ashley zahabian interview

Ashley Zahabian: Getting Through Difficult Times and Busting the Myth of Overnight Success (AoL 044)

When it comes to success, many times we think that people are lucky and that success just happens. Even this past week with the launch of Pokemon Go, we’ve seen something take very little time to become really well known – even by those of us who have put very little time into it if none at all.

However, just like the creator of Pokemon, our guest Ashley Zahabian would tell you that there is no such thing as overnight success. In fact, when it comes to her story, she’s been on the public speaking path for several years already – which is saying a lot for a 21 year old!

In this session, Ginger and I dive into Ashley’s path and find out how an overnight success story is made. Join in as we discuss how she went from living a caged life to a charged one, what she has planned for the next few years, and how she stays consistent in her work.

If you’ve seen this gal on stage, Facebook or YouTube, this is a backstage pass that should give you hope in reaching for your goals and dreams!


  • Why the struggles she’s had over the last several years have helped her become an “overnight” success. 10:39
  • What she’s been able to implement into her entrepreneurial career from what she learned in college. 15:34
  • Ashley’s take on Mr. Wonderful blowing up on Maneesh Sethi on Shark Tank 19:09
  • Why she thinks it’s important to work with your passion. 21:00
  • How she belives that she was able to move from living a Caged life to a Charged life 27:22
  • The feeling of what it was like to become an honest person. 23:34
  • The first thing someone can do to step into a Charged life. 28:37
  • How Ashley stays consistent in her work week. 34:38
  • What gave Ashley the idea to start doing her video series. 38:47
  • Why she doesn’t worry about using clips from movies in her videos on YouTube. 40:45
  • How long Ashley has been doing speaking engagements. 42:10
  • What she would recommend for people to do if they wanted their first speaking gig. 43:34
  • What she imagines that the next 5 years of her career look like. 48:19
  • Three truths that she would share with others. 51:25
  • Three of her favorite influencers in her life. 52:02
  • If she could have high school consume certain information, what would she prescribe. 52:41
  • What she would tell the 13 year old version of herself. 56:50
  • …and MUCH more!

Right click here and save-as to download this episode to your computer.


SHOW NOTE EXTRAS (Update – 5.16.2017):

Hey guys! Thanks for looking for the show note extras for Ashley’s interview. Unfortunately, a lot of her earlier stuff has been taken down. So I’ve gone and added a few other videos for you to enjoy of Ashley at work… including her TEDx talk!

Ashley’s Interview on Addicted 2 Success TV:

Ashley on her Experiences at the Feliciano School of Business:

Believe in Yourself (An Early Speech by Ashley):

Ashley is officially a TEDx presenter!

Ashley on the I Am the Average Podcast:

Ashley Zahabian interview



Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining us again this week. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the top of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for The AoL Podcast on iTunes! Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show, and we read each and every one of them.

If you have any questions feel free to email them over via the email mentioned in the show or by our contact form.

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunesStitcherSoundcloud, and/or Google Play Music. It’s absolutely free to do so.

A huge thank-you to you guys for joining us!


improve networking skills

5 Simple Ways to Improve Your Networking Skills and Build Successful Relationships

The process of networking itself is simple. Just show up to events and initiate conversation. True, even that part can be hard for people. However, that isn’t really the hardest part!  The hardest part is the follow through.

When I was first introduced to the networking scene after I got out of grad school, I was a little clueless about how to do it exactly. I wanted to find people that would be able to help me get to where I wanted to be faster. I took advantage of the idea that there’s plenty of people out there who want to help new graduates move forward in their career. Not once did I really think about who I should be talking to.

Today, I have realized that there are 4 types of people that will be key to your success as an entrepreneur – whether you’re online, or offline. They are:

  1. A mentor (virtual or not) – Someone you see yourself emulating as you grow your business. A working relationship with this person is a plus. Their job is to be the best version of themselves so that you have a target to keep shooting for.
  2. A Tribe – A group of people that like what you do because you give value to the group as a whole.
  3. A Mastermind – A small group of peers that are going in the same direction as yourself.
  4. A Coach – Someone that gives you feedback on your growth and helps you figure out answers to questions you have. Their job is to help you be a better you.

(If you want to find out more about these different types of people and why they’re important to network with, you can do so by grabbing my resource: 6 Cornerstones to Building a Successful Online Business.)

Once you find these people, you need to be able to build meaningful relationships with them so they don’t leave your life as quickly as they entered. So here are some quick tips in doing just that.

Be In It to Win It

There’s no way around it. Winners like to surround themselves with other winners. If you’re wanting to get to know those that are at your level or above and want to keep them around, you’re going to have to have a mind-set that you’re going to succeed at your business.

This means that you’re going to have to have a long-term mentality to not only the decisions you make, but also realize that just because someone isn’t currently talking to you (and might not have for the past couple of months), doesn’t mean that they don’t “like” you anymore. Just like you should be, other solopreneurs and entrepreneurs in general are pretty damn busy. Get used to it!

Become a Go-To Person

Before you become a Go-To person in any field you need to have spent some quality time learning about that field. This is equally true for creative entrepreneurs as much as it is for engineers, realtors, insurance agents, etc.

The more you know about a certain subject, the more people will seek your knowledge out.

One thing that my mom always preached as I was growing up was that education is key to life. In fact, it was the one thing that she believed that worth pouring a small fortune into when the time arises. As you might know, it took me 6 years to get through my undergrad. She was totally ok with this as she would remind again and again, “when you look back on how long it took you to actually get through something worthwhile, you’ll realize, in the end, that it was worth it regardless of how long the process was”.

While I might not be directly using that knowledge that I picked up during those years, I will say that it has helped me become the person I am, help mold the way I think, and also introduce me to some of the best minds I know.

Give More Value Than You Seek

Many of us have superpowers that we try keep to ourselves. In the book, Will It Fly?, Pat Flynn talks about finding your superpowers early on in the book to figure out what you’re naturally good at doing so that you can make a business from it.

According to the results I got from the exercise in the book, my top 4 superpowers are:

  • Connecting
  • Teaching
  • Seeing Possibility
  • Loyalty

And you know what? I’d totally agree with this.

However, what he didn’t mention is that those same superpowers can help you even when you’re not trying to actively build your business. And, in fact, I think you should use them as much as possible.

Are you connector like me? Then introduce new ideas and people to each other without a fee. Are you a great coach? Then coach people here and there pro bono.

Eventually, others will know you for what you’re good at and all that good kharma that you’re putting out there will come back to you.

Treat Others by How You’d Want to be Treated

Meaning, treat them like a person.

Only celebrities are going to have crazy amounts of followers when they first open an account on a new social media platform. If you start using Periscope to build your business and you have one viewer, start engaging with that viewer. Make them feel like they’re not invisible.

The more you do this, the more likely that person will subscribe. The next time you come on, they might be there and so might another. Engage with both of them. Then you might have two subscribers.

The second one then might share you to their friends and the next time you hop on, you might have 5 viewers. Engage with them all. Ask them what they’re thinking about the topic. Find out where they’re from. Actually care about who you’re talking to.

No one cares what you know until you show how much you care.

Accept More Responsibility by Being More Intentional

Here’s one that we all struggle with in some manner or another. From a young age, many of us believe that if we can get people to not pay attention to us, then we won’t get in trouble as much. As a kid, this definitely has some merit to it!

If we’re known to be someone that doesn’t break things, when something does end up being broken, we can simply say “It wasn’t my fault!” and the grown-ups will go find someone else that has a dirtier track record.

However, this approach might not necessarily be useful later in life when we want to be recognized for our efforts.

If you’re the type of individual who wants to be recognized, you have to get on people’s radar first. There’s plenty of ways to do this.

If someone has a major life event on Facebook, even if you haven’t spoken to that person in a while (if ever), say something. Not only will you have a better chance of being recognized by that person in the future, Facebook will actually start sharing your posts with this person (unless they blocked you). Posting on people’s walls on birthdays is a great way to start.

A few other old school ways to start getting recognized is taking people out for coffee or lunch. Going to events you normally don’t go to and just calling more people up (either by phone or through skype) is great ways to build your reputation.

Also, if you’re in an organization or group of people where something goes south, and you’re known for having a good record, chances are that if you take responsibility for that situation, you might look better for trying to take the blame from whomever actually did. Even if you don’t have a good track record, you might get some recognition for actually taking responsibility. When we live in a society where many people try to shy away from responsibility, those that attempt to take it (good or bad) tend to get recognized.

Action Steps:

So, there you have it. Five ways I believe that will help you build better relationships as you go forward and meet those future great friends.

It’s fairly common sense stuff, really. However, as we all know – common sense isn’t commonly used in today’s world. It’s amazing what doing these tactics will do for you.

If you already employ some of these tactics, I’d love to hear some details in what works. Comment below!

AoL 038: Yoga, How to Measure Creativity, and Being a Better Human with David Rachford

Being in business for yourself has many different labels. Solopreneur, Expert, Entrepreneur… the list goes on. Many times we’ve found out that these particular names might not necessarily mean anything other than you have a passion for what you do and you happen to make income doing it.

Most of us go the long way of doing that. Going to school for one thing and then making our business from something else.

I frequently ask myself, could I have learned what I know today about online business without going to school? Would I have been able to help people they way I do today?

While I think that I might have been able to shortcut the process, the truth of the matter is simply this: I wouldn’t have the experience to be able to help people at the LEVEL that I help people today.

The same goes for today’s guest, David Rachford.

David started his career in the military after being an athlete for years in several sports. After getting out of the military, he went to college to become an accountant. Growing tired of that world in 10 years, he found himself at a position that he could do something that utilized those accounting skills, but at the same time, he didn’t want to make that his whole career.

That’s where his interest in teaching others about Yoga and starting the Better Human Show came from.

In this session, we’ll learn exactly how a kid who was too husky to be in youth football started playing all kinds of sports, How his yoga journey started, how he “measures creativity”, and why he started doing his podcast.

Listen to this episode if you’ve ever found yourself bouncing from one thing in your career to the next, thinking about starting a business, or you’re simply curious in what it takes to sit with “strong determination” like monks do in meditation.


  • What kind of sports David played growing up despite being too big to play football. (10:04)
  • How David got into Meditation, Yoga, and eventually learned how to sit in “strong determination”. (13:48)
  • David’s advice to someone who says they get migraines when meditating. (20:42)
  • Why he left the accounting world after doing it for 10 years. (22:50)
  • How Dave measures creativity. (26:22)
  • Why Dave focuses on established entrepreneurs for his ideal clients (29:00)
  • How the Better Human show came into being. (34:38)
  • Which talks on his podcast have stuck in his mind the most. (38:18)
  • What’s an occurring theme that he’s gotten from his guests. (42:20)
  • David’s thoughts on falling back on a safe job (45:07)
  • What purchase $100 or less has most affected David’s life. (50:43)
  • What are three truths that he wants to share with others (53:10)
  • Who are David’s three favorite teachers (56:55)
  • What Dave recommends in spreading your message into the world (1:03:34)
  • … and MUCH more!

Right click here and save-as to download this episode to your computer.



Installing a Retargeting Pixel on Your Website:

Travel Yoga Poses on KKFX News:

Couple Yoga Poses on KKFX News:

David’s Norwegian Lundehund, Nikolina checking out a T-Rex!

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining us again this week. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the top of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for The AoL Podcast on iTunes! Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show, and we read each and every one of them.

If you have any questions feel free to email them over via the email mentioned in the show or by our contact form.

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunesStitcherSoundcloud, and/or Google Play Music. It’s absolutely free to do so.

A huge thank-you to you guys for joining us!


Distractions: Their Unseen Costs and 4 Ways We Can Overcome Them (For Real This Time!)

You Can’t Do Big Things if You Let the Small Things Distract You

Distractions. Our lives are filled with them. From emails, to texts, to messages on various social media platforms, and even the TV and all that goes with it. Distractions are everywhere. What’s worse, is that many times we feel that we let them run our lives with little power to do anything about it.

The Problem with Distractions…

As Creators, we need to be able to do focused work. Some would even call this hustling.

Cam showed a video yesterday with Richard Kuo where they talked about how Richard actually plays video games in moderation.

That’s where I’m at myself.

For the most part, anything is ok in moderation. However, neither Richard nor myself let videogames keep us from achieving things in our work or business. I think we both survived a stigma that questioned why we were gamers in the first place. Hell, people still ask Maria why I game. But to be honest, I enjoy it. And if any of those people were to ask me directly, I would simply ask them, “Why do you watch TV all the time?”. I’m sure I’d get the same answer.

So the problem isn’t so much the distraction itself. The problem is when the distractions get us off course of what we’re supposed to be doing. Or, even worse, when people think the distraction is what we’re supposed to be doing.

Distractions are Around Us Everyday of Our Lives

The reason that so many of us fall to distractions isn’t because we’re dumb. It’s that it’s what we’ve had in our lives from pretty much birth.

When your parents first sat you down in front of a TV, do you think it was to teach us something or to distract us so that they could get something done? I know for many of us millennials, we grew up with the TV essentially being a parent.

Today kids are growing up with mobile tech, but it’s essentially doing the same thing. Distracting them so they aren’t doing anything meaningful.

One of the reasons I’ve never really watched reality shows is because all it is, is a distraction. Sitting around and watching other people succeed at life? You’ve got to be kidding me! I can be having that success myself if I put my mind to it. Not necessarily singing or dancing, or whatever the current trend is, but doing the thing that I’m good at. I hope you feel the same way about your life. We must realize that when we’re constantly checking into other people’s agendas, we’re actively checking out of our own life.

With all of these distractions around us, it becomes the norm. But does that mean it’s what we’re supposed to do? Well, pop culture would say that’s what we’re supposed to be interested in. But, seriously, it doesn’t have to be.

Distractions as “Busy Work”

Those of us who have jobs still or are lucky enough to have a lot of clients probably get a ton of email. While staying up with email might seem to be a good goal at first, it simply becomes a huge problem as we get more and more.

Back in the summer of 2014, Pat Flynn did a podcast with his new email assistant. They talked about why he hired her and what it was that she exactly did. Answering all of his email was simply getting out of hand. He didn’t have the time to sort his emails, answer them, and then do the real work to build his business.

Even though the email had to do with his business, it was disconnected from his strategy and purpose. How many things can you think in your business besides email that could be labeled as a distraction? Checking Twitter and Facebook all day?

I mean, you might not have a problem with Facebook, but some people do. (And if you’re one of those folks and are trying to get more work done – try this Chrome extension to help you limit the use of particular sites.)

Unseen Costs of Being Distracted

Now let’s think about something for a second. In LTD, I learned about what’s called surface cost and unseen cost. One of the things that is discussed is the unseen cost of not talking to people to get started as an IBO. It was said that you’re passing a possible Platinum every day. You just weren’t aware. In unseen cost, passing this Platinum could be costing an IBO upwards to $50 grand a year, possibly more? Knowing this helped me open up and talk to everyone.

Their answer to eliminating distractions was to simply cut them out of your life. Have a TV? Cut your cable. Are you a power gamer? Sell your system.

The problem with this (and I feel many of Cam’s followers have) is that when you do these things, you’re going cold turkey. For some, it might work. For others, it might be the worst thing for them to do. We need to realize that for some, addictions are like drugs. Withdrawal in itself can be a major hurdle… possibly leading to depression if not dealt with properly. (Unless you have a support system in place, or something else to take your mind off of not having this distraction, then there’s a good chance you might seek something else to distract you.) I knew I couldn’t go cold turkey. I enjoyed gaming too much at the time.

In a more relatable life, let’s just think about the unseen cost of being simply distracted. Now, let’s just take a conservative number of four hours a day. Say 2 hours at home and 2 at work of just being engaged in social media, TV, and video games. 4x7x52(weeks)x78.7(average lifetime) = 114,587.2 hours. That’s equivalent to 13.08 years. Now let that sink in there.

If you can’t let that sink in, let’s make it a little more relevant.

It means, that of the writing of this post, since 2003, you would have been doing something on Facebook, or sending texts, or doing something that really means nothing NONSTOP.

In 2003, I was 21. I remember turning 21. The actual night of my 21st birthday, I bought my own alcohol from the supermarket. No bars for me. I wanted to go about it in a mature fashion. That’s also the year that I changed my major to Electrical Engineering Tech at Purdue. Where I met some of my long time friends.

How about you? What were you doing 13 years ago? Can you imagine all that time spent on Facebook including the time you’ve spent sleeping? I sure can’t!

And if that wasn’t enough, let’s just say that you have a annual income from anywhere to $25,000 (yes, in Indiana it’s a thing) to $80,000. Simply doing that math you would have lost $325,000 on the low end and $1.04 million on the high end.

If you’re like me, and you try to rationally explain the next time you’re thinking that 4 hours a day of ::takes a breath:: … TV, playing on your phone, browsing the web, playing with your apps, and gaming… ::gasp:: isn’t that big of a loss, hopefully these numbers will put it into perspective.

How to Overcome Distractions: Being Undistracted and More Purposeful

So how do we alleviate our pull to distractions? Well, that’s a good question. I mean, I struggle with it myself. By no means am I some perfect guru who’s highly achieving. That’s just not me, and I even struggle at times in thinking that I’ll eventually be making New Inceptions a living.

But I’ve chosen this path. And now, I have to focus and make the best of it. And the way I’m going to do that is through what’s called Deep Work

I recently ran across this phrase when I heard of a guy named Cal Newport. Cal is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University, and during the interview I heard with Srini via Unmistakable Creative, they talked about two kinds of training that we can do when it comes actually performing Deep Work.

  • Active Training It’s called training for a reason. Just like when you’re working out in the gym or learning any skill type, you want to start small and work your way up to higher and higher levels. In the interview, Cal said that one of the ways that he practices this is by simply holding a thought relative to what we’re creating as we’re walking. Like meditation, if you feel your mind straying on other thoughts, you bring it back into whatever you were thinking. Focus on that one thing. Ideally you want to go deeper and deeper into that thinking by coming to a conclusion on one thought and then moving from there to another. Hold that thought and then go deeper. Repeat as much as you can.
  • Passive Training The key here is to simply keep your attention from jumping from distraction to distraction. Even though you might be simply filling up your car at the gas station, you need to fight the urge to check your Facebook or Twitter feed if you’re notified of an event. He said that this will help you build your executive center’s ability to focus. And just like when it comes with training other muscles, you’ll have a better chance of actually having better focus at a higher level the next day.

Srini also adds in his free download (that’ll you’ll have to listen to the podcast to find out how to get) ways that we can actively setup our day to day life for Deep Work.

There’s two in it that I already do:

  • No email or social media after 7pm until 10am. If this is too big of a time period for you, there are tools to help you not visit certain sites. He mentions Heyfocus, Freedom, and Rescuetime. Another Chrome Extension I’m aware of Momentum that replaces your New Tab screen with a screen that reminds you what you want to get done in a particular day.
  • Eliminate Unneeded steps in accomplishing your goals. Pretty straight forward. The more steps there are to getting something done, the longer it’s going to take and the less likely you are in getting that particular thing done. Even if there’s things you can’t eliminate, perhaps do them the night before you close up so the next day you can quickly start from where you began?

He adds a few more tips in that freebie about your phone that might help if you have struggles there.


This week, I’d say listen to the conversation with Cal if you don’t do Deep Work on a regular basis. Do it as you’re driving somewhere, when you’re at the gym, or whenever you generally listen to music or podcasts. I want you to understand why it’s important to do Deep Work. If you’re wanting to call yourself a Creative, and in particular, a Renegade, you need time to take yourself to that next level. I don’t want you burn yourself out if you’re not used to doing your own work over prolonged periods of time.

If you already do Deep Work, what kinds of things do you do to keep yourself from letting distractions get the best of you that I didn’t cover above?

AoL 003: 6 Key Methods in Dealing with Frustrating People

This week’s session is a topic session. If you’re familiar with the Fizzle Show at Fizzle, then you’ll be familiar with the format of this particular show.

That said, in this session we talk about dealing with frustrating people. You know, people can frustrate us for a number of reasons and a number of ways. Maybe they’re not doing something a certain way. Maybe they’ve let things get out of control. Perhaps they’re not making the experience as enjoyable as it could be. People just rub us the wrong way sometimes.

The key is that you don’t want to come across as the perpetrator by acting out. So these methods (or maybe they’re steps or ways…?) will hopefully help you to not only deal with the person, but keep you sane in the process.

Do you have any annoyingly frustrating people in your life? Perhaps you’re wondering if you need to kick them out of it all together? Listen in today as we discuss the process of coping with those that would drive you crazy.


  • 6 Key Methods of Dealing with Frustrating People (Did I mention they’re key?)
  • Why you should probably only focus on 5 of those methods (the last one is a doozie!)
  • Why it’s important on the issue and not the other person.
  • Why it’s important to not take seriously what others think of you.
  • and much more!

Right click here and save-as to download this episode to your computer.



If you’re ever considering doing a podcast, you might want to know that it’s good form to have about 8 sessions ready for the “launch” date. There’s a couple of reasons for this. One, 8 weeks is how long a podcast can be on New & Noteworthy on the iTunes Store. Also, to get on that New & Noteworthy listing, you want to have released 3 or 4 sessions close to each other at the beginning. It’s also good to give yourself a few weeks of buffer so that if you have conflicts arise, you won’t be losing an entire week during the start of your show. Record in bunches if at all possible! (This is the reason that I referred to a post that was released 5 weeks ago! Gotta get ready for that launch.)

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me again this week. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the top of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for The AoL Podcast on iTunes! Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show, and we read each and every one of them.

If you have any questions feel free to email them over via the email mentioned in the show or by our contact form.

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes and Stitcher. It’s absolutely free to do so.

A huge thank-you to you guys for joining us as we embark on this journey.


AoL 002: Don’t Let Your Past Dictate Your Future with Trin A’Marti

This week’s episode puts a spotlight on one of the friends of the show: Katrina A’Marti. In the future, Katrina (aka Trin) will be helping us with the topic editions of the podcast. In the meantime, though, we thought we’d introduce her as a fellow student of entrepreneurship.

Like so many other solopreneurs and people trying to find their passion, she stumbled into the world of business. Also like many of us, she did so because she wasn’t fully appreciated in the day job world.

In this session, Trin discusses her background and how she got to where she is today. Part of that being the constant love-hate relationship she has with her culture. She offers a few insights into how she stays motivated and who and what she calls her biggest motivators.

You’ll also hear what she’s looking forward to achieving in her new business Meaning & Co. (which at the time of this recording was called ThoughtWhisper).

Do you have issues with leaving the 9 to 5 world? Are you worried about others will think of you if you started your own thing? Take a listen to what Trin has to say. I guarantee you’ll be inspired.


  • How she could have easily hid from who she is by letting her Asian culture conform her.
  • What were the important influencers that got her started down her path of self-development.
  • What therapy has done for her and her career.
  • How she’s managed to keep her inner hippy happy.
  • and much more!

Right click here and save-as to download this episode to your computer.



The last question “What Does Success Mean To You” was stolen from the School of Greatness Podcast. The reason we include it is because it’s interesting to see what success means to people at various levels in their career – not just at the top.

What does success mean to you? Let us know in the comments below!

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me again this week. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the top of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for The AoL Podcast on iTunes! Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show, and we read each and every one of them.

If you have any questions feel free to email them over via the email mentioned in the show or by our contact form.

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes and Stitcher. It’s absolutely free to do so.

A huge thank-you to you guys for joining us as we embark on this journey.


Why You Should Stop Being A Victim and Learn How to Forgive

The fact is, violence is not only not a beautiful thing, but it’s also very painful and not without consequences for the perpetrator as well as the victim.Clint Eastwood

There really is no difference between the bully and the victim.Lady Gaga

Did you know that if you hold grudges that you’re actually letting the person or people you have that grudge against win? Let’s discuss how you can stop being a victim so you can learn how to be yourself again.

The Rise of the Victimhood Culture

I was recently made aware of a post that was published last Friday (9/11/15) about The Rise of Victimhood Culture. In it, the author, Conor Friedersdorf, talks about a new scholarly paper (Microaggression and Moral Cultures, Bradley Campbell and Jason Manning) that actually identifies that a culture of victimhood is indeed on the rise – especially in college settings.

He also mentions three types of culture: honor, dignity, and victim.

Honor Culture:

These are types of culture in which people (mainly men) maintain their honor by responding to insults, slights, and violations of rights by self-help violence. “Cultures of honor tend to arise in places where legal authority is weak or non-existent, and where a reputation for toughness is perhaps the only effective deterrent against predation or attack,” write Campbell and Manning. They note that honor cultures still exist in the Arab world and among street gangs in Western societies. (Fans of Sci-Fi would know that Klingons are all about this kind of culture.)

Dignity Culture:

During the 19th century, most Western societies began the moral transition toward dignity cultures in which all citizens are legally endowed with equal rights. Dignity does not depend upon reputation but exists as unalienable rights that do not depend on what other people think of one’s bravery. Having a thick skin and shrugging off slights become virtues because they help maintain social peace. The aphorism that “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” is practically the motto of dignity cultures.

Campbell and Manning add, “Insults might provoke offense, but they no longer have the same importance as a way of establishing or destroying a reputation for bravery. [Furthermore], when intolerable conflicts do arise, dignity cultures prescribe direct but non-violent actions.”

Victim Culture:

And just so we have a definition, in a victim culture individuals and groups display high sensitivity to anything that conflicts with them. When they have a conflict, they have a tendency to handle the conflict through complaints to third parties (such as cops, blogs, petitions, and the government) and seek to cultivate an image of being victims who deserve assistance.

Victim Cultures – Are They Good or Bad?

At the end of Conor’s article, he asks if Dignity Culture is better than Victim Culture. At face value, I think that it’s kind of hard to tell. If you see wrongs in the world and want to do something about them, the easiest way to do that is to play the victim. It is effective and I think that’s why so many people have started doing it.

That said, does that make it right?

If you want to correct a social imbalance perhaps at the price of your own personal freedom, it just might seem like the most effective way to do it. If that’s what you believe is right, then sure. I guess it’s right from that perspective.

However, if you’re like me, and you don’t want the outside world to define you (and you especially don’t want your personal freedoms taken), then the first thing you have to realize is that playing the victim card puts a stereotypical label on you. That label might be that you’re weak, that you’re ignorant, or you just might be Chicken Little (the sky is falling!).

This is why the Dignity Culture is called what it is. In the dignity culture’s perspective, people who cry that they are a victim lack dignity. They feel that victim’s lack self-respect and a sense of pride. To a point, this is understandable. No one likes a tattle-tale. So people who continually cry wolf are eventually going to wear out their welcome.

Not only that, but often times you can see the victim become the bully. In one instance, one group might see the first group getting preferred treatment due to their victimization. That second group might feel belittled themselves. Another instance might be that the victim now feels that they have a right to act a certain way. That if others do it to them, then they’re allowed to do it to others.

To me, I can’t say that the Dignity Culture is better than the Victim Culture. I think both have some good and negative traits to them. There are times when Whistleblowing needs to occur. In a straight Dignity Culture, it would never happen. People would be told to suck it up regardless of whatever occurred. However, if someone is repeatedly using the victim card to get things that they believed are entitled to them, they need to get a better understanding of what Rights and Privileges are.

Don’t Take Things Personal – Learn to Live through Forgiving

So how does this all relate to living a happier life and a more fulfilling career? It’s actually pretty simple.

The more things that we trust third parties to solve the less power we give ourselves. The less power we give ourselves, the less potential our life will have. Unless we expect third parties to give things to us, we must work for them ourselves.

To work for things takes energy. So does holding in negative energy towards others. The more negative energy you hold in, the more you taint yourself with that energy. In the end, negative energy consumes your true self and your true potential. Learn to forgive so you don’t let the “bad guys” win.


Are you holding any grudges? If so, ask why you hold them. Is it from something that happened last week? Last month? Or last decade? How long is enough to punish yourself with those emotions. The longer you let other people get to you, the longer they’ve “won”.

If you’ve let go of some grudges, let us hear about them below and how you’ve felt since releasing that self-imposed stress.