I have to write this down, before I forget it. Why? Because I imagine that I will. You know what makes or breaks everybody even before they give it a try? Imagination. They don’t picture themselves as if they’ve succeeded. So here’s to number one on the list:
- I think I have to do it (win, succeed, get rich, whatever), or I’ll lose something. You see there, that’s the bad shit. If I have to do something, it means something forces me to do it. Ergo, I react. Ergo, my life is not under my control. Ergo, it’s ok if I fail since it doesn’t matter what I do, I don’t control the outcome. Ergo… crap, that’s stuck up of me to keep saying it – it’s Latin for “therefore” and I’m an idiot. The point is there’s no need to seem superior to anybody, especially since I’m not. Which brings me to number 2. But wait, there’s more: the only way to not fail is to control your life, to do something because you want to gain, to win something not out of fear of losing it. I work to earn money to pay for a better life, not because I’m afraid of losing my house, car, smartphone or hair.
- I network exactly like they say I should. Now this one’s tricky. Who’s they? Who tells you that? Elon Musk? Jeff Bezos? Do you normally find yourself in their vicinity? No? Then why do you believe them? Not that I’m that high up, but one thing I really really mind is somebody trying to “connect” because they want either employment or access to higher ups to sell them (or me) something. They don’t care about me, they don’t care about my work, they don’t care about what I enjoy – they only care about the next step on the ladder. Networking events look like speed-dating, lately. You want good advice on how to connect? Find somebody who worked their way up from the very bottom and get them to teach you their style. Read up on Joe Girard. Copy those who succeeded on their own, not those born to power. Which brings me to number 3.
- I follow celebrity how-to-be-rich guides. Bill Gates didn’t drop out of Michigan State, he dropped out of Harvard. He wasn’t poor. He wasn’t dumb. And with very few exceptions, the wealthiest folks around who started poor aren’t younger than 50. And those exceptions are always in tech or show-business – the only industries riskier than betting on horses. Even Zuckerberg went to Harvard, and his skills have never been an issue. Do you relate to their stories? Are you both very smart and highly determined? Then copy them. If you’re average, like me, you’re better off (and safer) copying Warren Buffett’s style – go slow, be patient, invest in companies that could be run by idiots and still be profitable, think long-term, take advantage of compound interest, don’t believe hype and emotion when investing, things like that. Regardless of what you think of the man, he’s the real deal. He’s smart but doesn’t play on that card. He doesn’t regard himself above the market. Use his example.
- I’m fat, I stink, my clothes are dirty or I don’t take care of my looks. This one’s quite up there with people, and it shouldn’t be. I could be ugly as hell, if I’m always spotless, smell nice, clean shaven (or facial hair neatly trimmed), hair combed, have a firm hand-shake (only for men) and careful posture (upright, chest forward, chin up), those with opinions that matter will appreciate you. If you’re after the appreciation of models, then it’s not my advice you should heed. But there’s something you should know, which relates to the “I’m fat” part of this bullet point:
- I don’t care about my health, I believe if I’m happy then everybody has to accept me, or I believe it’s not the outside that’s important, it’s what’s in one’s soul that matters. First part debunked: it’s a safe bet you’re like me, quite ill before you’re 40. It doesn’t matter if it’s about teeth or body fat, health problems will hit you exactly when you’re starting to enjoy life. Cancer (who am I to preach, I smoke and drink and eat meat, but nothing so far), diabetes (aye, here’s to me), heart problems (again, cheers), brain problems (naw, still me), everything goes from itty-bitty to holy fuck in just a few years, even before you know it. You think what others think matters? Bullshit. The whole “feeling good just the way I am” is a slogan designed by fat people for fat people. See bullet point no. 1, it’s something to allow you to fail, it’s something to make you think it’s ok to fail. As a current and future former fat person (but no longer obese), I can tell you this: everything you hear in the media about being obese or overweight is bullshit. If you’re fat, you may be healthy now but you’ll feel it later on for certain. If your weight exceeds your height (in centimeters) minus 100 and you’ve got less muscles than Marilyn Monroe had, you’re an idiot. If you’re an athlete, forget I said anything. But below that, that’s where you have to tinker, you’re upgraded from idiot to average, on probation. The rest of that is between your doctor (a real one, not some feng-shoey guru) and your blood samples (hopefully not read using Theranos tech). However, for the last part, remember this: what I think I’m worth is never what those around me think I’m worth. Think Buffett’s quote: “value is what you get, price is what you pay” and apply it to social relations. My value to others is directly related to whatever skills I have that others need and think they can buy from me.
- I don’t use my time efficiently. I may work hard when the boss is watching but at home I’m usually planted in front of the telly or I hug my computer for hours before I go to bed. Well, this one’s me all the way, actually. If only I could take at least half that time and put it to good use, learning new skills or working out (either my muscles or my book, either way), that’d be just peachy.
- I believe in luck and just reward. I could add god to the mix, but that’s sort of included in the “just reward” part. But still, it’s bullshit. Out of 7 billion people and change, nobody’s special anymore. There is no just reward, there never was – there’s only one truth: “life is the fundamental pay-to-win mmo”, in gamer terms. If you’ve got money, you’ve got upgraded luck. That’s why hard, sustained work works, if you’ll pardon my pun. It works because very few ever go that way. Everybody else is winging it, hoping for the legendary Newton’s apple to fall on their head. Sometimes it happens, some people do win the lottery. But then again, some people do get hit by lightning twice or more in their life.
- I think I’m a loser. Again, bullet point number 1, mind over matter. The only sure way to fail is never to try, unless you try to fail which then becomes a paradox and you divide by zero. Nobody is a loser, even Trump’s a winner. However, you have to reconsider your thoughts and for that, there’s CBT. Google it and take it home.
- I think everybody’s out to get me. Well, there’s paranoia and there’s truth, but unless your name is Snowden and you’ve just leaked state secrets to the world, chances are they don’t even care about you. And that’s the problem, really. You confuse the lack of support others give you for opposition. It ain’t. They care about themselves and you’re just in their way. Hit them back or step aside, your choice. But blaming others is like cursing the sun for waking you up, pointless and eventually you’ll get depressed. Control your behavior, control your mind and don’t place blame. Don’t place blame? That’s something? Yes. Blame is like a validation of failure, it’s an explanation of something that can’t be changed. It isn’t. Everybody fucks up once in a while, the winners learn from it and the losers look for somebody to blame. You’re better off constantly learning, think of life as a massive feedback loop – everything that happens, happens for a reason and that reason isn’t some supernatural power but the behavior of people. Learn how things work and you’re good to go.
- Nobody wants what I have to offer. Well, duh! Then dude, find out what they want and offer that. You can’t go through life thinking “if you build it, they will come”, that’s in the movies and Kevin Costner you ain’t. Adapt. Work hard and learn while you can. Anyways, that’s that and there’s more but I’m me and I’m also you. If I knew how to get a better life fast, I’d have it by now – which is proof that either I’m an idiot (which I am) or there is no way to get a better life fast (which there may be, but I’m not the right man to ask about it). Never give up, never explain and never apologise (last two deserve their own post, tomorrow maybe).
Anyways, good luck and good night.