“I can’t give you a surefire formula for success, but I can give you a formula for failure: try to please everybody all the time.” — Herbert Bayard Swope, first recipient of the Pulitzer Prize
A little over a decade ago, we didn’t even understand what that really meant. Someone like Mark Zuckerberg had to come along and help us define what social media means and how we interact with it.
He defined a problem, or what he felt was a problem, and then he solved it.
That’s what we should do. If the model (business model, study model, work model, productivity model) doesn’t work anymore, why follow it? It doesn’t matter how much you try to do. If a model sucks, it will take you with it.
Millennials get blamed for everything anyway, so if you’re going to get blamed for the demise of modern civilization, might as well go down swinging!
Lesson number 1: Don’t embrace someone else’s rules as your own.
One of my earlier businesses had to do with data storage (this when the cloud was still in infancy, and big business didn’t realize how necessary it would soon be). I noticed that cold-calling didn’t work at certain hours because there would be gate-keepers. My goal was to get interest and create an environment that would be conducive to generating conversions.
I realized that if I called potential clients from as early as 8 am and then later again at 6 am, I could bypass those gatekeepers. The old model of cold-calling during business hours wasn’t working for me, so I did something simple, yet highly effective. I stopped following the old model.
Lesson number 2: Being busy isn’t a good thing.
As a young entrepreneur, I dealt with a lot of paradigms, and as I matured, a great deal of those paradigms shifted.
One thing that I came to realize, after a brief moment of experiencing burn-out, is that doing something boring makes you feel like you’re lazy when you’re not doing the boring thing.
Doing less of that boring thing, on the other hand, is not laziness.
The problem with this realization is that I had made it while a lot of other people were still stuck believing that self-sacrifice is what makes a good entrepreneur. We live in a society that preaches self-sacrifice as though it’s honorable.
When I began automating more of life, and doing more in less time, whilst spending more of my time doing what I wanted, I found that I wasn’t alone.
In his book, The 4-Hour Work Week, Tim Ferris defines laziness as enduring a non-ideal existence while letting circumstances and others decide your life for you. His other definition, which applied more to me as a young millionaire at the time “to amass a fortune while passing through life like a spectator from an office window.”
Instead of being busy all day while being chained to a desk, I focused on being productive and it was extremely lucrative.
Lesson number 3: Now is the only right time.
Unlike what we’d like to believe, there’s really never a perfect time do anything in this world. Want to write a book? Start today. What to go back to school? Start today. Want to start a business? Start today.
I really like Nike’s motto of Just do it, because, for all the important things in life, perfect timing is a fallacy. It doesn’t exist.
It’s not like everything that can go wrong will go wrong and your life will be ruined, however, you cannot wait for the soil to be fertile enough for you to plant your seeds. You need to make the soil fertile by putting as much good into it as possible.
Having a someday mentality is what leads to the graveyard being the most idea dense place on the planet. A lot of amazing people simply take their would-be revolutionary ideas with them to the grave.
Lesson number 4: Money is funny.
This is perhaps the greatest lesson that I have ever learned, and I know that it seems rich coming from someone with the means.
I’ll say this and I’ll say it again if I need to: Accumulating money for the sake of it will not solve your problems.
When I was a teenager, I used to say, “If I had more money, I’d be able to do X and then this wouldn’t be an issue anyway.”
To prove how wrong I was, I had to think back to when I earned less than what I currently do, and ask myself, “Did I have problems back then? Did having the money I have now solve those problems?”
You already know the answer. No, having more money would not have solved and cannot solve the problems that I had and have.
Sometimes, when I catch myself using money as a scapegoat, I ask myself if this problem would still have persisted when I earned less.
Then, I ask myself what the problem really is.
Lesson 5: Not all stress is bad for you.
There’s are entire industries based on the premise that people should de-stress and that stress should be avoided.
Don’t listen to those people — they’ve got bills to pay.
Stress that is typically referred to in the mainstream is distress. This is the type of stress that increases your body’s production of cortisol, leads to illness and affects your mental health. Distressing stimuli slowly chip away at your sense of self-confidence until you’re a shadow of yourself.
We all know what distress is.
Then, there’s another type of stress. Eustress.
That refers to moderate or normal psychological stress interpreted as being beneficial for the experiencer.
If you decide to completely avoid challenging (not distressing) stimuli, your mental muscles will begin to atrophy. You will not make any progress without eustress, and the more eustress you expose yourself to, the better off you will be.
Some lessons took me a little longer to learn because I would get distracted.
Using various mediums, like our smartphones, we’re told that getting the carrot at the end of the stick is possible and can be done either this way or that way, but I was fortunate enough to learn in my early twenties that avoiding the carrot entirely is the real key to success.
In avoiding the rat-race, I gradually made more money, created more meaningful relationships, and helped more people.
Learning these lessons has changed my life!