Ok, ignoring the weird belligerance in the above response (horseshit, evil, yada yada)... All this talk about using lack of privilege as an excuse for doing nothing is kind of annoying. Are people doing that? Ok, yeah, that's lame. But I'm not talking about them. Iím talking about* the guy from the hood who canít get a job better than night-shift clerk at the mini mart. The single mom of 3 working a couple jobs to make ends meet. The kid from the foster system who has trouble staying in school. The religious girl who got pregnant at 18 and married the father out of obligation, both leaving school to work at the local supermarket. The immigrant who spent the last decade surviving on dog food at a refugee camp and suddenly finds himself in the land of opportunity with no education or work experience. And on and on. People like that. Don't tell me the advice is exactly the same. I wonít even mention race since that is such a touchy issue around here. I know MMM canít be Jesus Christ to everyone in every situation. But expanding out a little bit beyond the usual software engineer, farther even than the Ethans of the world would be very interesting and could do a lot of people a lot of good. Itís no use to say Ďjust apply the same principles to those examples on a different scaleí. People donít really listen if the message isnít directed at them. They barely listen when it is. Iím talking about taking Mustachianism to the people who need it most, the poor. Maslowís hierarchy and all that. But maybe mustachianism doesnít work for the poor and disenfranchised? Is that the case? Is it hopeless? Iím actually asking. Because if it is, then one admission of that would suffice. That might put an end to the privilege or no privilege debate for good.
*Actual people Iíve met.
So, what about the advice would be different?
Let's see:Work harder.
How would not working at all, or slacking off, or just putting in a so-so effort help them more?Work Smarter.
FYI, Work Smarter includes the concept of taking stock of your circumstances, strengths and weaknesses. It includes capitalizing on one's strengths (and improving them) and minimizing one's weaknesses (or removing them) in order to improve one's situation. If a strength that one has is qualifying for aid or assistance or needs-based scholarships or earned-income tax credits, then working smarter would include making use of those strengths if no better option existed. It would include thinking out of the box to find something, anything, to give oneself an edge.
So, again, how would failing to collect money and resources one is due, or a better job, or failing to learn skills so one could get a better paying job, or doing things as dumb as possible help them more?Minimize Spending.
How would spending money on things that won't improve their situation help them more? How will spending money on things that will actually make their situation worse help them more? Increase Income.
How would never trying to get more money for the same amount of labor, or never trying to improve one's income with a side gig help them more? Invest Surplus Income.
Well, obviously, until the income and spending issues aren't solved, there won't be any regular surplus. But, if they have a surplus at some point in their life (a windfall or they get their income/spending issues solved), how would failing to invest their money in a sensible way help them more?Be Optimistic
Going back to Ethan's story, do you know what got him that job that started it all off? His attitude. His unwavering determination to do the absolute best job for his employer he could possibly do. The absolute faith that if he did all that he could, given copious amounts of work and some time, make things work out. I have to tell you, when I find someone like that, I do what I can to help them along. They are a treasure to know. And other people I know who have been successful thru following the same principles tend to help them along, too.
So, how would being so pessimistic that they never even try to improve things help them more? How would being so pessimistic that they are a downer to everyone around them help them get a better paying job, better networking prospects, or even a life partner?
As for my "weird belligerence", I don't think it's weird at all. I have suffered thru too many people expounding upon how people can't get ahead today when it's a well demonstrated fact that people can do so. Telling someone they must suffer in poverty because there is no way out while knowing there is a way that can work IS evil. How else would you describe stealing the hope that might have fueled their success? And that includes telling them they are helpless until society comes along and gives them a hand out. That brings out the belligerence in me pretty darned fast.
To believe that they must suffer in poverty because their is no way out in the face of repeated examples of how someone has succeeded is true folly based on horseshit logic.
Now, to be completely fair, it WOULD be better if we did not have structural inequalities in our systems. It would be better if society made the playing field more fair and just. I vote for people who want to do that. And maybe, in some future day, maybe even while the poor persons we are giving advice to today are alive and young enough to benefit from, it will happen. Or maybe things will get worse for the poor. It's not in my control and it's not in their control.
But when I make that point, I make DAMN SURE that I NEVER say they can't get ahead unless we fix the system. FYI - the system will NEVER be completely fair for all people until there is only one human left alive.
In the meantime, I choose to help people help themselves. I choose to offer advice to people who are making poor choices and only help them if they start making better choices. Otherwise I'm wasting my limited time and resources when I could help someone else out instead.
The simple answer is that trying the MMM philosophy in life is often going to be the best (and only!) way for people to succeed. The worse their situation the MORE they need to try it, not less.