A shell game is impossible for you to win. The con man running the game controls the location of the pea–and your money–at all times. A shell game is called a short-con because it’s quick and easy to pull off. Con-games like this are illegal but that doesn’t stop advertisers, politicians, and other unsavory characters from playing them just the same.
The Pea and the Shell
The pea is a fast track to success. The shells are all the promises of fast delivery with little risk or effort. Shells are anything from the promise of quick investment earnings without risk, slim thighs and abs without exercise, and marrying Mr. Right without first becoming Ms. Right.
Why are we so gullible?
For a very long time, clinical psychology operated under the fallacy that happiness was the normal human condition. To restore happiness only required the removal of the happiness obstacles: depression and mental illness. Advertisers and politicians leverage this kind of faulty thinking to sell us their wares; they play to our fear of failure obstacle. We’re offered magical diet pills or magical wrinkle creams, or a magical set of numbers with which to decode the stock market. We’re guaranteed a fast track around the fear and learning curve obstacles that otherwise block us from our birth right: a thin, wrinkle-free, rich, and happy life.
Alas the Truth
We now know that simply removing an obstacle to happiness doesn’t create happiness any more than removing illness creates good health or removing poverty results in wealth. Happiness, good health, and wealth are active endeavors that require full participation. To be optimistic and loving you’ll need to reach out to other people every bit as much as you’ll need to sweat and watch your diet to be energetic, vital, and strong. But it seems so much easier to hope your lack of success is just some silly obstacle that you can pay to have removed.
Something for Nothing
When you play a shell game, you trade your money with something even more valuable: your opportunity to actually have what you want. I learned first-hand how easy it is to believe in the shell game when I lost several thousand dollars on the promise of a short-cut to national exposure for my book and coaching programs. Though it was an expensive lesson, I’m happy it happened because two years ago I wasn’t ready for the responsibility. Slogging through the learning curve is the only way I could have become the person I needed to be in order to sustain the success.
The value in the hard way
The learning curve is a gift not a curse. When your faced with frustration and difficult decisions you are given the opportunity to discover who you really are. When you over come your own obstacles you’ve created success that you can maintain. Remember, it takes 20 years to become an overnight success so anyone selling you the promise of a short-cut has marked you for a short-con.
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