Episode 209- Are You Willing To Sacrifice Comfort For Change?

So I had a really funny conversation with my brother a few years back that wasn’t funny in terms of laughs and jokes, but it was funny in terms of how it turned out and how we differed in so many different opinions, but also having deep conversations where you can know each other a little bit better. Now, my brother Steve and I are 19 months apart. He’s 19 months older than me, so I always kind of had an inferiority complex. I always felt like I wasn’t good enough. I think that’s the second borns role because a lot of times the firstborn usually does everything before the second born. They walk first, they talk first, they go to school, they have certain experiences. I’m a second born. When they come and they watch and they see their older sibling doing all these things, and I’ve heard it said before that when the firstborn takes a role and often as the case, the firstborn is the one that’s going to be the good soldier is going to follow along is going to be the pleaser to the parents.

And the second born comes along and says, huh, well that role’s taken and I’m never going to be as good as that one because there are always going to be ahead of me. So I guess my way to find the attention is to go the opposite direction and cause more trouble. So if you’re a second born or you have a second born that’s like that. That’s part of the reason why and that’s who I am now. I didn’t have a third sibling, but as a parent we now have three. And what happened so often with the third is they go, okay, the rule followers taken, the troublemakers taken, I’m going to make everybody laugh and be the comedian. So whether it’s the third or the fourth, the youngest is generally, often the funny one of the group. Now obviously miles may vary. This is not set in stone, but it’s amazing as you talk to parents and to kids how often this is actually true.

So my brother growing up was very smart. He’s witty, he’s very talking about going. And I had to navigate my way through that cause I always felt like my comments and my opinion didn’t hold as much water because I wasn’t as experienced or smart as Steve was. And then I get embarrassed and I clam up and if I didn’t clam up I would act up because that’s what got me the attention. So it was a long time before I felt comfortable articulating my thoughts to my brother and getting a response back that was respected after awhile and learning how to not clam up in certain situations and learn how to stand up to my brother. Cause my brother is very opinionated and he’s smart so he can be very dominant in conversations. But there came a point where I finally felt like I held my own and I can articulate and I credit my debating abilities and my ability to have these conversations to how difficult it was to talk to him because without saying it this way, he challenged me to be better cause he wouldn’t accept my ramblings or just the silly things that I blurred out.

I love my brother, but he wasn’t the nurturing, you know, pull me under your wing and kind of say, listen man, you could do this a little bit like this or do it like that. It was done tough. Found myself a couple of years ago at his house and we were talking about a bunch of different social things, situations going on in the news in society and quite often politically we’re very different. Different ideologies and started talking about Amazon and I have no idea why we started this conversation, but he started railing about how these workers at Amazon, how they’re treated so poorly and how there needs to be regulations to get these workers to have better conditions is single. He has no kids. I’m married with three kids. He is way more up to date with the news than I am. And especially with pop culture. He knows the movies, the shows.

He’s a lighting tech on Broadway. So he gets a cool job and he gets to watch television all the time while he’s working. And I’m hardly ever watching television so he can talk for hours about things that I have no idea about. So we wind up in these interesting conversations and he’s telling me about Amazon, these workers and about how they have to wait 45 minutes before they can leave. So everything gets checked and it’s just not right cause they’re not getting paid for it. And I’m asking more, he gets the sources from where he’s watching this, where it’s reading about it, a citing all these examples and he’s talking about how he thinks government should step in and change this. And I disagreed because of the in facts. He gave me up. To me, it wasn’t the government’s place to come in. I am very much an advocate for personal responsibility.

And Steve flat out said he disagreed with that because in the world that I grew up in, if I didn’t like my job, I needed to go find another job and trust me, I’ve had my share of crappy jobs where I need to leave one minimum wage job for another. I understand, and I’d been in business long enough to know how businesses run and how businesses are affected and Steve’s been an employee, a successful employee for his entire life. So we come from two different worldviews on this. But it was great because we can have this really intense conversation, but it never got heated and never got angry. We never got mad at each other. We just debated. But I listened very intently to what he was saying and what his purpose of, of what he wanted. And you really want a government regulation to come in and corral these big businesses so that they treat their employees better, which is noble.

You want these people to be treated better, to have a better life. But I challenged back that you’re not going to change business that way very often because laws are often written by the business owners, right or wrong, and they will always find a way around it, some type of loophole. But what business owners care about is profit. How does it affect their bottom line, especially these big businesses. So my side of it was, if you feel this way, the best way to affect businesses and make them pay attention is by affecting their wallet. So I kind of saw what was going on. I sat back, I was one of the first times that I got to do this with my brother cause he always had the upper hand in these conversations. I sat back and I listened to him essentially how bad Amazon was, how they were doing all these things wrong, how it needs to be changed.

And I finally got him to see that. Really the only way it’s going to change is if people stopped buying from Amazon. So I asked him how struggle he felt about this and he said very strongly, and I asked him when was the last time you bought from Amazon? And he was in the kitchen and I was in the living room and I heard silence and then he peeked his head around the corner and he smiled. He said, today, I said, when was the last time before that? And he kind of nodded his head and he said, today it turns out that he buys from Amazon multiple times a day. So I said, that’s great that you want to change the world. I love your heart in this for these employees, but in my opinion, you’re going to make much more of a change if you are willing to give this up yourself.

If you’re willing to give up Amazon and make a difference one person at a time and create a movement, even a small one behind your own principles. Because to me that would be inspiring. Somebody willing to do that. Somebody’s willing to give up their own personal sacrifices, their own comfort for the betterment of others, because I can tell you, you’re much more likely to do something there. Then you aren’t getting the government to change their laws to affect Amazon, especially if you’re not willing to run for office. And in the end, he said he wasn’t willing to stop using Amazon and we had dinner. We laughed about the irony of the conversation, but it really made me think, not just about Steve, but about anybody that wants to make a change in this world. It’s easy to blame the government. It’s easy to blame politicians, and we all have beliefs and what we feel should be better and how things can be done better.

That conversation made me think, am I willing to give up the comforts in my life? If those comforts go against something that I believe in, and if I’m not or you’re not, that’s fine, but we gotta be okay saying it out loud and realize that there is a hypocrisy that comes with that because it’s easy to preach. It’s easy to talk. It’s easy to go on social media and say what you don’t like about something, but are you willing to give up the comfort to make that change? It is not always easy, but if you truly believe in it, if you truly think that something’s gotta be done and you mean it, it should be worth the sacrifice that you’ve got to go through. Just something to think about. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.

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