You are entitled to nothing!

One of the most striking scenes in the award winning series House of Cards is when the president comes out with his new plan to reduce unemployment. But instead of just promising job creation and unemployment benefits, he pulls out the big guns. He tells people to get off their ass, dream big and take responsibility for their life.

The American dream has failed you. Work hard? Play by the rules? You aren’t guaranteed success. Your children will not have a better life than you did. Ten million of you can’t even get a job, even though you desperately want one. We’ve been crippled by Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, by welfare, by entitlements. And that is the root of the problem: entitlements.

Let me be clear. You are entitled to nothing. You are entitled to nothing. America was built on the spirit of industry. You build your future. It isn’t handed to you. And the problem with Washington is that we haven’t given you the tools to build it. The only way for us to serve you is to give you the means to serve yourselves. Well, that’s exactly what I intend to do. Not handouts. Jobs. Real paying jobs. [FULL SPEECH]

For most of my life, I have been mostly left-leaning, meaning I wanted the government to just help people as much as possible. I wanted the government to give away benefits to those who need them. But over time I am starting to recognize the importance of responsibility and order in my life and in the process inspired to help people discover the same thing for themselves. That’s why I think the words of the president in the speech are very very powerful. There is no way that the government can help you feel more powerful, feel like you’ve taken responsibility for your life and feel that your life is now in order.

The government can help but they should really just be tools to get you started. By definition, you cannot get the feeling of accomplishment from a received benefit or entitlement of some kind.

I am in no way arguing that government programs shouldn’t exist to help those who have fallen down and are having trouble getting up. Not at all. In fact, in the show, the speech was actually introducing government funded work projects similar to the post Great Depression New Deal to help get the economy on its feet.

In the coming years, as the world economy shifts and changes due to ever increasing digitization and automation, we should really think about whether we want to use government as a massive redistribution operation or a lean toolmaker, which helps people believe in themselves and believe in their dreams. Maybe we should rethink how we give out benefits and whether we give out cold cash or make smart investments in people.

And maybe people who want to get elected might want to start asking “What tools do you need to build your future” instead of “What should I give you to make your miserable life more bearable”. Because when I listen to people who want to get elected, it is more of the latter than the former.

We are entitled to nothing but I sure hope that in the 21st century, governments will give us better tools to make something of ourselves. I don’t know what these tools might look and some might say that all we need is for the government to get out of the way. I’m not so sure.

Desensitized by hysteria?

Several days ago, dance music duo The Chainsmokers released a new track called “Sick Boy”, which still sounds like most of their other stuff (maybe not this one). But one line made me pause…

And I’m from the east side of America where we desensitize by hysteria”

Let’s ignore the “east side of America” for now and focus on the important part.

You see, I still have this wonderfully stupid tendency to get really emotional and overthink the tiniest little problems. Obviously I then lose control of the bigger picture and am stuck in an echo chamber of my own creation. Wanting to get out of this self-imposed prison, I become “hysterical” on the inside and panic.

This then leads to something that I would say resembles “desensitization”. I become cynical and disillusioned with whatever I am currently working on because I fear the mass hysteria within me. This might also be projected outwards as anxiousness or just plain irritability.

To battle this, I have been working with a therapist and I am getting significantly better through the practice of gratitude and careful discipline when I feel the onset of this internal hysteria. I don’t let the hysteria take over and thus lead to desensitization. I need to think things through, but I can’t let them take control in the form of hysteria.

After all, it’s much easier to get angry on the inside than to ACTUALLY start working out on a solution to a problem.

I don’t know exactly what they meant when they wrote that line but I feel it’s something like “In the east, we use the hysteria as a way to desensitize ourselves and not face the demons within ourselves.”

I no longer want to do that.

Do you?


They will sell us cardboard and we will buy it

One of the biggest things I am looking forward to in the near future is playing games with my daughter. Although she is starting to play with toys, things will really get interesting when she starts understanding more complex rules and systems. And obviously, so of these will be mobile and video games.

But you don’t really want kids to be playing TOO much with a massive screen in front of their face, so I am really excited about what Nintendo just announced today. Some people are saying that it is an early April Fools joke, but I’m not buying that explanation.

Nintendo has a history of coming up with crazy devices that casual gamers just eat up. That’s why I can’t wait to try out Nintendo Labo. Just watch the video here before you read on:

Continue reading “They will sell us cardboard and we will buy it”

How a Facebook ad used nostalgia to make me download a mobile game

Although it is hard to believe, I have been a gamer for over 25 years. Starting on the Commodore 64 in the early 90s, moving onto a Windows 95 machine, first console experience with the first Playstation, and all the way through the modern consoles, mobile phones to desktop gaming.

It has been quite a ride and one of the games that has really stuck with me was Counter-Strike, which originally came out in 2000. Although the modern incarnation of that game is still being played, I still have very fond memories of playing the game with my buddies in LAN gaming bars.

And today, a random ad on Facebook reminded just how old I am to know the game so well. I saw the following ad for a mobile shooter:


I have downloaded the Pixel Gun 3D game but haven’t really had time to play around with it. Maybe I will enjoy it, maybe I won’t; however, I absolutely love the fact that they used my love for the original Counter-Strike and the fact that I am a father now. Although I expect this is really targeted at kids whose parents played the original Counter-Strike, I don’t really care. I just loved this ad ❤

And the next thing I need to do next is download Counter-Strike and play a game or two 🙂 Anybody want to play a game?