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The invisible scripts that guide our lives

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I don’t usually watch Bollywood movies, but when your Indian mom asks you to do something — including watching a movie (matinee of course), getting the mail from the mailbox, or buying her a car — you do it. Anyone with an Asian/Indian mother is nodding right now, fearful of the earth-shattering guilt trips that mothers have relentlessly honed over decades of surgical use and rigorous testing — and deservedly so.


Not my mom, but you get the idea. Source unknown.

Anyway, as I was watching this Indian movie, I started realizing how many invisible assumptions it revealed about Indian culture. And then I took a step back and thought about the American movies I watch all the time…movies that also reveal a tremendous amount about our own culture. These invisible scripts are so deeply embedded that we don’t even realize they guide our attitudes and behaviors.

For example, would a fish know he’s swimming in water?

Do Americans realize how many of their beliefs are pre-written by our societal values?

For instance, in Indian culture, parents will sacrifice virtually everything for their son to succeed. In the movie, the poor parents have one air conditioning unit, which they give to their son while he studies. (He goes on to a top technical college and is able to support them.)

Also in the movie, young Indian men put aside their “passions” for a stable job, which they can use to support their families. They have little interaction with women before marriage. Anything non-engineering/medical is looked down upon. And so on.

We all nod, saying, “Ah yes, those passionless Indian automatons” — until we look at ourselves.

What are the invisible scripts that govern our lives?

Would you even be able to identify them?

MYTH: “I don’t have any money…so I can’t go to college”

I’ve recently started watching this awesome show, Friday Night Lights. For someone who hates sports, doesn’t even know what sports season it is, and STILL does not understand how football is scored, I am impressed with myself for watching this show.

Anyway, it depicts a small Texas town and its love of football, blah blah blah. True to form, I ignore the football parts and focus on analyzing the meta-messages. I know, I am really fun at parties.

Friday Night Lights explained a lot of things that have puzzled me about American culture. For example, in one episode, the dad spends his daughter’s college money, prompting her to say, “Now I can’t go to college!”

I was confused. Huh? You don’t have money saved, so you can’t afford college? What?

Unfortunately, this is what most Americans believe: that if you don’t have money, you can’t go to college. This belief is reflected in our culture (TV shows), our educational system (high-school counselors), and even our businesses (banks that promote 529s with fear tactics).

Of course, it’s simply not true. If you don’t have money, you can still go to college. My family didn’t have any money, and I went to one of the top universities in the country via scholarships (how I won $100,000+ of scholarships). But even if I hadn’t done that, there were still MANY options:

  • Student loans (no, they are not uniformly evil, despite what everybody says)
  • Grants
  • Work-study/part-time job, etc.

In fact, the cultural script of “No money = no college” is even more absurd when you actually know how college admissions and financial aid work. If you are poor — but you’re skilled enough to get admissions — most top universities will pay for your entire education. This is why you should apply to the best universities you can, regardless of money.

Yet Friday Night Lights reflects our cultural values, which are so deep-seated that we don’t even blink. No money = no college. Of course!

But that’s just an assumption — like so many of the invisible scripts that guide our lives.

What are 3 invisible scripts that guide you?

Do you see the invisible scripts that guide our lives?

Here are some others:

  • “I should follow my passions”
  • “I should hook up with a lot of people before I settle down”
  • “I work hard, so I deserve this nice apartment”
  • “My kids should take care of themselves after they graduate from college”
  • “Where did you go on vacation this year?”

Each of those is a uniquely American idea. Many other cultures would laugh, ridicule, and be utterly confused by those statements. Yet they’re so deeply embedded in our culture that we don’t even notice that they’re assumptions.

What are the top 3 invisible scripts that have influenced you?

(Hint: If you can’t think of any…answer this: What are the top 3 invisible scripts that have influenced your friends?)

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Momo
Momo
5 years 11 months ago

“I’m going to university/college because it will get me a good job”

I think the assumption nowadays is that if you want to earn decent money, you have to have a degree, even if it means going into student debt. I’m currently a university student in Scotland, and if I ask any of my peers what they want to do after leaving university, its just a blunt “Get a job.”

Margaret
Margaret
5 years 11 months ago
For me (American WASP) 1. Early marriage is preferable to living together. (And I married at 21.) 2. Working in a profession is important, and one must at least be planning to go to grad school after college, if not actually applying. (I’m a prep school then elite college grad who is not planning on grad school and I work in the trades and feel very uncomfortable with this.) 3. To go along with that–the best, highest status work is that which requires an advanced degree is as far removed as possible from making actual stuff. So, moderate status: architect.… Read more »
Margaret
Margaret
5 years 11 months ago

And I didn’t realize how ingrained my own cultural scripts were until I encountered my husband’s. I frequently find that the root cause of our disagreements come from differing ingrained ideas about how things “ought to be done.”

Pascal
Pascal
8 months 18 days ago

Seeing how easy it is to get a divorce nowadays, as long as you set up a proper prenup, getting married early actually is a decent idea, especially if one of you is earning money. Being taxed as a couple beats being taxed as individuals.

Justine
Justine
5 years 11 months ago

1. Marry someone you love. (Without regards to any other trait.)
2. Women are supposed to crave and strive for marriage at all costs.
3. Bitch about work.

Julie
Julie
5 years 11 months ago

I didn’t realize until I read them, but your first two are in my head all the time.

Tim
Tim
5 years 11 months ago

Lol, I didn’t realize until I read them, but your THIRD one is in my head all the time.

Ash
5 years 11 months ago
Ramit – This is a topic that I contemplate often – it seems as if there is no hard and fast reality, but rather only that which is shaded a certain way via our respective cultural lens. We internalize and follow a certain set of internal rules that we’ve been socialized into honoring as truth, when in reality, those rules are not truth, but only our perception of truth. However, since reality is not an objective concept, I think we can look at this to be at our advantage: Subjectivity implies choice. We can choose to follow the scripts as… Read more »
Sandra Davis
5 years 11 months ago
I really couldn’t think of my own invisible scripts, so I had to use the hint at the end to even attempt this exercise (What are the top 3 invisible scripts that have influenced your friends?) 1. I’ve been working hard all week so I deserve a drink, or three. 2. I *have* to have a car, even if public transport will get me to work twice as fast, and the occassional taxi is much cheaper than own/maintaining/fueling my own vehicle. 3. Overspending on people shows them that I really, really care. Erm…I think I’ll have to find some cheap,… Read more »
Gal @ Equally Happy
5 years 11 months ago
So what are the top three scripts that influenced you Ramit? (Besides Taco Bell commercials) As for me, I have a Jewish mother (just as bad on the guilt trips but with more goulash and less curries). So my scripts (guilt trips) were: 1. Have kids – Oddly enough, I didn’t want to until a few years ago when I realized I would make a kick ass dad. 2. Get a good stable job – Mothers are mothers regardless of culture. I followed this one to the letter. 3. Keep up with the Jones – This one I picked up… Read more »
Sachit Gupta
5 years 11 months ago

Get a car. Seriously, why is there an expectation that if you just graduated from college, you need to have a car!

Will Johnson
5 years 11 months ago

Sachit, I have to agree with you here. There is such pressure to go out and get a new car. Why is that? I do have a very old car, but it’s still in great shape, but there’s a bit of pressure to makes sure I go out and buy something new after I graduate… it seems a bit much!

Chris
Chris
5 years 11 months ago

Uh, because in certain places you need one?

D
D
5 years 11 months ago

I agree with that one. Among my recently graduated co-workers, the only three of us not having a car were immigrants. Everyone else could not even begin to understand how we could be professionals with a good slary but no car. The socail pressure was huge. However, instead, I paid off my condo. I followed the Indian / Chinese / Eastern European script of save, save, save; debt is bad.

Mai

Ryan Waldron
5 years 11 months ago

The expectation is there from friends of yours that do have cars. The very friends you’d as for rides and to help you move if you didn’t.

Ezequiel
Ezequiel
5 years 11 months ago

1. Be happy with your decisions, for things happen for a reason.
2. Be happy with the friends, you chose them.
3. Work your ass off.

Ezequiel
Ezequiel
5 years 11 months ago

Typo:

Be happy with your friends, you chose them.

Evan
Evan
5 years 11 months ago
Ramit, I saw a lot of myself in the questions part of this post, and in the assumption that money was needed for college. I did it the stupid way, and I fully expect you to yell at me over it, but I already know what my mistakes were. It took me eleven years to graduate from a middle-tier state school despite top-one-percent scores on the SAT, ACT, and IQ tests, because I worked my way through college after dropping out of one of the federal service academies. Now, with my state school degree, I’ve moved home at age 30… Read more »
Erin
Erin
5 years 11 months ago

I followed a lot of invisible scripts until I decided not to let other people’s experiences guide my own.

The “follow your passions” one is the worst. I enjoy Cal Newport’s series on the topic of how that particular invisible script is so misleading and creates so much angst for people.

Paul
Paul
5 years 11 months ago

Here’s my invisible script that I have learned is udder crap:

Be really good at what you do. It will be noticed, and you will succeed.

Nonsense. I am learning slowly that you also have to be good at self promotion. Frankly, that’s a taboo in the Puritan Work Ethic, and makes me, and probably a lot of other WASP-types uncomfortable.

Steven
5 years 11 months ago

Great point Paul. I used a similar script: “Be great at work and it will be noticed” but I’m finding no one actually notices (and they actually assume the opposite.)

K00kyKelly
5 years 11 months ago
Some of the assumptions that have cropped up in my life: – men are the breadwinners in a relationship (as a female engineer I’m making the $$s in my relationship) I was in a bar once and some guys walked up to my friend and I and started chatting… once they found out I was an engineer and my friend was in law school they closed out the conversation ASAP. WTF is that? Semi related: A guy I knew in school used to tell women that he was a child develpment major when he went out. He was an engineer.… Read more »
K00kyKelly
5 years 11 months ago
I don’t know why she bothers to dodge the question. Best to flush the losers out early. If you can’t handle my profession you probably can’t handle me either. That said I haven’t actually ever dated someone I met at a bar. All the guys I’ve dated have been from activities I’m involved with or mutual friends. Find a hobby if you want to meet someone. If that’s not working maybe you don’t know how to spot when people are flirting with you. I’ve slowly discovered all of my perpetually single friends are really bad at this. One friend who… Read more »
James
James
5 years 11 months ago

It happened to me all the time. One assumption that we Americans make is all people are born with some social skills, and that some are more gifted than others. I had to actively learn how to socialize and flirt. I know I’ve missed several slam-dunk opportunities in the past because I couldn’t interpret the signals that were given to me.

Prime
5 years 11 months ago
hah, i can so relate to what you’re saying esp this: I was in a bar once and some guys walked up to my friend and I and started chatting… once they found out I was an engineer and my friend was in law school they closed out the conversation ASAP. WTF is that?” so here are some assumptions that cropped up in my life (my invisible scripts). 1. Men won’t date women who are smarter/wealthier/more successful than them ( I have one female colleague who told me stop reading a book because i look too smart, and therefore will… Read more »
Sammy
Sammy
5 years 11 months ago

I’m confused – what’s wrong with following your passion? How/why is that a assumption to scoff at? Can someone enlighten me

Meg
Meg
5 years 11 months ago
It’s not bad, per se, but it indicates a certain mindset about work. We work for lots of reasons–to make money, to pursue interests, to support our families, for a challenge, etc. And we rank those reasons according to priority. Following a passion frequently means prioritizing it over other things–like income, family friendly working hours, choice of home city, etc. My husband views work as a way to meet his duty of care to his wife and future children, which means that the earning power of a given job trumps passion. You know the saying, “If you can’t be with… Read more »
Jane @ The Borrowed Abode
5 years 11 months ago
Actually, I think that following your passion IS a good thing. I think the common “script” is that you should “get a sensible job, one you can rely on, one with a 401-k” rather than to pursue your passions. . . . and I think following that script, for many, is a recipe for a mid-life crisis. Better to live frugally and pursue your passions early on in adult life, so that if they don’t work out you can fall back to a 9-5 later on. Why SHOULDN’T you live your life doing something you love??? And I’d rather my… Read more »
J.R.
J.R.
5 years 11 months ago
I first started writing some hidden influences, and then realized I was just regurgitating “Common sayings that other people believe, but I know to be false because I’m so smart”. Here’s some more honest things that i probably believe that may not be(or were not) true: -I think I did buy a house because it was the next thing you are supposed to do after getting married to become an adult. -Now that I’ve taken a job after grad school, this is my career and I should settle down for the long haul. -I think that either my parents or… Read more »
Ryan Anthony
5 years 11 months ago

“Be independent and stand on your own.” I have always striven for this and sometimes it means you fall and you fall hard, instead of just getting the help you need when you need it. Don’t understand homework? Work harder, don’t go ask some TA for help! Not getting accepted to jobs you apply to? Apply to more, don’t look for help revising your application procedure! Etc etc etc. Sometimes it’s good to know you’re having problems that other people have and you don’t have to reinvent the wheel your entire life.

K00kyKelly
5 years 11 months ago

This and if someone helped you its almost as if you didn’t acomplish it. How many times have you heard someone say… oh well that person had help from [insert expert]. They could have done it on their own.

April
April
5 years 11 months ago
It’s easier for me to identify the scripts I’ve discarded: 1. “The more degrees you have, the more important/successful/intelligent you are.” I didn’t go to grad school because I couldn’t think of a good reason why for my particular situation and interests, but it used to nag at me that others got that next degree and I didn’t, even though some of them did it without purpose and now just had more debt. 2. “To buy a house, take out a loan and spend the next 30 years (plus hundred of thousands of dollars in interest) paying it off” Patience… Read more »
Steven
5 years 11 months ago

@April I think we have similar scripts (along with a lot of the audience here.) How many of your scripts are just the opposite of the typical scripts, versus the result of a side by side comparison of choices? For example, I chose the script “Travel > strong roots” but after some travel realized the hidden downsides of travel (disconnect from friends, more chaos, infinite line of new transient friends.)

April
April
5 years 11 months ago

@K00kyKelly–RE: Cable TV.

YES. WTF is the deal with cable, and why do people think we’re such freaks for not paying extra money for more channels of crap TV? Some people think we don’t have it because we can’t afford it. They don’t seem to realize it is a choice to not spend hours of our lives in front of the idiot box.

K00kyKelly
5 years 11 months ago

We have cable because of our roommate. Seriously, you can’t expect to find a roommie who is willing to go without cable or just pay for it themselves.

Also, I couldn’t live without internet at home… despite the fact that I have an iPhone and access at work.

Rose
Rose
5 years 11 months ago

So true.. I don’t understand why so many share houses insist on cable? It’s a luxury… right??! Something I could never really justify!

Steven
5 years 11 months ago

Scripts of friends:

1. When you’re 21 you’re supposed to spend every moment at a bar or club.
2. Fathers are better people than single childless males. Unless they’re divorced. Then they’re assholes.
3. If guys buy a girl a drink at a bar, there’s no obligation created by accepting the drink.

Great provocation Ramit. I find my own scripts are generally reversals of normal scripts, but that still makes them a script.

Jess
Jess
5 years 11 months ago

Well… there *is* no obligation created by accepting the drink. Is it a kind gesture/introduction or a bribe?

Jude
Jude
1 year 2 months ago

Clearly, some clarification might be needed here. What kind of obligation are we talking about? Being obligated to at least be interested in talking with the guy? I know some women take advantage, but I hope you are not suggesting that a woman should be obligated beyond polite conversation. Personally, I would never accept a drink from a guy unless I was interested in talking with him.

Alfonso Sainz de Baranda
5 years 11 months ago
I LOVE this. I LOVE THIS!!! Many many times I have wondered this same thing. This “invisible scripts” also can apply to your political ideas, to your religion to your belief in climate change… People just don’t have enough time/will to judge everything so they just follow their cultural scripts. Here I post some spanish “invisible scripts”: – Business owners are always trying to scam workers – You have to buy a house as soon as possible, if you rent you are throwing your money away! – If one political party says 100 and another says its 0 then the… Read more »
Oski
5 years 11 months ago

Alfonso

Hi from Barcelona! Your first 4 scripts sound sooo totally familiar to me too. I think they are ingrained in our culture in Spain! 🙂

uncle buck
uncle buck
5 years 11 months ago

Greeting Article Bro

1. I sent out my resume to like… a 100 comanies! Why doesn’t someone hire me. I have X degree.
2. If I get a Masters Degree I’ll earn more money.
3. I want a Girlfriend/or B.F. so, I’ll spend my time at bars/clubs, then bitch later because I can’t meet anyone.
4. To buy a new car you NEED a car payment.
5. If you get married you rush out to buy a house to feel like ‘your on path’ of ‘everyone else’.

I’m so glad I’m perfect. LOL

suzanne
5 years 11 months ago

-Gifts always require reciprocation.
I always feel compelled to return the thoughtful gesture, even if its not in my budget.
-There’s no such thing as a free ride.
You gotta give something to get something.
-You can always count close friends/relatives to bail you out of a jam.
Sometimes you have to learn life’s lessons the hard way…it builds character

Michelle Shain
5 years 11 months ago

These are a few that I’ve bumped up against and noticed through the years:

-Charity is great as long as you aren’t the one receiving it.
-You have to work hard so you can retire and then you can do the things that you enjoy doing.
-Women are supposed to have too much of something- purses, shoes, makeup, etc.

rosenzwerg
rosenzwerg
5 years 11 months ago
As a divorce attorney, i have a chance to deal with numerous “hidden scripts” that dictate my clients’ interaction with me and their soon-to-be-ex. some I’ve noticed: 1. Lawyers (other professionals who get paid hourly) are always trying to squeeze more money out of me. 2. Having a television, despite their cost and my economic situation, is a necessity. 3. Public transportation is only for poor people. 4. If I don’t give my kids X then they will not like me, and I must be liked by my kids. 5. Thou shalt not be single. It is better to be… Read more »
Kelly A
Kelly A
5 years 11 months ago

The absolute confusion between #1 and #9 made my day. It’s harder to achieve a law degree so it’s valuable but if you do so successfully and charge a high hourly rate HOW DARE YOU?!

Michelle
Michelle
5 years 11 months ago

Ditto for physicians. If you work hard to be a physician and take care of people’s health, then your skills should be valuable and worthy of reimbursement, but physicians are not self-sacrificing enough by expecting people to pay for healthcare.

Prime
5 years 11 months ago

8. I am more valuable if I am “busy”. — oh gawd. i actually know an ex-friend who relishes saying this. whenever i ask her whats up she gives me the whole shebang of how busy she is. the funny thing is, she seems ti be soo proud of it. like she won a nobel prize for busyness

Divorced
Divorced
5 years 10 months ago

As someone who has been through divorce and watched friends go through divorce, you are so correct.

Brandon
Brandon
5 years 11 months ago

1. Get a good job so you can have good benefits. (You can pay for these things yourself)
2. You can do anything if you put your mind to it. (You can get rich if you put your mind do it but not everybody can be a professional sports player or famous singer)
3. Work hard all your life and save so you can enjoy retirement at 70. (Really? I would rather enjoy my life now. Besides, I don’t plan on retiring at 70 and doing nothing for the rest of my life.)

Chris Parsons
5 years 11 months ago

-If you don’t understand something, it’s a scam.
-The only way to succeed at a job is to go to a top college, work 60 hour weeks, and live in LA/San Fran/New York.
-If you are smart you should be a Lawyer or Doctor.

Aimee
Aimee
5 years 11 months ago
Here are some of mine, some of which I’m working on challenging: -If you’re not leaving your house and working at least 8 hours, you’re doing something wrong and you need to drop everything you’re doing and get a real job. -If you’re not taking like 25 credits and running three clubs and a fraternity, you’re a failure at college and will never get a decent job. (Cal Newport’s blog is helping me challenge this) -Looking good is really important. -Material possessions aren’t important and won’t make you happy (I feel happy with some of my possessions..) -It’s a waste… Read more »
Julie
Julie
5 years 11 months ago

1. You are not an adult if you still live with your parents. (This one is huge for me).
2. There’s a salary threshold, and a list of job titles, that defines “success”.
3. As long as you love each other, it doesn’t matter how many fights you have or how different your views are.

RJ Weiss
5 years 11 months ago

Two come immediatly to mind:

# 1 – Buying a house after I got married. I figured that was the next step. About two years later, were planning on going back to renting.

# 2 – Investing means buying individual stocks. About 6 years ago, I started investing. I immediately thought that investing meant individual stock investing. I had no idea what an IRA was at the time. Luckily, I read Bogleheads and corrected course.

tennisf16
tennisf16
5 years 11 months ago
A few that I still follow, more or less… 1.) Getting a technical degree will guarantee you can do anything you want (you can always go non-techy, but you can’t go from a non-techy major to a technical field). 2.) The golden rule–whoever has the gold makes the rules. 3.) Patriotism #1 comes from my parents, one who has a PhD in chemistry, the other has a master’s. I definitely agreed with parents on this one for a while–I didn’t know what I wanted to major in in college so I chose engineering. My parents were very supportive of this… Read more »
James
James
1 year 21 days ago

totally agree on #1. I got into engineering (amazed how many engineers are here..) because of my cousins, 1 EE 1 CE 1 material science !

mellowbride
mellowbride
5 years 11 months ago
The script that I managed to avoid was that you need to spend a lot of money on a wedding. The average wedding in the US costs $30,000.00! That’s a down payment on a house! Seriously, the marketing begins when we’re about two. Dream wedding! “Spend a huge amount of money on what is effectively an announcement to the world that the two of you are now married.” I know a guy who works at a pizza place who has been saving up for a wedding for four years because his girlfriend wants a $30,000 wedding. How did she pick… Read more »
Jennifer
Jennifer
5 years 11 months ago
That … sounds … PERFECT! What a fun, fantastic wedding! I’m going to cut and paste what you wrote and keep it for my daughter to read down the track. She’s 18, about to enter university to begin an IT degree and she is a real individual. I’ve always said to her, don’t indulge in the same wedding as everyone else. I had a stock standard traditional wedding and yes, I was unhappy on the day due to the stress. I love all the “quirky” but really in a sense, normal things you did. The Oreos story is gorgeous. 🙂… Read more »
Asmita
Asmita
5 years 11 months ago
1) Having more and/or expensive stuff is important for your standing among your peers. 2) Everyone, of course, has to settle down, and must do so by a certain age. 3) Something very similar I experienced in both India and the US: If you get into a good school in India and are a girl, it is assumed that you must have secured or will secure an admission in the “girls’ quota” – affirmative action for girl students. As a scientist in the US, if you get a grant over your male colleagues, it is assumed that it is because… Read more »
Kevin @ Thousandaire.com
5 years 11 months ago

What script should I follow? The invisible ones set by my culture (“I should follow my passions”), the clearly visible ones set by bloggers (“you should apply to the best universities you can”), or the ones I come up with based on my own principles?

trackback

[…] Ramit from I Will Teach You To Be Rich had a great post today about scripts, certain beliefs about our lives that cause us to make stupid decisions. Well, I’m going to add another script to my own list, the inability to ask for what I want.  However, I’m not just going to be aware of this script, I’m also going to try and break it, because it has to stop. […]

Brett
5 years 11 months ago

Without reading all the other comments, and at risk of repeating some:

1) I should work for a large company for at least ten years before deciding to start my own company.
2) People should live and spend according to their relative incomes.
3) Be able to provide the same or better upbringing for my children that I received.

Jess
Jess
5 years 11 months ago
Scripts I’ve rejected: -If you’re not working for a local, recognized, “secure” company, you don’t have a real job. -If you don’t leave the house to go to work, you’re unemployed. Home office? What’s that? -If you have doubts about your relationship, get married anyway. -It’s wrong to drop out of college to work before finishing your degree. -If your student loans are too expensive and you can’t find a skilled job, stay in college; get an advanced degree so your loans will be deferred. (Proud to say I have no student loans and make time to keep learning for… Read more »
Jess
Jess
5 years 11 months ago

(I don’t think it’s foolish to spend money on a newer car, but so many of us do it automatically that it’s worth evaluating based on your situation.)

Snufkin
5 years 11 months ago
Yeah I kind of scratched my head over that one line in FNL – like couldn’t Lila apply for scholarships, student loans or work study? Although half the reason why I like watching it (besides being a UT alum w/fond memories of Austin) is that it’s one of the few shows around that really talks about social class. That particular point kind of illustrates the Garrity’s fall from being affluent into more middle class, thanks to Buddy’s behavior. Even though Riggins is (ultimately) a decent person, you get the sense that Buddy is mostly horrified that Lyla would date somebody… Read more »
Pretty Unfamous
5 years 11 months ago

In my life I see the following in American society

1. A car is a necessity / buses are only for the poor.
2. Always smile and be agreeable, even if you have an opposite opinion.
3. Don’t ever let anyone know about the skeletons in your closet/family’s closet.

David
David
5 years 11 months ago
I think industries ‘create’ a lot of scripts some of us live by…whether it be advertisement, movie catch phrases, etc… “No pain, no gain” “Just do it” “Be all that you can be” “Show me the money” what’s interesting, too, is how the scripts evolve…20 years ago if you had a computer you were a geek…now, if you aren’t connected, your pretty lame. we all have to look like we have some tech saviness to have that “cool” geek look…that trendiness (Apple anyone?) Scripts can vary based on region…I guess the obvious example of this is what can be deemed… Read more »
VS
VS
5 years 11 months ago

Ramit you watched 3 idiots…………

SW
SW
5 years 11 months ago
Current scripts are too hard to see, but growing up I believed a lot of garbage. 1. When you get home you relax. I didn’t know what it was that made other homes tick but it turns out that everyone else at least does some dishes or laundry, and the people I really admired actually planned out their next day, gathered items and prepared for the next day or week. 2. It’s not a really good Thanksgiving meal unless there are 9 pies, 6 side dishes, 3 meats, 3 breads and a misc. thing or two and another type of… Read more »
Jim
Jim
5 years 11 months ago

Scripts I grew up with, have cast aside as an adult/parent, but still witness daily from friends/co-workers:

1) Children must excel in math and science; music and art are expendable and distracting.
2) Once you have children, you need to give up/sacrifice your own interests and dreams so that they can have a better future.
3) “They say…” – this invisible and undefinable entity known as “they” has all the answers to everything.

kelli
kelli
11 months 28 days ago

I have a problem with #2 as well. It’s good to make a certain degree of sacrifices for your kids, but the problem with that philosophy is your kids won’t really be happy because they’ll sacrifice their joy for their kids, who will sacrifice their joy for their kids. In the end, who’s ever happy? That’s why I’ve concluded it’s pointless to sacrifice your joy for another person. We need to all “sweep our own front porch”

mana
mana
5 years 11 months ago
I’ve had the honor and luck to have come from a region (we called *ourselves* redneck) and gotten a scholarship to go to an East Coast prep school, and likewise onto an Ivy League college. The cultural differences between the established old money and where I grew up were vast. Where I was from, once a kid was 18, he was cut loose, or was expected to contribute to the family. In the more successful families, not necessarily all wealthy, but in terms of rearing sane healthy kids with little or no dysfunction, who were able to fend for themselves… Read more »
stephane
stephane
5 years 11 months ago
Some I am aware off and trying to fight : You must work 8+ hours a day ( I am SE , working from home and waste time at my computer even when I don t have work – as I am suppose to be working I can t do anything else …) Buying a house is good investment (LOL) Work all your life to enjoy your retirement when you are less mobile/active As a foreigner living in the US NOT for economics reasons, these make laugh * The US is the best country in the world (no matter the… Read more »
Gordon
Gordon
5 years 11 months ago
I have a hard time coming up with my own invisible scripts – but I would like to share one impression I’ve had as a Canadian living in the US. A core belief of many Americans is that there cannot be too much liberty. Contrast to one of the founding debates of Canada, D’Arcy McGee – “The two great things that all men aim at in any free government are liberty and permanency. We have had liberty enough – too much perhaps in some respects …” http://bit.ly/9LDqcw I think the strength of this belief underlies a lot of the divisions… Read more »
stephane
stephane
5 years 11 months ago

Buy and Hold

Marco
Marco
5 years 11 months ago

If I work late, I’ll get a raise/promotion.

John Bardos - JetSetCitizen
5 years 11 months ago
I never realized how many cultural scripts influenced my life until I left Canada to move to Japan. Only then could I see how controlled we are by our own society, peers and family. Everything was called into question including seemingly mundane things like: How to wash dishes. How toilets work. How to take a bath. How big a house should be. Other bigger cultural scripts were; I need top of the line equipment to follow my hobbies. It is cool to be a non-conformist. Tattoos and body piercings make you rebel. School and corporations are evil. It is necessary… Read more »
NYGUY
NYGUY
5 years 11 months ago
@mellowbride….”The Queen protests too much, me think”. I’ve thrown Halloween parties, Christmas parties and New Years parties for friends were I rented a hall, catered food, open bar and would simply charge everyone a small price per person to cover most of the expenses. To come to a party with a mixture of my friends, girlfriends friends and work friends making it a blend of different people who all don’t know each other. Where else could my friends find a party that cost something like $30/person and be able to eat, drink, dance and meet new people on a holiday?… Read more »
mellowbride
mellowbride
5 years 11 months ago
@NYGUY You’re right, I sound a wee bit judgemental. My apologies. What I was trying to get across, but didn’t very well, is that in the US, if you’re a girl, the wedding industry really works on you very hard, since you’re very small. When I started planning my wedding, I was really shocked to find out how much is assumed, and how much these assumptions play into the hands of an industry that in reality is there to provide a standardized aesthetic, extract as much money out of parents’ insecurities as possible, and little else. After two days of… Read more »
Shannon
5 years 11 months ago

Great post. Here are my 3:
– I need to have a home and considerable savings before starting a family.
– If I don’t give my days rigid structure, I will melt into a lazy blob.
– I must have a positive attitude at ALL times.

craig gonzales
5 years 11 months ago

me (texan w/ hispanic background)

1. become incredibly successful in order to take care of family

2. have some sort of faith despite how illogical it is [i dont and i somehow feel guilty for that… the catholic upbringing affects me even after i swear it off]

3. live close to home with the family [i don’t, but it gnaws at me despite the ridiculousness of such a proposition]

fiance [thai national, still living in thailand]
1. take care of family even if not successful

2. looking good is more important than thinking well

3. some people (monarchy and high-society) are born better than other people

cg

Andy
5 years 11 months ago
Every member of one of the families on my road is severely overweight. Their youngest daughter was recently diagnosed with a thyroid problem – same issue as everyone else in the family. They claim it’s hereditary, which may be the case, but a quick look at their shopping carts in the grocery store hints at a different story. Numerous bags of chips, regular soda, loaves of white bread, ice cream… I think the invisible script is that they don’t believe the food they are poisoning themselves with is playing a role. If a doctor says “take this medicine to treat… Read more »
ramanuj
5 years 11 months ago

very good point. i appreciate.

Chris
Chris
5 years 11 months ago

“I should go to college” even to begin with is a script unto itself.

“I should ‘retire’ when I’m 65”

“She can keep eating like that and she won’t get fat”

Chris
Chris
5 years 11 months ago

Never forget people, you are products of environments, and most of you, products of your products!

Chris
Chris
5 years 11 months ago

Never forget people, you are products of your environment, and most of you, products of your products!

Erica
Erica
5 years 11 months ago
I’ve managed to break myself of a few scripts in the last 2 years (such as I need to buy property, I need an advanced degree), but here’s 2 I still follow: 1) I’m not an expert at x/don’t have on-the job experience with x, so no one will want to hire me for it and I shouldn’t put that much effort into proving that I can still do a good job. 2) I shouldn’t accept financial support from my family because I have to prove I can support myself and not have to be bailed out like other family… Read more »
Sarah
Sarah
5 years 11 months ago
Erica, you’ve read my mind. I’m a recent graduate from college with very limited experience. I stop myself from even thinking about appying to jobs because I figure “I don’t meet the requirements, so they’d never hire me”. Don’t get me started on accepting financial support. I’m 20+ years old, how dare I even think about getting help from my parents? >_> My (family) scripts – Don’t even think about meeting a guy. Arranged marriage is your option. – (better yet) You get to have a say in your life *after* you get married. (I say wtf) I’m 24 years… Read more »
Jenn
Jenn
5 years 11 months ago
1. Better schools + more degrees = more opportunities. I have found it to be more true that better schools = “better opportunities”, where ‘better’ is defined by some elite group of people very oriented to working all the time and earning money as rapidly as possible. Square peg, meet round hole. 2. Mothers must always put their kids first. Any leisure time alone is a sign of uncommitted parenting for mothers. Fathers, however, need such time alone and should be given it whenever possible. My head doesn’t believe this, but my gut (where I assume guilt is produced) still… Read more »
cc
cc
5 years 11 months ago

the biggest script i’ve been breaking lately is “you have to have a regular full-time job to survive”
i’ve never had a full-time job in my life, and hated all my part-time jobs. freelancing is the life for me <3 sure i don't have oodles of extra cash to blow, but my essentials are taken care of, i'm comfortable and i'm very much happier than if i were in a regular job!

Kevin M
Kevin M
5 years 11 months ago

-Go to college
-Get a job – if you’re not working 40+ hours something is wrong
-Buy a new car
-Buy a house
-Get married
-Have first child
-Sell “starter” home, buy bigger house (w/30 year mortgage)
-Have another child
-Spend $ on kids, because you know “they’re expensive”
-Save 10%
-Buy and hold index funds, don’t forget to dollar cost average!
-Refinance mortgage and cash out to take the vacation “you deserve”
-Retire happily at age 65 with 15 years left on your mortgage

K00kyKelly
5 years 11 months ago
I totally agree on the kids are expensive thing. I see so many people buy all kinds of crap for their kids and then complain about being broke. Um, does your kid really need a new toy every week? Kids don’t need to be expensive when they’re little! Do you really need to dedicate a whole room full of furniture for newborn? How many movies are there with a nesting pregnant woman scene? They paint the room for the new kid and put up all this cutesy stuff on the walls and buy lots of stuff to put in the… Read more »
Kyle Pennell
Kyle Pennell
5 years 11 months ago

I really really enjoyed these and now will get to work on taking apart my self-limiting scripts the best I can.

Thank you all, I read every single comment.

Lisa Morosky
5 years 11 months ago
Interesting question to ask. I guess three of mine would be: “Go to college. Get a good job. Work for someone else the rest of your life.” “Be involved in lots of community, church, social, and any-other-kinds-of groups. Be really social.” “Plant roots and settle down.” What’s interesting is that not all three of those bother me. So while I detest the typical 9-5 job and vow to never go back, and tend to just be involved in a couple of groups and have a smaller group of friends, I DO want to plant roots (I’ve been moving around since… Read more »
Sarah
5 years 11 months ago

Ramit – great post, as usual. As always, a fan of your work.
Here are some scripts that I live by – and shouldn’t:
* If I’m not good at it, I shouldn’t do it – stick to what you’re good at
* If you’re not enjoying it, then it’s not the right work for you – your job should be something that you love and enjoy

NL
NL
5 years 11 months ago

1. Always have cash on you. On your body, literally! Shirt/pants’ pockets, not in the jacket. (Underwear pockets? 😉
2. Have a small cash stash in the car and in the office
3. Forget and don’t count on this money, until you’re in a desperate situation

The downside is that your spouse, friends and parents start to count on you.
“Because he always has some cash” 🙂

NL
NL
5 years 11 months ago

The invisible script is “You never know what happens today”
Hailing from Kazakhstan (Middle Asia)

Zoe
Zoe
5 years 11 months ago

For me (woman of deeply southern roots):

– Don’t move out of state. Otherwise, how will you support your parents in their old age?
– I have no money, therefore can’t go to college
– Military service is the highest honor and also how you pay for college if you really want to go.
– Why leave Texas? It has everything you want. (see point number one)

I’ve just come to terms that it’s okay to take out student loans for school. This was a huge epiphany for me.

Aimee
Aimee
5 years 11 months ago

I’m glad to see Southerners acknowledging the “live close to your parents so you can take care of them in their old age” script. My mom (a Texan) told me yesterday they’re planning on moving to wherever I am in a few years so it’s easier for me to take care of them. I’m glad that it’s not just me that’s confused by this.

bree
bree
5 years 11 months ago

I am a bad person if I:
-Eat junk food more than once a week
-Watch more than 1 hour of TV a day
-Don’t clean my appartment every week

I am a good person if I:
-Exercise every day
-Read “X” amount of books every month
-Stay busy at all times no matter how trivial the task

Jason
Jason
5 years 11 months ago

It’s America. I can do whatever I want.

Zoe
Zoe
5 years 11 months ago
Ramit – This got me thinking of invisible scripts I’ve obtained through my parenting, and society at large. I live in a pretty rural area of Texas, so values are pretty conservative around here, so my points posted earlier, as I thought about it, came from societal influences, not my parents. My parents were pretty liberal in my raising, so I often sense a clash of two worlds. Even then, my parents are polar opposites. For example, a script from my mom is: Enjoy life, follow those passions and NO WIRE HANGERS. (jsut kidding) From my dad: It’s all about… Read more »
Wanda
Wanda
5 years 11 months ago
As I read through all of the previous comments, I recognized so many of them as having been…at one time…an invisible script in my life. But having worked diligently over the years to question all assumptions of how/what a 2nd generation Italian-American daughter should be/act, etc., at the age of 68 I’ve finally found one that works for me and is a VERY VISIBLE part of my life (just ask my friends who range from 11 to 100 ^_^): Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved… Read more »
galen
galen
5 years 11 months ago

That deserves an overwhelming chorus of “Amen!”

Vida
Vida
5 years 11 months ago

I second that!!

MD
5 years 11 months ago

I’m guilty of these:

1. I work hard so I deserve my trips.

I like to go on at least 2-3 trips a year. I justify this by telling myself that I work hard throughout the year.

2. You need to hook up with lots of people before settling down.

Not sure what to add.

3. If you don’t spend lots of time working on something, it’s worthless.

I’ve slowly realized from the posts on your site that it’s about working smart (80/20 rule) and not about spending 100 hours on every project.

Brandy
Brandy
5 years 11 months ago

This post (and these comments) are enlightening. One I didn’t see mentioned that I think is especially prevalent among women (unfortunately) is that you must complain about your body/face/hair to other women, even if you’re perfectly happy with the way you look.

Maxime Linard
Maxime Linard
5 years 11 months ago

Hello,
Can’t figure mine but I’ll say for my friends :
1) Go to university after school (me too)
2) Find a good paying job after university (I did the same but I changed my mind a few months after)
3) Buy a house or an appartement (I’m not going to do this before at least 5 years when I’ll know what my life will be for the next 10 years).

Hope this helps,

Srinivas Rao
5 years 11 months ago
Ramit, Of all the posts I’ve read on your blog, this one is by far my favorite. As an Indian person I can completely relate to everything you’ve talked about here. Here’s a few invisible scripts that held me back for a while: 1) Because I didn’t go to “insert-ivy league business school” I’m not going to be as successful as my friends who I went to Berkeley with. 2) I”m supposed to be working a 9 to 5 job that pays at least 90k since I went to business school 3) I’m Indian and I”m 32 so I probably… Read more »
S Shah
S Shah
5 years 11 months ago

hahaha…I am going to bring that up next time my parents say all your friends are married

Tim Rosanelli
5 years 11 months ago
Ramit, great topic! A great book about this is “What To Say When You Talk To Yourself”. A must read for anyone looking to discover success. I found this PDF online that the author wrote and is the cliff note version http://www.bombaybookclub.com/download/What%20To%20Say%20When%20You%20Talk%20To%20Yourself.pdf. I noticed that most people commenting went directly to all the negative scripts they have. I had to fight through so many negative scripts especially in building my business. Here’s some of my current scripts. Since I intentional programmed them in my psyche, they may seem vastly different then most people. *If you don’t ask the question, the… Read more »
Tim Rosanelli
5 years 11 months ago

HaHa! It wouldn’t be the first time I got kicked in the head, but at least, I could say it was by a best selling author.

I wrote an outline for an article then in September, I got a great opportunity that expectantly raised my student count by 40-50% almost overnight. Good problem but I needed to deal with some growing pains for the last month that’s why I haven’t commented lately.

Things are almost back to normal and I should have time to start working on side projects.

Sorry, it’s taking so long.

Sapna
Sapna
5 years 11 months ago
I too only watch Indian movies when they are highly recommended.:-) Having read your book IWTYTBR, even though in late 30s, I realize there is a lot of ingrained values about money we learn from our parents. It may be a cultural stereotype but they are part of invisible scripts that condition our upbringing. Being an Indian brought up in Canada/States since age of 9, I can relate. I learned after my father’s numerous failed business venture and my mother’s hands off the finances that I needed to be always be in charge of $ no matter how little I… Read more »
K00kyKelly
5 years 11 months ago

It’s not just women that are looked down upon for staying home to care for the kids. Men staying home to care for kids is even less accepted.

Stanley Lee
5 years 11 months ago

Yet both parents a lot of the times regretted on how little time they spent with their kids when they were young and needed parental attention the most.

Samantha
Samantha
5 years 11 months ago
I’ve been reading for a long time, but this has got to be one of my favorite posts ever. Some invisible scripts…. 1) It would be suicide to leave your “good job” as a teacher–the job is secure, the hours flexible and the benefits amazing. Never mind working for a school district and all of its red tape is totally unstimulating and its near impossible to get projects off the ground. or 2) Its ridiculous to leave a job in teaching–other jobs don’t have tenure and you could get fired; there are no guarantees. Besides, we are in a recession.… Read more »
Sarah W
Sarah W
5 years 11 months ago
There are some great scripts in these comments! Here are a few that I have noticed in American society: * I am a victim. Don’t you notice, everywhere you look, someone is a victim of something? We are all victims of our coffee being too hot, our government taking our money, that backstabbing friend (who we would never say a bad thing about- unless they deserved it, of course!) Lawyers in the US make bank because people constantly believe they have been wronged, which leads me to my next script: *I deserve the very best. Do you deserve the very… Read more »
Cory Kaufman
5 years 11 months ago
Cheaper is always better – I’ve partially gotten over this mentality, and these days I try to look for quality/value over getting the lowest deal. But it’s a struggle. Real Estate is a great way to invest – dad keeps pressuring me to buy a house, even though we have a cheap apartment that we love. I need to work for a large corporation in order to make a real living – I’ve been working for myself and loving it, and don’t need to sell out for a steady paycheck. On the other hand, some more positive scripts I’ve adopted… Read more »
James
James
5 years 11 months ago

I also follow a similar rule as your $20 favor. While I don’t expect a return on a favor, people have gone out of their way to help me when I needed it.

Steve
5 years 11 months ago

Ramit,

The key to uncovering our own scripts is doing exactly what you did. Having inherited some of your Indian scripts, and having lived in the US with its own scripts, watching something from Indian culture made the scripts obvious. You may have not picked up on them if they were always around. Watching a totally different culture (Texas football culture) allowed you to easily see what their scripts were. I think watching something from another culture and saying “Well, I would never..” is a good way to reveal our own scripts and biases.

Really thought provoking post.

George Cano
George Cano
5 years 11 months ago

Myth: I’m fat but diets rarely work so why try.
Myth: Women love small children.
Myth: America is the best country.

Cat
Cat
5 years 11 months ago

Thanks to everyone for the thought-provoking comments.

I’m female, from an urban middle-class family. A few scripts from my life:

– Girls and women exist to clean up after boys and men. This was huge in my family, and even as an adult I wasted years in underpaid jobs that limited my role to clean-up behind the scenes until I quit and started my own business. (I got a good kick in the pants from Barbara Stanny’s book Overcoming Underearning.)

– Don’t mention any of your successes, even to friends, because that’s bragging.

Cory Kaufman
5 years 11 months ago

Cat,

> Girls and women exist to clean up after boys and men.

I’ve noticed this script as well. For example: I was doing a project at a high school where my girlfriend’s mom taught. One day I unwittingly wore a shirt inside out for the entire day, and her students blamed *my girlfriend* for not noticing and fixing it. I didn’t get any of the blame.

James
James
5 years 11 months ago
I might get lost in the tide here, but here are several scripts that I have found over the years. 1. The need to be free. It doesn’t matter what I am doing, but I must know that I can drop everything and do something or go somewhere else. It’s like claustrophobia to me, and one of my greatest fears. 2. Risk adverse. I’m actively trying to break this one, and have been moderately successful so far. I’ve seen my Dad start and fail many businesses and it has left my parents financially stunted. It also doesn’t help that my… Read more »
Jenni
5 years 11 months ago
Your “invisible scripts” refer more to cultural assumptions, but here are my dad’s forms of inauthentic communication–the categories people fall into when they’re talking but not actually communicating: — “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen.” What I’ve experienced is so much worse than other people! Even if someone has faced something similar, their situation is always way worse. And no one understands. — “Yeah but what you don’t understand is …” Someone tells you about their problem, and you suggest X, Y, and Z things they can do to fix it/change the situation. But they can’t possibly do that, because… Read more »
mana
mana
5 years 11 months ago

How about circumcision?

Steve O
Steve O
5 years 11 months ago
Here are three American scripts (schema) that I consciously do not subscribe to, but have followed me to one extent or another because of others’ expectations. 1. School = job. 95% of the people cannot comprehend that I intended on using my SKILLS and passions to choose my career, not a piece of paper. I went to college to experience new things and meet new people, not because I thought my classes would magically make me a better employee. My one “education” goal for college was to learn French, and that’s exactly what I did. 2. Owning a house is… Read more »
sw
sw
5 years 11 months ago
Here are some scripts from myself, friends, and acquaintances. They come from the past and the present…..and they’re all over the place. Sorry, they’re not really organized. Oh, and just so you know, some of these are….a little distasteful (race, class, etc.) But they exist. Otherwise I wouldn’t have included them. fyi, I grew up in a smallish town in Texas which is reflected in some of these. The US is the greatest nation in the world. Consequently, it has the best schools and health care. All developing countries have poor healthcare. Is that true? If you have the time,… Read more »
Matt
Matt
5 years 11 months ago

American dream : you can do anything if you “put your mind to it”

Sarah
Sarah
5 years 11 months ago
I’m a postdoctoral researcher in academia. Below are some scripts I do or at have some point subscribed related to academe: 1. I’m only as good as my publication history and funding from competitive grants. 2. The only respectable goal is a tenure, and preferably someplace good. 3. I’m not working hard enough if I’m not putting in at least 60 hours per week. 4. There’s a good chance I’m not smart enough to figure this research problem out or solve it correctly. 5. I need everyone to think well of me and my potential. 6. It can’t be a… Read more »
Joshua Skaja
5 years 11 months ago

I’m a private music instructor, mostly teaching guitar to middle aged men.

The thing I hear over and over again that drives me nuts: “I can’t sing–I don’t have a good voice.”

Singing is not like being tall. It’s a learnable skill. You wouldn’t expect to pick up a guitar or sit down at the piano and be good immediately. Those things take work. Fun work, but work all the same.

For some reason, most people think you either have it or you don’t.

Great Derek Sivers post about how long it took him to be a good singer:
http://sivers.org/15-years

Ambrr
Ambrr
5 years 11 months ago

LOVE this blog! Great fun to read. Keep rm coming!

Marisa
Marisa
5 years 11 months ago

Do what you love and you’ll find a way to make it work. No amount of money can buy you fulfillment.
The world may or may not kick you when you’re down, but don’t hang around on the ground waiting to find out.
You can have it all, you should have it all, and anything less is a failure to achieve.

Ideas at the Bottom
5 years 11 months ago
Many of these invisible scripts are generally written by somebody else, And thats why they are invisible to us! When we right our scripts by our own hands; we know what is there in the scripts. This is a basic human psychological and philosophical folly that we tend to accept that people in authority must be right. It’s this assumption that Socrates wanted us to challenge by urging us to think logically about the nonsense they often come out with, rather than being struck dumb by their aura of importance and air of suave certainty. Ask yourself: “How many times… Read more »
Nesha C.
Nesha C.
5 years 11 months ago

Responsibility is doing things you don’t like, so that you have the money do you what you do like.

My kinky, coily, curly hair is beautiful right out of my head.

Not everyone is meant to be a mother or a father.

galen
galen
5 years 11 months ago
Some of these are mine, some not. “If I’m not inherently good at something, I can do just enough to get by and avoid it for the rest of my life.” I really see this in people’s attitudes towards math or science. Both are fundamental to having even a basic understanding of how reality functions and knowledge in both fields is more about work and effort than talent. Even if you have the talent, you still have to put in the time. EVERYTHING worthwhile requires periods of just grinding it out. “Achievement, especially academically, is based on talent, not effort… Read more »
Grace
Grace
5 years 11 months ago
1. Creative jobs are for other people (or for fools who wind up waiting tables in at Waffle House). 2. Parents don’t give children financial assistance after college by any sort of rhyme or reason. For example, we will not help you with living expenses in grad school – it’s too expensive and for other people. But if you work a low-paying workingman’s job and can’t afford health insurance, parents will step in to pay for the medical bills you incur when you get into an ATV accident. 3. We are middle class, not wealthy. As long as you still… Read more »
Tony Kaler
Tony Kaler
5 years 11 months ago

I am Indian so these are embedded in my head since childhood…
1.Be a doctor or engineer everything else is worthless.
2.Work hard and get a JOB with some reputed company.
3. Repeat the above 2 with your kids!!!!

Joe
Joe
5 years 11 months ago
I believe certain invisible scripts guide our lives such as, pusue a career in what you enjoy or good at, because in the past this has been practised by people and resulted in some form of fulfillment or success. The success stories of practing this or other scripts have been passed on from generation to generation, slowly assimilating into our popular culture and logical thinking. Although, you can make some condictions to these scripts such as, For e.g. Do what you enjoy, what if you enjoy bell ringing 😕 is becoming the worlds best bell ringer actually going to make… Read more »
K00kyKelly
5 years 11 months ago

If you want to destroy your scripts on homeless people read The Glass Castle. Something about the life circumstances discussion brought that to mind. Amazing book, unusual family!

suresh
5 years 11 months ago
This is the best post of Ramit that I have read! I am not sure of what my scripts currently are, but I had the following: btw, I am an Indian, doing PhD in the US. 1. You should learn maths. (I studied engineering because this what every one should do) 2. If I dont get admission for Electronics Engineering (the most demanding at my time – computer science was not there!) I will not get a good job 3. Only men are intelligent. When I became a teacher in an engineering school, the most brightest students I found –… Read more »
Lilja
Lilja
5 years 11 months ago
The Icelandic scripts: *Everything will turn out alright. *If things don’t turn out alright, blame someone else. *Get an education, get a job, get a boyfriend/girlfriend, married, children, house, car and in case this does not provide happiness, repeat process until it does. *Money issues are like sex issues of yesterday. Everybody has them, but no one wants to talk about them. The scripts are actually just ways for us humans to help us feel normal. Anyone who violates them could feel anxiety and cause anxiety in others for a little while because todays society doesn’t know any better and… Read more »
Tamarisk
Tamarisk
5 years 11 months ago

Lordy! So many women have the fairytale myth – one day my prince will come, I don’t need to take financial responsibility for myself because eventually I’ll marry a millionaire/hedge fund manager/partner at a law firm, the fairy godmother myth…where does it stop. I think Cinderella, Snow White et al have a lot to answer for!

ramanuj
5 years 11 months ago
i have come across this often in college: 1. studying more means doing better in exam (nothing could be further from truth) 2. all law firms want to hire the toppers only (i am in a top law school in India – not a topper – and two law firms fought over me two months back and i have 10 months to go before i finish my course) 3. you must work more to make more money 4. you must be rich if you want to hang out with girls (not completely true, but kind of true) my god, the… Read more »
Jes M.
5 years 11 months ago

Nothing says American “invisible script” better than Nick Sanabria in “The Horse Race.”
http://www.nicksanabria.com/funny_stuff/Entries/2008/10/6_“the_Horserace”.htm

Katie
Katie
5 years 11 months ago

Ramit – this is my favorite post of yours yet!!

Tim Rosanelli
5 years 11 months ago
Man, this is such a great post that I was think about it some more. I have two great scripts that I inherited for my parents. * No matter what happens if you keep your faith, things always turn out for the best. I heard my parent, especially my mom, say this all the time when I was young and she’d follow it with examples. For example, right after college, I didn’t get a job offer after an interview. My mom would say, “Don’t worry, it will turn out for the better” and I received a job with a salary… Read more »
simplesimon
simplesimon
5 years 11 months ago
I’m a CoDA, child of deaf adults. Growing up with two cultures, hearing and deaf, three if you want to count Chinese too, has given me a perspective and understanding different than most people. “Deaf = Dumb/Disabled” – This is a “hearing” script that the deaf community resents and tries its best to break by stressing education as much as possible in their children and community. The really hardcore members of the deaf community really want the community to be sort of self-sustaining, having no reliance on hearing people if possible. They really stick to their own not unlike most… Read more »
Tordosss
Tordosss
5 years 11 months ago

1. Work is virtue in its own. You should work hard and earn money. Just because.
2. You should prove that you can do better than most of the others.
3. You should find a wife that is fun to be with. And you should choose nicely because divorce is not an option.

I’m Russian but i’m not sure that these represents the scripts of our culture much. Of my family mostly. First two points are kinda stupid but I can’t get rid of them. Third one is accomplished, hopefully:)

Tee
Tee
5 years 11 months ago
Hah! This is interesting! The Finnish deeply set ideas are somewhat different… this is my view on some of them (and deep down I find that I believe them too): – Do not be an attention-seeker. Don’t boast with your success and never with money. Related: hide your happiness lest you make other people envious. – Education should be free, and it is. Even university is free, and you actually are paid to study. But you need to be good to get in. (Hey you brainy people, come to Finland to study and then stay!) – Only loosers live with… Read more »
Pyotr
Pyotr
5 years 11 months ago

1. One’s greatest desire should be made their greatest reality. With or without help.

2. Be enlightened: Children can’t understand why anyone would eat anything but icecream and watch anything but cartoons.

3. Life responds to deserve and not to need. If you sow, then you shall reap. You can’t just do whatever the hell you wanna do.

mana
mana
5 years 11 months ago
@Pyotr ‘Deserve’ has been a real trap for me, and it’s a word that I’ve found has layers that when peeled back, mean that there are cultural assumptions lurking beneath. It’s tied to the ‘victim’ script. If you don’t get what you deserve, then you’re deprived, or a victim. If I’m going to get something because I ‘deserve’ it, or I’m ‘worth it’, then something has ‘entitled’ me. These have all become watchwords for me. Cultural norms have everything to do with it. If you’re from a wealthy family, and all your friends are wealthy, and something bad happens to… Read more »
NYGUY
NYGUY
5 years 11 months ago
@ mellowbride I agree. Spend what you can and would like to spend, not try to overdue or match what your friends did at their wedding. Simple rule of ‘don’t try to keep up with the Jonses” applies to weddings as well. If I were to get engaged, I would be paying for my entire wedding without help of parents, fiance, or fiance’s parents. I will hate it if the preasure if on my from my fiance to match what her friends with larger incomes or wealthy parents spent. Some of her friends that are recently engaged are a lawyer… Read more »
Jim E.
Jim E.
5 years 11 months ago
One that’s pretty much beaten into every child growing up, which I am seeing again now that I’m a parent: “you have to share” I’m not sure if this is American or universal but we basically bully our kids into sharing so that more than half of them never really want to do it, but they only end up doing it because of perceived societal pressure. If it were possible for everyone to understand that they don’t have to share, but when they do they might just feel good about doing it of their own free will because they wanted… Read more »
MP
MP
5 years 11 months ago
These are scripts that I used to believe, and even though they are now conscious scripts with which I disagree, I have to deliberately adjust my knee jerk reactions. -People who are dressed impeccably well are more successful than those who are not. Great example of how wrong I was, see group photo at bottom of page 1. http://knowledge.allianz.com/nopi_downloads/downloads/Leadership%20Statement%20on%20Climate%20Action.pdf Did Richard Branson and Sergey Brin not have to care that they are what might be called sloppily dressed? Or do they surpass others in their endeavors because they do not adhere to social norms? Was comfort more important to them… Read more »
Josh
Josh
5 years 11 months ago
Here in America if child behaves differently, we diagnosis new disease and label him with that. Once child is labeled, he will behave that way and find many excuses to explain his behavior rather than improving him self. As I understand more about my self, I feel that I might have ADD/ADHD during my childhood and even today but guess what? My parents always told me that I am special and intelligent, hard worker and caring…. even though I was very moderate in my studies, often getting angry, ADHD symptom etc.. And that gave me time to understand and improve… Read more »
Mary Catherine
Mary Catherine
5 years 11 months ago
It’s funny, I recognize all of these scripts but I had a hard time trying to find ones that had affected my life until I came up with these two pretty strong ones: 1. *When you graduate college, you get a job right away.* – Now, if you need to support yourself, yes you probably need some sort of job or way of earning money. But I wish I had thought more about travel, alternative types of jobs/earning money before charging into the workforce because once you’re dependent on a certain amount of money to pay for your apartment and… Read more »
Stanley Lee
5 years 11 months ago

Hey Mary,

1. I’m actually writing about this as we speak on my major writing project for college students in my former major. That script applies only to less than 5% of the graduates (most of them have enough “valued” internship or real-work experience already though).

2. It’s poor management of credit cards that leads to the debt spiral.

Wow, we’re both 24.

Mary Catherine
Mary Catherine
5 years 11 months ago
Hey Stanley- I’m actually 26 now 🙂 Been carrying my secured credit card from BofA for awhile and was recently approved for a Gap Visa card – wahoo!! The woman at the register actually cheered for me because I told her I was very doubtful I’d be approved seeing as my own bank wouldn’t give me a card. It’s funny – I had other proven kinds of “credit” and responsibility with money – I’d never been late paying a bill, I had never missed a payment on my student loan, I had a steady job, but still a bank or… Read more »
Ajeef
Ajeef
5 years 11 months ago

Anyone got one of those LG phones with the green screen, well I got one still.

I get the weirdest look from people when I pull it out… and sometimes I feel like hiding it myself. I love it but i’m probably the only brown dude with a shitty looking awesome phone, TV job and an awesome wild but true-at-heart italian girlfriend who ran away from home and works in a grocery store to pay her way through life.

now that’s real. I feel good.

GC
GC
5 years 11 months ago
1) As an ABC: Education, especially college, is extremely important to wealth. You must major in something respectable and earns a good salary. Going to grad school is extremely desirable. While I agree that education is important, I do not feel that college for everyone. I do still see college as a means to higher salary, if that is your goal. I am not saying that you have to go to college to earn a high salary, but it can be an easier path if you choose the right major or know how you’re going to use your degree. But… Read more »
Sarah
Sarah
5 years 11 months ago

“I sometimes wonder if they still think I’m a child because I’m unmarried and a female.”
Yes, they do. My parents are the same way. I haven’t been completely dependent on them since I started college (I’ve graduated and work now) but in their minds, I am still 10 years old and cannot take care of myself.

SriV
SriV
5 years 11 months ago
HI Ramit, While I was thinking about this, I had recently read a post which you had written about how you were doing on the 30 day challenge and I think it was about cooking/eating at home to save money and how you finally asked your mom to bring over some food. And many of the people who commented said that they did not like this part.(I think the word was mooch). And being an Indian, I was thinking, that is perfectly normal in an Indian family.We do not think twice about asking our mom to cook something for us… Read more »
Daphers
Daphers
5 years 11 months ago

Invisible scripts for middle-class Brits:

You must go to university in order to get a “good” job. (Even a ridiculous subject at a bottom-ranking university is better than going straight to work out of school.)
That job will involve working for somebody else, in an office, doing something suitable cerebral, with a basic 9-5 structure.
You must buy a house ASAP.
Thin = happy.
As a female, the single most important thing you can do is be attractive. And young.
You will get married one day. Remaining single by choice or co-habiting long-term are not options.
… and then you must have children.

Mike @ MikeVeny.Com
5 years 11 months ago
Ramit, I couldn’t agree with you more. There are so many scripts that are so deeply embedded in every culture that we don’t even notice them. Some are big and some are very small. As part of my commitment to grow financially and as an entrepreneur, I have learned that it’s important for me to recognize certain scripts that I follow, let those close to me know about it, and make a firm to choice to question the script. When I’ve questioned a script that I’ve followed for most of my life, I begin thinking of alternatives that I have… Read more »
Sunil from The Extra Money Blog
5 years 11 months ago

1) people who are successful work their lives off, are bald, unhealthy and have terrible personal lives, therefore i am not going to work hard and realize my financial dreams

2) i want to be cool and have a bang on social life in college, so i have to join a fraternity or a s’rity or i won’t have either

K00kyKelly
5 years 11 months ago

I can really see #1 at work. So many managers fit that description (work 24/7, don’t eat vegetables, personal life on the back burner, overweight, etc). Then the manager job itself is undesirable: long hours, tons of meetings, deflecting political verbal abuse from your group, managing the budget which is always a bit short. As a result I have no interest in becoming a manager. So, if I don’t want to b a manager at some point how does my career path look?

Stanley Lee
5 years 11 months ago

That’s a thought pattern that I have analyzed to death before I let my future in the electrical engineering profession rest in peace altogether (wrt non-existent quality of life).

Matt
Matt
5 years 11 months ago

College is still cheaper than kids.

suresh
5 years 11 months ago

In most of the posts, isnt there an invisible script saying “all invisible scripts are bad” ? 🙂

Gary
5 years 11 months ago
I admit I haven’t read all of the comments (so many of them!) but here’s a few of the ones I come across the most as a guy in his 20s in Scotland: – You must spend every penny of your disposable income. If you have a job, you must spend your wages at the weekend on alcohol, for yourself and your “less fortunate” friends (students / unemployed). If you get a pay rise, that means you should move to a nicer (i.e. more expensive) flat. Any money left over after all that drinking and rent should be spent on… Read more »
Gaming Girl
Gaming Girl
5 years 11 months ago
Hmmm… scripts that I’ve seen operating in my life and/or my parents’ lives: – You must take care of family, no matter what. (despite the fact that you’re enabling addictions/bad decisions.) – My parents will always be there to bail me out financially. – You must buy your child a car. – You must go to college and grad school. (An aside on this. I want my Ph.D. For personal reasons. I’d be the first person in the family to do it. Suddenly, my mother’s talking about going back to school to get a Ph.D. I’m irrationally angry at her… Read more »
Kar
Kar
5 years 11 months ago

One that I’ve seen parents tell their children:

“You better get do well in school, get all A’s or else you’ll be flipping burgers for the rest of your life.”

K
K
5 years 11 months ago

Another script is that I’ve seen some Americans play out is the idea that you everyone you should be able to pull yourself up by the bootstraps and you’ll be like successful and rich all by your own will. If you cannot find a way out of misfortune they you are just “weak”.

Jim E.
Jim E.
5 years 11 months ago

This is a biggie, having been to India several times for business it’s one of the hardest cultural differences to overcome when discussing scheduling and quality control. Indians are very averse to change even when disguised as innovation.

Jessica
Jessica
5 years 11 months ago

I see this in my roommate (accountant) all the time: “If you wear jeans to work/can wear flip flops/have flexible hours/don’t work 70+ hours a week for 5 months of the year, you don’t have a “real” job.”

My fiance (also roomie) and other roommate both get a kick out of this – they work in software and IT, respectively, and roomie #1 just doesn’t understand “how they have a job”.

Felicity Fields
5 years 11 months ago
Funnily enough, this topic came up in conversation with 2 or 3 friends on different occasions over the last week. Some scripts I’ve noticed: -It’s not OK to be without health/dental/vision insurance, even if you are healthy and single -Going to college guarantees you a “good job” after graduation -It’s OK to criticize other people’s personality/psyche, but it’s not encouraged to explore your own -Taking online classes like Earn1K are scams -Doing a great job at work will get you promoted -Bringing your own lunch from home is OK, bringing groceries to work (like sandwich fixings) for the whole week… Read more »
Ayla
Ayla
5 years 11 months ago

Script that I have let go of:
-You have to watch TV.
One day I decided to turn off the TV and have not turned it on since. I even quit watching scripted shows online. Every now and then I go to the movies, I admit my favorite moment is when the lights go out, the movie doesn’t matter that much, if I want to see a story. You can get your news on NYTimes website and actually learn something by watching speeches and documentaries. There is nothing the Kardashians ever taught me!

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5 years 11 months ago

[…] days ago, I was reading this post by Ramit Sethi (author of “I Will Teach You To Be Rich” and co-founder of PBWiki) […]

Ren
5 years 11 months ago

1. Blood is thicker than water, so you have a responsibility to help family, no matter what (supporting certain family members who are hopelessly irresponsible doesn’t sit well with me, even if they did raise me)

2. Go to school. Lifelong learning is essential (before I understood the essence of the message, I was crestfallen when my grandmother asked if I was taking any classes shortly after I’d received my B.F.A.)

3. Money is the root of all evil (I’m slowly learning the true meaning of this phrase, not how my grandmothers had interpreted it)

Allison
5 years 11 months ago
– You must know how you’re going to make money with an idea before it’s worth doing. – You have to be “ready” before you apply to well known or prestigious grants/schools/etc. – You must spend 8 hours a day sitting at your desk in the presence of your co-workers or you’re not actually doing your work. (or your company will assume that they don’t need you) – You have to quit your job if you want to do anything that requires time away from the office (long term travel, artist residencies, etc.) – You have to have your own… Read more »
Lauryn Ballesteros
5 years 11 months ago

Here are some of my own as an entrepreneur:

1. Building a business must be a painful process that takes a long time
2. All businesses need to massive like Bank of America for example.
3. Making money is a hard process.

These are things I know not to be true, both from personal experience and plain fact (e.g. businesses vary in size).

My question is: what do you do with the scripts then? Which are relevant or true?

Jack Bennett
5 years 11 months ago
The script about “I work hard, so I deserve this nice apartment” really resonated with me. I really drank the Kool-Aid about what I “deserved” back when I was working a long-hours, high-paying job the past couple of years. I used to live in a nice luxury apartment, and I kept paying for my overpowered little car (loan + insurance + PARKING) despite using the car perhaps 1-2 days a month. Dumb. And because I was spending so many hours working, I thought nothing of going out on the weekend and spending too much on nice restaurants and drinks because… Read more »
deb voisin
5 years 11 months ago

1. you have to be starving to be a true artist
2. following your passions means ignoring what other people need/want
3. dancing is flirting and not worth doing just for your own enjoyment
4. abundance only comes with sacrifice/pain

Bruce
5 years 11 months ago
Mine have been: “There is only THE way to do things.” Really it was just “a way” and often not the best way. If you do _______ or if you don’t do _______ you won’t go to heaven. This was all about fear (in my case). It made life hell at times because it really limited choices and created a ton of guilt. I graduated Magna Cum Laude from a top tier school but was stuck in the mind set of “If you had worked harder you could have done better” I think “You aren’t worthy” was a big one… Read more »
millionaire5280
millionaire5280
5 years 11 months ago

Pay attention: Money is the root of all GOOD. Money gives you food, shelter, clothing, medical help, spiritual help – money gives you brand-new guts. The Bible says the LOVE of money is bad. MONEY ITSELF is GOOD.

D
5 years 11 months ago
The scripts I’ve been fighting recently are: 1. Work is unpleasant, and it’s unrealistic to want, or to actively go after, a job (self-employed or otherwise) that you actually enjoy. 2. If you’re employed you should hold on to your job for dear life, even if you hate it, because the economy sucks and you should feel grateful to be working. Don’t bother looking for something better — if you’re a new hire, you’ll be the first fired. 3. No one has any money to spend because the economy sucks. So don’t bother trying to get a side gig or… Read more »
deb
deb
5 years 11 months ago
AMEN!!! thought of a couple more which i have rebelled against but have the same question as others…what am i participating in that i do NOT sense which is driving my behavior? – being exuberantly joyful means making someone else look/feel bad so be smaller and sadder to fit in (like football touchdown dances being outlawed which would be enjoyed by all in West Africa) – Americans/Puritans believe in Black/White, Right/Wrong and discount the other 98% of shades of gray/richness. (FLAT! causes war, too!) – the body exists only on the frontal plane (ie- magazine images) so people break themselves… Read more »
vladimir
vladimir
5 years 11 months ago

Having two parents from the former Yugoslavia, now Serbia who both were teachers, I was told to stay out of jobs that are part of the “System.”

GET A PROFESSION where you can be independent and be your own boss.

I choose law school and now I practice criminal defense. The money will not make me rich, but it beats a teacher job any day. I know of many lawyers whose parents are from eastern Europe and they know this concept very well.

Allen
Allen
5 years 11 months ago
In the “completely missing the point” category, here’s how American football is scored: Kick the ball through the uprights, score three points. Run the ball into the other team’s end zone (or catch a pass in there), score six points and get a bonus: The ball is placed on the two-yard line, and you can either kick it through the uprights for one point or try to run/throw the ball back in the end zone for two points. End the play with the ball in (or batted out of) YOUR end zone, the other team scores two points and you… Read more »
Sarah
Sarah
5 years 10 months ago
White Australian female here. It’s been great to read all these comments. They made me think not only of my own scripts, but how they differ from those imposed by my parents (immigrants): Them: Art and Music is a waste of time. Focus on Maths and English. Me: Find your unique talent and learn how to sell it well. No one else developed their drawing skills as a child the way I did, much to my parent’s disgust 😛 Add that to a Comp Sci degree and you have a winning combination in the web industry. Them: If a girl… Read more »
Sheridan
5 years 10 months ago

I have a script that I didn’t see covered. I was a GT (Gifted and Talented) child all through school. I have a high IQ and have always done well in academic pursuits, and now in technical jobs. Years of public school, however, left me with the script.

* If you do that better than your peers you aren’t being fair to them.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve caught myself backing down from something because I didn’t want to be unfair to people who couldn’t (or even just wouldn’t) do it.

Allison
Allison
5 years 10 months ago

Oh, that’s a good one!

Jack Bennett
5 years 10 months ago
Sheridan, I know that one. I was in “giftie” classes through school, and one of the scripts that I got from that was a little bit different – it was something like: “Intellectually gifted” is the best and most special part of your identity. If you have to struggle for a while or work really hard at something, you must not be *really* gifted. So if you’re going to work hard, at least make things *look* effortless. This was a tough one to unlearn, but I seemed to make steady progress on it during college, through conscious effort and redefinition… Read more »
Lee
5 years 10 months ago
Here’s a few more: You’re not a real entrepreneur unless you are in Silicon Valley and raised money from a venture capital firm on Sand Hill Road. Starting any other kind of business is worthless (especially profitable ones, or ones that do not fit stereotypes about startups), and they are all merely ‘lifestyle businesses’. You need to have a regular schedule, and do certain things at certain times of day, every day, except on weekends. You should ideally be sitting in front of a computer or at desk the majority of each weekday, otherwise you are not working. It is… Read more »
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[…] a  background in psychology (cue: namedrop + shameless plug) recently wrote a post entitled “The invisible scripts that guide our lives,” in which he discusses the invisible assumptions that exist within and across cultures, and […]

Stephen Pasquini
5 years 10 months ago

Right on Ramit, I work with teens and hear this all the time, it was great to hear you lay it out like this, you are so right. I am inspired to go to our local high school and tell all our Seniors this, in fact maybe that is what I will do next week… Thanks for the words of wisdom!

Steve

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[…] I was reading this post at I Will Teach You To be Rich the other day wherein A-list blogger Ramit Sethi talked about how watching a Bollywood movie made him think about “invisible scripts that guide our lives”: […]

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[…] I was read­ing this post at I Will Teach You To be Rich the other day wherein A-list blog­ger Ramit Sethi talked about how watch­ing a Bol­ly­wood movie made him think about “invis­ible scripts that guide our lives”: […]

Ryan Waldron
5 years 10 months ago
1. You need to have furniture in every room in your house. It sounds CRAZY that I wouldn’t, but we bought a real fixer-upper (as the decrepit falling apart house that had been on the market for over a year that no one would touch), because we enjoy the projects, and we can increase the value of our home as we personalize it. Well, I see no reason to rush out and spend money on furniture for rooms that have yet to be worked on. We are comfortable in the parts of our house that we use, and as our… Read more »
Stanley Lee
5 years 10 months ago
Ramit, I’m not sure if you’re still looking over the comments on script descriptions these days, but I have recollected a few that fall under these categories: sunk costs, settling for mediocrity, and keeping false faiths in bailouts. Hope you don’t find them lame as I’ve been pretty pissed off about them mentioned in my face for a while. I’m also wondering what you think from a student of behavioral change (it’s certain something that I’m not strong at, from a background in the physical sciences instead in Electrical Engineering despite not continuing in it). Sunk Costs: Loss Aversion examples… Read more »
Karley
1 year 2 months ago

Context: 23 year old American from backwoods country Texas

1. If you have a ‘good thing,’ you should not explore the infinite possibilities.
2. Monogamy.
3. In order to hang out with others, we should be drinking/consuming someTHING as opposed to each other.
4. Have a vagina? Be a mother.
5. The idea of a ‘ring finger’….what???

Jude
Jude
1 year 2 months ago

Almost totally incapacitated by my invisible scripts daily. Very inspired by everything I’ve read here. I have nothing to add other than “ditto”. Going to get off my device now and take one action.

Thanks Ramit 🙂

Lourdes
Lourdes
1 year 1 month ago
Invisible scripts I’ve seen other colleagues and friends in law school play by but I refused to: 1. In order to become a successful lawyer, I have to work at a BigLaw firm. 2. In order to get a job at a BigLaw firm, I have to secure a Summer Associate position at a BigLaw firm. 3. In order to secure a Summer Associate position at a BigLaw firm, I have to participate in on-campus interviews (OCIs). 4. In order to get chosen for OCIs, I have to join a law journal, moot court board, etc. 5. In order to… Read more »
Lakshmi
1 year 20 days ago

Okay here are mine: (Indian background)

1. People can’t afford what I do or can do it themselves for cheaper
2. If you can find it cheaper or for free it’s better (thanks mom)
3. Artistic talent (art & music) does not apply to real jobs

Hmmm, No wonder I under earn…

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[…] writes about invisible scripts in his blog post, The Invisible Scripts that Guide Our Life. Beliefs are pre-written by our societal values and my invisible script is much like that of Crosby […]

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[…] running as a parent? Ramit Sethi eloquently explains the idea of “invisible scripts” here, which are “scripts” that guide the course of your life. I’ve found that the most successful […]

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[…] the color of his skin and I was calling him American because he was kind of dressed boringly. Our invisible scripts were manifesting themselves in the most ugly (re: hilarious) of ways. But, we went forward. Maybe […]

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[…] crushed a lot of invisible scripts doing […]

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[…] items with regard to cost and other factors.  For mental engineering, this means examining your Invisible Scripts (subconscious beliefs) and relationships and eliminating ones that are harmful or simply […]

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[…] thoughts, relationships, and “Invisible Scripts” are the ones that help you move forward, improve, or just make you feel good in general.  These […]

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[…] Sethi, New York Times best selling author and an expert on psychology and persuasion talks about invisible scripts that guide our life […]

Kyle
9 months 10 days ago
Took me a few minutes before I was able to come up with anything, but here are some scripts I realize may be governing my life: – “Settling down” means having a home, a spouse (or a significant other living with you), and a chosen profession you plan on keeping for the rest of your life. As we’ve seen over the past decade, none of these things is guaranteed. Trusting one company to provide you with a career for the rest of your life is a thing of the past. A house may not be the best option for many… Read more »
Albert
9 months 8 days ago
The three invisible scripts that I am aware now are: 1. My work has to be something I am passionate about otherwise I won’t be fully committed to it. 2. A man of my age should be working in a company and climbed up the ladder to a certain level (realized this a long time ago when I got uncomfortable telling people that I quit my job and wasn’t working a full-time job). 3. I have to be surrounded by people and be kept busy with all the gatherings or events to be happy (my realization is that being surrounded… Read more »
Victoria
Victoria
9 months 4 days ago
1. You have to be twice as good as they are to get half what they have (I’m an immigrant) 2. Being able to maintain a healthy life style means you have your shit together. 3. If you’re rich you’re invincible 4. More is better 5. Flaunt it if you got it 6. Woman takes care of cleaning, cooking, kids raising, dog walking, cat feeding, etc.. etc.. Man takes care of bills. 7. As busier your are as more voluable what you do is 8. Nobody will make your quality of life better if you don’t make a commitment yourself… Read more »
sb
sb
8 months 19 days ago
My invisible scripts I should have moved out of home at 18 and stayed out (because all my friends have) I should earn X salary, because my friends do I should date around before meeting the one because everyone does I should settle down and get an office job because everyone does after college I should be in a relationship bc I’m young, carefree etc Only tall girls are beautiful (I’m short) I should only date and make friends with people from my race (very restricting when you’re a minority!) Rich travellers are always sponging off of their parents I… Read more »
Aldin
Aldin
8 months 10 days ago
1. I’m Chinese, I have a small penis compared to stereotypical Europeans, Americans, and Africans. What chance do I have with other girls. They might laugh at me during sex. I won’t even try. 2. I don’t want to hangout with successful businessmen because they only want to get drunk and have sex with hookers. 3. I’m a man, so other men always tell me to be unfaithful to my girlfriend, and have secret relationships. Cheating is the “in” thing. 4. I’m from Asia, and so I can never achieve the success that WHITE people from first world countries achieve.… Read more »
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[…] the color of his skin and I was calling him American because he was kind of dressed boringly. Our invisible scripts were manifesting themselves in the most ugly (re: hilarious) of ways. But, we went forward. Maybe […]

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[…] going to the gym and getting a promotion your resolutions. They fly right in the face of your invisible scripts or blueprints, as Ramit Sethi and Tony Robbins call them. […]

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[…] that can’t stick it out just don’t want to lose weight that bad. Whether it’s an invisible script, identity issue, or something else — they just don’t want it bad enough because they […]

Raghavan
Raghavan
6 months 9 days ago

My three invisible scripts are:
1. You have to be an engineer/doctor to make good money ( this came from the Indian culture I was raised in)
2. ” He has this really cool house/car so he must be really rich”
3. I have to save a million dollars for retirement, else I wouldn’t be able to enjoy retirement.

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[…] also taught me about invisible scripts – one of the most powerful mental tools in my toolkit until this day. In fact, within a week […]

Youssef Djioui
Youssef Djioui
5 months 10 days ago

“I should get a degree and get a job in a large well known company” because those are the only things that really count, passions are only good if they also bring money and status.

“Only buy a home if you have no choice, renting is easier”… owning a home puts you into debt, adds a lot of own work, you may get trapped or lose money if you have to move in a downturn

“Don´t marry or have kids early” or you will miss out on .. you know, life.

Makayla
Makayla
4 months 28 days ago
Wow. Between this article, the email it was linked in and my final exam this morning, I finally fully realize just how toxic I’ve been to myself for the past four years. My three top invisible scripts are probably: 1: I’m a college student, no one’s going to listen to me or what I have to say. 2: I’m lazy, no one’s going to hire me unless I actually do something. 3: I’m visually-impaired AND an albino, people aren’t going to look at me the same way they look at others. These three have been controlling my life since I… Read more »
TheEmperor
4 months 23 days ago
For me, the invisible scripts that society drilled into me are: About work 1. Don’t let your boss catch you slacking off at work, like checking your personal email. If they catch you, you’re screwed – they caught me several times, they don’t care…everybody needs a break 2. You must eat lunch by your desk, or else you’re not a good employee 3. If you leave exactly at 5pm, you’re not a good employee 4. You must work work and work till you drop, with no breaks About dating 1. You must get married before age 30 or you’re screwed… Read more »
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[…] Can you identify one of your invisible scripts? […]

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