How to Get Ahead of 99% of People (Starting Today)

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I watched this video recently, and it was one of the best videos I’ve seen on YouTube. I love the transparency, and I think you will too!

I don’t have any affiliation with Mark Manson. I just wanted to share!


It’s simple.
If you want to get ahead of 99% of people in the world,
then you need to be willing to do something
that 99% of people are not willing to do.
You are a marvel, my dear.
Now, I know that sounds obvious,
but there’s been a bit of a meme
with a bunch of videos coming out
claiming that they make you more successful
than 99% of people in the world.
And it turns out it’s all the same shit you hear
in every other video.
Have goals, be more disciplined, remove distractions.
Something called monk mode.
Are we fucking serious right now, guys?
Goals, guys? Goals?
That’s what-
Bill Gates, goals,
that’s what got him there, right?
He had some goals?
My mailman has goals.
My housekeeper is disciplined.
Everybody’s trying to remove distractions.
These things are not something that 99% of people don’t do.
And monk mode, by the way,
have you looked at the most successful people in the world?
There is nothing resembling monkish behavior among them.
Because let’s be real, if an action is common,
i.e., if you can literally get on YouTube
and find hundreds of videos telling you to do it,
then it’s not gonna make you more successful
than 99% of people.
By definition,
to be more successful than everybody else,
you need to do what everybody else does not do.
Here’s a harsh truth for you.
When it comes to success,
the productivity hacks, the morning routines,
most of this shit doesn’t matter.
And to prove my point,
I’m going to share with you some of the basic habits
of some of the world’s most successful people
throughout history,
starting obviously, with myself.
See, when I started my business,
every morning I would wake up at about 11:00 AM
and I’d get myself a Red Bull and some Reese’s Cups.
And then I would stay in bed
for another two hours sitting on my laptop.
Hmm, tastes like ambition.
I did this for three years,
and I built a six-figure business
in my mid-twenties doing it.
In the first half of this video,
I’m actually gonna break down what makes somebody
more successful than 99% of the people on this planet.
But before you get all excited
and start rubbing your nipples…
No, I’m not gonna do that.
I’m not gonna go there.
The second half of this video is going to explain
to you why you might not actually want to be more successful
than 99% of the people on this planet.
Because like most important things in life,
success is not simple.
It’s actually pretty fucking complicated.
So let’s get into it.
If you actually want to be more successful
than 99% of people, you have to,
one, have a contrarian idea.
Two, be correct about that idea.
And three, execute on it massively.
Let’s start with number one.
Most people don’t ever have a contrarian idea in their life.
Let’s be honest, most people just kind of go with the flow
and agree with whatever their friends
tell ’em is cool that week.
But there is a significant minority
of people in society that will think for themselves
and come up with some contrarian ideas,
or buy into some batshit crazy theories.
Which brings us to number two.
Of all the people that have contrarian ideas,
the vast majority of those contrarian ideas
are not going to be correct.
They’re gonna be horribly wrong,
they’re gonna be embarrassingly wrong.
This is actually the most difficult part
of achieving insane amounts of success.
You have to disagree with everybody and then be right.
And even if you happen to disagree with everybody
and be right about it, you have to be willing to execute.
You have to put your ass on the line.
Now, when we look at super successful people,
we tend to focus on that last part.
What’s his morning routine?
What sort of supplements did she take?
Execution gets discussed most of the time
because it’s easy to observe.
It’s also easy to replicate.
So while execution is incredibly important,
it is not the thing that determines
the magnitude of a person’s success.
Steve Jobs was not Steve Jobs
because he woke up early and ate an ass load of fruit.
Steve Jobs was Steve Jobs because he believed
a full decade before anybody else
that one day a computer would sit on every desk
and be in every office in the entire world.
And he was correct about it.
Warren Buffett every morning
goes to the McDonald’s drive-through
and gets the same piece of shit breakfast
that you and I look down on.
How is he not dead yet?
Warren Buffett is Warren Buffett because consistently
he has identified companies that were extremely valuable
that most other people thought sucked.
And then he bought ’em, and then he sat around
eating fucking McDonald’s and drinking Coca-Cola.
And waited a few decades, which by the way
is another thing most people are not willing to do,
and now he’s the greatest investor of all time.
Execution is overrated.
If I can do one thing that will 100X my results,
then the other 99 things don’t really matter.
But people don’t like hearing this
because it is unbelievably hard to find
that one thing that is gonna 100X your results.
They almost don’t exist anywhere.
So instead, we make videos about, you know,
morning routines, and shit to eat.
As if like eating the same meal that Kobe Bryant ate
before basketball games is gonna make you play basketball
like Kobe Bryant, which by the way,
I actually have what Kobe Bryant ate
before each of his basketball games.
Orange or grape soda, and a pepperoni pizza.
Hmm, big Kobe Bryant fan.
Look, execution is necessary.
It’s just not sufficient.
And 99% of the advice that you’re gonna get out in the world
is about execution.
The hardest part about achieving extreme success
isn’t the work, anyone can put in the work.
It’s being a correct contrarian.
It’s the willingness to question widely-held assumptions.
It’s the ability to look at alternatives
or opportunities that most people can’t be bothered with.
It’s the ability to adopt unpopular beliefs
and then stick to them when people start making fun of you.
We forget that Steve Jobs had legions of haters
throughout the eighties and nineties.
Hell, he even got kicked out
of his own company for being a fucking psycho.
Seriously, I just wanna like stop this video
and appreciate this pizza.
If you look at the biggest breakthroughs
throughout human history,
they were all correct contrarian ideas.
At one point, every single one of these ideas
sounded ridiculous.
And at every point somebody very, very famous said,
“That’s not ridiculous, I think I can do it.”
If I’m being honest about my career,
I have worked very hard over the last 15 years.
I’ve sold millions of books, thousands of courses,
I’ve toured the world multiple times
speaking in a dozen countries or more.
90% of the results really came down to two,
maybe three correct contrarian ideas I had
at the right time.
The biggest and most obvious of which was writing
“Subtle Art of not Giving a Fuck”.
I mean, at the time, the conventional wisdom
was that millennials actually weren’t interested
in self-help, that men weren’t interested in self-help.
But I had discovered over the course
of multiple years blogging, that this wasn’t true.
You just had to communicate
with these new audiences in a different way.
Everything else I’ve done is either a footnote
or just a continuation of that,
or one or two other correct contrarian decisions I’ve made
throughout my career.
And I believe this is true
for most people who have achieved extreme success,
whatever field that they’re in.
For example, Warren Buffett recently wrote,
“In the 58 years of Berkshire management,
most of my capital allocation decisions
have been no better than so-so.
Our results have been the product
of about a dozen truly good decisions.”
That’s fucking mind blowing.
This dude has been doing this for 60 years, and he says,
“I made about a dozen good decisions.”
As a successful person,
there’s a temptation to believe
that you know what you’re doing
much more than you actually do.
It’s not intuitive that one simple decision
can have such an outsized impact on a person’s career.
So you start convincing yourself that,
“Yeah, I do know the secret to getting up early,
and working hard in the gym.”
Or, “I do know how to run meetings better
than everybody else,” when actually,
you’re probably slightly above average.
Because it doesn’t matter if you put butter in your coffee,
or if you have a standing desk,
or you use Evernote instead of Google Docs.
It’s like moving around the furniture in a house
and claiming it’s a better house.
If you don’t believe me,
go out and meet a hundred successful entrepreneurs.
I guarantee they are not
in the gym at 4:30 in the morning.
They’re not meditating two hours a day,
because the real world is much messier.
It’s also a lot more fun.
Winston Churchill basically won World War II
sitting in a bathtub drinking scotch all day.
It’s true, go look it up.
Or like Thomas Edison.
He would famously work for multiple days straight,
he would sleep in his lab one hour a night.
You want to know what his secret was?
Cocaine, not shitting you.
That’s why we have a light bulb.
Oh, yeah.
Speaking of cocaine, let’s talk about the downsides
of extreme success, or why you might not actually want
to get ahead of 99% of people.
Now, the first and most obvious reason is,
nobody likes contrarians.
I think a lot of people fantasize about extreme success,
because deep down they believe it’s gonna bring them
the validation and approval that they’ve always craved.
But sadly, it’s often the opposite that happens.
I remember when I quit my day job in 2008
to work on my online business full-time,
everybody thought I was fucking nuts.
Like half of my friends in the corporate world
basically stopped hanging out with me.
I’m also pretty sure that a bunch of my family
became convinced that I was like a drug dealer or something.
Wonder where they got that idea?
See, back then, nobody understood
what digital marketing was.
All the people in my life knew is that
I was broke for a long time,
and then one day I showed up with internet money.
I could see why they were skeptical.
You have to understand that when you go
from an incorrect contrarian to a correct contrarian,
it kind of fucks with everybody’s heads.
Extreme success is only meaningful
if the thing that you were correctly contrarian about
is also meaningful.
And ironically,
extreme success only improves the relationships
that didn’t need to be improved in the first place.
The second reason you might not actually want
to be more successful than 99% of people,
is that to be correctly contrarian,
you have to be incorrectly contrarian a lot.
The truth is that most contrarian beliefs
are contrarian for a very good reason.
Because they’re fucking wrong.
People have tried ’em, failed horrendously,
and then spent the rest of their life
wondering what the fuck they were thinking.
If you’re young, this is especially hard,
because you’re probably not aware
of how many of your contrarian ideas were actually held
by older people at one point,
but they tried them, failed miserably, and then moved on.
Spoiler, it’s probably most of them.
And finally,
I guess this is the most important point of this video,
is that extreme success is not gonna make you happy.
In fact, success amplifies who you already are
and how you already feel.
So people who are angry and depressed,
the success makes them angrier and more depressed.
The people who have great relationships,
the success makes the relationships even better.
Ultimately, extreme success should not be the point.
You should be motivated to pursue
your correct contrarian idea
because it’s so important you can’t imagine doing otherwise.
If you just wanna like get enough money to buy a nice car,
and spray a bottle of champagne on a girl in a bikini,
that could be arranged, I know a guy.
Because that’s not 99% successful.
That’s like 80% successful.
Maybe instead of asking how to become more successful
than 99% of people, you should be asking yourself,
“Why do I want to become more successful
than 99% of people?”
Because that is the question that is actually
going to yield more useful answers for you.
Before you run off and try to become
some obscenely successful badass,
maybe you should slow down for a minute.
And make sure that you’re setting the right definition
of success for yourself in the first place.
That way you’ll get a lot further.

The MAN Himself

Author of Modern Guitar Method. Also, please listen to my new album. I think it's the best jazz album of 2021 and It's available everywhere!