Most people, when reading a title like the one for this post, will immediately assume that there is a mountain of hate ready to be dumped in their laps. Well, there won’t be. What it will be is a post inspired by several others in the blogopshere dedicated to being real. Being real about what? Well, life and the world in general. A lot of people feel in our day and age that we are an entitled generation. It isn’t a lie. We have been raised on the words, “As long as you try your best…” For the most part, this is an important part of our development. However, once you find yourself with a bachelor’s, master’s, or Ph.D. and in the pool of real-world-non-1%-ers fighting for a job, that isn’t the case. So today, for your benefit, I will be telling you what most people are afraid to tell you… That you suck and that needs to change pronto.
For me, my formative years were definitely in the mid-90s to the early 2000s. I was steeped in school and extracurricular activities which made me a chic magnet… like playing the violin/viola and debating (if you couldn’t tell, I was being sarcastic). Like other kids my age, I did try to hang out with my friends as much as possible, and like the other kids my age, the temptation to party was too great to resist and my grades suffered a bit. But none of that mattered once I got into college and started my journey to my double bachelors. That is a pattern that is ingrained in us as kids. We work hard, get decent grades and get into a respectable college, then everything we did up to that point is reset and we start tabula rasa, with a blank slate, if you will.
One day, as I was going through the motions of juggling grades, activities, and late night binge drinking sessions with the friends, I looked up and realized that I was graduating from high school. It was exhilarating to think that I was finally going to be an “adult,” a college student. Then I started my college career and what’s this? It was basically like high school except it was infinitely easier to get completely wasted any day of the week. I think that environment gave me a false sense of security and an attitude to rival even the most entitled children in the world today (think: My Super Sweet 16).
The real turbulence started after I finished my collegiate career. Suddenly, people weren’t interested that I was a really nice guy or that I was funny. It didn’t matter that I had an awesome smile and an encyclopedic knowledge of random internet facts. I was pushed into the real world, and I just wasn’t ready. I spent the first two years of my post-collegiate life trying to perform and promote hip-hop music by starting a production company with a close friend I rapped with during my university stint. Seeing as how I’m writing for a blog and working in tax, I shouldn’t have to say that my foray into music was short-lived if not fun. But it was during this time that I learned a lot of the hard-knock lessons I have carried with me and that are largely responsible for making me the man I am today.
No one cares how hard you tried
Effort is all that matters. False. Effort is probably, at best, the third thing that matters. The first thing that matters is results. No one will give two shits about who you are, what you do, or how diligent you are if you don’t show them results. The world is a cold place and it doesn’t give out medals for participation. I mean, yes, when you’re a kid, it is important to try everything even if you suck at it because you have the time and bandwidth to try to get better at something you like or are curious about. When you’re knocking on 30 and you can’t hold down a job, that’s a telltale sign that you’re a loser.
1. Being nice makes you like 85% of the world.
One of my biggest pet peeves, especially in a work environment, is when someone describes another person as “nice.” I’m here to tell you that nice doesn’t get you anywhere. Please don’t misconstrue that as an appeal to you to start being a dick. Not the case. What I mean by this is that, for the most part, most of the people you deal with on a daily basis are going to be nice, or at least civil to you. That means that being nice is just the bare minimum for operating within society.
2. Looks matter.
As much as it hurts me to say this and as much as I wish I could say otherwise, your appearance matters. Those that know me know that I am not a zealous supporter of plastic surgery or anything, but I know that if I showed up to a meeting with shorts and flip flops on, I probably wouldn’t be able to make any meaningful connections with the clients. This means that your pothead attitude… that’s gotta go. No more rolling out of bed, walking out with your PJ’s on, and saying, “I don’t give a f—.” Well, you should give a f— because you look like a bum.
3. Self-pity is life’s fast-track lane to loserville.
I used to hear sob stories from a lot of people I knew complaining about how horrible their lives are, and how, if this ONE THING changed, it would make everything better. Or how it was their parents’ fault for how jacked up their lives were. Or that they “went through so much more shit” than everyone else. Boohoo. Read Oprah’s wiki and tell me you’ve had a tougher life than she had… I’m not downplaying any of the full spectrum of the bad things that can happen to someone while they’re growing up, but I know for a fact that everyone that grew up with the deck stacked against them and succeeded, didn’t spend their time crying about how sad their lives were. Roll with the punches, take those life lessons to heart, and start taking responsibility for the choices you’ve made. Crying about it won’t get you anywhere… Unless you can pay rent in tears and sad stories now.
4. Good enough is just not good enough.
You know when you were in school you could fudge your way around a paper or a big assignment and the teacher/professor would go over your responses and give you partial credit for crafty answers? Well, that never happens in real life. In real life, if part of your answer is wrong, it’s just wrong. No more partial credit is given and in a lot of situations, you don’t get another chance. No extra credit. Don’t pass Go. Don’t collect shit. Which leads me to the next point…
5. There aren’t any second chances.
I loved hearing this gem when I was a kid: Just try harder next time. This statement operates on two assumptions, only one of which matters in the real world. The first, you failed the first time around because you didn’t try your hardest and second, you’re going to have another chance. I’ll let you guess which is actually relevant to most people that work full time for money… If you guessed that you’re going to get a second chance, you probably suck at reading comprehension, which is going to be another difficulty for you as you move forward in life.
All you that have made it this far, I’ll congratulate you for lasting this long. I think the biggest message that I hope to convey is that we all need to take responsibility for our own lives. Too long have people been perpetuating the lie that trying is enough. Let’s stop the lie. This far and no further! So to all you ready to take back your lives, godspeed. Don’t forget! No one cares about you or wants to lend a helping hand!