A Funny Myth

What is the funny myth? It can be summed up in one sentence, plucked from a critique I read online somewhere about a company I myself briefly dabbled in: “Primerica is a cult.”

A few years back I tried working for Primerica, which is a company that tries to help people aim for the double whammy goal of being debt free and financially independent. I started into this company because I knew a friend who was doing it. However, at the time I was still in a very negative mindset. When the business venture didn’t yield immediate results for me, I bailed even though I saw the potential in pursuing it further. Back then I had yet to read books like THE SLIGHT EDGE or THE MAGIC OF THINKING BIG. I still listened to people who wanted to tear down my dream, who told me what a waste of time it was and how hard it was to make a living at it. People have been telling me the same thing about Team Beachbody, but the difference is I don’t listen to them now. I know the way it goes: people really don’t want to see you succeed because that makes them reflect on how they haven’t done anything to follow their own dreams. They want you to be right down there in the dumps with them. Who are the most likely culprits to destroy your dreams? Sadly, it is the exact same group of people you would think would lift you up: family and friends!!!

At any rate, back to the whole “myth” thing. Out of curiosity I typed the words “primerica pyramid scam” (or something to that effect) into a search engine just to see what people were saying. I came across a post by someone whose name I cannot remember, so we will just call him Bob. According to the post, Bob had a friend named Mark (again, a name made up for the purpose of this blog) who had started working with Primerica. Mark asked Bob, “Can I come over with my trainer for about an hour tomorrow night to give you a presentation on what Primerica does?” Bob asked Mark if he could look into it, and Mark said sure. So Bob does a search online and finds all the typical “pyramid scam” posts. He goes back to Mark and says, “Sorry, man, but this thing looks like a waste of time. I don’t want to do the appointment, and I think you should get out of it before you spend too much time and money on it.” Mark says, “Well, I’m very sorry you feel that way…but you know something? I don’t think you and I can be friends anymore.” Bob closed his post by saying, “Primerica is like a cult that brainwashes its followers. Mark was convinced he couldn’t be friends with me anymore just because I had a different opinion of Primerica. He hasn’t talked to me since then, and that was several months ago.”

Years later, I understand why Mark did what he did. I’m betting Mark’s trainer recommended books like THE SLIGHT EDGE and so on to him. After reading them, Mark took their message to the extreme. In these books the authors tell you that people want nothing more than to tear down your dreams because it threatens them. They are insecure about a dream they had but never pursued. What is their suggestion? Simply to be careful who you mention your plans to. If you know someone always has a tendency to be like “you can try it but you will fail,” then just don’t talk to them about it. Nowhere in the book do these authors tell you, “If this person is negative, then it doesn’t matter if you have been friends with them since grade school…dump them!” So what Mark did is simply misinterpret the message of those authors. In doing so, he gave the impression that Primerica is a “cult.”

Oddly enough though, there is something else that happens to reinforce the “cult” myth. Let’s say Mark had continued to be friends with Bob, but just refrained from talking about Primerica in his presence ever again. As Mark found more and more success with Primerica, then he would have less and less time to talk to Bob. After all, it requires time to run your own business. First there are the appointments themselves. Then there are seminars and what not you might like to attend. Don’t forget all the calls to your upline while you are still learning and unsure of things! In the end Mark would be spending less time talking to Bob anyway, which would once again prove Bob’s brainwashing theory to be true (at least to Bob and people like him).

Luckily I haven’t had this kind of experience with Team Beachbody. I still prefer it over businesses like Primerica and Ambit, but not because those companies are shady. It is because (1) with Beachbody, all the training is online. If I miss a call, then a recording of it gets posted in our back office. (2) I don’t have to go to appointments to display my product. I conduct 99% of my business by contacting people online or over the phone. (3) In my own personal experience, between the three of these companies Team Beachbody is the easiest product to sell because everyone is on a fitness craze these days. It is a product that is easy for them to understand. With a Primerica appointment you need to ask people to bring out a list of what kind of loans they have (including total balance due, monthly payments, and interest rate) as well as any information about any life insurance policies they have (because Primerica believes people should invest in term life insurance instead of anything else). Believe me: their theory is sound, but a lot of people immediately go into defensive mode when it comes to money. They say, “Well I don’t want to cancel my life insurance policy because when a term policy runs out, it is hard to get another.” I would try explaining to them, “I’m not asking you to cancel it…I’m just asking to see it so I can work up an alternate strategy for you. Then we can compare the numbers side by side, and you can decide if you want to pursue what we come up with together.” Nine times out of ten, people still turned me away at this point. For me it was a business that was too tricky to master, so I had to leave it. I have the utmost respect for anyone whose full-time job is Primerica. You are doing people a great service. However, for my money, it is better to stick with Beachbody.

In short: the “cult” myth is just one more judgment passed on a company by someone who only looked at the surface of things and didn’t bother to understand more. Sometimes ignorance is NOT bliss…it’s just ignorance!

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About Steve Grogan

I am 40 years old, divorced, and a father of four kids. I am a practitioner of a self-defense system called wing chun kung fu. My other hobbies include writing, playing guitar, reading, watching movies, and listening to music. Recently I have gotten back into fitness, and this time I am DETERMINED to get the washboard abs...whether my metabolism will cooperate with me or not! The purpose of this blog is to write not only about my hobbies, but also about whatever crosses my mind, whether it is something I don't understand or something that aggravates me. So join me as I indulge my tendency to think too much about topics that don't usually cross anyone else's mind!
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