Reduce Stress through Reframing. Rich vs. Poor: Views on Bureaucracy

Nobody likes waiting in line, but some people can do it without wasting emotions and energy by getting angry. They do this by avoiding personalization and blaming and false mind reading.

When a rich person goes to bureaucracy, they usually have these assumptions

  • The system is here to serve me
  • I will get served
  • I deserve to get served
  • They must serve me because I am entitled to the service
  • I have power to complain and ensure that I get the service
  • I will be fine without the service

And so most of their anger (if any) is centered around entitlement, and most of their calmness and peace is also centered around entitlement.


When a poor person goes to bureaucracy, they usually have these assumptions

  • The system is set up by someone else for their own reasons that weren’t necessarily for my benefit.
  • I just happen to qualify, maybe I will get served.
  • Or I don’t qualify, and I hope they don’t notice.
  • I don’t deserve service, but I hope I do get service
  • I am not entitled to the service, it’s not guaranteed.
  • If they refuse service I have no way of forcing them to give me service, I’m powerless. I’m weak and afraid.
  • If I don’t get this service, I’ll be much worse off because 1. I need this service 2. I don’t have much so 3. it costs me a lot to be here waiting for the service. So much so that I may not have much left–waiting in line costs so much energy and health and resources that I can’t afford to not be served.

And so most of their anger comes from the fear of being worse off, the fear of being not served, the fear of the humiliation of being refused service, and the fear of the realization of how weak and powerless they really are.


To overcome these emotions, you need to reframe the situation. Think about it this way:

  • The system is out of your control
  • The system is not human. Even though you’re interacting with people who operate within the system, the people obey the commands of the system. The system lives by using the people.  Bureaucracy is not people, it’s a system.
  • Systems do not persecute individuals. There’s nothing in the system that says for you and you alone, you cannot get service. The system has rules that are general. For example, the system might say that anyone who has blue hair cannot get service. So if you have blue hair you don’t get service. If this happens, don’t personalize it. It’s not just you, it was unlucky that it was about your blue hair.
  • If you have connections or can make insider connections to get special treatment, realize that you are no longer dealing with a system or a bureaucracy, but you’re dealing with the specific individual and their power over the system.  What this means is: it only matters if it works, and if it doesn’t, don’t dwell on the person’s failure, just realize you’re going to be served by the system, and the system gives no special treatment. No special good, and no special bad.

If you can accept that the system of bureaucracy is a mindless organization outside of your control, then there’s less to be angry about.  All you need to know is time will be spent waiting for your service, and you can spend that time tiring yourself out with anger, or you can spend that time in a better way that is up to your choosing.

  • If the system does not serve you, it’s not neglect.  A lot of people were neglected by their parents, friends, etc. and so when they’re waiting for service, the act of not being served can trigger feelings of neglect.  Don’t fall for this. The system has not singled you out for neglect. It’s a random act with no biases: systems do not target individuals, they target groups of people.  So don’t take it personally as neglect. It’s not.


I also want to point out entitlement is a key reason why communism and capitalism lead to very different mental healths for the population. In Communism, everyone knows they’re supposed to get something so there’s some peace in that. It might be widely unequal what they get compared to others, but everyone knows they’re supposed to get something and there’s comfort in that.  In Capitalism, everyone knows they’re supposed to get nothing. You get nothing unless you earn it somehow.  There’s no peace, because earning is a competition, supply and demand, market forces outside your control dictating whether you can sell your services or not.  There’s a lot of fear and uncertainty in capitalism that leads to unhealthy mental states.

Read more about articles in the Rich vs. Poor Series here.

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Find Perspective with 5 Thoughts on Life in 2018

In this post, I’d like to share some thoughts I’ve had that helped me accept reality and find peace.  I hope by reading about them, you can gain that same benefit. The dates are the day I recorded the thought:

1.  2/25/18

To fly a plane you need a license, because you’re responsible for the lives of many. Yet to be a parent, you don’t need a license, despite also being responsible for lives.  So if you had bad parents, this is likely why: they didn’t go through parent training.  And if you think ill of someone else, realize that they may have been a product of bad parents.  Parenting is hard, and this world sadly does not do a good job training parents.

2. 3/4/18

Taking a vacation helped me to focus on the future and not the past.  While on vacation, I realized I’m spoiled because I have much to appreciate and be grateful for.  I also realized that I’m much older than I was the last time I took a vacation, so time is running out for me to live life. Thus I need to take more time to enjoy life and move on from the problems of the past or else I’ll run out of time before I know it.

3. 6/21/18

We celebrate success more than we celebrate the courage to try.  Society should reward failure, because daring to try and fail takes as much strength as daring to try and succeed.

The greatest lie we’ve been taught is that effort always means success, and failure always means a lack of effort.  The truth is that luck matters, and being unlucky matters.  By celebrating only the successful, we teach people not to take risks.  As a result, we have raised a generation of scaredy cats so afraid to be themselves that they would commit suicide than risk failing.

The saddest part of this is that they are committing suicide because they are afraid of failing to become someone they are not, because they don’t have the courage to even set their goal to be themselves.  To successfully be someone they are not is a fundamentally impossible and unreasonable request, so an entire generation is setting themselves up for failure, and then not having the skillset to handle failure, and so therefore setting themselves up for depression and mental health issues which come with the shunning that society wrongly gives to those who fail.

4. 7/9/18

When faced with a problem, you can change yourself or change the world.  Sometimes it’s correct to change the world. Sometimes it’s correct to change yourself.  A problem I’ve faced recently is that I am a sensitive person, so I get hurt by insensitive people.  How do I solve this problem?  I can either become insensitive myself, or I can convert the world’s insensitive people into sensitive people.  I want to live in a world where people are considerate of others, so I intend to use this platform to provide sensitivity training for people who lack the skills of sensitivity.

5. 8/13/18

Masculinity might be a response to mortality
I was thinking about how I could convince an insensitive person to take the time and energy to learn how to be sensitive, and so I tried to imagine what would motivate that person to take action.  So I looked at the actions that insensitive people take and it’s often to be macho man and be strong and dominating.  So then I asked why someone would overly express certain emotions.  Psychology says imbalance is a sign of overcompensating for something, so with that lead I presume insensitive people act strong out of the fear of being weak. What’s wrong with being weak? It means you’re mortal. Thus, masculinity may be a response to mortality.
When something disrupts a macho man, they feel threatened and so they respond with anger rather than compassion. Responding with compassion is coming from a place of strength: security, and then abundance, and then to give help.  Responding with anger is coming from a place of weakness: insecurity, and so fear, and so uncontrollable emotions.
To counteract mortality, insensitive people crave and chase power, status, respect, and conquest over others, because in their mind it distances themselves further from mortality.
They tell each other to ignore their emotions, suck it up and move on, because they are afraid that they are too weak to handle the emotions. They can’t afford the time, energy, resources that understanding their emotions would take, so out of that fear and insecurity they respond to their emotions by shutting down their emotions.


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Rich Vs. Poor: Rich can focus their efforts, Poor have to diversify their investments

When you’re rich, the opportunities presented to you are of higher quality. You can buy a toy that can last a year because you can pay for the quality. When you’re poor, the toy you can afford is likely already broken, or will be broken within a few days of you playing with it.

This extrapolates into clothing, jobs, friends, etc.  Rich people have better options, so they need fewer of them to survive. If you know your knife is always going to cut through your food, and you can invest in a knife sharpening kit and a good knife cover and case, then you only need one knife.  If you don’t have a case, you don’t have a sharpener, and you don’t have a good knife that works all the time, then you need many knives so that if one doesn’t work you can try a different knife.

The same idea comes with friends.
If you have one friend who you know you can reliably count on to take care of you in any situation, then you just need that one friend.
If you have 5 situations and each friend can only take care of one situation, but they can reliably take care of the situation they are good at, then you just need 5 friends.
If your friend is not guaranteed to be available at all times, then you need back up friends in case you need help in a situation, but the friend you have for that situation is busy.

The less reliable your tools, the more tools you need.  The more tools you need, the more effort and energy you have to spend to buy and maintain those tools, and the less energy and time you have to invest in yourself or in growth or in other things.  As a result, the poor suffer from having to be inefficient in their investments, and they suffer from having to have huge redundancies and huge diversity in their portfolio that brings down their overall returns, and they suffer from not having to opportunity to focus their energies on a few things. That lack of focus basically ensures that they will never achieve something great, and will remain poor.
It is quite cruel for the rich to say that the poor are poor due to lack of focus, when the poor do not have the opportunity at all to choose focus without at the same time choosing risk.  Focus on one friend and if that one friend fails, there’s no-one else. Rich people don’t have this problem: their one friend (say health insurance with priority everything) is much more reliable and won’t fail (like a limited HMO health insurance that has no-doctors in network near you).

Read more about articles in the Rich vs. Poor Series here.

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