What It Takes
Luck helps, too.
I don’t do SUCCESS RISE AND GRIND because it attracts a bad crowd of internet marketing scammers, rich kids fronting as Horatio Alger, and fake nattys. However, as age hits me, this thought arises often, “By the grace of God I am doing OK.” What went right and wrong and how can other young folks learn from this?
Wanting more out of life is isolating and terrifying.
If you want more out of life, you’re on your own. You have to figure it out or deal with the humiliation of defeat. And yes, most of your friends and family want to see you “humbled.” Not all. Most.
The fear is mostly made up, but when you walk on an invisible bridge in an act of faith, you feel as if your legs might give out from under you. You’re not sure if what you are doing is correct or incorrect. You don’t get instant validation because it takes a long time to accomplish something truly impressive.
You may also be starting from Knowledge Zero. As if you don’t know anything. You don’t have a map.
My parents were religious freaks. They opened a coffee shop when they were in their 20’s, but not to sell coffee. They wanted to minister the Gospel. They didn’t care at all about material success. My dad worked to support us and pay the bills. His focus was more on his eternal soul and that of us kids. (We can discuss if it’s “fair” to your children. Maybe we will. I go back-and-forth on this.)
I thus had no understanding Of The World. Budgeting, cash, business, even social interactions? Had to learn all of this from books. Probably that’s why people assume I am autistic or “neurodivergent.” The soft skills of life that others learned vs reading a book and applying “rules of life” literally is like reading a book on how to surf or do Brazilian jiu jitsu. There’s a vibe, a feel, and you only learn that via practical application. Life hits back.
I graduated high school with mediocre grades. Textbook case of doing well on the tests but not doing homework. My parents didn’t hassle me. Remember, they wanted to keep me from going to Hell.
A fire eventually arouse inside myself. I wanted more. What does more mean? I didn’t know. Suddenly I became what you could call a “driven” person.
I had to figure life out. That’s harder than it seems. One principle that worked then and now is to read a lot and work a lot of hours - the Benjamin Franklin Mindset. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin will change your life. If you’re doing well and think you’re working hard, reading it makes you feel lazy and unfocused.
I always blow off people asking for “passive income” tips or “life hacks.” You have to work harder before you can work smarter, because you don’t know enough to take short cuts.
During the summer before senior year in high school, when everyone else was partying, I went to Basic Training at Ft Sill Oklahoma. Go back to high school, do my weekend a month for the National Guard, finish high school, and then do AIT (31U at Ft Gordon, Georgia).
Now that may not seem like much, but consider that NG soldiers are drug tested randomly. I didn’t get to party or smoke marijuana. That seems trite now, as a 45-year-old man. I lost peers during that time period. For the better, most likely, although it still hurt to lose friends when you’re 17.
You have to work full time and on weekends when you’re young if you want to “make it.”
Go to college and get a part-time job (ended up being more like almost full-time). Work on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 8-4. Classes all stacked into Tuesday and Thursday beginning at 8 a.m. and going into later into the night. My civilian job required you to work every other weekend for 8 hours each on Saturday and Sunday. The National Guard required you to do what was call “Drill” one weekend a month.
During my youth, I had one weekend a month off. I worked the rest of the weekends. (Drill is one weekend, work is another weekend, you get one weekend off, then work the next weekend, repeat the cycle.)
Additionally I was deep into the books to learn life skills. It was much harder back then because you couldn’t go onto Cerno’s Substack for book recommendations.
Before the term “hustle culture” existed, I was working almost every weekend and had multiple streams of income:
Drill / NG two weeks annual training.
No social life tho. Good luck having a girlfriend when you wake up, go to work or school, then hit the gym afterwards. Bed time was around 9 or 10 p.m. Also I couldn’t do anything “fun” like smoke marijuana.
When you live this way, you’re going to be called “weird.” If you’re higher IQ and good looking, as I was (and still sorta am / silver fox), you get upgraded to “eccentric.”
I was tired most of the time because fatigue accumulates. During my rare weekend off, I mostly slept in or read.
Others worked harder. Point is. You have to work full time and on weekends when you’re young if you want to “make it.”
If you wasted your 20’s and 30’s, then the same rule applies. You don’t get weekends off. You don’t get “balance.” You work multiple jobs, read deeply on subjects you don’t understand, hit the gym, go to bed early, and you’re tired all of the time.
With a little bit of luck (no car accidents or severe medical issues) you’ll Make It. Then you have Keep It. A bunch of other stuff happened over the decades regarding that.
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