Growing up the phrase “that’s the way things are” kept popping up any time some uncomfortable topic was discussed. Such topics could include anything from discrimination (“yes, it would be nice if there was no prejudice in the world but that’s the way things are”) to how to succeed (“you will never be rich because that’s the way things are”) to everything in-between.
The reality is such thinking is both severely limiting and outright wrong. There are many examples I could, but let me focus on money since it’s always a hot topic. Using a “that’s the way things are” mentality you would think the rich would always be rich and the poor/not-so-rich would likewise stay the same. Yet you look at the facts and the majority of the wealthy in America did not come from money. Most are first generation nouveau riche.
Better yet, lets look at overall baby boomer statistics. 75% of baby boomers grew up in a home that was 900 square feet or less. The majority of their parents were blue collar workers without a college degree. Most households had one car if a car at all. Such items as air conditioning, washers and dryers, dishwashers, and multiple bathrooms (in houses with larger families) were considered luxuries not necessities as they are often considered today. And then there are the obvious “necessities” that didn’t even exist such as cell phones, computers/the Internet, digital music, mass use of credit cards, and affordable air travel. (Airlines were heavily regulated and carriers like Southwest and JetBlue did not exist in any form.)
The bigger threat of “that’s the way things are” is psychological. For all its promise of liberty and freedom, most Americans still live with a “that’s the way things are” mentality. They don’t like change since change is scary, so therefore there are huge incentives to keep things the way they are. And this is passed on to children, institutions, religious organizations and every aspect of society.
For example, if you read Rich Dad, Poor Dad the author Robert Kiyosaki points out that the American education system teaches students to be “wage slaves” not leaders. Because “that’s the way things are”. I found the same thing in high school when I attended Boys State, a week-long mock-government camp. My friends and I were ostracized for suggesting we needed a third political party. We were told America only has two political parties because “that’s the way things are”. This is the same mentality that believed American only has rich, white presidents.