I don't really know how to succeed at anything. But what I do know is how to fail at almost everything. So I'm following my own advice here and I'll write about the things I know. Instead of writing about the things I know nothing about.
I've repeatedly done all of these things wrong over the last couple of years. Some of them I've done wrong a few years ago. Some of them a few months ago. And some of them yesterday. And even today. This is mostly a reminder for myself. So I'm talking to myself here...
# YOU GIVE UP
That's probably the biggest and the only reason why you're going to fail at almost anything you'll ever do. That really is the only difference between someone who's successful and someone who isn't. It's not about skills. Or money. Or talent.
The only difference between someone who's successful and someone who isn't is that the successful person never gave up.
I know it sounds simple. And it really is that simple. But it's not easy. At all. When you want to succeed you simply never give up. When you want to fail, all you've gotta do is to give up at one point.
When you don't adapt and just give up, you'll always fail. No matter what. And I'm not talking about doing the same things over and over and over again. That would be stupid.
You've gotta be willing to adapt. To see what works and what doesn't. And then you've gotta adjust your initial plan and do more and more of the things that work. And less of the things that don't work.
The hardest part is figuring out what works. And what makes it even trickier is that what you initially thought is going to work will actually never work...
No matter what you do, when your only motivation is to get more of something as fast as possible, then you're probably going to fail. Sooner or later...
When you want to become an entrepreneur because you want to make more money quickly, you're going to fail. Because during the first couple of years you'll barely make any money. You'll probably make a lot less than you make right now. Whatever it is that you're making right now...
When you want to become a freelancer because you want more control in your life, you'll actually have less control over your life during the first couple of years. During your first couple of years you're going to depend so much on our clients that it will feel like your clients control your entire life. That's pretty much the reality until you're good enough and have a strong enough reputation that you can pick your clients. But that's probably not going to happen any time soon.
When you want to quit your job because you want more freedom in life you're probably going to have less freedom and less time for yourself for the first couple of years. Simply because you'll constantly be worrying about millions of things.
And you'll constantly be working on getting your thing off the ground. Doing all sorts of different things you never thought you'd ever have to do when you were still an employee. And even when you're not working you'll actually be working...
# BLAMING OTHERS
You're the only one to blame. It's all your fault. And always will be your fault. It's not the government's fault. Or the economy's fault. Or your teacher's fault. Or your girlfriend's fault. Or your bosse's fault. Or your coworker's fault. Or the system's fault. It's all your fault. Just like it's all my fault.
At one point you've made a wrong decision. Or listened to the wrong people. Or let someone treat you in a way you don't deserve. Or said something you shouldn't have said. So at the end of the day it's all your fault. It will always be your fault. No matter what...
And once you realize that, everything is a whole lot easier. Because everything will be a lesson. It'll all become a whole lot easier because you're never going to make those same mistakes ever again. Because now you know the results of all of these things. And if you blame anyone else except you, you will keep making the same mistakes over and over again.
And you will never learn any lessons. So don't outsource blame. Because you're going to be the only one suffering from outsourcing blame. The person, company, government, institution or whatever that outsources blame will always lose in the long run. Be a winner instead. No matter how hard it is to accept the truth...
# NOT THE BEST
If you don't have the time, patience and energy to become the best at what you do, it's very likely that you're not going to succeed. Because only the best of the best will be able to succeed. That also holds true when you want to become the best at the intersection of two, three or maybe even four things.
You've gotta get really good at your thing first. And that will take time. A lot of time. And money. And patience. And resources. That's why I've talked about setting up a freedom fund a few times in the past already to be able to afford it.
Here's the truth...
We live in a world that suggests and celebrates diversity. But at the end of the day we live in a winner takes it all world. We all use the same gadgets. Wear the same clothes. Shop at the same stores. Buy the same brands. Read the same books. Go to the same websites. Dance at the same festivals. Drink the same coffee. Buy the same softdrinks. Listen to the same music. Watch the same shows.
So whatever you do, try to make sure to become one of the best at what you do. Make sure you have the time, patience, energy and resources for it. Become the best in your niche, industry, field, town, city, region, country or wherever. That's the only guarantee to not fail at what you do...
But unfortunately that's not enough anymore. You also gotta build a strong enough support network, know about marketing, sales and all the other stuff that we all tend to hate...
# MARKETING, SALES, NETWORK
We live in a crowded world. Every single day thousands of books are self published on Amazon. Millions of blog posts are published. Tens of thousands of songs are released every single day. Hundreds of thousands of videos. Thousands of pieces of art. Hundreds of marketing messages every single day.
It's gotten so crowded that no matter how good you are, it's almost impossible to get noticed. It's almost impossible to stand out. That's why it gets more and more important every single days to know how to properly market, sell and brand your products, yourself, your ideas, your art, your services and pretty much everything else.
Because if you don't, then no one is going to notice. No one is going to magically find out about you, your ideas, your books, your videos, your blog posts, your art or your products. And it gets harder every single day.
And we all gravitate to the same things. So we're really competing with the best of the best out there. In any field. We're competing with the best of the best for people's attention, time, resources, money or whatnot. And just because you or I decide to put something out there doesn't mean that anyone will even notice. Or care.
Remember, people are already using their time, resources and money and get the best of the best out there. And people's time, money and resources are limited. Just like you had to give up some of your time to read this right here. Time you will never ever get back again. Time you could have spend with your kids. Your wife. Your boyfriend....
Try to keep that in mind. Always!
# AVOID THE DIRT
It's easy to think big. Because everybody tells us to think big. It's easy to imagine having that multi million dollar business. It's easy to think about that freedom business. And the yachts. And the cars. But working on it, executing on your ideas and getting your hands dirty is a whole different story.
What we tend to forget with all of this thinking big is that to get to a point where you can think about any of this stuff, you've gotta get your hands dirty first. Because no one is going to help you get there. No one is going to hand you anything if you don't have anything to show yet.
The only way to make big things happen is to think and make small things first. To get your hands dirty. To get down on your knees and do all that dirty work. The work you're thinking about hiring people for. But how are going to hire anyone if you don't have the resources to? Right, you can't! You've gotta do it yourself. You've gotta get your hands dirty. And no one else...
At the end of the day, the small things really are the big things. Because everybody thinks about the big things, everybody knows how to get the big things right, but no one really knows how to get the small things right...
# NO SAFETY NET
The most important thing is your safety net. No matter what you want to do. Sure, you could complain about the fact that you don't have a safety net, that you don't have wealthy parents, that you come from a poor family or whatnot.
Or, and I think that's a much better choice, you could start working on building your safety net. Because when you're close to the abyss you'll need a safety net. And you're always be close to the abyss.
You need something to fall back on when things go wrong. And things always go wrong. Things never go as expected. So make sure you have a safety net. Building a safety net should be your priority number one. No matter what you want to do.
And it can consist of a strong network of people, 1-2 years of expenses in the bank, a side business that generates enough to pay the bills or maybe even multiple streams of income on the side.
What matters is that you don't stand on the beach naked when the tide goes out. And the tide will always go out. Sooner or later...
# IDEA HOARDING
If you don't get your ideas out of your system you will never come up with new ideas. Your brain will constantly be busy thinking about that one idea. About all of the things you could do. All of the millions you could make. All of the cool things you could buy.
But the problem is that our brain's bandwidth is limited. And when it's constantly taxed with the exact same thing it will develop a hoarder mentality. Yes, your brain has a mentality. And I totally made that up. And I totally don't care. Because that was an idea I just had and I had to get it out of my system. Because I didn't want to think about it any longer.
When you don't get your ideas out of your system you won't be able to come up with new ideas. You won't have enough space left for new ideas. For better ideas. And the only way to come up with good ideas is to come up with hundreds or thousands of bad ideas. To come up with new ideas every single day and to get them out of your system...
# NEVER COME BACK
A lot of people send me links to their articles and ask me for feedback. I never read any of them. And not because I'm arrogant. Well maybe I am. I don't read them because I know that in 99% of the cases I will never hear back from them ever again. No matter what feedback I'll give them.
Most people aren't willing to show up more than just a few times. Some might even show up for a month or two. Or maybe even a year. But at one point almost everybody just gives up when things don't happen as fast as expected. And things never happen as fast as expected.
Everything will always take longer than you initially thought it would. If I knew how long it would take to get to where I am right now, wherever that might be, I would probably never have started doing what I'm doing right now.
I think most people aren't crazy or stupid enough to put in the work it takes. If all you do is to show up just once or twice or maybe even a month or two it's not going to work out. Maybe even a year isn't enough. Probably five years isn't enough. I don't know...
So I usually tell people to come back and ask me for feedback after their 100th article. And so far I haven't heard back from anyone. Sometimes I even check people's profiles to see what they've been up to. And I haven't found a single profile that was still active on a regular basis...
# INABILITY TO ADAPT
Just a few short years ago the consulting industry was booming with people who developed all sorts of fancy and shiny concepts that were never really implemented. Or when they were implemented it turned out that no one was there to implement them.
Today it's all about implementation. It's not about developing those fancy concepts anymore. It's all about implementing them. And execution. About doing the hard work. Because there's no one left anymore to do the hard stuff. No one knows how to do the hard stuff. No one wants to get their hands dirty anymore.
We all just know how to do the concepts. But not the implementation. No one knows how to execute. We all know everything in theory. So today implementation is key. Execution is the key.
What will be key tomorrow?
I don't know. But what I do know is that a lot of people won't be needed anymore because of artificial intelligence and all of this stuff.
So the future will probably be about being able to properly operate, supervise, mainrain and control these algorithms and artificial intelligence so that all of these things produce the best possible results.
But whatever happens, the only way to survive is to adapt. No matter how old or young you are. No matter how much or how little money you have. If you're not willing to adapt to an ever changing environment you're most likely going to fail...
# JUST TALK BUT NEVER DO
Book knowledge is the most dangerous knowledge out there. Just like Google knowledge. You know, the kind of knowledge you can read about everywhere. The kind of knowledge you can read about in books, blogs and all over the Internet.
And this kind of knowledge is pretty much useless. Just like this right here is pretty much useless.
All of this knowledge doesn't mean a thing if you never put that knowledge to use. If you never test it out there on the market. You can't learn how to swim by reading a book. You can only learn how to swim by going out there into the water and to start swimming.
Just like you can't just go over and talk to a girl in a bar by reading a few books about it. You have to go over and talk to hundreds of girls until you become good at it. Or guys. Just like you can't build a business just by reading books. You've gotta get out there and start building a real business. Or start painting a real painting. Or start writing a poem. Or a novel. Or...
Book knowledge is dangerous. Because it makes you think you know it all. But the truth is you don't know nothing about anything until you start doing it...
# LISTEN TO THE WRONG PEOPLE
Listening to the wrong people is a sure way to fail at anything. Especially when those people have never done what you want to do. And the problem is that most people who are important in your life have probably never done what you want to do.
Your parents grew up in a time that was totally different from today. What worked for them a few decades ago doesn't work anymore today. What was safe yesterday isn't safe anymore today. Or won't be safe anymore tomorrow.
Your teachers and professors also grew up in a time and a world that was totally different. Not to mention the fact that most teachers and professors never really had to “survive” in the real world. Most of them have never even been out there in the fields. Not all of them. But most of them. And most of them never had to apply the things they teach, other than when they teach it.
The world is changing. And so should you. But the problem is that gatekeepers are still there. And will probably still be there for quite a while.
So instead of ignoring your parents, teachers, professors or society try to play by the rules. Learn the rules. Understand the rules of the game. Because the only way you'll ever be able to win any game is by knowing the rules. You can't win in any game if you don't know the rules. If you ignore the rules.
The only way to win the game is to know the rules of the game To know the ins and outs better than anyone else. That's the only way to find loopholes. That's the only way to win the game. No matter what game you're playing.
But most importantly you should never listen to people like me.
You should especially never listen to me, my advice and what I have to say ...