Los Angeles Chapter  California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists

Los Angeles Chapter — CAMFT

Guest Article

07/31/2022 7:00 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

Chellie Campbell,
Financial Stress
Reduction Expert

Why Swim With Sharks
When You Can Swim With Dolphins?

Why do some people always see beautiful skies and grass and lovely flowers and incredible human beings, while others are hard-pressed to find anything or any place that is beautiful?” 

Leo Buscaglia 

There are three kinds of fish in the sea: Dolphins, Sharks, and Tuna.

Dolphins are wonderful creatures: intelligent, happy, and playful. They communicate; they swim in schools. They’ve been known to ward off a shark attack and protect the other fish. They are fun-loving and beautiful, arcing in graceful leaps over the waves.

Sharks are eating machines. It’s not their fault; they were born that way. But their job is to eat you. If you find yourself in the water with a shark, put your shark fin on or get out of the water. It’s very difficult for a dolphin to act like a shark, and you’ll never be as good at it as a real shark, so I recommend getting out of the water.

Tuna fish are food. They don’t know that the blood in the water is their own. They think everything that happens to them is somebody else’s fault. They take no responsibility for their choices. It’s like there are three kinds of people: the people that make things happen, the people that watch things happen, and the people who say, “What happened?” (Those are the tuna.)

Sharks will steal your money and tuna will leech money from you. Real money is made when you have dolphins on your team.

Who are the fish in your sea?

Today’s Affirmation:
“I now attract people who reflect my highest good!”

In my book, Zero to Zillionaire, I further outlined two kinds of sharks and two kinds of tuna. See if you recognize any of these in your life:

There are two kinds of Sharks: Angry Sharks and Con-Artist Sharks.

  1. Angry Sharks are completely self-obsessed. They have no real empathy for other people—they just can’t tell that you have thoughts and feelings just like they do. They see you as only one thing—food. They are angry with life and the world and are going to take it out on you.

    These sharks tend to scream and yell and throw tantrums in order to get their way. They will tell you everything that’s wrong with you if you give them an opportunity—like if you say, “Hello.” They are powered by rage and it is fearsome to behold. They rip you apart right away.

  2. Con-Artist Sharks are Sharks in Dolphin’s Clothing. They pretend to be your friend and imitate Dolphin behavior in order to get close to you.

    There’s no such thing as an obnoxious con-artist. They have charisma, a hail-fellow-well-met bonhomie, and a ready smile. But look in their eyes—there’s nothing there but calculation. They are running numbers, figuring what you are worth and how they can take advantage of you.

    They come to you with offers that sound so fabulous! You suspect maybe they’re too good to be true, but what if it really is your lucky day at last and this is a fabulous opportunity for you to get rich??

    So you throw your skepticism into Davey Jones’ Locker and board their Pirate Ship to search for the treasure. But you’re the treasure and now they’ve got you walking the plank into their jaws. They are your best buddy—until they slowly rip you apart.

After you’ve been swimming in Shark-infested waters, you feel hurt, wounded, and betrayed. You are suffering, bleeding, crying—and usually, you are broke, too.

Sharks don’t want to pay you. They want all the money for themselves.

Tuna come in two species: Angry Tuna and Timid Tuna.

  1. Angry Tuna are the “Ain’t It Awful” people who complain endlessly about everything. They never do anything about anything, mind you, they just whine and complain. “Life is Unfair” and “What’s the Use” are their mottos.

    Angry Tuna will hurt you almost as badly as a Shark will, but they will do it through passive-aggressive behavior. Their inaction will cost you the contract, cost you a friendship, cost you a fortune. And they will get huffy if you say anything to them about it, because They Are Blameless. Nothing is ever their fault.

  2. Timid Tuna never do anything either because they are afraid.

    They mask their ineffectual behavior under the guise of being Self-Sacrificing and Good-Hearted, but really they are just Victims. They justify playing with sharks saying, “Oh, there’s really a Dolphin in there somewhere—I’m going to help them find their inner Dolphin,” meanwhile completely oblivious to the fact that they’re missing a fin and the blood in the water is their own.

    Timid Tuna won’t cause you direct harm, but they will make you really, really frustrated.

Both kinds of Tuna end up as dinner. And you’ll be in the frying pan with them, salted and breaded, if you swim with them very often. After you’ve spent some time with Tuna, you feel tired, depressed, and need to take a nap. It’s hard to get anything done after that.

Tuna can’t pay you. Tuna have no money.

In summary, this is the evidence telling you who the fish are in your sea:

Dolphins: You feel good, and you are rich.

Sharks: You feel bad, and you are broke.

Tuna: You feel tired, but you broke even.

I could make other distinctions, categorizing some people as Octopuses, Sea Horses, Barracuda, Eels, Angel Fish, etc., but we tend to get confused when we get too many choices. That’s why I like to stick to three categories, or three points, or three rules to remember, or a menu of three choices. You can remember Low, Medium, and High Budgets and you can remember Dolphins, Sharks, and Tuna.

That’s all you really need to make decisions about people. Either they support you or they cost you.

Sharks sneer at books like this one. Why would anyone need a book to tell them how to be successful? Kill or be killed is all you need to know—it’s survival of the fittest, dummy.

Tuna don’t read books except as a vehicle to beat themselves up with and cry, “Oh, no, this doesn’t work for me, either. Nothing ever works for me.”

Dolphins value learning and growing; they read books, take workshops, attend classes, listen to CDs, and are always improving themselves and the world around them.

When you learn to surround yourself with Dolphins and avoid Shark and Tuna, you will be richer and happier, and so will your friends.

Chellie Campbell, Financial Stress Reduction Expert, is the author of bestselling books The Wealthy Spirit, Zero to Zillionaire, and most recently From Worry to Wealthy: A Woman’s Guide to Financial Success Without the Stress. She is widely quoted in major media including Redbook, Good Housekeeping and more than 50 popular books. She has been treating Money Disorders like Spending Bulimia and Income Anorexia in her Financial Stress Reduction® Workshops for over 25 years. Her website is www.chellie.com.

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