“Do it for the Culture,” they yell…and sadly, we as a society listen. We buy the latest shoes, hop on the latest dance crazes, buy designer belts and wallets (that leave our wallets empty.)

They tell us about the get rich quick schemes following their simple process that anyone can do so we can rise above the culture that we are in and join a new, far better culture. Do you see the irony here?

What are they selling us? They SELL us the dream of belonging, of fitting in, after all that’s what people want… to be a part of something. Teams, Clubs, Gangs, Fraternities, Social Clubs, all have one common goal – to help people belong to something greater than themselves.

However, very rarely do we sit back and ask ourselves the hard questions.

1. What is the culture?
2. Who’s driving the culture?
3. Why should I be a part of this one?

So, What is “the Culture?” We never ask that. We want to be a part of “it,” whatever that is. Growing up it was called the “in-crowd,” and you hoped to one day graduate to a new culture called high society. Once that club got full, they started a new culture aimed at fighting high society who was now given another name…“ the establishment.”

The cycle continues, a new name is given to a culture, we’re lead to believe it will change our life to join it and once everyone does, they flip the script and make something else cool. As a society, we jump on every trend and culture because of our fear of missing out, without realizing the culture we desperately want to be a part of is often nothing more than temporary smoke and mirrors.

The culture they sell you is always on the opposite end of where you are. Magazines tell young girls that thick and curvy is in (and sell ads with products to get you that way). Once that becomes the norm, they flip the narrative, and the headlines read (MEN WANT SKINNY: 12 tips and products to help you lose weight and get thin)… they’ll never tell you that you’re perfect how you are, because how would they profit if they did?

Do you ever ask yourself who’s behind the culture and why are they driving it? Before we answer that, let me ask you a question. If you received a business proposal from an anonymous source that merely said, “Pay X amount of dollars, and I’ll make you famous, help you make you a million dollars, and ultimately make you happy,” would you do it? You’d at least want to know who is offering and what their plan was right?

Sadly, that’s what we do when we “do it for the culture.” We give our time, energy, and money to an unknown driver in hopes our life will change. Do you ever stop to think that the people driving the culture have a financial interest in you buying into the culture, keyword “buying in?” We are being SOLD a dream. Even worse, we’re buying it without asking for any return. It’s the equivalent of leaving a signed blank check at the grocery store and just hoping groceries somehow end up in your fridge. Sounds ludicrous right?

The dream is being sold to you to keep you in your current reality by fogging your mind with the allure of what could be to keep you from seeing what is. Every day, I see dozens of Instagram posts that help you “make a million dollar in 3 easy steps,” “become an industry icon in 6 months,” “get rock hard abs with the secret workout formula without changing your diet.”

Many Multi-Level Marketing companies promise you that “you’re getting in at the ground level with so and so who came from so and so and is already making X amount.” This is furthered by the fact they tell you that you’re a business owner (fine print: as long as you continue to pay an exorbitant amount of money monthly for the upkeep of your “personal” website and buy a certain amount of products yourself.) They eat off their people, their culture.

The “dream” is the new drug. It’s addictive, we yearn for it, we’ll do anything to chase the high it gives us, but it doesn’t feel us with any real nutrients for our lives. And it has to stop. You have to stop it.

Am I suggesting we should all walk around and not want to be a part of anything? No. What I am saying is… do your research. Why do you want to be a part of the said culture? Trends die, don’t follow them to be cool, stick with what works for you, and it’ll become cool again, and you’ll be seen as someone on the forefront of it.

Case in point, at an event we held a few weeks ago, I saw several “fashion-forward” teenagers wearing the same outfits we wore growing up. People around me marveled at their sense of style, and I thought to myself, I had that same outfit 20 years ago. Shoe companies re-release the same shoes they already sold us decades ago, the only difference is they charge twice as much now…that’s The ONLY difference. Does that make sense? All the advances in technology and efficiency improvements in creating a shoe and the price goes UP? Why? You aren’t paying for the shoe; you’re paying for “the culture.”

I’m not saying don’t spend money on things you like, or not to spend money on courses or education (great programs are the best thing you can buy), or not to join a network marketing company if you support it, but what I’m saying is this… make sure you’re getting something out of it. Something real. Don’t chase “void fillers,” which is anything you spend money on to help crowdsource your self-esteem by hoping others will validate you because of your purpose.

Spend money on growth. Spend time with people who push you to be your best but will also be there for you at your worst. “The Culture” will always be there for you when you’re winning, but when you lose, or you don’t have the latest and greatest “thing,” the culture won’t be there for you.

Doing your best to always remain in the in-crowd ensures that you become a lifelong member of the “I work for free to make others rich while never advancing in my own life” club which goes by another name… “The culture.”

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