The last post was a bit gloomy, sorry it brushed some of you the wrong way. That’s the ugly truth, business isn’t fair but it’s also not about behaving reprehensibly at every opportunity to make a dollar. If you’re a thug, you’re a thug – the attire is kind of inconsequential. So long as you learn the people to avoid you’re fine.
Speaking of being fine, greetings from Bahamas.
As some of you may be aware, I was not born in United States. Growing up across central Europe and Miami (which is only technically a US territory) I got a chance to interact with lots of different people, different backgrounds, different cultures and different values. When we had the opportunity to move to United States permanently, my father hesitated a bit and my grandfather gave him this little bit of positively-reinforcing advice on moving to United States:
If you can go, go. You should always try to do better.
We (roughly translated: this place, “home”) will be here if you want to come back. But there is no opportunity here, hell every 50 years we have a world war! Every 10 years everything just falls apart.
My grandfather went through WW1, fought in WW2. As an architect saw his creations built and destroyed – repeatedly. I suppose that’s why the bitterness and inability to accept failure runs so strong in the Mazek bloodline: We hope for the best, plan for it to go to shit some way (because it inevitably will), brush the dirt off and start again. You only give up when you’re covered with 6’ of dirt.
I was raised not to expect anyone to help me out.
My parents continuously pointed out what we had. They also pointed out why and how that happened. Although I spent a lot of time with my dad growing up, he made sure I understood why our father-son dates included errands to the bank, why when we went abroad we went to visit factories instead of tourist traps. He always showed me what it took to earn money and how quickly we could spend money and where.
Likewise, they pointed out the rich and the poor. There were some things that the rich did differently, some things that the poor did differently. Ultimately, so long as you have the opportunity and are willing to work hard for what you want, you can get it.
It just involves constantly pushing yourself. Constantly.
There are easier ways of getting there. Talk to Karl. Buy the damn book already. It’s awesome. For 90% of you, that’s the way to roll. It’s a way to do marginally better than the average. The end.
For the more pessimistic-realistic bastards among you
Even if you do your best, something can always go wrong.
Shit happens. Shit is happening right now, I am just not fully aware of it. Perhaps because I’m lounging on a deck of a ship with a mudslide? But I know for a fact that if I “relaxed” right now or started “life balancing” the life I have and the life I hope my kids have one day could be at risk.
So here is the recipe that I have found makes a humongous difference between the average (most of whom eventually fail) and the people that constantly seem to be on a lucky streak.
Sacrifice. It’s not going to be easy and it’s not going to be painless. See the previous blog post. You will miss out. You may not be going to every party, you will miss years of vacations, you will likely develop series of nearly fatal physical ailments (obesity, hypertension, depression) and for a long time your peers will be doing significantly better than you. Just keep in mind that this is the investment stage, if you can take a shortcut such as robbing a bank and getting away with it, by all means take it.
Work. Square your shoulders, tilt your head and rock it like a Vegas casino. Doesn’t matter if it’s 3PM or 3AM, if someone in Australia or Taiwan wants to give you their money, the phone will ring. The email works 24/7/365 (unless you’re on Exchange 2007) and there is no tomorrow. It’s just now, next or working on it. The most successful people I interact with are only available at weird hours of the night – because they are working as hard as I am. Forget about relaxing, forget about your life balance, forget about people telling your wife is going to leave you, forget about people who question you for not being a stay at home mom, forget the people who try to make you feel guilty. Fuck em. Fuck them because if you were down and you needed help none of those people would help you – they would just look down on you for not working hard enough. That’s the haters paradise: Knock down the successful, criticize the unsuccessful, help nobody but yourself. Tell them to (as respectfully as you can) kiss your ass.
Thrive. Hard work pays off. That’s all.
Things To Remember
It’s easier to complain than to try.
It’s always easier to do nothing than to do anything/something.
Tomorrow is always a better day to do something than today.
Later always seems more practical than right now.
It’s all about how you choose to see the world around you and how you qualify the opportunities. Losers work their way backwards – how much vacation time do I get, when is my next raise, if I put in long hours I’m really getting paid much less than it seems on my paycheck, can I take the days before/after Thanksgiving before/after Christmas, before/after New Year, before/after *holiday*?
Winners look forward. The more I work, the quicker I will be promoted. The more often I am around here the more my boss will count on me and find me irreplaceable. The longer hours I put in the less competition I have for that promotion and the more likely I get to move up faster. I don’t care what time it is, I got this.
There is a difference. So long as you focus on being better and surround yourself with people that reinforce your enthusiasm and drive the better off you will be.
Sadly, the world is full of bitter old men who’d rather knock you down and make you feel insecure about yourself. Their message is obviously easier to sell – because you will immediately feel better if you do nothing than if someone tells you to do more. It’s the love hate relationship that everyone has with the gym and personal trainers.
I got two words for you about what you find important: Results. Matter.
Honest time (since I think the vodka is starting to kick in). This is me, right now:
Don’t tell me the hard work is going to kill me – losers die every day. Don’t tell me my wife is going to leave me because I work hard – wifes and husbands leave every day. Don’t tell me my kids don’t know me – they know more about the world and finance than most grownups.
Most importantly: Don’t tell me otherwise because I know my way works. It worked for me, it may work for you.
The only difference between me and the endless stream of bootcamps, fraudulent feel-good 4 hour workweeks, coaches, consultants and other bullshitters: I am still playing this IT game full time and winning at it. I don’t say that to stroke my ego because I could honestly give two shits less what you think of me and my success. That’s between me, my wallet and god (god = the all seeing, all judging, works-in-mysterious-ways Internal Revenue Service). The difference is one day maybe we’ll be bitter about the choices we made in life and wrong turns the fate had taken for us – but one day you’ll also be dead: Living in fear of that inevitability only assures a life of fear.
Flip the middle finger to the people that discourage you and stick your hand out to those that encourage you.
Choose something better.
Be better than you were yesterday.
Live like that and the only thing you’ll ever need is just one more day.