“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” — Blaise Pascal
I should print this quote on a t-shirt.
I’m the poster child of “man’s inability to sit quietly.” I’ve wasted most of my twenties because of it. Boredom made feel as if my brain was melting inside my skull, and not interacting with people, as an ambivert, made feel as if my mind was degrading to the point of me losing all social skills, and for this reason, I’ve developed a set of bad habits, addictions, hung out with the wrong crowd, and became notoriously anxious and depressed.
Solitude, especially the kind that is most productive, is an art. I’ve yet to master it, but here’s what I learned so far.
“Believe in Something Bigger.” The slogan of Powerball takes aim at a materialistic public but draws on language religious in tone. In essence the lottery commands us to believe in a higher power but replaces transcendence with quantity, appealing to conventional aspirations while steering clear of potential blasphemy. Hats off to the admen who have encapsulated the spirit of popular faith in America today. If money is the God of our time, the God we once knew has been demoted to an accountant or spokesman, employed to raise funds and justify political positions. In this light, lottery winners represent the miracles of the modern day.
But isn’t this all a bit much? Isn’t the lottery just for fun? Who hasn’t bought a ticket or two? We can kid ourselves about the odds of winning, but let’s not kid ourselves about the nature of the game. Serious implications await the…
At the time, Bezos was worth around 9 billion dollars, yet he worked from a less than impressive office, drove around in a Honda, and had a terrible sense of fashion.
Today’s richest man was working from headquarters located on the same street as a pawn shop, a heroin-needle exchange, and a “porno parlor.” His office, the badly stained carpet, the desk, made out of a door propped up on two-by-fours, all give the impression of the kind of hopelessness that people often encounter whenever they embark on the strange and perilous odyssey of building a business from scratch.
Success is not easy. Overnight success is so statistically improbable that we might as well think it doesn’t even exist.
The struggle is real. Just imagine in what kind of conditions Bezos was working when he first started his company, if this was what his office looked like when running what had grown into a 30 billion-dollar company.
The same way Elon Musk had to borrow money to pay the rent for his apartment in the early days of SpaceX, all successful people had to deny themselves pleasure and comfort in order to bring their dreams to life.
There’s no way around it, I’m afraid.
And there are certain aspects of success that rarely get talked about. We romanticize success to the point that it feels like a walk in the park. You do what you love, always a smile on your face…
Here are seven brutal truths about success that no one ever talks about.
“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.” — Carl Rogers
Every night is a dark night of the soul; fear and loathing overwhelm you whenever you stare in a mirror or think about your actions. You fail at everything you do. You struggle with low self-esteem, high-functioning depression, and social anxiety.
How do you change that?
Because you’re not going to change by spending all the time wishing you didn’t feel like that; you’re not going to change by writing down a bunch of positive affirmations and reading them aloud in front of the mirror every morning.
The paradox of changing oneself is that the more you want to change a negative trait you have, the more you become it.
When it comes to getting what we want, desire is an important element. Set a goal, go all in, and achieve it. The beach body, the business, or the book you want to write, all require that you genuinely want to do them.
But when it comes to changing the inner reality of who we are, it doesn’t work that way.
Did you know that you can deduce how much money someone earns by asking them a simple question?
You can, in fact, deduce a lot about them, about their principles, ethics, dreams, and goals.
What is that question?
Well, it’s simple.
“Do you believe in work-life balance?”
If it takes you less than 10 seconds to have a negative emotional reaction to what I am implying here, stop and think about why.
If you feel the need to say, “Yeah, but…” you should also stop for a minute and ask yourself if life’s a balancing act or not, and if going through life as if walking on tightrope is the only available option.
Today’s culture is saturated with articles, clever memes, and podcasts that idolize terms like “grind” and “hustle.”
Personally, I believe that assuming the responsibility to work hard for your dreams is one of the key elements of success, but at the same time, it’s equally important that we understand how to work, why we are doing the work, and what pricewe’re paying for the time and energy we invest in the work we do.
I am writing these words as my girlfriend is getting dressed for us to go out. I woke up 4 hours before her, after only 5 hours of sleep, in order to write my articles, edit them, and schedule them to be posted.
I woke up long before the sun was up in order to reply to my e-mails, check my stats, and figure out the day’s strategy.
I’m all about the grind. Always was. Mental laziness has this strange side-effect on me; it makes me anxious to the point of wanting to jump off a building.
“Every morning, upon awakening, I experience the supreme pleasure: that of being Salvador Dali, and I ask myself, wonder struck, what prodigious thing will he do today, this Salvador Dali.” — Salvador Dali
Dalí was famous for two things: his art and his eccentric and often ostentatious behavior.
In 1955, he delivered a lecture at the Sorbonne, arriving in a Rolls Royce full of cauliflowers.
To promote Robert Descharnes’ 1962 book The World of Salvador Dalí, he appeared in a Manhattan bookstore on a bed, wired up to a machine that traced his brain waves and blood pressure.
Dalí would avoid paying at restaurants by drawing on the checks he wrote, thinking that the restaurants would never want to cash the checks since they were artworks by the Spanish master.