Last week I watched a video on Facebook that brought out strong reactions from viewers. It showed a man holding a scratcher lottery ticket that was worth $500. The video consists of him walking up to four people individually – so there are four clips made into one video. Two of the interactions occurred in seemingly affluent locations and with men who were well dressed. The other two took place in parking lots with first a homeless man and then a homeless woman.
He told each person that he was blind and that his mom sent him a $500 winning scratcher ticket. He then asked if they could please verify this before he tried to cash it out in the nearby store. Can you guess what happened? It showed the first guy look around, grab the ticket and take off at a sprint. Then it showed the second seemingly affluent man lie, saying it was worthless, and that he’d dispose of it as a courtesy. In contrast, both of the homeless people confirmed the ticket was a winner and genuinely congratulated him on his luck.
Firstly, I love that the homeless people were honest and showed that even when you have nothing you can be generous in spirit and celebrate another person’s good fortune. It was beautiful to watch. That said, the reason I am writing about this video is because it was edited to make that point, but when I read the comments below the video it became clear that a very different message was taken away by the majority of viewers.
Here are a few examples of what people said:
- Sick of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer…
- The rich are only concerned with themselves…. shame on the rich folk.
- The poor people are always the most honest ones. The well and rich are always the most greedy!
- Because rich people are very greedy, they never get enough of anything. They also don’t know what hardship feels like!
- Now you know how rich people get rich…by ripping off everybody.
I was saddened to see this sentiment repeated so many times. For my part, I commented that “This video was edited to make a point. Money doesn’t make people bad nor does it only go to greedy/bad people. Having money just makes your true character more visible.”
I want to discuss this further because I suspect that many of the commenters secretly want to be rich. Why wouldn’t they? Money offers the ability to live life on your terms because, like it or not, we live in a money based society. However, their feelings regarding “the rich” could keep them from becoming wealthy themselves because they have conflicting beliefs.
If they want to become rich, they would have to ask themselves if that means they also have to become greedy, dishonest and only care about themselves. Or in other words, if they believe they are not greedy, dishonest nor do they care only for themselves, which is opposite of how they characterize rich people, can they truly believe that they may become rich? It’s a contradictory situation. Can you be two conflicting beliefs at once? Can you be honest, generous, caring and rich when you believe that rich people are dishonest, greedy and selfish?
I would say that you cannot. You have been snared by what is called a limiting belief. There is a lot of great information on the internet regarding the idea of limiting beliefs. If this idea intrigues you, please search the topic. Ultimately, you should try to understand how your beliefs affect what you see in the world and whether they are holding you back from the life you want.
By the way, this idea that limiting beliefs can sabotage your desires could apply to any scenario. For instance, I struggle with my weight. I have deep rooted beliefs about what it means to be overweight. My mom was overweight and she was loving, nurturing and caring and somewhere along the way I started to believe that a softer body equated to a softer soul and manner of being. Add to that my beliefs that carrying extra weight makes me more approachable by other women and less likely to receive unwanted male attention. It’s really no wonder that I’ve lost and gained the same twenty (er, maybe 30) pounds several times since high school. I am working through these beliefs because until I get to the bottom of my them and rewrite them, I will continue to yo-yo diet. Which is not what I want for me nor my family. I would much rather have a healthy and fit lifestyle so that I can grow old and eventually meet my kids’ kids.
So how will I go about changing these beliefs? It’s the simplest and hardest thing at the same time. I have to change my mind and accept it as true. Here is how I plan to tackle this. I will reflect on all the stories I’ve used to convince myself why being overweight is “good” for me. Then I will throw them away. Lastly, I’ll choose new stories on why being slender and fit is great for me and I’ll change my inner monologue to align with this.