“Most of the challenges that we have in our personal lives come from a short-term focus”
The Stanford marshmallow experiment was a series of studies conducted by psychologist Walter Mischel in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In these studies, a child had to choose between receiving a small reward immediately or two small rewards if they waited for a short period, during which the tester left the room and then returned.
There’s a Japanese word that has become synonymous with continuous improvement.
It’s a term used to define small, daily improvements. The 1% daily improvement. The compounding effect of such improvements.
It’s a wonderful dream to aspire towards daily improvements. Most of your days should and can be about small, constant, improvement.
There are days when that’s just not possible.
Maybe it’s because of failure or setback, but I find it’s rarely the case. Mostly, it’s because of lack of success.
The daily failure.
Maybe your online store isn’t selling enough products, maybe your content isn’t consumed or appreciated.
It’s not the spectacular failure or rejection that breaks most people, but rather a constant lack of success, of something worthy of celebration.
During those days, the best thing you can do is to simply go through the motions. Yeah, I know you don’t feel like it. And I know you’re sure that nothing good will come of it, but the trick is to do whatever it takes to keep going.
That’s all it takes. If you don’t give up, that’s the kind of success you can be proud of, because that’s exactly when most people quit.
When you feel like throwing in the towel, imagine that almost everyone else but those you admire most quit.
Now, do you want to be like everyone else or do you want to be like those you admire?
When I was a kid, I thought I was destined for great things. I was born on Christmas Day, exactly one year after they shot Ceausescu, the only ruler of a Communist country to ever be executed. Now, in the same spot, they’re building a shopping mall.
Maybe because I was born when I was born, I don’t really listen to what other people tell me I should do. I never did.
I don’t like authority. I don’t like to follow rules.
I am not afraid of the consequences of not doing what I am told. I am not where I’d like to be in life because I don’t like most people. I have long suspected they don’t like me back.
I am a rebel without a cause, garnering a bit of applause here and there from those who read my stories.
In 336 B.C., a brash 20-year-old prince visited the Greek city-state of Corinth. During his stay, the prince visited the philosopher Diogenes of Sinope, one of the founders of the Cynic philosophy.
The philosopher was quite a controversial character, infamous for his open criticism of Plato and for his rather shocking lifestyle; he begged for a living and often slept in a large ceramic jar, or pithos, near the gymnasium in Corinth.
The young prince decided to meet this eccentric character. He found the philosopher lying in the sun. The prince addressed him and asked if he wanted anything at all from him, to which Diogenes replied, “Yes, I just want you not to stand in the sun.”
The young prince was so impressed by the philosopher’s nonchalant demeanor that he stated, “But truly, if I were not Alexander, I wish I were Diogenes.”
Two years later, now a king in his own right, Alexander set out to conquer his way to the edge of the known world.
During the following decade, nothing stopped him. Nothing. Huge armies with elephants, impregnable fortresses, vast distances over mountains and rivers and deserts, hunger, thirst, the sea itself, the uttermost extremes of physical hardship and war. His body was littered with scars; everywhere that is, except his back. He never retreated, and he never lost a battle.
Most of his portraits, sculptures, and coins reflect a kind of upward gaze as if he were staring into the very heavens, yearning for something unreachable.
At the age of 33, the one who would forever be known as Alexander the Great, died, leaving behind the myth of one who dared to conquer the world.
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.
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.
In this 24/7/365 world we live in today, there’s no off switch. There’s no downtime. There’s only the hustle.
Everyone’s trying to conquer the world or die trying. The dopamine rush, the goals, the business ventures. Always busy. Always doing. Always achieving.
These days, everyone’s got a side hustle. These days, everyone’s trying to emulate Steve Jobs or Warren Buffet or what have you.
And it all starts so early. A cousin of mine is 12, and he’s already got a YouTube channel. He knows more about cameras than I do. He knows how to edit his own videos. He hasn’t hit puberty yet and is already addicted to the hustle.