Most of the people reading this blog are living in “stable” democracies where they have the right to speak their mind about how their societies are functioning. As I get to travel the world I am always reminded about how that not a privilege everyone has.
“Free speech” is something we take for granted in the modern world, however, many times the perceived free aspect of free speech isn’t really free. I grew up in India which is currently the largest democracy in the world, yet the press isn’t really free to speak their mind.
Also the leader who just got another 4 years, has never done a press conference …..yeah okay…
Even most of my friends and family who think that they have free speech in India don’t. They have “free” speech as long as whatever they say is in line with what the system they’re in allows it.
Modi is a warmonger!
That’s honestly nearly an undisputed fact, but if my mom posts that on her Facebook profile, there’s a non-zero-percent chance that she would be questioned about it else may have to deal with issues in the government the next time she has to go for funding for her school. (She’s a principle)
If you need permission to speak your mind, you aren’t really free.
Now, on the other hand, if I wrote a posted that people would just comment “yeah…so?” and that’s the max of the consequences I will face, it won’t affect any of the work I do.
That’s why for the past 3 years, the one thing I’ve spent most of my time doing to rid myself of permissioned systems.
Now, there’s no way to be 100% free of permission systems but there’s always a way to reduce them.
In India, everything from the workforce to the education system is a permissioned bullshit bureaucracy. Every country is in a way, but India (even after all the countries I’ve traveled to) is still one of the worst.
Equality Of Outcome
Currently, India has a system of reservation which is holding the country back by a ton.
Since Independence, in 1947, no matter what department you go to some percent of the total is reserved for a tiny minority.
Most of my western readers wouldn’t understand it, but an equivalent would be if over 50+ percent of all seats in Universities and Jobs positions were reserved for Hispanics and Chinese Imigragrants. There would be protests in streets tomorrow if that actually happened.
Why is that so bad?
Because India has been trying to focus Equality of Outcome, instead of Equality of Opportunity. Other more liberal countries have recently started to go down this part (ahem…Canada..cough).
How does this look like in application (and this is after a country has had over 50 years to test it out)
Well, they’re literally clear divides in everything from Caste to Gender to Economic capabilities. People in India aren’t looking to remove these divides, and instead of trying to make the playing field more balance in 2019, people just want their groups to have special privileges.
I remember growing up how this was just taken for granted that normal people like me (not born to a certain caste) just have to work harder in all our exams irrespective of if the people we were competing with were economically backward or not.
Now, wait, that’s there even in the US with affirmative action and that’s true and policies are in place like this for a reason. I actually support ideas like affirmative action, but not when they go too far.
You want to help people who are little disadvantaged, you want them to learn to fish for themselves, not give them a fish.
What do you get if you give everyone a fish? A bunch of entitled lazy people. Taken Goans for example, ie people from Goa (where I was born).
If you gave them 2 options
- All of these reservation systems will go over and everyone will compete equally.
- Goans get a 5% reservation in all Indian Universities.
Everyone I know from Goa will vote for the #1 option. Years of putting one group vs another have just made India incredibly tribal in Nature. It’s all about your group having an advantage, instead of creating a free market where the best people win.
India has taken this to an extreme, currently, in many schools and universities in India over 60% of seats are reserved for the non-general.
Which is why when I got into University and needed a score of 80+ to get in, someone born with a different caste needed only 50. That sounds like some 19th-century bullshit!
I believe that most education systems around the world are stupid and an absolute waste of time, which is why I quit college, however, if you decide to play the game of “get a degree and run the rat race” don’t you want the competition and playing field to be fair?
Why do I care if it’s fair? Well, if I ever am back in India, I would want my doctor to be the best trained professional, not the one who got a license just because he/she was born with a certain caste.
Now, I have a lot of doctors in my own family and I have also met a lot of people who got into college thanks to these reservations who are actually hard working and will be great professionals, however they’re the exceptions that prove the rule.
Degree instead of Knowledge
Just like most places, in India it’s not about what you know but what degree you hold when it comes to how you get a job/ who hires you. Which is why shitty colleges giving people shitty degrees are plentiful, and companies can hire engineering graduates at 5k/year.
Of course, as time progresses the people can earn more, but that’s only because they actually start to learn once they’re working. The years before that when they were in school were just to have the “permission” to work and then all you can compete on is price because you aren’t good at anything!
No one who runs a business that will survive the next 20 years is hiring people to positions of power who just have a degree.
When a business especially a smart business hires someone, their entire aim is to generate more profit from the work of the person then they pay them, economics 101. Which is why if you want to get paid more, increase your ability to generate more money for your company.
Eg. If you work as a consultant who can generate $100k additional profit per month for a company, you’ll have no problem getting paid $10k/month.
So what can you do?
Stop expecting the system to take care of you. So many Indians I meet and ones who email me keep on complaining about how things are hard in the “system”. Well, then leave the fucking system.
Your parents are forcing you to marry a guy/girl you don’t like or do a job you don’t want?
Be an adult, move out of your parents house, make your own money and live your own life.
You’ll be surprised to know about the number of emails I get from Indians complaining about parents…. 30+-year-old children for fuck’s sake. Many of them have never taken any responsibilities for themselves in their entire life.
Your boss is forcing you to work more hours and during the weekend?
Spend your time learning skills valuable in the market and get a new job. Or start your own business. Make a sacrifice.
Just for starters, stop complaining about the system. Complaining doesn’t change anything.
My entire focus for the past 3 years has been revolving on the basic idea of removing the number of people/organizations that I need permission to do what I want.
- I don’t need permission from any government or broadcast network to make money sitting on my laptop in a cafe in Istanbul and make money (other than the visa of course).
- I don’t need a degree or write a test to show that I have the skills to write, the internet and my readers decide that for themselves, not some stuck-up teacher in an English department who’s never written anything that’s been read barely by the few students he has.
Recently I was in India to renew my passport and the passport official asked me “what do you do?”, I said I’m a writer, he asked me “who do you write for”.. I was like, “for myself!”
He then asked me “a magazine, newspaper?”, I’m like “no, just my own website, JeremyNoronha.com” and all I got was a blank stare hahah!
The internet (even though we have our big giants like Facebook, Google and Twitter censoring people) is the greatest invention of the 21st century so far. It’s layer 1 in the process of removing permission from our lives.
If you google something like “make money traveling“, this tiny blog run by little old me, is up there and many times higher than the Forbes, CNBC and Huffington posts of the world. Now that’s because I’m good at SEO, but I don’t need any permission to get more eyes on my articles than Forbes or have my opinions heard. That’s completely unheard of 20 years ago.
You don’t need anyone’s permission to post something online, and you try and design your life so that you are less likely to be fragile to what you post un-anonymously.
Just as Nassim Nicholas Taleb said “my book sales wouldn’t be hurt if I punched a noble laureate”, design your life so that if you speak your mind you aren’t fragile to a boss or a system.
Start with Yourself
But Jeremy how does this help Sujay from Bihar, trying to get his college degree?
It doesn’t. It just doesn’t. And I’m not trying to. If this helps one person that’s enough.
People nowadays spend to much time thinking about how they can save the world or save the system instead of starting with just saving themselves.
Fuck that! If your life is a mess and it probably is in one or more aspect (everyone’s is even mine), don’t go around telling other people how to live their lives.
Just as the best way I solved my problems with social media was by dealing with my own social media. I just want to share my example and perspective on breaking free of permissioned systems.
Sometimes all people need is someone to show them that a different way is possible…
Lead By Example
3 Years ago I quit college to travel the world as most of you already know, I started by building websites.
About half a year ago, my high school classmate Mark finished his college degree (didn’t quit it because of sunk loss fallacy) and instead of becoming a CA, he started traveling the world freelancing. He’s been on the road ever since and non-works as a content marketer for SaaS companies and also makes money with his blog at Dherealmark.com.
I didn’t pave his road with flowers or even set out to make another person free of the 9-5 grind, I just showed him that a different life is possible and that’s what this article set’s out to do.
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