Toxic Myths About Success

Everyone KNOWS the game of Monopoly, right?

About ten years ago, The University of California ran an experiment on wealth and privilege. They rigged a popular board game in favor of one person. They gave these privileged players:

  • 2x more start up money
  • extra dice
  • extra bonus cash each time they went around the board.

They recorded the games to see how the players with advantages treated everyone else. The theory was that the advantaged players might admit their luck and try to help their opponents.

Well, that didn’t happen…

Instead what wound up happening was the players who had the advantage:

  • Got louder
  • Taunted the other players
  • Body language became more exaggerated
  • Started moving other players pieces for them
  • Within minutes, every trace of empathy and respect vanished.
  • Some of these players even started explaining their “strategies for success.”

Sound familiar?

We see this behavior everywhere now. As wealth consolidates among the top 10% of the world’s population, they are getting more and more aggressive towards the rest of us. They’re pushing for laws that strip away that last bit of opportunity we’ve got to act more like them.

At best, this advice is worthless. It had NOTHING to do with their success. At worst, it sets people up for failure, and encourages them to punish themselves for factors beyond their control.

It’s time to debunk. Let’s go.

You have to wake up at 4 or 5 am

The super wealthy & their guru army have been selling this bad advice for years now. It’s time to drive a stake through this advice. Waking up that early works for some people. For others, it won’t.

It can actually hurt.

There’s no science behind the myth that waking up before sunrise makes anyone more likely to succeed. In fact, psychology has found the opposite. The human population falls into different chronotypes and sleep patterns. Some of us are wired to wake up early. Others are wired to stay up late. Some of us reach peak productivity and creativity before lunch. Others hit their stride later. You can force yourself into a dominant chronotype in order to please your bosses – but usually at your expense.

So, let’s be blunt. When Rachel Hollis or someone brags about waking up at 4 am and then tells you to do that, she doesn’t have a clue what she’s talking about. She hasn’t done any research on chronotypes or circadian rhythms. She doesn’t even know what those are.

She’s simply a Monopoly player who started out with extra cash and dice, and now she’s made a fortune off advice she thinks worked for her, because she read it in a pamphlet.

Obviously, she’s not the only one. There’s hundreds of influencers and gurus out there promoting the 4 am myth. It’s worthless advice. You’re better off doing some research and experimenting to discover your chronotype. Do what you can to build a career around it. Advocate for yourself. You might have to conform to other peoples work hours at times, but you don’t have to beat yourself up about it.

You need self discipline or grit to succeed

Psychologists are finding out the ugly truth behind success. It doesn’t have nearly as much to do with hard work as we thought. That is jagged pill to swallow, because it’s hard to keep going if you except that life is entirely rigged and you’re doomed to indentured servitude.

Well, ask yourself:

Are you any better or excepting the lie that if you work hard and don’t fight the system, then eventually you’ll become a millionaire? That’s been the dominant message for half a century now, and poverty is only getting worse. That is worse. Healthcare is worse. We’re sitter and more miserable than ever. Americans work harder and longer than any other developed country. We have almost nothing to show for it.

Environment plays an enormous role in our success.

Some of us can modify our environment to some extent. Once you scape poor inner-city’s and rural towns, your odds skyrocket. Opportunities rain down on you. Not everyone t can escape their surroundings. Some people succumb to them, and it’s not their fault.

It’s not completely hopeless.

We just need to wait up and start speaking the truth: hard work and self discipline pay off when we also possess the right environment and social conditions, and nobody enjoys extreme advantages.

That’s the entire problem lately. A handful of mediocre players hold most of the monopoly money, and they aren’t sharing.

They’re taunting us.

You just have to believe in yourself

The whole notion of “believe in yourself” is a staple of self-improvement culture. It’s a duh statement, And a cosmetic believe held largely by those who grew up in loving, supportive middle class families.

The truth is much more complicated than that.

Social psychology has shown us poverty breeds an insidious self-esteem problem That’s incredibly Difficult to overcome. Kids who grow up in safe neighborhoods with plenty of food are more likely to “Believe in themselves” than students from poor community’s with tired, overworked parents. They’re also more likely to delay gratification. They appear better at problem-solving. They appear more self-reliant.


Turns out, household were tired and overworked parents did irritated at her kids more often. They say “no” more often instead of using phrases like “not now” or “maybe later”. They’re more likely to say hurtful things by accident, and less likely to spend quality time with them. They’re less patient, and actually more likely to just do things for their kids instead of taking the time and energy to coach and encourage them.

It makes a huge difference.

Even worse, studies have also found the teachers attribute kids from Logan come household with lower ability. In other words: if you’re poor, you get stereotyped is dumb. You get treated as dumb, and punishment you start acting the way you’re treated. You stop trying to solve problems yourself. You don’t even asked for help.

You give up.

We learn to believe in ourselves because other people believe in us first. Not everyone in our lives is going to believe in us, but everyone needs a handful of people in their corner rooting for them.

Some people never get that. Their parents trash Their dreams instead of crafting them into something achievable. At inner-city schools, you can get harassed and even beaten up for doing well in school, or carrying your books home to study. What people don’t believe in themselves, they don’t believe in each other. They teach others down. A feedback loop forms, and it doesn’t help when leaders And politicians keep using bad advice from privileged players to justify their conditions.

Believing in yourself isn’t enough. You need tools and resources. You need allies and support. If you have those signs, then don’t hoard them. Share them. Tell someone you believe in them.

Even better, show it.

Everyone can be exceptional

By definition, exceptional means “not like everyone else.” We need exceptional people, and they deserve rewards.

They just don’t deserve everything.

A tiny handful of people can always work their way up from nothing. They were tired, but they also get lucky. There’s no denying it. The problem is that everyone wants to tell the story of their own exceptionalism to justify their wealth and explain away their advantages. They say they’re the exceptional one, but anyone can do what they did. They come up with endless reasons why most people don’t “succeed,” and then they ramble about what they did to get where they are.

Well the monopoly experiment prove that a bunch of bullshit. We don’t need everyone to be exceptional. Turning everyone into a super human isn’t going to solve our problems. Will wind up with the same inequalities as before. Will have a population of homeless people with IQs above 180 who can lift a train, and it still won’t be enough.

Most of the advice floating around out there won’t help anyone succeed. It’s not backed by research or even genuine reflection it’s a bunch of platitudes people used to explain away their bonuses.

The real answer is pretty simple.

We need to level the board game, by supporting laws that make it actually fair for everyone to succeed again. If we don’t, then it won’t be long before nobody can succeed anymore. In the meantime, those who succeeded can try not to be such spoiled winners. We can stop giving lame advice that sets other people up for failure.