In theory, you could start a business, travel the world, start an organization that saves kids in Africa or do anything that goes well above and beyond your definition of what’s normal.
But odds are you won’t.
Not because you lack intelligence.
Actually, your intelligence is the problem.
You’re too smart for your own good. You know the odds of pulling off this whole dream life thingy — super low. Not that it’s inherently difficult in a vacuum, but you don’t live in a vacuum.
If only having to deal with your own mental chatter and self-doubt was the only piece to the puzzle.
You also have to deal with the real circumstantial forces that gum up the works. It’s dumb to quit your job and start a business or become an artist. You have bills to pay.
With a job and responsibilities, the time to work on your little evil project is limited at best.
And let’s be honest, the whole Gary Vee lifestyle of working every single hour of the day while you’re not at work…just doesn’t work for most of us.
You need some escapism and fun to cope with life. You just do.
All of this leads the rational person to the logical and correct conclusion — don’t try.
If you want to be successful, you have to be a little bit of a nut job.
How to be a Nutjob 101
My biggest strengths are as follows:
- I’m gullible — Those ads to get rich quick always allured to me and I tried many of those little schemes. Even as I’ve grown more pragmatic, I still basically buy every online course that looks somewhat legitimate. I don’t go to casinos because I think I’ll win and I’ll bet all my money.
- I’m naive — When I first started writing, I didn’t realize how bad I sucked! I pitched an article to Thought Catalog after I saw a friend do it because, why not? I just shoot my shot.
- I’m absent-minded — I work with copy editors and virtual assistants for a reason, I don’t suffer from perfectionism at all. I’m 30 and keeping my apartment clean is still a tall task for me.
Even when I was dead broke, I figured I’d figure things out somehow.
Don’t get me wrong, being gullible, naive, absent-minded, and delusional has caused me many problems in life. But my total disdain for rules and social norms has carried me far in life.
Let’s say you’re not like me, though. Say you’re more like the person I described to start the piece.
You’re very rational and pragmatic. Deep down you want to try something new and different, but you can’t help but focus on the odds, consequences, and challenges in your way.
What do you do?
Honestly, I don’t have some sage advice for you. Eventually, you’re going to have to say fuck it.
The quote I put in a chapter of my book says it all:
If the world is unfair, and success is the exception instead of the rule, which would you rather be: the exception or the rule?
Your odds are low? Oh well.
Few people pull it off? Make sure you’re the one that does.
I love this video from 50 Cent — this curse word filled rant perfectly describes the attitude you need to be successful:
[On while he was trying to rise in the rap game] People say I’m crazy I be thinkin’ yup. I was crazy enough to believe I what the fuck I was sayin gon’ happen was gon’ happen. That’s why I was persistent enough and consistent enough to exist now.”
He goes onto say:
“Ain’t no school for this shit. Stupid. Ain’t no school for this…You gotta be smart enough to pick up the information as you go.”
Therein lies the rub.
Stop Looking For Answers in the Wrong Place
I understood pretty early on in life that if I wanted to live this dream, I couldn’t take advice from basically anyone I knew.
My parents? I had, and continue to have to, disregard basically all of their advice.
My dad, to this day, still tells me to go get my MBA. I do better than and know more about marketing than most MBAs. I tell him the same thing every time “No.”
When I told my mom I quit my job to become a full-time writer, she was disappointed. A month later, she asked me if I was bored with writing yet. I sent her a screenshot of one of my figure paychecks and said “nope.”
Authority figures you grow up with? They can only tell you how to become like them.
The media? Stop. Let’s not even go there.
The funny thing about it all? When you go on this path, start this little evil project of yours, and start to connect with other like-minded peers, you’ll feel like you know the truth about the world. But in your day to day life, you will be made to feel like you’re the crazy one.
Sadly, most people give up on their dreams because they’re scared of social ostracism and rejection. That’s it.
You don’t want to feel like you’re crazy like you’re out of place like you’re an alien living in today’s society.
But…that’s…exactly what you are if you choose to do this.
Nobody will believe in you and everyone will think you’re kind of dumb for trying, but something interesting happens when you keep your head low and do the work.
The Recipe for Not Even Needing the Last Laugh
I kept my mouth shut for years. I wrote every day. Instead of telling people what I was going to do, I’d just do it and announce my projects when they were done.
Now that I have some stability in my career, I’m more open about what I do and what my lifestyle is like.
And guess what?
The same people who used to think I’m crazy are now curious.
“We need to sit down and talk about business. Let’s have coffee.”
“You know Ayo, I’ve been thinking about writing a book. Know any good resources?”
“You inspire me, man. I always knew you were going to do something big.”
And you know what I do when I get these inquiries. I welcome them into the fold. I do go and have coffee with them. I’m more than willing to help. I’m not jaded or bitter at all for one simple reason.
It makes sense that nobody would believe in me. Most people are full of it. And creating a tailor-made life out of thin air is a delusional idea that really isn’t a good fit for many people.
Success isn’t the best revenge. Success without the need for revenge is the best revenge. I used to have a chip on my shoulder, but as I spent time working on myself and growing, I realized I didn’t have anything to prove to anyone except for me.
Do What You Want to Do
Just like the opinion of others doesn’t dictate my life. My opinion shouldn’t dictate yours. I have my beliefs about the world, but I’m not a self-help evangelist. Take it or leave it. I hope my suggestions are helpful to you, but if they’re not, then stop reading my work.
I’m not the type of person who says everyone should follow a dream, nope.
Some people should probably stop kidding themselves and find a really good job with benefits — maybe invest in some real estate, stocks, get a nice house in the suburbs, and chill.
Nothing wrong with that, at all. In many ways, that type of life is preferable.
If you don’t absolutely hate your job, make decent coin, get to have sex with someone you love regularly, do cool shit on the weekends, and watch interesting T.V. shows, that’s more than enough to be happy.
Who says you need to change the world? Certainly not me.
Being content is just as cool as being a delusional dream-chasing nut job.
This message is for a specific type of person. If you truly feel constrained by normal life, if you feel like the life I just described above feels like a prison to you, if you have this dream that bugs you and gnaws at your soul, the feeling won’t go away. It will eat at you.
So, if you’re one of those people, it would behoove you to dive into the depth of your delusion and never come out.
Ayodeji is the author of Real Help: An Honest Guide to Self-Improvement.