No other industry in America has been demonized more than the pharmaceutical industry. The middle class loves to criticize pharma companies for high prices and the commercialization of life saving and extending drugs and vaccines…UNTIL someone they LOVE gets sick. That’s when they rely on pharmaceutical companies to make them or their loved ones well. This is a classic example of middle class thinking and a severe lack of mental toughness. Pharmaceutical sales people are not only some of the finest professionals in selling, they are also some of the most caring I’ve ever worked with at Mental Toughness University. They are the most misunderstood and under appreciated sales people in business today. Listen to this post and I’ll look forward to your comments. Steve Siebold, CSP, CPCS  ( 6:20 )

Steve Siebold
Author and Professional Speaker since 1997. Past Chairman of the National Speakers Association's Million Dollar Speakers Group. Author of 11 books with 1.4 million copies in print.

15 thoughts on “Mental Toughness and The Middle Class Demonization of the Pharmaceutical Industry”

  1. Hi Steve, do you still run this blog? I could do with some mental toughness advice especially with the points I have made above.

    Hope all is well and Happy New Year!

  2. Sex? Gender? I’m looking forward to that one and you know there’s lots of confusion to put it mildly.

    Hot button – yes, I knew you’d see I got fired up. I haven’t yet used to my satisfaction the questioning you’ve talked about that helps identify those white hot zones of passion and intensity.

    Your blog stimulates thought and emotions with specific topics and has explosive potential, Steve, and your casual way of putting things and framing ideas really makes it a friendly, sitting in a cafe talking the day and night away, conversation.

    I have to unpack now after a little road trip to Iowa – beautiful country.


  3. Mike,

    I think we found one of your hot buttons!

    I appreciate all of your well thought out arguments on this one. Of course no issue of this complexity is black and white, and thats what I appreciate most about your thoughts.

    To me, these type of discusions is what mental toughness is all about. People applying critical thinking to complex issues that most people afraid to talk about.

    I can’t wait to read what you have to say about my upcoming posts on the middle class thinking in America on sex! How can the most socially advanced country in the world be so confused about something so fundamentally simple? ( Not to mention a major part of human consciousness?) Anyway…I don’t want to get you all fired up again! 🙂

    I’m glad you’re a part of this community, Mike. I always look forward to your comments.

    Thanks again,


  4. Hi Mike.

    Thank you for your kind and sincere words. I wish you all the wonderful things you mentioned back as well.

    Yes, I hear exactly the same message as you do in everything Steve puts out, which is why I firmly believe his book and message are so important in the world we live in today.

    All the best,

  5. Good points, Ronnie, and right to the issues that are complex and a multiple of variables that produce the context of what we do, what people choose and how we are influenced.

    Jim’s metaphor is excellent – I hadn’t heard that one but it fits so many things. Freedom, responsibility, choice and decision as you put it is how I read Steve’s posts, hear him speak and get his message and intention.

    You’ve kept a great discussion going, Ronnie – AND thanks to Steve and the others.

    I wish you and everyone you touch world class abundance and a life of joy and other oriented self actualized purpose AND fun, laughter and continual renewing of your goals and spirit, Ronnie.

  6. Hi Steve.

    I’ll return the thank you for bringing this up, it was a great opportunity for me to crystallize my rather scattered thoughts on the subject, writing sure is useful for that.

    Hey Mike.

    You asked me about how I know the companies operate from an upper-class point of view. Let me begin by stating that I really don’t know, it’s my personal estimation. My reasoning is this; if the companies were middle-class-thinking-based, they wouldn’t produce as much revenue and in the end helpful products as they do. Secondly, since I believe they are operating within the mind-frame of profit first, that tells me that the main mindset is competition which is the hallmark of upper-class thinking.

    I love your point Mike about whether or not profit and responsibility could be all in one, and I agree with you. It could and should be, and that is what I personally consider to be world-class thinking right there. I’m with you wholeheartedly on that one. I didn’t mean to imply that this is the way it should be, I was merely stating how I perceive it to be from an objective-reality point of view.

    I agree with your point about how massive advertising can influence us in our daily lives. But on the other hand, a lot of people have chosen to exercise their freedom to avoid watching hours of TV every day, and people have chosen to spend more time reading books in their given field rather than the daily newspaper, and people have decided to work on themselves instead of pointing to circumstances. And these people are the ones who seem to end up being happy, healthy, wealthy and fulfilled time and time again. I love the way Jim Rohn puts it, “you can’t control the wind, but you can adjust your set of the sail”. In my opinion, the key words are freedom, responsibility, choice, and decision.


  7. “Again, the companies are operating from an upper-class-point of view in my opinion” — Ronnie

    How do you know that?

    “The first agenda is profit, the second agenda is meaning and social responsibility” — Ronnie

    Does it have to be first and second agenda – cannot the two be one in the came or not?

    “Like Mike mentioned, people as a whole are getting sloppier by the day with regards to taking care of themselves. Seriously, is the cause of this the fact that there are more pills available, or is it lack of personal responsibility and laziness?” – Ronnie

    Both along with massive advertising.

    We become what we think about watch listen to and do all day.

    Mike Michelozzi

  8. Ronnie,

    You make so GREAT points in your comments. especially around personal responsibility. I also like what you said about this being a black and white issue. It is complex.

    Thanks so much for you well thought out comment.

    Steve Siebold

  9. I commend you for having the guts to use a subject like this in your speeches and seminars Steve, that’s mental toughness right there. I’m sure you’ve gotten into some interesting “conversations” about this over the years..

    I agree atleast to some degree with pretty much all of the posts. I think the main thing to keep in mind is, this is not a black or white kind of issue. It’s both.

    First off, we all need the drugs just like Steve points out, no question about it. And as Steve mentions, it takes serious resources to research and develop new medicine. Only the big guys have these kind of resources today, so it’s obvious that the big pharmaceutical companies deserve more credit than they are getting.

    Secondly, I’ve discussed this topic with several individuals who work as sales people for the pharmaceutical companies, and I think Steves description is accurate for the most part. Caring, loving individuals who really believe in their products is how I perceive them as well.
    A serious distinction needs to be made though between nice individuals who want to help people, and nice individuals who don’t really know what they are talking about. For instance, several of these persons have mentioned to me that anti-depressive drugs are the best way to cure depression, and that we don’t need therapy anymore. This unfortunately is an advanced case of delusional thinking, the biggest enemy of world-class thinking. When I bring up study after study showing how incredibly high the relapse rate for individuals who get treated with drugs only is, most of the sales people are staggered. Compare that to groups who get therapy or in the difficult cases both drugs and therapy, where there is very little relapse and it becomes obvious that the pharmaceutical companies are pushing these drugs as the superior solution a bit to hard. For instance, there has been a shift towards a more drug-oriented treatment, mainly because of changes in insurance and social security politics. I’m specualting that there has been some serious backstage lobbying going on to make that happen. The cost-efficiency argument doesn’t hold up, because treating the same person again and again with drugs while the person is unable to produce anything is quite costly in the long run.

    In the end, I think the pharmaceutical companies are doing what they are supposed to do in a free-market-society. The first agenda is profit, the second agenda is meaning and social responsibility. If it was the other way around, the companies wouldn’t be there that much longer. Those are the facts and things work this way because most people operate from a middle class or upper-class thinking point of view. Of course some exceptions exist, but in general everybody on this blog knows how few people really operate primarily from love and abundance.

    This means that the companies are playing by the rules, and shouldn’t be blamed in my opinion. In fact, I think they deserve credit for producing helpful products. After all, they are producing medicine, not weapons of mass destruction! At the same time, portraying the companies as saviours of the world is taking things too far as well. Again, the companies are operating from an upper-class-point of view in my opinion, and wouldn’t try to push new drugs with billions of dollars unless there was a promise of big profit that covers the costs as well.

    This is the price we pay for the freedom we have, and I sure wouldn’t want to give mine away! and I sure as heck want the companies to be here, I have people who are dear to me whose lives depend on their products! The famous saying “freedom is not free” comes to mind. What is needed in my opinion is a check-up from the neck-up with every individual, i.e. taking personal responsibility instead of saying it’s the companies fault. Like Mike mentioned, people as a whole are getting sloppier by the day with regards to taking care of themselves. Seriously, is the cause of this the fact that there are more pills available, or is it lack of personal responsibility and laziness?

    Anybody seriously claiming that it’s anything but laziness and not paying the price of discipline could use a pill for taking personal responsibility. At the same time though, I’m wondering whether the pharmaceutical industry would want to sell that product or not..

    Great topic you brought up Steve, thanks for sharing.


  10. I have to disagree with you wholeheartedly on this one. Drugs cannot make sick people well. Only changing lifestyle habits will make sick people well. 99% of people are sick because they’ve brought it on themselves. If people took responsibility (responsibility – something you promote, Steve) for their health, there would be no need for all the designer drugs on the market today. Drugs for the most part simply mask the symptoms, while causing enormously dibilitating and sometimes deadly side effects. I have no respect for drug companies and even less respect for their sales people. How they wake up in the morning and can look at themselves in the mirror, I have no idea. I love your book Steve, I love the world class thinking concepts and principles, but this post almost seems to go against everything that you stand for. People need to suck it up and start taking care of themselves and drug companies need to take a moral long hard look at what they are doing, and realize the almighty dollar just might not be worth it. Of course, I am not delusional and I know that neither one of these things is going to happen.

  11. Thanks Steve,

    your reply and other comments here have been useful. I guess if there is a genuine attempt to love in your efforts, then good will come out of it and you’ll provide value to others anyway. I guess I was concerned about selfishness but middle class thinkers can be very selfish by only criticising others and sharing their hidden talents with the world. I will continue to focus on trying to be a better performer, and hopefully my love will shine to others as a natural byproduct. I would still consider myself mostly middle class at the moment based on the results I’m getting but I am noticing improvement. The two most important things I have learnt from 177 Mental Toughness Secrets are ‘taking responsibility wherever possible,’ and ‘asking for help.’

  12. What’s critically important is being missed or ignored. In 1964 when I graduated from high school one fat or obese kid stood out. Heart disease, cancer, diabetes weren’t nearly as wide spread as today and not growing in numbers in kids as these diseases are today.

    Since then we’ve become a nation of lazy junk food eating killing ourselves by choice and ignorance I don’t give a damn people and it’s getting worse. It’s all delusional thinking.

    When I taught high school I’d see slender ninth graders turn into human blimps by his or her senior year. Am I being politically incorrect and compassionless by putting it that way? Politically incorrect but not compassionless.

    Fact: for the first time more than half of all insured Americans are taking perscreption drugs. The pharmarceutical industry has beed engaged in relentless advertising for decades. This just came over AP wires a couple of days ago.

    I’ve sat with drug reps and their motivation is you know what: huge commisisons/fear of loss. They plot how to max people out of what the government and insurance companies will pay for perscriptions – I’ve heard how they do it. Some doctors benefit financially from the drugs they tell their consumers to take.

    I know I know I know there’s a real need for medication and doctors and yes yes yes my dad who is an 86 year old heart patient continues to live because of medications and medical procedures. But to gloss over everything I’ve just posted with that fact is like saying: hey, smoke smoke smoke that ciggybutt ’cause my great great uncle did all his life, drank bath tub gin and still lived to be 96 years old before he kicked his last buckey down the hill.

    Weak minded delusional people are being taken advantatge of over and over again and today’s sick care industry is on a roll.

    Mike Michelozzi

  13. Hi Steve!

    Great post. I agree that the pharma industry is held in contempt. I’ve heard the “they’re taking advantage of us” rant. But this is also the mantra of almost all individuals who feel helpless or powerless.
    Whether it’s a large corporation, organization or the richest guy in their town, people habitually feel threatened and take issue with those they regard as “in control” of their perceived lack.
    Discrimination, being one of a human being’s most powerful tools; creates choice. But I guess delusional thinking, as you call it, keeps people from seeing that they made a choice or that they even have one. That is until something, like an illness, happens to shift their perspective. As you point out; afterwards they shift back to their original position.
    I call this living in “consensual reality” where everyone agrees that things are the way they are. You are only allowed to shift your view under certain acceptable conditions and then must come back to the fold.
    Thinking differently for no apparently good reason, in consensual reality, takes everyone out of their comfort zone. By taking it a step further and creating some tangible improvement from that different line of thinking, you show others what is possible for them. That’s usually too much for people to handle.

    Blessings and Be Well,


  14. Obi,

    Thanks so much for your comment. I agree with you that there have been abuses in the industry–but that goes for all industries. I think pharma, especially big pharma, has become the favorite ‘whipping boy’ of the middle class consciousness.

    You are right on the money when you say there is so much unhappiness in the upper class consciousness, and its a thin line between upper class and world class. The major distinction I’ve identified betweent these two classes is the upper class operates from fear and scarcity while the world class operates from love and abundance. The upper class blames people and circumstances for their failures and the world class takes personal repsonsibility. The upper class is ego driven–the world class is spirit driven. The list is long, but the distinctions are subtle.

    I understand when you say working toward world class thinking seems self obsesssive. Most world class performers I’ve interviewed or coached have been labeled self-obsesseive, narciscistic, elitest, maniacally focused, etc. The middle class loves to lash out at the world class. I think the reality is you MUST be very focused on your own performance and thinking to become a world class performer. I don’t know of any other way.

    I’d love to hear more of your thoughts on on this Obi.

    Thanks for you comments.

    Steve Siebold

  15. Hello Steve!

    I agree with you to an extent. Pharmaceutical companies are generally treated as crooks just like the weapons industry i guess, especially with regard to drugs to Africa. However, I still think that they must have more upper class than world class thinkers who may bring out drugs solely for market potential- especially for psychiatric disorders- where it is easier to diagnose someone with depression for example.

    This leads onto my next point. In my bid to become world class I seem to be a hitting a wall. It seems in trying to be so, I feel like I’m turning into a egomaniac sometimes, because the journey to improve can seem so self obsessive. While I would love to be predominantly world class, I would loathe being mostly upper class because it seems there is a lot of unhappiness there. It seems that just as there is a thin line between love and hate, there is a thin line between the world and upper class.

    I’ll appreciate your thoughts on this one.

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