Additional chapter of The Mentor, by Tim Hendricks
For my whole life I can remember getting an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach whenever someone at school, college, or work started talking about working a job for forty or fifty years before you could retire. It just didn't seem like that was how life should be. The vast majority of people went along with the public school system's line of "Get good grades so you can go to college, so you can get a college degree, so you can get a safe, secure job with a good company or the government, then you can retire when you are sixty-five years old and have it made."
Not long after I met Ralph Autry I mentioned to him that I had never been comfortable with this plan and had just never been able to accept that I should live this way, he told me a story. I don’t know if it is true or not, I’ve never tried to verify its accuracy. He used it to make a point, and it did.
The Story of Tasha, by Ralph Autry
(This is Ralph speaking until the 'End'.)
Years ago a university was doing experiments with chimpanzees to try to teach them to talk and communicate with human beings. Their best chimp was a female named Tasha. They taught her to recognize her own name, they taught her what her trainers name was so that she could call him by name. Over a period of time they taught her words for food, drink, ball, and other material things so that when she was thirsty she could say the word for what she wanted. Eventually she had a pretty good vocabulary for material objects.
Then they started teaching her ‘concepts’ which she was also able to comprehend. They taught her up, down, in, and out. Then they taught her to express what she wanted by using the word ‘want’. Tasha want food. Tasha want drink. Tasha want ball.
Tasha was by far their best student and the trainers had great hopes for her future in communicating with humans. Then something unexpected happened. Tasha grasped the concept of communicating to her trainers and expressing what she wanted. She said, “Tasha want out.” They let her out of her cage into the huge play area they had built. It was like a chimpanzee paradise, with everything that humans had learned that chimps like. She said, “Tasha want out.” They tried teaching her new words and she would say, “Tasha want out.” They would say, “Tasha want food?” Her response was, “Tasha want out.” When they asked “Tasha want drink?” Her response was, “Tasha want out.” From that day forward the experiment was pretty much over because whenever a human being came into her presence the only thing she would communicate to them was, “Tasha want out.” She realized that even though she had the best of everything humans could provide, she didn’t have her freedom and that was what she wanted more than anything else in the world. She wanted to be free, even if it did mean that she had to fend for herself, find her own food and shelter, and risk the dangers of the real world.
Every living creature has inside of it a God given instinct to be free. Put a bug or a frog in a box and it instantly starts trying to get out. Corner or trap a wild animal and it will fight viciously to try to keep from being captured. Most creatures will fight to the death to regain their freedom once it is taken away.
Unfortunately for human beings in the United States the instinct to be free to go where you want and be able to do what you want to do is educated out of us early in life and for lack of a better word, children get ‘brainwashed’ into believing that what they are supposed to do with their life is to get an education, get a job, and then slave their whole life away for a corporation or the government and then die. Before the industrial revolution this concept was totally unacceptable to ninety-five percent of the population. That is the percentage of the people who were self-employed or owned their own business at the time. They succeeded or failed based on their own productivity and they preferred it that way. They didn’t want to be dependent on anyone else for their livelihood. It was people who wanted to be free that came to America searching for a better life.
Then the U.S. government started teaching the ‘employee’ concept in the public education system and the children of free men and women grew up looking for a ‘good company’ or the government to take care of them for their whole life because that is what they had been taught would happen. Over a sixty or seventy year period the education system programmed the children so well that by the 1970’s only about 5% of the population of the U.S. were self-employed or business owners. Then that God-given instinct started being felt by more and more people. Especially when they saw that the end result of being an employee for your whole life is that you burn out and die before you ever get to have a life. The people who did live past retirement age were dependent on Social Security and found out that it was not even enough to feed them and provide for a place to live. So the tide began to turn and now about fifteen to twenty percent of the population are once again self-employed or business owners and the numbers are growing every year.
I started feeling the discomfort as a pharmacist counting pills in an enclosed space day after day from morning until night with no free time to do the things I wanted to do with my family, and not enough money to be able to provide for them in the manner that I wanted. I found myself sitting in the store saying to myself ‘Tasha want out. Ralph want out.’ I wanted my freedom. I kept thinking that there had to be a way out of this type bondage. When I got exposed to a method of starting a business with unlimited income, I saw that as a door that someone had left just slightly cracked open. I hit that door moving as fast as I could move and never looked back. In five years I had enough residual income from my business to retire from the pharmacist job and I’ve been free ever since.
From time to time I run into another person who hasn’t had the instinct to be free completely programmed out of them. I can show them that same door to our business system and if they are willing to fight persistently and consistently for their freedom for a period of years, they will get their freedom too.
A lot of people have been so totally and completely programmed to be employees that just mentioning a business of their own will get a violent reaction from them. They see you as an enemy trying to take away their safe, secure job position.
Some people will hear about the concept of building a business and getting their freedom and they will be intrigued by the idea enough that they will check it out and some will even get involved, but they aren’t able to overcome a lifetime of programming to just do what the man tells you to do, and so they never really get their business going very well. It takes a whole different set of skills to build a business than it takes to be a good employee.
Some people actually feel the instinct tugging at them and when they see our business idea they hit the door running like I did and they succeed to various levels based on how hard they work at it, or based on their personality, but eventually they fail because they either aren’t willing to change and grow enough personally to make it work long term, or they lack the strength of character or the morals to hold a business together long term, or they run into obstacles and set backs that cause them to return to what they consider to be the ‘safety and security’ of the corporate world.
The real world of a chimpanzee is dangerous. They can die of starvation, falling, or disease. They can be killed by lions, crocodiles, snakes, or other animals. But if you give them the choice, every one of them will choose the dangerous life of freedom over a life where they are provided the necessities and protected, but lose their freedom.
The business world is also dangerous. Maybe not physically, but you do succeed or fail based on your own merit, your own actions, your own decisions. So you have to have the heart of a free man and be willing to pay the price for freedom. Most people aren’t willing to pay that price, so they will pay a much higher price over the course of their life. They will work harder, more hours, for a whole lot more years and end up with a lot less enjoyable lifestyle, and the day they stop working the income either stops completely, or they find themselves dependent on the government or relatives for their meager existence. The price of not being free is much, much higher than the price you will have to pay to get total personal and financial freedom. You just have to find out what it is that rich people do, how they do it, and then learn to do it for yourself.
If you would rather be a ‘kept person’ dependent on someone else to make decisions for you, doing as little as possible to get by, then you will probably be better off as a career employee. As long as you are willing to keep a good slave mentality and do what the man says, then you can at least feed yourself and keep a roof over your head. It may not be the best food or roof, but people with that mentality don’t expect the best anyway.
I was willing to take the challenge, face the obstacles, overcome my fears, and do what needed to be done to be of service to a lot of people, so I expected to be able to provide the best for my family.”
Note from Tim: That story made an impression on me and for the next couple of years while I was working at the factory I would find myself saying, “Tasha want out. Tim want out! I want my freedom!” Once I became aware that there was a life out there that people were living that did not include a boss, an alarm clock, a job, and a paycheck someone else signed, the urge to get free got stronger and stronger until the day when my desire to be free became stronger than my fear of doing what was necessary to do to get that freedom. After that it wasn’t long until I had it. An employee usually just has to do one job. An entrepreneur has to learn to wear several different hats. He will have to know about the legal structure of the business, the products, marketing, advertising, accounting, taxes, people skills, and a lot more. It takes a while to change your thinking from employee to entrepreneur, but a good mentor can drastically shorten the time span and help you to avoid most of the potholes that swallow others who attempt the process on their own.
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