Capitalism is leaving many of us for dead...

Recently I made a good decision, not only one, but one in particular which was to attend a 6 week programme called 'Thrive' run by +Tania Clarke. The Thrive programme written by Rob Kelly enables people to regain their power by focussing on the 3 underlying causes which result in almost all the symptoms of unhelpful thinking styles which exist in society today. Having discussed this at various Link4Growth events and pondered this with regard to the past 30-40 years of capitalistic and social engineering; the result... Some disturbing thoughts about how capitalism is responsible for creating a weakened and highly controllable population...

The 3 underlying causes of why we are powerless as identified by Rob Kelly are low Self Esteem, External Locus of control and Social Anxiety. Capitalism sets us up for failure in the 'majority of cases' and leaves us at the mercy of those who are self serving and ruthless i.e. those who go out to win at all costs, regardless of the destructive nature of their actions.

Let's then take a look at these 3 causes which when acting together along with capitalistic thinking form a downward vortex that is hard to escape from.

External Locus of Control

This is quite simply where we believe that factors external to us are responsible for what happens in our lives. That somehow our future is not ours to control. We are therefore powerless to determine our outcomes. We become apathetic as no matter what we do, it really won't make any difference.

Self Esteem

This is our own internal value that we place on ourselves. Very often this is much less than what others think of us. Self Esteem has us weighing up how we are doing compared to others. This is often manifested in that 'inner voice' which incessantly tells us how rubbish we are and assists us in beating ourselves up as we fail to measure up with those around us.

Social Anxiety

This is summed up as the pressures placed upon us by society to conform and do what those around us are doing. What is normal or expected of us might be in conflict to what we believe and reluctantly 'with anxiety' we fall in line and become another follower. Social Anxiety exists in many situations at home, at work and in social situations. 'significant others' and 'role models' in our lives can play a huge part in how we think, behave and the outcomes we experience.

So how do these 3 combine to serve us so detrimentally in a capitalistic society and what might the effects be?

It all starts with our conditioning at school. We are measured and compared constantly against others. This academic measurement is insidious as it measures such a narrow band of skills and yet exam results are considered by the system as being the most important and significant  measure on whether you will be successful or not.

School is probably responsible for more low self esteem issues than any other factor in our lives. Be it academic or sports performance if we don't cut it at this impressionable and highly formative period in our lives the damage can be both devastating and prolonged. The desire to compete, beat our peers and take those valuable university places is fierce... For those that make it, the prize... Gloating over those that didn't make it... Ego stroking spoils for the winners. Now I'm not saying this is the norm... But the system is about competing and scarcity... The win... Ego, high self esteem... Possible arrogance... Those that didn't make it? ... Failure, not good enough, low self esteem...

Now onto work and the business world... The go getters see the money... They see the possessions... They see the lifestyle and they want it all, life's here to take, what can I get! ... In our capitalistic society external validation of our success through big houses, cars, holidays, look at me! look at what I've got... Which feeds ego! Spiralling debt to feed a 'now culture' and have all the trappings of success whether we can afford it or not... Capitalism feeds our external locus of control... We seek material possessions to measure our success and show off to others how well we are doing, what we 'have' defines us.

But what if we can't keep up? ... Our envy of others with more, who just keep edging ahead of us... We start to see our value declining, we're not as good as those others, they are better than us (lowers our own self worth), bitterness, resentment sets in... This happens to way more people than who are on the materialistic success path. Capitalism has created a whole nation of people craving more success, more of everything, working hard, paying taxes, chasing the rainbow, chasing materialistic happiness... Fuelled with low self esteem... And external locus of control... We have given away our power...

... And finally... Social anxiety... We are conditioned to conform... School, university, good job, partner, house, kids... and so the story continues... Work hard, bring up kids, live a life of repayment and debt... This is the way it is... And if we dare to step away from the norm? ... We're weird... So now we are pressured to follow societies rules, whether we agree or not, struggling to earn more money to pay for things to keep up with the Jones's whilst knowing we're a bit of a failure and don't really deserve better because we weren't the best at school... This is how it is for me... I am powerless to do anything about it... Now the final nail in the coffin... We start to look for reasons, explanations and things or people to blame for where we are, to prove that the belief we have in ourselves of ‘not worthy’ is true, reinforcing our belief and vindicating our thinking of low self esteem... The power just ebbing away from us like a draining narrow boat battery (in joke don’t worry about it)...

Even those that start off victorious in the classroom and with the exams aren't immune... Maybe swift success follows... But failure is waiting in the wings... That huge assignment that goes wrong. The big deal which never came in... The firing, the redundancy... The bubble bursts, I'm not what I thought I was, I'm no longer golden balls... The crash can be huge after the giddy heights of ego and amassed debt to pay for that lavish lifestyle. Depression and serious issues around external locus of control and social anxiety as the dismantling of the materialistic empire takes place very publically. What will my colleagues, friends, family in fact everyone who knows me think... See where all the power is? ... External!

Capitalism, competition, scarcity and blame all work to break down society, our communities, collaborative endeavour, and many of the things that contribute to leading happy, purposeful lives... Not for everyone of course... But as we can see at the moment with the inequality in the world.. The vast majority...

In a few days... The second blog post... How abundance, collaboration, giving not taking and rebuilding community combine with the three underlying causes to positive effect, and creates people with power to take responsibility, take action and live much more fulfilling lives.

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