A lot of people think that highly successful have to be selfish, cruel horrible people to get to where they are (You probably think what the hell do I know if I’m not yet successful?).
While I believe this is true in some cases (as it is with every other social class), after analysing the lives of many already established, successful people and filtering public relations tricks from the real facts, I think shamelessness is the biggest secret to breaking through.
Shamelessness in this context is lacking that little twinge of ego that stops you from doing things that feel embarrassing. Not going deeper into pop culture shameless must-do’s (I still haven’t figured out if people like Paris Hilton, Kardashians, Rihanna are super dumb or super foxy, playing fool and manipulating our most primitive instincts for massive appraisals – most probably the first one) but there are some obvious gains when you decide to show that surprisingly you do have the balls.
Shameless people don’t mind putting themselves out there and getting doors slammed in their face again and again and again. They don’t mind “bothering” other people with follow ups and selling others their dream.
If you are one of them, you don’t mind being pushy if it means that you get your point across. You keep being stubborn and persistent without the limits, even when it makes you look crazy.
If you tick of these qualities in a less than modest measure, then you have a better chance than others of becoming highly successful. Either that or ending up in jail.
Neo rebellious actions
It’s not about teenage rebellion against everything and everyone without a driven purpose. On the contrary.
I would call it the neo rebel where you focus all your energy into showing what you stand for without unnecessarily wasting scarce resources into fighting something which can’t be changed. A mental just-in-time.
We should deny joining hoi polloi who are on the automatic pilot and start thinking for ourselves the quickest we can. There will never be a better time to change than now.
What the young people like me (I’m 27 on 29/01) lack in experience, we often make up in cockiness and recklessness. As the years pass by, the voices of ‘the wisdom’ start sabotaging your head and all this “I can change the world” attitude is overtaken by the “adult responsibility”. Of course, we, entrepreneurial, restless people always have to think and worry about consequences. Yet, we have a selective sort of understanding of them. We focus on the positive potential consequences and do our best to forget all the negative ones. We give credit to the people upfront, hoping others will appreciate it and not try to take advantage of it.
While this can be dangerous, it also allows for great focus and determination. Most people are so worried about the consequences that they never attempt the feat in the first place. Thankfully, this lessens my competition and makes my chances of success higher.
See you on the flipside
Few weeks before terminating collaboration with my ex company (a.ka getting voluntarily ‘fired’), I had a very honest chat with one of my now ex-bosses (Thanks C, I really appreciated it). He saw I’m demotivated and unhappy. He knew I need different conditions to thrive and give the best of me, and he knew that this company structure couldn’t give it to me. He asked me to think of what I really want and where I want to go, and give him an answer. Immediately.
He pushed me into painfully realising that I’m a coward by not pursuing my real goals. When I was leaving the meeting room, I enthusiastically told him “I’m going to be f*cking big and I know it!” and left happy to dust off my dormant master plan. You may say I’m a dreamer. (But I’m not the only one.)
Since long (especially since that conversation with my boss) I felt ashamed more and more each new day I was staying in this job, but I thought I couldn’t quit just like that. But at the same time I knew I was doing myself (and others) a great disservice and I was wasting my potential.
Isn’t it funny that this conscious wastage paradox applies to almost everything we do in our lives? Mismatched marriages, business partnerships, unchased vocations… We hold tightly to something which poisons us from the inside, we nourish our unhealthy habits out of fear of the unknown. Hence all these lies, cheating and escaping into false.
If you say that you dislike XYZ – you should realise that the problem may not be the XYZ itself but how it makes you feel about yourself – if your toxic relationship (of any kind) brings the worst of you, while in other conditions you would have never behaved such way – then you should run Lola, run.
So thank you C & M for giving me temporary freedom and the biggest motivation – fear.
Kudos for you for making your company a steady success. As much as I would do some things there differently, it seems to be working for you just fine.
I hope I won’t screw up the given chance and one day we will meet for a beer without the slightest resentment.
PS. I hope you liked the wallpaper I left on my work computer 🙂
Thought out insolence
Around 2 years ago (I already started creating Evoque) I got a call from the head-hunter that a ‘highly successful marketing & PR automation company’ was interested in seeing me for an interview for the biz development position. I accepted the meeting and when I got confirmation email with revealed name and the address of the company, I couldn’t believe it – it was the biggest indirect competitor for Evoque. I started wondering if I should go, try to get this job and see “from the inside” how the competition is doing it? That would be the optimal and a wise choice right?
So I went to the interview and spoke with Head of Development for UK market and some other people. The position was quite challenging but the moment I walked the door of the C… offices, I knew I wasn’t interested. I couldn’t help it so I played my I-will-do-what-you-say corporate whore role for a few first minutes, then changed my direction and revealed that in fact I’m building Evoque and I plan on competing with them someday. The guys in the meeting room were humorous and said that when I do make it, I should give them a call so they can apply at my company. You bet I await that day more than a Christmas boxing day.
I still feel bad that I can’t make my promise happen as yet and that unpleasant feeling won’t vanish until I launch. Evoque can die of some natural cause (e.g. running out of the cash flow) or become a great success – either way, I will finally be able to sleep peacefully.
I did many bold moves in my live (many more of higher calibre are yet to come!), but it wasn’t triggered out of my irresponsible and spontaneous nature as it may seem from the first glance. I pulled a few actions, which if I had written about them here, it would have got me instantly in trouble and you would stick on me the big red label saying ‘diagnosis: INSANE‘. So I will leave these saucy stories for my biography when I eventually break through (if ever).
The more people I tell (brag) about how successful I’m planning to be with Evoque, the higher expectations I’m setting of myself. And I highly care for what others say about me and my work so I try to do my best not to lose my face. Thankfully American & European reasoning allows you for multiple fail & try again cycles, so I don’t need to think about harakiri style exit as yet.
But we should always hold ourselves accountable. I never aim to speak idly or sound phoney as I want to be the (wo)man of my word. I need to be extra careful especially in the high calibre industries I’m dealing with and trying to challenge with Evoque. I need to gain trust of media professionals, and with their short(er) attention span and crazy lifestyle, I know I can’t bug them about half-baked product. At best, I can have only one shot to get their attention so I need to target responsibly and walk the talk.
Since I realised I want to create my own destiny by building start-ups and immersed myself in Evoque concept, I wanted to mark a launch milestone and have something to strive for. I decided to mark that milestone by bungee jumping. But this day hasn’t arrived yet. My time-wasting perfectionism, chasing bureaucratic EU/Gov funding mirage, inability to code and choosing wrong partners for the team made me run and burn myself before the finish line. I slowed down but did not give up.
So last year, when I was in Thailand, I decided to jump anyway. To scare the shit out of me and prove myself that I can. It wasn’t high, only 50m. The highest they had in Chiang Mai.
So I am standing on top of the platform and every bone in my body tells me not to jump. But I know I need to jump right away because if I think about it or take a second look, I’ll talk myself out it.
It made me realise that we should not wait for external factors to mysteriously align like a freaking planet syzygy. If something is broken, fix it and take things in your own hands. If you are unhappy, shut your mouth up, stop complaining and change something.
I read that human evolution is geared against you in taking a risk, in jumping out on your own, in starting a business, in leaving that toxic relationship. It’s speculated that the reason peer pressure is so effective is because it’s an evolutionary defensive mechanism to prevent individuals from splitting off from the pack where they would be more vulnerable to being killed or eaten by our ancient predators. The same holds true for a perceived risk like starting a business. You’re making yourself enormously vulnerable like the proverbial run alone across the savannah.
But we ain’t living in the cave anymore.
True, there is nobody to tell you what your corporate homework for today will be. There is nobody leading you by hand to show what next steps need be done. It’s just you, your determination and your creativity. If you let your mind control you, it will be focusing on everything that can go wrong; that’s how we’re wired evolutionary.
We’re wired for a negativity bias (also called a speculated evolutionary carry over). Apparently these perceived risks can trigger a similar stress response in your body as actual, physical risks. So the solution is simple (easier said than done) – Don’t believe everything your mind tells you.
Or do, and stay where you are. Your superiors work that phenomenon to their advantage.
What we risk most of all when taking a leap is our pride. A perceived injury of the ego. Failing. Being laughed at. We should know that this is the real reason for the thoughts on inadequacy and being overwhelmed. Our mind has adept subconscious defensive mechanisms for avoiding that blow to the ego.
So don’t hide and realise that you have much, much more to gain than lose. The world, your confidence, successes, building a business, building a dream.
What you (and me) need to do is to constantly counter your negative thoughts. If you let the negative thoughts fill your mind, you will talk yourself out of it. Fill you mind with visions on your success. But not that shitty “The Secret” ones. Thinking alone is not enough if nothing materialises your thoughts.
Obviously, not everyone is cut to be his own boss. Some people amazingly flourish when they have set environment or foundations and clear tasks of what to do. If we all strived for our own business (and actually making it happen), there would be nobody to serve us and help us build our dream. It ain’t enough room for bartering.
Don’t do this to yourself. Don’t be a corporate whore worth X what is stated on your contract. You can do much more if you live in relatively safe and free country like me. Yet many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you, so start somewhere, anywhere. Take the leap. I already took mine.
“As you start to walk on the way, the way appears.”
“Let’s do a software house! We have an experience in managing projects (especially why they fail), have unlimited creativity and we have the biggest advantage – we are from Poland! “
I also started facebook page Amusing Start-Ups where I write about projects which fascinate me and should be heard of (which, if it goes with the plan, can also become a viral exposure for Amuse).
Who said I can’t?
If you want to change something in your life, you need to take the leap. You can no longer wait for the perfect moment to switch. It doesn’t exist anyway. Once you have a clear purpose and goals, you can direct your life rather than letting outside factors determine your direction. You will be able to much more easily withstand criticism and challenges when you are internally clear on your specific purpose on this planet.
How to make that change? Well…everything starts with a simple thought.
“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”