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Participation Trophy Mentality


So, #whathadhappenedwas, I wanted you guys to Join the Crawl Before You Ball Revolution and over four hundred of you did… well, almost.  Folks happily signed up, paid the $1 fee, incented others to join and then nothing else happened.  Only a few people completed their budget planners and fewer than that actually submitted their #whathadhappenedwas videos.  I didn’t really need or really want the $1 fee. The fee was symbolic, actually. It was a way to force you to take your first action step towards financial freedom.  I must admit that this was a bit of a social experiment – an experiment to ferret out the folks who are actually ready to take action.  Many people realize that they have a problem but will unfortunately never change because they won’t actually do the work involved in making meaningful change in their life. It’s kind of like a starving person saying that they won’t accept food from a church’s soup kitchen because they don’t want to deal with having to hear a sermon.  I am of the mindset that if I am starving, I’ll listen to the damn sermon to get a meal.

Back to the intervention, I didn’t really want the $1 entry fee. I was more interested in your most valuable and expensive assets – your time and pride.  I have received so many inbox messages, tweets, IG DMs, and emails from folks asking me to allow them to pay a higher fee so that they could come to the intervention without having to post the #whathadhappnedwas video.  I must admit that some people had very compelling arguments but posting the video is a crucial part of the process, and I WON’T budge on that.  Have you ever wondered why after reading every book that Dave Ramsey and Suze Orman have ever written you find yourself still living from direct deposit to payday loan to title pawn to direct deposit?  Is it because Ramsey and Orman are complete hacks?  Nope, they are both extremely credible personal finance experts and offer sound advice.  I think that the problem is that you aren’t ready to RECEIVE the advice.  You aren’t at the phase in your life where reading a personal finance book or attending a seminar will be helpful to you.

You don’t really need me to stand in front of you in a room for an hour and a half telling you that if your monthly expenses exceed your income you need to make a change, do you?  I don’t think that Americans have a problem with math, budgeting, or even saving for that matter. I think that the fundamental reason that you come up short each month is because you must first work on changing your mentality.

My personal finance book, Crawl Before You Ball, is different from other books because it primarily focuses on preparing your mind to receive financial guidance.  Think about it.  I can tell you that you should save 20% of your income, quit eating out at restaurants excessively, stop shopping all of the time, blah blah blah. You already know all of this!  So, why do you keep doing the same thing over and over again?  It’s because you never solved the real problem.

The real problem is that you have what I call a participation trophy mentality.  Let me explain.  I have a friend whose kid played basketball.  All season her son suited up for games but never really played in a game or scored any points.  At the end of the basketball season the team had a party.  Every member of the team from the star player to the water boy received a trophy for participating. EVERY kid was given a trophy just because they showed up to practice. I think that this is totally insane.  And I am prepared to receive all of the “that’s why you probably can’t have kids” tweets. The truth is the truth folks.  In the real world there are some people who excel at certain things and others who don’t. Case in point, some people excel at having litters of children and I can’t even carry one to term.  I know that a lot of you will disagree with me on this, so save the emails and tweets.  I think that by giving everyone a trophy regardless of performance, contribution to the team, or athletic ability, you create a culture of I DESERVE just because I showed up.

When you have an entire generation of people who feel that they deserve the same as people who work their asses off to achieve financial success, we have a problem.  This point is illustrated perfectly on Instagram. I see so many folks constantly dining out, never repeating outfits, driving the same cars and living in the same houses as millionaires, but I know good and damn well that they earn $50,000 a year.  I call them the $50,000 a year millionaires.  These people feel that because they get up and go to work each day that they deserve to live a life well outside the stratosphere of their means.  They unconsciously justify overspending on WANTS on a daily basis because they firmly believe that they DESERVE the same things that someone like Oprah Winfrey has.  Forget the fact that Ms. Winfrey has worked incredibly hard all of her life to amass the fortune that she has – these folks believe because they go to work each day that they deserve everything that she has.  This is the Participation Trophy Mentality.  How else do you explain someone earning $50,000 a year buying a pair of Louboutins that cost $1200?  That’s 29% of their gross monthly income spent on a freaking pair of shoes!!!

We have to work on changing your mentality first, point blank end of the discussion.  If you are too ashamed to post a video saying that you have trouble managing your personal finances, you are definitely not really ready to do the work needed to gain financial freedom.  You are still too worried about keeping up with the Instagram rich Jones’, so how could you be ready to realistically determine your Needs from your Wants? This is the reason that all other programs have failed you.

When you are REALLY ready to make meaningful change in your life contact my office.  There will be a series of questions and tasks that you will be asked to perform to determine if you are really ready.  I am unwilling to share my most expensive asset (my TIME) with folks who aren’t ’bout that crawlin’ life. If you aren’t ready don’t fret, we will still be here for you when or if you finally make the real actionable decision to join the revolution of less ballin’ and more crawlin’!


Buffie Purselle

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