I get off on telling the truth.
I mean, I love it. It's addictive.
But most people never get to enjoy this rare thing. Most people are far too afraid.
But why? I ask this. Here's my best guess...
I think people don't tell the truth because (1) They think they're a big deal, and (2) think their life is really important, and (3) are afraid that telling the truth is going to screw up their very important life.
...that could be happening today, but isn't.
Be very skeptical of people who say they'll get to something later unless there's a good reason they're putting it off.
Especially if they're not busy.
Sometimes there's a reason it makes sense to wait. But as a good general rule -
If there's no reason that it isn't happening today, it ain't happening.
What's the most money you'd pay to write a letter?
A dollar or two?
Ten bucks, if it was an important letter?
Maybe $1,000 to write a final letter to someone you really loved?
Last month, I wrote the most expensive letter of my life.
Next time you're buying food, multiply the cost of it by 365. That's the "lifestyle cost" of eating that kind of food every day.
So, having a $15 lunch every day costs $5,475 per year.
For once-per-week costs, you can multiply by 52. So, $70 drinking every Friday night has an annual cost of $3,640.
Why is this useful to do? First, you'll realize that many things that seem cheap, aren't. You might very well be spending $7,000 per year on coffee, if you're at cafes a lot. That might be a fine expense, but it's worth knowing.
Much more importantly, you'll realize that some things that seem expensive, also aren't. If you're spending $7,000 per year on coffee and you're a very heavy internet user, you might consider scaling your cafe-habits back slightly and buying the highest end laptop possible. A lot of people will get a cheaper laptop to save a few hundred dollars, but spend thousands per year in consumption that they don't really enjoy all that much.
Not getting recognition at work? That's tough. Whether you're an employee, freelancer, contractor, or even a partner in a company, it can be demoralizing. It also gets in the way of advancing your career and earning more.
Is self-promotion the answer?
Yes. Sort of. But there are a few prerequisites.
1. You must have the work you're performed tied to value you're delivering to the organization and individual evaluating you. Don't be a commodity.
2. The person evaluating you must like and trust you. Or at least, respect you.
Maybe the biggest problem really intelligent people have is that they spend more time being clever than being effective.
I used to suffer from this disease of the mind. I'd want to do something new, novel, and fascinating - instead of just getting something done.
The really effective people I know, the people who make the biggest difference in the world, who make the best things, who get the most done, who live the best lives - they all are more concerned with getting something done that fits than with making it clever.
Over-researching relatively minor things is a great example. Take a quick look, get an understanding, choose one. Change later if it becomes an issue.
Trying to reinvent the wheel constantly.
So, I expect this one to be controversial. If you're a very sensitive person that likes to get offended, you might want to skip it. If you're in a hurry, feel free to skim the bold parts.
I didn't come from all that much. My great-grandparents and grandparents were dirt poor. My parents dug out of it a little bit, though I was born when they were young and unestablished. My kids will have more opportunities.
I wish to do much. How much is possible? To know, you have to study history.
So I study history. And looking at the history books, I see a number of differences between people of low birth and high birth.
Now, before I go any further, I recognize this is unfashionable and controversial to talk about in this day and age. But it's definitely a real phenomenon, and I've never shied from the truth even when unfashionable. Also, I think after reading this you'll see that the majority of high born characteristics are superior to low born characteristics, and it's worth learning, training, and becoming better.
I finished Robert Ringer's "Winning Through Intimidation" and started reading Yukio Mishima's "The Samurai Ethic of Modern Japan." It's an introduction to and analysis of Hagakure. Hagakure's a 17th Century work on bushido and Japanese samurai ethics and living - I've got some excerpts of it here - "Excerpts from Hagakure, Chapter 1."
Reading Mishima, I realize something about the difference between Japanese and American superheroes and fictional characters.
At the most desperate moments, American fictional heroes tend to win by discarding their training and going with instinct and feelings. You see the hero who was beaten down and whose plans failed, who now "lets go" and thus wins.
At the most desperate moments, Japanese fictional characters win by unleashing and realizing the effects of their training.
A hallmark of Japanese fiction is the hero going through a long training period, but then not quite mastering his skill. Then, at his most desperate moment, the training kicks in to the full extent, and he wins.
Got a long email from a reader with some great questions - he's a very impressive dude, but he has a hard time sticking with something for more than 1.5 to 3 years. If you have this trait as well, you might want to pay close attention to this post
And I have a real problem "falling in line" with the rest of society in a stable, consistent and "normal" life. I just feel like it's not me.
Yup, I know exactly how you feel. I've been in similar places. So have a lot of my friends. Some thoughts -
What I see as a recurring theme in my jump from job to job and industry to industry is my utter lack of real fulfillment. Don't get me wrong, I do have a temporary sense of fulfillment and meaning with the careers I have pursued, they just don't seem to last. Once I have focus on what it is that I want to do I am relentless in achieving it. For instance, after 3 years in the --- industry I have acquired the knowledge that many people don't achieve until 10, 12 or even 15 years in the industry. However, that life-cycle tends to be around 18-months, where I then become unfulfilled by the rate of learning and progress I am making. This ultimately leads to erratic behavior within the succeeding months and a feeling that I need to drop what I'm doing and move onto something else - whether that be a new job or a new career altogether.
Google the term "rage to master" - click around, read some summaries, and then check out a couple academic papers. It will be very worth your time.
I read an asininely large number of books. I probably open or start 300 to 500 books a year, finish 50, read substantial parts of 50 more, and listen to another 30 to 70 on audio. I tend to "fast read" books - which is where I skim until I hit a particularly good part, and then slow down for comprehension. When I read a book that's highly tactical, I try to go through it slowly over a couple months while implementing and testing the tactics.
The following isn't my list of favorite books, nor the best books written, nor even the most important to me. Instead, it's my picks of "must reads" if you're doing "creative building."
That's where you're simultaneously trying to invent/innovate while growing and diffusing your inventions and innovations. It's what entrepreneurs do, but not entrepreneurs only. The following list would be useful to someone trying to proliferate their writing, become prominent in fields ranging from music or journalism, and possibly even governance and politics.
There'll be a mix of philosophical, strategic, and tactical books on the list. Let's begin:
1. Musashi by Eiji Yoshikawa - If you're talented and get frustrated with stupid people, you have to read "Musashi" by Eiji Yoshikawa. I mean, you have to. Musashi was one of the greatest swordsmen in Japanese history, invented a new Japanese longblade/shortblade mixed style of swordsmanship, and at one point fought himself out of an ambush when he was attacked by over 30 men. He was undefeated in over 60 duels, including defeating arguably the second best swordsman in Japan at the time while fighting with a wooden oar he carved into a rough swordlike shape. Yoshikawa writes his story about getting into conflict with mainstream society and all of the friction before finally finding a way to hone his craft without unnecessary conflict - and thus reach an even higher level of perfection. A brilliant philosophical read, but also a hell of a swashbuckling story. If you only read one book on this list, read this one.