“When you ain’t got nothin’, you got nothin’ to lose.” – Bob Dylan <although … ironically … the movie Titanic made this quote even more famous … “When you have nothing, you’ve got nothing to lose.”
said Jack Dawson>
In business having nothing is an entrepreneurial or ‘save the business’ type of discussion.
It’s not that cut & dried. Mainly because it is often a survival discussion.
I say that especially after searching the web and finding a shitload of vapid “keep your chin up” type writing <and some horrendous writing at that>.
I am all for keeping a positive view or maintaining hope for things to be better and all that stuff … but let’s get to “ain’t got nothin’.”
I am going to offer two seemingly contradictory thoughts:
- Nothing doesn’t come in one size. It comes in different degrees … maybe I should say that sometimes nothing still contains something. It’s just your point of view.
- Nothing is a black hole. For everyone. When you are in the ‘aint got nothing’ hole it is simply a black hole <shallow or deep it is dark and a hole>.
- Nothing and degrees.
Suffice it to say if you have nothing, and you have never had something … nothing looks very very different than if you have had something and now you have nothing.
This flies in the face of the baloney I found online that suggests everyone starts from nothing <although I have found a number of ‘life coaches’ who suggest this as a starting point for positive thinking>.
Rich people, poor people, successful people, non-successful people, top achievers, non-achievers do not start from the same place where they had nothing.
While factually each of us builds our own achievements and knowledge your environment can dictate a bunch of ‘something.’
I read this somewhere … two things define your personality … the way you manage things when you have nothing & the way you behave when you everything.
I like that thought.
Mainly because I also believe this is based on your perspective … ‘everything’ to a middle class person is very different than ‘everything’ to someone currently in poverty.
I say this because so often in my relatively comfortable middle class environment I hear far too many people talking about how people living in poverty squander money when they get it.
If you have never had anything you have no idea what it feels like to actually have something. Even if that ‘something’ is one steak dinner in the year. It may appear to be a massive misuse of funds available to someone who has something and yet it may be the momentary access to touch ‘hope’ to another group of people.
The degrees in nothing is a combination of your environment, situation and attitude.
If you feel attitudinally as if you have lost everything already. That you literally had nothing left to lose. Inevitably you will decide that nothing could be as worse as what you had already gone through.
This is a wiping the slate clean type nothing.
But that is just one type of nothing.
And on the way to that type of nothing you actually get to watch nothing coming down the road toward you.
Painful but at least you see it coming.
I am not going to literally outline ever degree of nothingness.
Because all that really matters is if you feel like you have nothing to lose you only feel you only have everything to gain.
In other words … there is nowhere to go but up.
By the way … while seemingly flippant that is a very very important thought.
Nowhere to go but up.
Frankly … my idea of bottom is most likely nowhere near what the true bottom is.
I may feel like it is … I may feel it as close to a Life truth as one can get … but in my heart of hearts … I know there is another degree of nothing below what I believe bottom is.
It’s my bottom. That is my ‘nothing’ in my pea like brain.
I do not believe I am that different from many people.
I tend to believe most of us define their own nothing differently than other people.
I say this point because that is why I believe it is so difficult to help someone who is in a nothing stage.
Believing you have nothing to lose is most likely exactly what will make you successful.
But we are prone to want to hold on to things, but once there is nothing to hold on to we have a tendency to dig deep … and realize that the only thing we can truly hold on to is something deeper and impenetrable inside us.
Let’s call that the survival instinct.
Here’s the tricky thing about survival and nothing.
Those truly with nothing are better at surviving than someones who had something and lost it.
In the end the people we need to worry about are the ones who have shitty survival instincts.
They can adapt <painfully I imagine>.
But saying ‘do whatever it takes’ is significantly different than DOING ‘do whatever it takes.’
Hence the degrees in nothing.
My main point in breaking it out this way?
Someone close to the edge of ‘nothing’ needs help. It doesn’t matter what their degree of nothing is. Simplistically they need something more than what they have to survive … survive sometimes physically and sometimes emotionally.
At one point I have neared ‘nothing’ and I have to tell you … the feeling sucks.
And you know what? The homeless guy who stands at the corner asking for money would probably laugh in my face if I described how close I was to nothing.
It’s all perspective.
But it is all painful <and scary>.
Sometimes it may seem like we have not learned that everything comes at a price.
Whatever your bottom in nothing is … the price is tenacity and strength and resilience to move past a ‘nothing’ stage in life.
Think about that before you judge someone’s actions with regard to ‘having nothing.’
- Nothing is a black hole.
Many many people suggest that ‘nothing’ is not really a true concept because we all have something … that undying and eternal part of us called our spirit.
In fact … I found where some woman named Libba Bray said something like … “there’s no such thing as nothing. In every nothing, there’s a something. In fact, there could be everything!”
<apparently she even said it with an exclamation point>.
What a bunch of bullshit.
When it is in your head … ‘I have nothing’ is as real as the ground you stand on. In fact … nothing is something … it is a black hole that has sucked <or is in the process of sucking> every ounce of hope or dream you have.
“From where you are you can hear their dreams. The dismays and despairs and flight and fall and big seas of their dreams. “- Dylan Thomas
C’mon Bruce … really?
Dreams and hope?
Oh, we tend to believe there is so much hope it can never run out.
So much hope as that.
If you are one of those who believe that … you have never truly had nothing.
Nothing is … well … nothing. It is the abyss that contains no hope. It has been emptied of dreams and wishes and hope and all that remains is blackness … and the despair that comes with no light <at the end of any tunnel>.
Here’s the good news.
There are not many people in this hole <albeit I would suggest any is too many>.
if you believe you have nothing sometimes it is difficult to think about something like “I have nothing to lose.” Maybe because in the darkness of nothing you already think you have lost.
Feeling like ‘when you have nothing’ is a really bad feeling. Shit. Even if you start inching toward nothingness it is a bad feeling. It is such a bad feeling it is tough to listen to ‘feel good’ tripe as a way out of the hole.
Just remember that.
When you hear someone suggest they have nothing … before you start pointing out all the ‘something’ in their lives … remember attitudinally they may truly believe they have nothing. So offer them something meaningful <note: easier said than done>.
Having nothing means you have nothing to lose.
It provides some freedom … but probably not as much freedom as ‘positive life coaches’ would have you believe.
It is freedom … if you can find it within the dark of the nothingness.
“Nothing, Everything, Anything, Something: If you have nothing, then you have everything, because you have the freedom to do anything, without the fear of losing something.” - Jarod Kintz,
In Life … positive thinking platitudes aside … nothing is scary. It can feel debilitating and in some situations it IS debilitating.
I end with that thought because I simply don’t believe, attitudinally, you can truly do “what would you do if you had nothing to lose.”
You simply cannot envision it unless you have actually brushed the darkness of nothingness. Even a light touch of nothingness leaves a scar you will never forget. And once you have the scar … trust me … you will never have to ‘act like you have nothing to lose and make a decision.’
You will know exactly what to do and how to think.