions they had about a schoolteacher who died, someone they heard about getting run over by a red Toyota, and someone they saw at Red Lobster who looked like a terrorist. You'll start to see some "Big, if true…" style posts, then some, "It sure seems crazy, but I'm seeing a lot of information about..." posts, and the race will be on. Each of these peoples' followers will see the posts and start contributing their own and sharing some links.  "Schoolteacher dies in mysterious circumstances." "Red Toyota stolen from Town and Country mall." By the time you or any of these people click on the fourth link, the algorithms will have a specific profile of clickbait links to trigger you. Within 120 days, there will be sizable group of people in the world who believe there really is a shadowy international cabal of terrorists who are using red Toyotas to assassinate schoolteachers. (And you'll probably be a member.)

Of course, computer algorithms can be used for good.  Of course, they can drive humanity forward.  But it sure as fuck isn’t going to happen on social media.  Don't let that potential benefits of technology (and there are many) distract you from the threat you're facing now.

Currently, there are no free-market profit incentives for employing social media for good that are even of fraction of the profit incentives to use it for evil.  (And I'm not using the word evil casually or by accident.) As a result, there are no current social media platforms that have a ratio of beneficial content higher than 25 percent.  I estimate most are hovering around 15 percent positive, helpful, and entertaining content – and 85 percent of toxic, harmful, and polarizing.  Note: This is most true of Twitter, Facebook, and Truth Social. Other platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and Tik-Tok have less of the political divisiveness but replace it with a different flavor of harm: More vapid, superficial virtue signaling posts that foster narcissism, depression, and low self-esteem.

Social media is decaying your ability to think rationally and every hour a week you spend on it will only make this worse. For developed nations it is the seminal issue of our time. (And as broadband access improves, it will be the same for every nation.) Almost any other issue you might suggest is more acute – the frightening levels of suicide, depression, isolationism, political polarization, obesity, loneliness, and poor self-esteem – I'll argue that issue has been dramatically exasperated by social media. Even the worldwide perils of things like possible nuclear conflict and climate change are worsened, because social media is degenerating our abilities in areas such as critical thinking, civil discourse, building consensus, and problem solving. You can't work with the people on the other side of difficult issues if you've been driven to fear, hate, and demonize them on social media.   They're simply another enemy you believe needs to be defeated. Social media has created such schisms in our society, it's even killing our ability to work together against mutual threats we face.

The social media platforms are not going to fix this because they aren't willing to take the revenue loss. The only answer is for you to break your addiction.  If you can, remove the apps from your phone and go cold turkey.  If you use social to promote your business, consider setting up biz only accounts.  If you're going to stay on, set a limit of no more than ten minutes a day and set a timer.  If you just want to exchange baby pix with your family, create an account on family-album.com.  If you're using social to stay in touch with a group of family or friends, create a shared blog, Signal group, or private chat you can use instead.

Finally, counter-program. I estimate that for every hour you spend on social, you'll need three to four hours of positive programming to compensate.  (You can start by subscribing to my Power Prosperity Podcast or Prosperity TV.)   Conversely every hour of social media use that you subtract from your schedule improves your life in multiples.  Really. You'll be calmer, happier, healthier, enjoy better relationships, drink less, eat healthier, exercise more, and notice a lot more beauty around you!

Peace,

- RG

P.S. It's never positive to only criticize something (even something evil) without talking about possible solutions as well. I do have some ideas on how a social media platform founded on the principles of prosperity could be both viable and profitable. But that will take up an extensive amount of extra space than this already long post. Look for that other essay in the future.

Previous Post: The Secret of Transformation

The Secret of Transformation

(Monday Mojo 6/05/23)

Thank God it’s Monday!  Let’s get after it…

As you start another week, hopefully you’re thinking about transformation, how you become a higher version of yourself.  As you do that, here’s a few things to keep in mind…

You won’t mystically transform yourself by moving, taking a vacation, or watching The Secret.  It won’t happen by changing your relationship to your spouse, boss, or even God. The only way you truly transform is by improving the relationship you have with yourself.

You’ll either love the new podcast episode because it resets your thoughts about prosperity consciousness or you’ll hate it like poison because you think I don’t understand the challenges you face. Lemme know which it is! Here are the links:

Are You Living Your Life Choosing the Lowest Bid?

YouTube: http://ow.ly/ngee50OzPRS

Apple: http://ow.ly/n9WG50OzPRR

Spotify: http://ow.ly/e9gF50OzPRU

Anchor: http://ow.ly/Zq0B50OzPRV

Peace,

- RG

Previous Post: Aging as a Superpower

Do You Have Concrete Brain?

(Friday Filosophy 1/20/23)

Happy Freakin’ Friday!

Welcome to a crisp new edition of Friday Filosophy – the weekly postcard where I challenge you with a question, idea, or topic you may want to think about. Today let’s look at something we discuss frequently: your brain.

Or more specifically, how you develop, care for, and protect it from being co-opted by the forces that want to manipulate and control it. For me, my greatest fear is developing what I think of as “concrete brain.”  Once moisture in concrete evaporates, it cures and hardens incredibly strong.  But in that strength, there is no pliability.  This can be an incredible metaphor for the human brain.

You already know many people with concrete brain.  Their minds have been cured.  For the last 40 or 50 years they’ve used the same deodorant, voted for the same political party, and cheered the same sports team. They possess an intractable, finished view of the world and the people who inhabit it.  Now their days are spent collecting data to reinforce that worldview.

If they think immigrants want to replace white people in America, they watch the Tucker Carlson show to see footage of people scaling border walls.  If they believe all Republicans are homophobes, racists, and anti-Semitics they watch MSNBC for the Greatest Hits of nitwitted fear mongers like Marjorie Taylor Green.  If they believe the whole world is fucked and everyone is crazy, they watch reality shows like The Bachelor, Judge Judy, and The Kardashians. If they believe the world has flaws but is inherently good, they might be watching Nat Geo specials, taking long walks in nature, doing Sudoku or crossword puzzles, reading poetry, and hopefully, listening to my Power Prosperity Podcast.

For most people, concrete brain used to set in at the later stages of life.  Today, because of 24-hour cable news networks, social media, and advances in manipulative marketing, people are developing this phenomenon in their 30s or even 20s.  The “Anxiety Industry” (Matrix) needs you to be living in fear and hatred, and they have the data, social scientists, and computer algorithms to make that happen.  They can take your casual predisposition toward a subject and drive you down a rabbit hole of stimuli to convert you into a raging culture warrior.

You are progressively transformed from someone who wants to know what is right – to someone who simply wants to be right.

There is no randomness; your life is the result of all the media narratives, blogs, podcasts, movies, television shows, and social media posts you’ve been consuming over the last three to five years.  Everything you think and do today is a lagging factor of that previous consumption.  You really are living in the Matrix, it’s just not the version you saw in the four-movie franchise. Here’s how I described the Matrix in Radical Rebirth:

The real Matrix is a collection of machines used for surveillance and data-gathering. (This includes every online search you perform, what you buy, every website you visit, your social media posts, the things you ask your voice assistants, the apps running in the background on your phone, and what you stream for entertainment.) Then this data is exploited to manipulate your habits, moods, identity, beliefs, and behaviors.  The objectives are to make you feel powerless, needy, and helpless – and drive you to take self-destructive actions that reward the managers of the Matrix.

If you want to escape the Matrix, you can't let your ideas become your identity.  You have to be exposed to opposing viewpoints and be willing to use the Steel Man technique.  And you have to become ferociously mindful of the upstream you allow to feed your brain. Now more than any time in human history it is vital that you don’t allow others to manipulate your thoughts.  You must develop the self-awareness to rise above yourself and mindfully think about what you think about.  You must become the thinker of the thought, not the conduit for it.

On the podcast this week I shared something simple, but I think is one of the most overlooked aspects of living a prosperous life.

Your Secret Weapon for Prosperity

Apple: http://ow.ly/BxRe50MswrO

Spotify: http://ow.ly/IR1o50MswrP

Anchor: http://ow.ly/9cjs50MswrM

YouTube: http://ow.ly/Bszy50MswrQ

Peace,

- RG

P.S. If you’re not changing your mind frequently, you’re not really using it.

Previous Post: Take the Shot!

Wallowing in Gratitude

Thoughts held in mind, produce in kind. 

And since we know that what we attract what we most think about, we also know that giving thanks produces yet more to be thankful for.  It creates a vicious cycle of prosperity and abundance.  Here in the United States of America, today is the Thanksgiving holiday.  It’s a day we’ve set aside every year since the Pilgrims came over, to celebrate and give thanks for the blessings in our life.

Yet holidays can be a sad time for many.  If you are one of them, please accept this post as a digital hug from me, with wishes that the day lands gently for you. Personally, the number of family members I have to celebrate with is getting smaller as time unfurls.  I discovered my father is dead, and although I never met him, it was a very weird, melancholy feeling to learn the news.  I no longer have a grandmother or grandfather left to call, and my nieces and nephews aren’t popping out enough babies yet to fill the gap.  I’ve buried too many people dear to me, way too early.  As probably have you.

But Thanksgiving is not a day to focus on what we don’t have.  (No day really is.)  It’s a day to be grateful for what we have. 

We can take a moment and remember those that are no longer with us.  But instead of sadness for the loss, let’s remember the magic of the moments we had with them, and honor them by living today, bold, out loud, and in living color.  I hope you’ll choose to celebrate this holiday (whether it’s Thanksgiving where you live, or simply another amazing Thursday) as the day it and every day was meant to be: wallowing in gratitude.

Right now, I’m wallowing in gratitude for:

That’s just a brief taste of what I’m wallowing in gratitude for today.  Which begs the question…

What are you wallowing in gratitude for today?

Peace,

- RG

Previous Post: IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: FTX, Bitcoin, ETH, and Crypto

 

Opportunities for Prosperity

(“Friday Filosophy” 7/01/2022)

Happy Freakin’ Friday!

It’s time again for my weekly missive to you with the subject that I’m thinking about – and believe you might want to think about as well.  By the time you’re reading this, I’ll be in Oslo, Norway, immersed in conducting some workshops.  But most of this week’s postcard was written in the British Airways lounge in London, during the layover from hell.  Which had me thinking, about all the prosperity opportunities we have in front of us right now in this turbulent, crazy world…

A possible pilot strike forced me to change carriers at the last minute.  Airlines have slashed flights, planes are packed, and fares are jacked up. I ended up swapping my $9K ticket for one on BA that was just under $17K – with an 8-hour layover in London.  I booked it because:

  1. It was the only option to still get to my first event on time.
  2. The BA first class lounge offers showers, spa, sleeping loungers, and a full-service restaurant. The plan was to shower, catch a nap, eat something healthy and arrive in Oslo refreshed.

I landed only to discover that lounge no longer has any of those things.  There isn’t anyone working at the service counter any longer.  And it’s possible that the furniture may have been purchased from my deceased grandmother’s estate sale. Not the biggest sample size, but I’ve taken at least 20 flights on BA in my life.  Yet the last one I can remember ever leaving the gate on time was the Concorde, and that was 2003.  (My ongoing flight to Oslo was delayed four or five times, and I finally arrived at my hotel at 3 am, having to conduct an all-day  seminar in the morning.  The glamorous life of a professional speaker.)  To be fair, BA is certainly not alone in having a reputation of logistic incompetence and ineptness.  The vast majority of carriers today qualify as flying slums.  But what a prosperity opportunity there is to disrupt and remake the airline industry.

The new Heathrow has always been a terrible user experience to transfer planes. But this time the lines were so long that a helpful employee suggested that I simply exit via customs and reenter the airport from the street.  Doing that saved me an hour – which still meant it took two and a half hours to clear security – and that was with first class concierge service and the “Fast Track” line.  No idea how many people missed their connections that day, but it must have been in the thousands.  And once again, we can’t just single out Heathrow.  You have to wonder if the people who design and manage airports have ever used one as a passenger. What an incredible prosperity opportunity there is to disrupt the airport experience.

I recently received an email pitch from “the official pest control provider of the San Diego Padres.”  Seriously?  How can my favorite sports team think that my loyalty to them can be whored out in this way?  Digital advertising has certainly disrupted the ad space, but how many of us believe it’s been in a positive way? GaryVee once said marketers fuck up everything.  And if you don’t believe him, he just proved it by launching Accountable Anteater Gummies/NFTs.  (Love you dude, but you’re fucking kidding me, right?) There are amazing prosperity opportunities available in that industry.

There isn’t a single cryptocurrency actually working as a currency yet.  There are now hundreds of worthless shitcoins being promoted by Ponzi and pyramid schemes.  In my mind, somewhere between 99.7 and 100 percent of the NFTs being offered today will wind up being worthless.  They’re essentially a stupid tax on day traders.  But once again, the prosperity potential of what NFT technology could offer us is breathtaking.

The advances we’ve made in nutrition, wellness, and longevity are spectacular.  Yet we’ve become the most overfed but malnourished society in human history.  The reason Tostitos Hint of Lime tortilla chips taste better than carrots is because they are genetically engineered to.  When is someone going to reinvent food so that the things that provide nutrients, give us energy, and keep us alive –  taste better than the options that leech nutrients, give us diseases, and kill us?

In 2021 I thought the hidden benefit of the Covid-19 pandemic was forcing the world to innovate in many areas, with advances in e-commerce, live streaming, and remote work.  Lately it just seems like Covid is the “go to” excuse for businesses to slash expectations, service, and payroll.  Now in 2022 when you try to order in a drive through, buy a car, find a clean bathroom, get something fixed, or schedule an appointment for anything – it feels like we’re sliding backward, not forward.

We can do better.  But we’re not going to do better waiting for government programs, resolutions, or bailouts.  We need entrepreneurs, visionaries, and dreamers now more than ever. It’s time to stop using Covid, the economy, and other problems as excuses to do less, but as catalysts to do better.  The prosperity opportunities available to us right now are breathtaking.  It’s time to create the next generation of disruption, innovation, and breakthroughs.  You up for that?

New on the podcast: Experience the Divine

Apple: http://ow.ly/sTLr50JM3mL

Spotify: http://ow.ly/5R2z50JJtU2

Anchor: http://ow.ly/u07r50JJtU1

Other platforms: http://ow.ly/zou950JJtU0

Thought of the Day: Your dominant thoughts determine your destiny. When your vision is clear and compelling enough, you bend the universe to your will.

Peace,

- RG

P.S. Want to Kill Off the Old You and Create a New Life? Check out Radical Rebirth.

Losing My Religion for Bitcoin

[Editor’s Note: For the sake of transparency, before you read or re-read this post – you should know that on November 19, 2022, I sold all cryptocurrencies in my portfolio, and am no longer confident they are viable in the long-term.  Would prefer to announce this with my reasoning behind the decision, but since I expect to be resoundingly criticized, trolled, and ridiculed, I’d rather take my time explaining the logic and that could be a week or two until it’s ready.  There is much pumping and dumping going on in the space and that’s not my agenda.  So I’m putting this disclaimer out on November 22nd, and will insert a link when I have finished authored the essay listing the rationale.]

Let’s take a quick snapshot of the planet right now: The Covid-19 pandemic is still roiling the world, inflation is running rampant, and the cumulative value of global stocks has declined by $25 trillion dollars this year. (And we’re not even finished with June.)  Investment and retirement portfolios have been shredded.  Millions of people have lost jobs and many of those jobs are not coming back.  (Pretty much exactly what I predicted one year ago.)

Tragically, I believe the real wave of layoffs, true economic fallout, and collateral societal damages are just about to start….  

Recently I did an essay on the opportunities in chaos.  In the post, I shared that my confidence in cryptocurrencies and NFTs was declining rapidly and I was pulling back from the digital space and promised to write a follow up post explaining my rational.  This essay is it.

IMPORTANT NOTE: I am not a banker, investment advisor, or financial planner.  This post is not meant to provide investment advice.  It’s designed to look at cryptocurrencies and NFTs from the perspective of how they comply with the principles of prosperity – or don’t.

Thus far, cryptocurrencies have shown little substantial progress to achieving the benefits they promised.  The allure of cryptos were:

We’re 13 years in now, how we doing on all that?

We’ve been inundated with dozens of digital coins and tokens.  Theoretically coins have their own blockchain and tokens don’t, but most people speculating on them right now have no idea of the distinction.  In addition to Bitcoin and ETH, we’ve got a Cheesecake Factory-size menu of shitcoins.   Let’s breakdown the four benefit categories above and evaluate how they have delivered:

A pure peer-to-peer version of electronic cash that would allow payments to be sent without involving a financial institution, reducing the risk for fraud.

Ah…no.

The bottom line (for now) is that cryptocurrencies haven’t become viable cryptocurrencies.  They’ve just reproduced like rabbits, offering dozens of coins and tokens claiming to be currencies.  Exactly zero of them have become accepted currencies.  Real people are not using them to buy real things.  (Note: Horny drunks paying 100k in Bitcoin for bottle service at Club E11EVEN does not meet this criterion.)

For all practical purposes, we’ve just opened a new marketplace bazaar for gambling and trading.  But instead of offering Persian rugs, these markets buy, sell, and trade digital currencies. (Or NFTs.) If you don’t like the bazaar analogy, think of the current crypto space as a currency-only version of the stock market, or even Las Vegas casinos. There is lots of speculation going on, fortunes are being made, and fortunes are being lost, but no one is actually using cryptocurrencies as, you know, cryptocurrencies.

At the moment, cryptocurrencies are the equivalent of a risky, high flying tech stock, but without any underlying product or service, and virtually no regulation. Most blockchain and crypto-related technologies are still in the experimental stages and vulnerable to becoming compromised.  The number of hacked wallets, exit scams, and fraudulent coin/token launches happening in the space is astonishing.  And how much market manipulation is being done by the insiders and whales in the space will never be known.

Cryptos have eliminated the “financial institutions,” but those central banks have for the most part been replaced with exchanges, farming, and storage operations.  Unfortunately, many are run by well-meaning but incompetent people, and others are controlled by outright criminals, intent on exploiting you.  The amount of fraud taking place is astounding.

The promise of a peer-to-peer transaction without the middleman hasn’t materialized.  Instead, we’ve just changed the nature of the middleman, and not necessarily for the better.  At the time I’m typing these words, there are a lot of people with a lot of money in the hands of these alternative institutions – and they’re very nervous. And with the financial meltdown happening, expect to see a lot more of these sketchy deals getting exposed.

They would offer a system for non-reversable electronic transactions that doesn’t rely on trust:

See answer above.

I would add that this promise of not having to rely on trust is really supposed to be the superpower for all cryptos, and blockchains was supposed to ensure that.  If we’re being lucid, we have to admit that what’s going on in the crypto and NFT space today forces us to need more trust not less.

There are now hundreds of worthless shitcoins being promoted by Ponzi and pyramid schemes. These scams use the publicity and interest about cryptocurrencies, to prey on the multitudes who aren’t that cognizant of developing technologies – and lead them to believe they are investing in the next Amazon, Yahoo or Twitter.

There are no cryptocurrencies that meet the criteria to be a product for a legitimate direct selling company. ZERO.

To start a network marketing company and build the product line around a cryptocurrency, is simply a laughable idea. It would be like starting an MLM company and announcing that the product line was the U.S. dollar or the Japanese Yen. What would be the business model?

“Buy this $20 bill for $27 and maybe next year it is worth $30.”

Whether we use the dollar, euro, yen, peso, bitcoin, or any cryptocurrency - none of them are a value producing asset. They are simply a form of exchange, or a trading play. You can bet they go up, or bet they go down.  These pyramid schemes masquerading as multi-level marketing models are the perfect example of the “greater fool theory.”  At this point, anyone who participates in a cryptocurrency MLM is a fool, criminal, or both.

Ability to conduct transactions without government spying taxation, and seizures:

You’re kidding me, right?

We must begin by accepting that the privacy ideal has been slippery at best.  The transparency of the blockchain is a double-edged sword.  As a result, protection from government spying and seizures has been a huge disappointment in my view.  (Which was probably quite naive.)

What the Bitcoin maximalists view as progress (encouraging words from central bankers, governments developing crypto regulations, El Salvador accepting BTC as official currency, blah, blah, blah...) are actually the opposite of what needs to take place for Bitcoin to become viable.  Cryptos seeking validation from governments is like a bunch of mice working together to build their own cat.

The only reason governments show any pretense of supporting or accepting cryptocurrencies is so they can manipulate, control, and tax them.  Or learn enough about how they work so they can create their own versions to usurp them. 

If we ever are able to reach a state where a cryptocurrency gains worldwide acceptance, I believe it will be outside the reach of government, independent of all fiat currencies. If government have any participation in a cryptocurrency, they will eventually resort to currency manipulation, devaluation, monitoring and taxing your transactions. (Or seizing your assets.)   That’s just what governments do.

Not only is it more fun to be a pirate than join the navy – but in the crypto space – it’s the only way you’re going to survive the high seas.

Special note to everyone with laser eyes in their Twitter profile that responded with breathless sensationalism when El Salvadorian president Nayib Bukele declared Bitcoin as legal tender there: The man prides himself on making dictators cool again FFS. (#ProTip People who use the title “His Excellency” before their name are not generally known as advocates for the common folk.) Talk to real people who live in El Salvador, and you’ll discover what a corrupt, abject failure the acceptance program there has actually turned out to be.  And if you believe there’s going to be a magic Bitcoin city on the volcano, I have some oceanfront property in Wisconsin I want to sell you.

Cryptos would serve as a hedge against inflation and the worthless “printing press money” that governments produce:

This is one of those ideas that sounds good, looks good, and looks good on paper, but hasn’t actually worked in the real world.  As the current financial situation has demonstrated, none of these cryptocurrencies have served as a store of value that have shown stability against collapsing fiat currencies, and the general financial meltdown.  They’ve pretty much mirrored the violent up and down swings exactly.  We were promised that stable coins pegged to traditional currencies were a safer option, but the Luna shit show (imploding from a $34 billion market cap to worthless in about a week), certainly detonated that fantasy.  Terra is probably the biggest blockchain failure yet and the ripple effects are going to be felt for a long time.

This is not to say that a cryptocurrency will never become a hedge against fiat currency.  I believe it’s highly likely that one will ultimately serve as a true store of value and be divorced from stock market and fiat currency instabilities.  But don’t be foolish by thinking Bitcoin or any other crypto has achieved this position yet.

What about NFTs?

Glad you asked.  We would be remiss if we didn’t also discuss the current state of the marketplace for NFTs.  Billions of dollars are being invested in NFT projects right now.  Celebrities and influences, companies and sporting leagues are falling all over themselves seeking partners who can help them exploit their fame and credibility for a fast cash windfall by creating NFTs as collectables.  They’ve collectively raked in billions of dollars from gullible followers.  But the loss they ultimately take to their credibility will dog them forever.

Just how depraved has it become?

Anna Sorokin, who you probably know from the Netflix series that showed how she scammed hundreds of thousands of dollars from friends and businesses posing as a German heiress, announced she’s now launching a collection of NFTs.  Sorokin said in the announcement, “I’m trying to move away from this like, quote unquote scammer persona.”  Of course, the statement was released from the Orange County Correctional Facility in upstate New York where she is currently in custody.  FFS!

There is simply too much worthless shit being hyped as collectables and fine art in the NFT space. In my mind, somewhere between 99.7 and 100 percent of the NFTs being offered today will wind up being worthless.  They’re a stupid tax on day traders. Las Vegas has much better odds right now.

So where does all this take us?  Well, if you’re up for it, let’s conduct a fun little thought experiment.  Let me propose a thesis for the ultimate cryptocurrency.  A concept so bold, innovative, and brilliant that you’re going to wonder how you never thought of it yourself!

ANNOUNCING:

The launch of SemenCoin

Satoshi Nakamoto’s vision of electronic cash and programmable money with contracts will finally become realized with the launch of SemenCoin. Unlike other cryptos, SemenCoin will also be represented in the physical world by physical token verified by a chain-around-my-block.  This is a literal chain linking together the physical versions of the 21 million SemenCoins I am authorizing to be mined, which is being built surrounding the block my condo is located on.

Here’s how it works…

In order to be registered as a SemenCoin miner, individuals must follow me on Twitter.  That gives them the right to mine SemenCoins.  The actual mining is accomplished by the following process: The raw material for the tokens consists of two elements.

Element one is the clay used for the pitching mounds in major league baseball stadiums.  This can only be acquired from the DuraEdge Products Soil Farm in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania.  It must then be mixed with my personal ejaculate.  (Because my semen can be verified by DNA testing, providing proof of stake, finite inventory, and authenticity.)  These two elements are mixed in the required ratio to create a mud mixture, which is then poured in an official plastic SemenCoin mold and microwaved on the “high” setting for exactly four minutes and twenty seconds, in the microwave located in the in-store dining section at the Whole Foods Market location at 12150 Biscayne Boulevard, North Miami, FL 33181.  (Providing transparency in the mining process that other cryptos can’t even touch.)

Following microwaving, the mixture solidifies into solid coin form and is assigned a number.  Each coin is then added to the chain-around-the-block surrounding my condo.  The dimensions of the coin have been designed so it takes exactly 21 million of them to create this chain-around-my-block. Once a coin is attached to this physical chain, the number is listed on my blog, forming a record that cannot be changed without redoing the proof-of-work.  Because the average man is only capable of thinking about sex and masturbating ten thousand times a day, this means the hard cap of supply of 21 million tokens will be reached in approximately 2,100 days. This creates a runway to build acceptance and pace demand.  At that point, I will undergo gender reassignment surgery and the number of coins in circulation will remain fixed at that level permanently.  Miners will still be rewarded, but only through transaction fees, and not from newly minted coins.

Unlike Bitcoin, which can only be verified by very clever computer programmers, SemenCoin can be verified by any mouth breather with a day trading account.  That’s because this new coin is verified in both the digital plane (my blog) and physical plane (the chain-around-my-block).  That makes SemenCoin far safer and superior to those other so-called legitimate cryptocurrencies.

But wait, there’s more…

You’ve heard all the hype about non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and probably wondered how you can cash in on this exploding marketplace.  Now with SemenCoin, you don’t have to choose between a token for buying/selling or a collectable one!  That’s because the SemenCoin token is a new class of coin securities known as a Bi-Sensory, or B.S. for short.  That’s because each physical coin comes with a free digital collectable from the Amorous Aardvark Motorcycle Club collection.  Each is an original cocktail napkin sketch done by yours truly, digitized for posterity.

Because of its decentralized nature, SemenCoin doesn’t follow the monetary policy of governments, and it’s not backed by any underlying asset or government.  If you are skeptical and cannot see the obvious value offered by the SemenCoin opportunity, it may be because you:

Back to Reality…

Okay now that I’ve had my demented fun, I’d like to challenge you to turn off your laser eyes, divorce from your emotions, and override your confirmation biases for a moment to consider the following possibilities...

What makes a Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT any more valuable than my Amorous Aardvark Motorcycle Club works of art?  How much of the value of NFTs in general is dependent on internet hype, rah-rah, whale manipulation, or fraud?

True prosperity is created by solving problems, adding value, and envisioning superior possibilities.  Obviously, it’s challenging to quantify how my imaginary cryptocurrency meets that criteria.  But ask yourself what makes Dogecoin, Samoyed Coin, and Magic Internet Money any more feasible.

There are a lot of smart people who believe the cryptocurrency concept can’t fail.  There were also a lot of smart people who thought WeWork was a tech company.  In 1999, the smart people at Excite turned down the chance to buy Google for $750,000.  Who’s smarter than rocket scientists? Yet NASA lost a $125 million Mars orbiter because they used metric measurements while Lockheed was using English ones.  Smart people are wrong all the time.

There is a prevalent mind virus in the Bitcoin cult that BTC will always go up, each time it drops it’s at a higher floor, and it would be impossible for it to fail completely.   Admittedly, Bitcoin is operating on a higher level than the legions of shitcoins that followed them.  But it is not bulletproof.  It could become worthless in the right (wrong) scenario.

That’s because all forms of money, physical or digital, are mind viruses.  We all agree on the concept of a currency because it’s a lot more convenient than trading oranges for massages, fish for computer repair, or radishes for the new Beyonce album. But there is no intrinsic value in any currency, whether it’s doubloons, wampum, US dollar, or crypto.

Currencies hold their value only when there is broad-based public acceptance – a shared hypnosis that all willingly agree to. 

The bolivar from Venezuela was perceived as valuable until it wasn’t.  Everyone in that country knows the government will devalue it day after day, so no one believes in it as a viable currency any longer.  This process has been happened for all currencies since the very first one.  Perhaps blockchain technology breaks this cycle, perhaps it doesn’t.

You may want to bookmark this next sentence, so you can come back and mock me in ten years.  At this point, I’m becoming extremely doubtful that Bitcoin is going to end up as the global mass adoption cryptocurrency.  (Mainly because of what I said earlier about how a truly viable cryptocurrency, one that becomes accepted for use as a cryptocurrency and not a gambling or investment play, has to be divorced from any government or other currency.)  I’m not even certain that any cryptocurrency will ultimately become a globally accepted store of value.  Remember that currencies of every kind only work if everyone drinks the Kool-Aid.  I could easily write another essay of this same length arguing that Bitcoin only works as a mass hypnosis anomaly, and there is no there there.  For Bitcoin to work, there has to be mass consensus that is it’s a store of value, readily exchangeable, safe, hedges against fiat currency collapses, protects against inflation – and – is a new monetary system, “digital gold,” and “the future of money.”  That’s a pretty big ask, and it isn’t looking too good at the moment. One massive hacking incident or some type of electromagnetic pulse attack could be enough to send the masses shrieking toward the exits forever.  Really.

More food for thought: The Mt. Gox hack in 2014 stole seven percent of all outstanding Bitcoin at the time.  The Terra debacle evaporated about three percent of crypto’s total market cap.  Has there ever been a theft or similar fiat currency fraud that has consequences even remotely as severe?

More, more food for thought: Imagine this scenario. You want to buy a used car.  You find a vehicle you like, and they agree to sell it to you for $12,000 cash.  You have that much in your bank account because you’ve been saving up for this.  You stop by the branch office to pick up the money and find the door locked with a sign that says:

“Due to extreme market conditions, today we are announcing that we pausing all withdrawals, Swap, and transfers between accounts.  We are taking this action today to put the bank in a better position to honor, over time, its withdrawal obligations.”

You’d probably be apoplectic. You'd send out a mean tweet, which would go viral and start a run on the bank.  Eyewitness News would show up to interview you.  The FDIC would race over with men in blue windbreakers and guns who would take possession of the bank.  Yet this exact scenario happened in the crypto space last week and people are powerless to do anything about it.  (Again).  They cannot withdraw their own money and may lose some, most, or all of it.  How many keyboard warriors with trading accounts who are gambling with their rent and grocery money, really understand how unprotected they are?

For obvious reasons, these days I keep my finances extremely private.  But since I’m making these posits about the space, it’s only fair to be transparent about my own actions in this arena. And reminder, this isn’t investment advice, just sharing my thoughts and what I’m doing personally.  I own a few (less than ten) Bitcoin and ETH tokens.  I own zero of any other type of shitcoins and zero EFTs.  I believe the best investments in my portfolio are, in order:

Good idea to add the following caveats: As you can see, Bitcoin is literally the last item on my list.  The amount of money I have in digital assets would not impact my daily lifestyle or threaten my retirement security if it all evaporated tomorrow.  Also, remember that the horizon in front of me is closer than the one behind me.  At this stage of my life, it’s more about preserving wealth, than growing it.  My priority mix was much different when I was 30, 50, etc., and yours should be too.

If we’re being sane and rational, we must admit that NFTs and cryptocurrencies simply have not delivered on the promises they offered.  That doesn’t mean they never will.  It’s entirely conceivable they will. The current economic meltdown and the ways in which governments are reacting to it demonstrate beyond any doubt the value a true, decentralized digital currency could offer.  The blockchain may be the greatest development of the last century and it will add value in millions of applications.  Tokenization allows latent values to be trackable and tradable.  The smart contract technology that NFTs bring will be a game changer in many different applications.

Savvy investors, VCs, and visionaries understand that you should never judge a new technology or development in its early stages.  Version 1.0 of anything is always a hot mess. They’re usually janky with a lot of friction at first.  You have to imagine how they will perform at scale once the bugs are weeded out.  The blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and smart contracts hold absolutely mind-boggling potential.  Just don’t conflate potential with reality…

If you’re Bobby Axelrod with a multibillion-dollar hedge fund, or simply an experienced, savvy investor with money to play with, the crypto space offers some exciting potential to make a killing.  But I’m not writing this for you.  This essay is for people who aren’t professional gamblers who want to manifest a prosperous life.  My advice for you is please don’t attempt to use crypto or NFTs as your primary source of income right now. Don’t count on them heavily for your retirement just yet. (My suggestion: definitely not more than 20 percent of your nest egg.)

Buying a few Bitcoin or ETH right now – if you have the disposable income – is like placing a bet in Vegas that the Kansas City Royals are going to win the World Series this year.  It a great asymmetrical bet that could end up paying off huge, and whatever happens, it will be a fun ride.  But if you don’t have the disposable income right now, there are more prudent uses for your money. If you’re investing in crypto on a larger scale, it should be because you’re working to create legacy security for your children or grandchildren.

Keep your eyes on the horizon. We’re attempting to build a financial utopia of sorts.  It will take decades, not years.  Don’t lose sight of the principles of prosperity. If you desire to get in on all these things, do it not as a day trader hopped up on Red Bull, but as a critical thinker looking at the big picture for the long-term.

Back away from the laser eyes crack pipe and evaluate things from a prosperity perspective: Are they adding value, solving problems, and/or envisioning superior possibilities?  Only then should you be clicking the “BUY” button.

Peace,

- RG

Previous post: Avoid Calcified Thinking

“Friday Filosophy” 5/20/2022 (Seeking Personal Growth)

Happy Freakin’ Friday!

(Note: By request, we're posting my "Friday Filosophy" email newsletter here on the blog each week.)

It’s time again for my weekly chat with you with the subject that I’m thinking about – and believe you might want to think about as well.  Today that subject is personal growth.

It seems for most people, the biggest impediment to self-development is their aversion to change.  Humans really fear change.  At some point it comes down to either you hating change so much you live a life of mediocrity, or you hate mediocrity enough to change.  My goal is to be a little better person every single day.  Every single one.  Doesn’t have to be monumental and earth-shattering improvement.  (Although it’s great if it is.)  But it means I want to be at least just a little better off, a little farther along the journey by the time I go to bed at night. This might mean I gained some knowledge from a book I read, worked out and am in a little better physical shape, or learned a lesson from a mistake I made.  (Or even better, a mistake someone else made.)  It could be that I developed a loving relationship deeper or forgave someone I had been holding a grudge against.

Growth can manifest itself in a massive number of different ways, but they all involve change.  And your willingness to seek out and embrace change.  How are you doing on that?

New on the Blog: Please. Be Weird. https://randygage.com/be-weird/

Two New Shows on the Podcast: 

Cosmic Habit Force  Apple: http://ow.ly/CaSv50Jagkh Spotify: http://ow.ly/R8qL50Jagkk Anchor: http://ow.ly/pKqs50Jagkj YouTube: http://ow.ly/bJ1h50Jagki Other platforms: http://ow.ly/wbae50Jagkl

And Episode #500: Changing Your Default Setting to Prosperity  Apple: http://ow.ly/Jebp50JcpIm    Spotify: http://ow.ly/zYwa50JcpIk

Anchor: http://ow.ly/60A950JcpIl   YouTube: http://ow.ly/bI0350JcpIj  Other Platforms: http://ow.ly/fQF150JcpIi

Here’s your Back in the Day Replay for this week:  Piss Someone Off

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FpgKEzrH4bI&list=PLDkgx22I7x8XVXlacx-NDa0jcsikEn9lx&index=7&t=6s

Thought of the Day: You can't stop transformation; it's a continuous, incremental process.  You must mindfully choose the forward direction or entropy will force you in the backward direction.

Peace,

- RG

P.S. The 2022 Speaker School is coming up fast!  If you want to learn how to make more compelling presentations and speeches, it’s the best place for you.  https://randygage.com/speaker-school/

Previous post: Be Weird...

Kill Your Poverty Consciousness

How You Build Wealth, Part 3 of 2 🤣

You didn’t really think I was going to be content with publishing part one and part two in the How You Build Wealth series, and not dig into the 800-pound gorilla in the room, did you?  Of course, I’m talking about poverty consciousness, and how your beliefs about money and wealth can impact, alter, or even sabotage everything you do in terms of developing your net worth.  Let’s begin with a foundational premise…

Your net worth will never outrun your self-worth. 

BOOM! Thanks for attending my TED talk. Kidding aside, there is much truth and insight into that statement above.  Because the primary driver of self-sabotage behavior is worthiness issues.  You don’t manifest the prosperity you deserve; you manifest the prosperity you believe you deserve.  This isn’t some sketchy woo-woo philosophy.  Your subconscious mind actually regulates as a flow valve to expand or restrict the level of prosperity you accept for yourself.  (Which is why I suggested in the earlier post you grab my upcoming Radical Rebirth book.  You can’t be treated for prosperity; there’s no medicine, operation or vaccination available for that.  You manifest prosperity by being willing to receive it. 

The original two posts generated a lot of comments, DMs, and social media talk, a lot of which revealed some deep-seated anti-money bias, or other forms of poverty consciousness.  Let’s double-click on a few of them, in the hopes the process unlocks your willingness to receive more prosperity in your life. 

Someone said, “Was it the attitude ‘I can always make more’ or just DFM behavior?

When you wrote you had 200 watches at one point…I was like, wtf, not unless you were planning on opening a watch shop, wtf were you thinking? I'll defend to the death your right to buy as many as you like, but when does it get just stupid?” 

For sure, some of what was driving my behavior was the belief, “I can always make more.”  That belief can be a double-edged sword. It can lead you to foolish, wasteful conduct.  And there are other aspects of that belief that were really helpful in blowing up my poverty consciousness.  One on those was the idea that I could spend what would have been a ridiculous, life-changing sum of money in my past, for a whimsical purchase. (And do so without jeopardizing my financial security.) Ex: $10,000 for a pair of shoes or $35,000 for an airplane flight. 

If you’ve ever had to pay for your groceries in food stamps as I once did, there’s an intoxicating thrill in making purchases like this.  If I did this all the time, I’d probably be back to food stamps pretty quickly.  But the occasional well-timed extravagance can blow up some limiting beliefs with an amazing level of effectiveness.   The goal is to stop every fucking decision you make from coming down to a ‘you could take that (X amount of money) you spent on that and do (some sensible or noble action) with it’ equation.  For example: “You spent $1,500 on that dress!  Do you have any idea how many starving children in Africa could be saved with that?” 

That line of reasoning will lead you done a path to a place you won’t want to end up in... 

No one ever has to fly first class, get a massage, or book an ocean front suite.  No one ever has to get a pedicure, go to the movies, or get fresh flowers delivered either.  At what point do you draw the line? You can always find a nobler purpose for every creature comfort you purchase.  Here's how that plays out…

You don't have to fly first class to Hawaii, you can save 8K on the ticket and donate that money to charity.  Ok.  You don't have to have an ocean view, if you settle for the panorama of the parking lot, it's $100 a night less, which you can donate to charity. Ok.  Actually, why does it have to be Hawaii?  If you stay home in Cleveland and just visit the museums, you'll save another 5K which you can donate to charity.  Come to think of it, what about if you didn’t take a vacation, and just ask the boss to give you the extra money, and you can donate that to charity? 

People with healthy self-esteem no longer feel obligated to play that game, because following it to its logical conclusion leads to asceticism.  Personally, I don't desire to be an ascetic.  As your esteem and prosperity consciousness develop, you begin to understand which areas in your life mean the most to you and your happiness, and you’re willing to splurge on yourself in those areas.  For me it was exotic cars, beautiful homes and fashion items like wristwatches.  If I wrote that I collected comic books, beanie babies, or baseball cards and had 200 of them, no one would have batted an eye.  So why for the watches, if not for that some of them cost $25,000 or $65,000?  That’s an anti-money bias. 

For you, it might be ski trips, collecting stamps, and motorcycles, or it could be spa days, cruises, and climbing mountains.  I learned a long time ago, don’t count other people’s money and don’t let them tell you how to spend yours. 

A lot of comments I received on social media seemed to be rooted in the belief that prosperity is an either/or proposition.  It’s not.  Living a prosperous life does not require choosing between living abundantly or doing charitable work.  You can spend $10,000 on that dream vacation of a lifetime and also support building wells in Africa.  You can buy the $35,000 watch and support the shelter for battered woman.  And you can spend hours perusing your stamp collection and volunteer at the suicide hotline. 

You don’t manifest wealth by taking it from someone else.  True wealth and prosperity are only created by adding value and solving problems – which is another way to say, creating more abundance in the world.

Poverty is not the absence of money and material things – it is a state of consciousness. All poverty is grounded in ignorance.  And to truly cure poverty, we need to raise the prosperity consciousness of everyone on earth.  That was the purpose of the original posts about building your wealth.  If you want to help the poor, disenfranchised, and downtrodden, don’t be one of them.  The way to bring prosperity to the world is to begin with yourself. 

Peace,

- RG