Listening: The Fire - The Roots feat. John Legend
The Harvard Man is a special man. Clearly. If you’re a graduate of a place reserved for the Elite, you are no ordinary man. You’re a cut above the rest.
You’re an American Citizen. God bless America. You were fortunate to have been born in the Land of Opportunity. It’s a privilege that puts you there, a cut above the rest.
The Latvian man is an unfortunate man to have been born in such an unfortunate place, a land of not-opportunity, mired with poverty and crime. A cut below the rest.
What else? What other things have you been taught since you were a child? About yourself, about other people? About who you are and your place in the world?
All of these things are arbitrary and have no basis in reality.
A man is precisely as fortunate as he decides to be. Which is to say, there’s no such thing as fortunate or unfortunate, only the individual.
Being born in a certain place, having gone to a certain school or having a certain title... none of these things matter. Take away all that, and what’s still there, is you.
The most important thing you can master in your lifetime is being you. To break away from all the things you think you’re supposed to be, how you’re supposed to act, walk and talk. When you do that, you can master your own expression.
This lies very much at the heart of Magnetism.
The reason to master your own expression is because only you can be the best in the world at being you. Everyone has certain individual strengths and talents, ways of thinking, ways of perceiving. Everyone has unique experiences that make them who they are.
If you’re a business owner, and you’re in the right business for you personally, then only you can run that business. The best businesses are built on personal strengths. That’s why no one can compete with them. That doesn’t mean that no one else can serve the same audience, it only means no one can do it the way they do it.
As I perceive it, a business is a personality scaled up. And if you can master your own expression, you can also scale it and master your business’s expression, its place in the market.
That’s how you build a business no one can compete with. There’s only so much you can do with technical skill.
Copywriting, for instance, is a highly valuable technical skill. You can be the best copywriter in the world, and thus have a significant advantage over most competitors. But your competitors can also learn how to write copy.
It’s a critical skill, absolutely essential to success... but copywriting knowledge is not a scarce resource. Anyone can learn it.
Your personal expression, however, is the most scarce resource on the planet. There’s only one of you, and there’s only one person alive who can master it.
Boast all you want of your university degrees. Being a graduate of a fancy school usually means you’re good at playing by the rules. That’s fine. That’s great if you judge your own value and sense of self-worth by societal standards (as opposed to your own standards).
But... if you want to make a dent in the universe, none of those things matter. Not your job, your education, not even your knowledge. Take away all that, and only you and your expression is what is left. That’s what people crave, and that’s what you crave to get out in the world. Only fear stands in the way.
The truth is that most everything that people consider valuable and significant is completely arbitrary. Define your own standards. Break away from the herd, break away from the rules.
In the end, every man is an island.
Break away from it all, strike out on your own, and live your own life.