Self-Importance and the Death of Success

Self-Importance and the Death of Success

Every Wednesday I shoot an episode of The Only Real Estate Podcast Worth Listening To with two other leaders in the real estate industry. It’s the highlight of my week and we’ve gained a pretty serious following in the 13 months we’ve been at it. I’m not quite used to other industry professionals associating my name with something like a popular podcast or recognizing me at industry events and wanting to talk about it. It’s a cool feeling knowing that people enjoy what we’re putting out. And I wish I could say it was all part of some grand vision that we had from the outset.

The truth is, we had next to no idea what we were doing when we started. And I’m far from immune to the kind of natural, internal egoism that keeps human beings from attempting any sort of feat they fear may make them look or feel anything less than entirely competent. So, it was tough; it was scary. But then something amazing happened. No one cared. I mean like, not even a little. First episode, second, third, no one was watching, or paying any sort of attention. From the outside looking in, that sounds like a complete and utter failure. But there was something refreshing about it. If no one was watching, that meant no one was judging, no one was laughing. No one was thinking whatever it is we’re afraid they will when we go out on a limb or step outside our comfort zone. But while we didn’t have much of any audience, our comfortability was beginning to build.

It turns out, it’s pretty easy to get used to something you’re not great at when no one is there to tell you you’re bad. You start to have fun with it. You embrace it. And by the time anyone takes notice, you’re past the point of self-consciousness. What started off as three guys talking about real estate in a garage in North Dallas, has slowly morphed into one of the top 50 business podcasts on iTunes.

But what if that hadn’t happened? What if it hadn’t taken off? What if people hated it? Would that have changed anything?

Here’s what I’ve learned about that creeping fear that holds us back from pursuing the things at which we dream of succeeding. That fear is simply vanity disguising itself as legitimate concern. It’s irrational, unfounded and hollow. The only thing we fear is how we’ll be received. How we’ll be viewed in failure. How we’ll be judged when we come up short. The one universal truth to accept about this kind of self-doubt is that you’re simply not important enough to give in to it. That may sound a bit harsh, but it’s a definitive certainty. Unless you’re something comparable to a world leader, no one person’s failures have a resounding effect on others. No one person is that important in their pursuit of achievement.

The people to whom your success actually matters, say, your spouse, kids, etc. are far more likely to be supportive though your growth phase. What we really fear is failing in front of others. It’s sheer, self-indulgent pride that holds us back. Only when we accept that the world at large truly doesn’t care whether or not we achieve greatness are we able to expand our comfort zone with impunity.

It’s counterintuitive to say the least, but I fundamentally believe that the best advice anyone can give on the topic is to remember that humanity does not exist to feed your desire for positive attention. Conversely, it doesn’t exist to deny it, either. That’s something to embrace. Because it means that failure is simply a matter of perception, rather than fact. We can only fail if we accept that as the case.

That means the choice is yours. You can continue to procrastinate, suffering chronically from analysis paralysis, or you can take hold of the idea that your failures are not headline news and allow them to become a mere footnote in your broader story. Let them become the catalyst of your success rather than a detraction from it. Failure is an invented notion that binds perfectly capable people to a life of mediocrity. The ability to rise above its detrimental effects is gained purely from willing choice. That choice is yours alone.

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Subscribe

Get weekly, actionable advice, hacks and best practices for overall awesomeness!

More articles from Brian:

Advice
Brian Force

Self-Importance and the Death of Success

It’s counterintuitive to say the least, but I fundamentally believe that the best advice anyone can give on the topic is to remember that humanity does not exist to feed your desire for positive attention. Conversely, it doesn’t exist to deny it, either. That’s something to embrace. Because it means that failure is simply a matter of perception, rather than fact. We can only fail if we accept that as the case.

Read More »
Failure is a slice of pizza
Advice
Brian Force

Failure Is a Slice of Pizza

This is the reality of failure. While it’s widely agreed upon that success takes time, resilience, commitment, we assume that failure is simply the absence of success. It’s not. Failure is achieved in the exact same way. Little by little, moment by moment, in resilient, momentum-building fashion that grows with intensity as we pour ourselves into it with ferocious commitment.

Read More »
Advice
Brian Force

What If You Just Did What You’re Supposed To?

But what happens when we don’t have that excuse? What happens when the only thing we need to be successful in our endeavors is a bit of resourcefulness and the will to take massive action? This is the litmus test facing today’s entrepreneur. The barriers have been removed, the tools are readily available, all he has to do is take action.

Read More »

Failure Is a Slice of Pizza

Failure is a slice of pizza

Failure Is a Slice of Pizza

Tony Robbins put it best when he mused that all change happens in an instant. It’s true that the kinds of inspiring, life-altering, fundamentally transcendent experiences that lead to transformative growth do, more often than not, stem from a deeply moving experience. This experience, of course, can be positive or negative. Witnessing a true underdog come out on top can inspire one to take action against his own Goliaths. Conversely, a rock bottom moment can be what finally moves an addict towards recovery.  But what about the smaller moments? What about the negative ones? The ones we barely perceive as they’re so fleeting, we miss their importance. Life, after all, is nothing more than a mosaic. A collection of moments combined to create one continuous narrative, each one no more or less important than the last.

The idea that all change happens instantaneously is an important concept to understand for anyone looking to grow on a personal level. It’s the idea that no matter what has happened before, how we’ve lived up to any particular point in time, the next moment can be the beginning of a new future. And for those in need of a complete shift in dynamic, it’s the promise that it’s never too late, that we’re never too far away for our vision to become our reality.

How, though, do we get so far away? How do we get to the point where this type of transformative experience is required to get us on the right path? I would argue that, while change may happen in an instant, our perception of the gravity of these individual instants is skewed. That human beings are not inherently cognizant of the cause and effect relationship that binds our everyday decision making to our future circumstances. It’s not until we’re far enough away that change would be considered transformative that we tend to realize we’ve strayed from our intended path at all.

This is the reality of failure. While it’s widely agreed upon that success takes time, resilience, commitment, we assume that failure is simply the absence of success. It’s not. Failure is achieved in the exact same way. Little by little, moment by moment, in resilient, momentum-building fashion that grows with intensity as we pour ourselves into it with ferocious commitment.

I’ll use health and fitness as an example as it’s the most universally relatable. Let’s say I need to lose fifty pounds. The commitment I make to finally taking action, my rock bottom moment, the line I draw in the sand that will become the catalyst for my transformation, that’s the kind of instantaneous change we romanticize. That’s the change we envy when we see it in others. But what about the change that got us there? What about the slow, uninspiring march that ultimately culminates in the type of dissatisfaction with myself that a serious transformation is even necessary? That’s real failure.

I say that because, more often than not, that change never comes. We’re inspired by stories of transformation, of redemption, because they’re so rare. It’s much more likely that I’ll never lose those fifty pounds, and every moment, every instant, every piece of the mosaic along the way, where change becomes progressively more difficult, I have failed.

Failure isn’t a singular event. It’s a series of conscious decisions made over an extended period of time. If my goal is to get in shape, to live a healthier life, then failure is every bite of pizza I take. It’s every day that goes by that I tell myself I’m too busy to exercise. It’s every time I click ‘Next Episode’ instead of heading out for a run. If there’s no such thing as an overnight success, there can be no such thing as an overnight failure.

The reason we don’t see these failures for what they are, is the same reason we often don’t understand what it takes to accomplish our long-term goals.  Calling back the idea of overnight success, we don’t see the maniacal commitment to one’s ultimate vision. Or when we do, it’s considered too intense, or even off-putting, to be relatable. We give very little credit to people who go to great lengths to find success until that success is actually realized. Then, of course, those people are considered inspirations.  Whereas along the way they were likely considered obsessive, unhealthy, consumed.

This same mindset can explain why we don’t realize we’re failing until we’re so far from our goals that success would be nothing short of a miracle. We fail to consider that, day in and day out, we’re making commitments, little by little, that will either fuel or extinguish our ultimate vision.

Success is in the process. You’ve probably heard that before. But so is failure. Both take time, energy and commitment. And the achievement of either is neither accidental nor singular. Rather, they are both the culmination of each and every moment, every decision, made every day to move just slightly closer to, or further from, our ultimate vision.

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Subscribe

Get weekly, actionable advice, hacks and best practices for overall awesomeness!

More articles from Brian:

Advice
Brian Force

Self-Importance and the Death of Success

It’s counterintuitive to say the least, but I fundamentally believe that the best advice anyone can give on the topic is to remember that humanity does not exist to feed your desire for positive attention. Conversely, it doesn’t exist to deny it, either. That’s something to embrace. Because it means that failure is simply a matter of perception, rather than fact. We can only fail if we accept that as the case.

Read More »
Failure is a slice of pizza
Advice
Brian Force

Failure Is a Slice of Pizza

This is the reality of failure. While it’s widely agreed upon that success takes time, resilience, commitment, we assume that failure is simply the absence of success. It’s not. Failure is achieved in the exact same way. Little by little, moment by moment, in resilient, momentum-building fashion that grows with intensity as we pour ourselves into it with ferocious commitment.

Read More »
Advice
Brian Force

What If You Just Did What You’re Supposed To?

But what happens when we don’t have that excuse? What happens when the only thing we need to be successful in our endeavors is a bit of resourcefulness and the will to take massive action? This is the litmus test facing today’s entrepreneur. The barriers have been removed, the tools are readily available, all he has to do is take action.

Read More »

What If You Just Did What You’re Supposed To?

What If You Just Did What You’re Supposed To?

I learned how to change my own oil last year. It was a pretty big moment for a guy that needs an assistant to heat up his lunch properly.

But rather than the prototypical father-son bonding exercise most of us would picture when imagining such learning experiences. My education took a different shape. I Youtube’d it. Just watched a video and learned how to do it in like five minutes. Then I watched the related videos and learned how to do a bunch of other stuff. The reason I’m telling you this story isn’t just because I like talking about my Master Mechanic’s education, but also to make a point about the ease by which we’re able to access information and transform that knowledge into action. The speed by which the modern man is capable of implementing new ideas is amazing at least, Matrix-esque at best. Gone are the days when acquiring a new skill was a pre-requisite to actually using it. The current era is all about taking the leap, and building the plane on the way down. 

For entrepreneurs in the beginning phases of a new venture, this can be thrilling news. The ability to innovate, iterate and work efficiently while gathering knowledge and immediately taking action speeds up the feedback loop and has resulted in the most incredible product landscape the world has ever seen. But, as with any advancement, there are side effects to this kind of progress.

The fact is, as the barriers to entry are reduced, so are the favorite excuses we like to make about why we’re not able to accomplish our goals. Because even when we know what we’re doing, it takes a lot of hard work. We’re asked to sacrifice a lot in the name of personal achievement. Time that could be spent on the couch or in bed. So it makes life easier knowing that we don’t possess the necessary resources to realize our vision.

But what happens when we don’t have that excuse? What happens when the only thing we need to be successful in our endeavors is a bit of resourcefulness and the will to take massive action? This is the litmus test facing today’s entrepreneur. The barriers have been removed, the tools are readily available, all he has to do is take action.

Still, for some of us, taking action means staying busy with any and everything but what we need to be doing. We keep ourselves occupied with task-oriented nonsense in order to distract ourselves from the lingering idea that work is just hard and we don’t particularly care for the grind of it. And that’s certainly a relatable outlook, it just won’t get you very far. So instead, ask yourself this…what if you just did what you’re supposed to do?

I mean it. What if you just woke up tomorrow and did exactly what you knew you needed to do that day to move closer to your goal? Is it scheduling a meeting that’s way out of your comfort zone? Trying to raise capital for a project? Or simply getting yourself to the gym for a solid workout? 

What if you did everything on your to-do list? No exceptions. How would that feel? Would it hurt? Would you find yourself riling in pain, regretting the fateful moment when you tried to accomplish something of value? Or would it feel good? Would it satisfy you? Prove that you have nothing to be scared of and leave you hungry for more?

The amount of excuses we’re reasonably allowed to make is in direct proportion to the amount of resources readily available to us. That ratio is quickly becoming distinctly lopsided. There are simply too many resources readily available to us to make excuses for not, at the very least, moving in the right direction each day. It’s a lack of sheer will that holds us back.

So make today the day. The day you take action. The day you leave it all out on the field. The day you throw away the excuses and embrace the fact that the only thing standing in your way, is you. 

Take that massive action. You’re bound to wake up to a more fulfilling tomorrow.

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Subscribe

Get weekly, actionable advice, hacks and best practices for overall awesomeness!

More articles from Brian:

Advice
Brian Force

Self-Importance and the Death of Success

It’s counterintuitive to say the least, but I fundamentally believe that the best advice anyone can give on the topic is to remember that humanity does not exist to feed your desire for positive attention. Conversely, it doesn’t exist to deny it, either. That’s something to embrace. Because it means that failure is simply a matter of perception, rather than fact. We can only fail if we accept that as the case.

Read More »
Failure is a slice of pizza
Advice
Brian Force

Failure Is a Slice of Pizza

This is the reality of failure. While it’s widely agreed upon that success takes time, resilience, commitment, we assume that failure is simply the absence of success. It’s not. Failure is achieved in the exact same way. Little by little, moment by moment, in resilient, momentum-building fashion that grows with intensity as we pour ourselves into it with ferocious commitment.

Read More »
Advice
Brian Force

What If You Just Did What You’re Supposed To?

But what happens when we don’t have that excuse? What happens when the only thing we need to be successful in our endeavors is a bit of resourcefulness and the will to take massive action? This is the litmus test facing today’s entrepreneur. The barriers have been removed, the tools are readily available, all he has to do is take action.

Read More »

How Much Are Your Friends Worth?

I never smoked weed growing up. Not that I’m against it in any way, it just wasn’t my thing. I didn’t get into it in middle school, when all my friends did, and by the time we reached high school it felt like I would just be doing it to fit in rather than picking it up organically. So the window in which I wouldn’t have felt like a total poseur just sort of passed me by.

But living in an upper-middle class suburb in the early 2000’s you can imagine I was in the vast minority of kids that traveled the path of non-indulgence. And somehow that was always fine with me. Because no one ever bothered me about it. No one ever asked me why I didn’t smoke, not that I had a serious reason anyway. No one ever pressured me, poked fun at my choices or let them strain our personal relationship. I can comfortably say that, despite never taking a puff, I never experienced a single incidence in which I felt ostracized or looked down upon for my choices. In a peer group that prioritized getting blazed above pretty much everything else, no one ever bothered me about it. And that’s because I have a gift.

(more…)

Why You Need To Stop Being So Optimistic

optimistic

Why You Need To Stop Being So Optimistic

We all have that friend. His name is usually Jeff or something. He’s the guy that’s always in a great mood. The one that lights up the room as soon as he walks in and is always looking for the bright side of any issue. We like Jeff. Jeff keeps us centered when we spin out of control. He makes the tough times a little easier. And he’s always there to let us know that things could be worse.

But while we all depend on him to gives us a boost every now and then, the reality is that Jeff is playing a very dangerous game.

(more…)

Five Harsh Truths About Happiness You Need to Hear

Five Harsh Truths About Happiness You Need to Hear

A long time ago, probably back in like ’95, performers were people that had mastered a particular craft, and enough people enjoyed watching for them to make a living off it. They were called singers or actors, even magicians and athletes. They were the pinnacle of entertainment and we cherished their abilities and penchant for allowing us to escape the banalities of everyday life. But those days are long gone.

It’s not that those professions no loner exist. Rather, they no longer have an exclusive grip on the term performer. Like it or not, in today’s world we’re all performers. We cross the threshold into performance art the moment we surrender our personal info to Mark Zuckerberg in exchange for the opportunity to broadcast the rosiest parts of our existence to an ever-expanding network of people we sort of know but don’t really care about, and also our grandmothers.

By rosiest parts I mean that the motivation behind most of what we broadcast to the world is convincing it that we are straight up crushing this whole life thing.

Let’s be honest with each other for a second. We want people to think we’re awesome. You do, I do, so let’s not kid each other. Whether it’s a status about your new promotion or that picture you took with Dan Bilzerian where you refer to him as your ‘Boy Danny B’ we showcase life’s high points as a way to validate our inherent confidence and suppress our insecurities. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, so long as we understand the superficial nature of our efforts.

But when we blur the line between innocuous self-aggrandizing and genuine personal fulfillment, we become dependent on the dopamine-fueled highs that accompany the positive affirmations received in response to our performance. And that need for acknowledgement is not a whole lot different than other forms of dangerous addiction. More importantly, it’s an impossible place from which to derive true happiness.

Happiness is a tricky and elusive concept. It’s one of the only things we can unanimously agree we desire, yet we have an entire spectrum for its definition. And while the incessant media blitz of our hyper-connected modern world would lead you to believe it can only be attained through the accumulation of egregious wealth and big ticket items, psychology and basic logic prove that happiness isn’t created by these kinds of external forces. In fact, those achievements may well in fact be antithetical to legitimate fulfillment.

So let’s take a few moments to dispelled a few of the common myths about how we find happiness:

(more…)

Five things about money I wish I could tell my younger self…

Money

Five things about money I wish I could tell my younger self…

When I was fifteen I broke my ankle attempting to surf a cardboard box down the stairs. Some things you look back on and, in hindsight, realize you never should have had to learn the hard way.

Remembering the lapses in judgement of our former selves can leave us in a state of genuine shock and, more often than not, disappointment.  But the fact is that, while organic life experience teaches us the most obvious lessons about how to navigate the world, the majority of Americans, especially one’s from that generation known as “the M word” continue to demonstrate a surprisingly limited amount of knowledge about the most crucial component in the quality our or life experience.

That is, most of us don’t know the first thing about money. 

(more…)

Why you’ll never make enough money…

money

Why you’ll never make enough money…

I think we can all agree the most miraculous usable feature of our smartphones is the built-in argument settler. I mean, can you imagine a world in which you can’t immediately prove to your buddy how stupid he is for thinking Miami is the capital of Florida, or that Michael Jordan is the NBA’s all-time leading scorer?

It would be chaos.

But while the ability to access an ever-expanding database of information at any moment from the palm of your hand is impressive, the mere existence of the world’s most frequently accessed directory on all things relevant is, in and of itself, downright crazy beans.

Picture this, an online encyclopedic database, built by the world’s largest technology company and maintained by an expansive team of engineers, scholars and statisticians, working around the clock with the explicit purpose of giving anyone with an internet connection the ability to find usable information on any issue imaginable at the click of a button.

Pretty cool right? Now picture this product rapidly losing market share to a collaborative project of anonymous users from around the world writing articles on whatever topics are of interest to them with no monetary compensation involved whatsoever.

The slaying of Encarta by Wikipedia is perhaps the most tangible example of the power of intrinsic human motivation. The fact is, there are very few great things that happen in this world as a result of purely financial compensation.

The genesis of even the most successful corporations is the very human desire for fulfillment. It’s this craving to affect the world, absent any guarantee of financial gain, that drives entrepreneurs to act on their vision. It’s also the reason most people hate their jobs.

The amount of satisfaction that can be derived from purely wealth-based means is finite. It’s not necessarily true that money can’t buy happiness, it’s more so true that it can only enhance an already inherently gratifying existence.

The bottom line is that you can never make enough money to enjoy doing anything that wouldn’t be of interest to you otherwise. And that’s for real, son.

Its also true that you’ll never work as hard at something you have no intrinsic attachment to as you will at something you find interesting or enjoyable on its own. So if you don’t care for your work, the financial upside will always be limited.

The reason Wikipedia has helped shape the modern world is that its contributors genuinely enjoy being a part of it. In fact, if the organization were to start paying those that submit articles it’s likely their willingness to contribute would be significantly diminished. (For a more thorough argument regarding the use of extrinsic reward as a productive hindrance read Daniel H. Pink’s Drive)

That’s not to say that being well-compensated is a deterrent. Rather, compensation operates outside the correlation between motivation and fulfillment. Money can only make you happy in the short-term because human beings are incredibly skilled at adjusting to their environment.

There is nothing that can be purchased that will provide ever-lasting satisfaction and so the pursuit of financial gain through means that we don’t find satisfying in themselves is inescapably fruitless on a longer time horizon.

The bottom line is that if you’re not happy with your job, it’s not because you’re underpaid. Find what motivates you, what enthralls you, and strive to live within a dynamic that fulfills you chiefly through action and experience, and only secondarily through financial gain.

Your soul, as well as your wallet, will thank you.

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Subscribe

Get weekly, actionable advice, hacks and best practices for overall awesomeness!

More articles from Brian:

Advice
Brian Force

Self-Importance and the Death of Success

It’s counterintuitive to say the least, but I fundamentally believe that the best advice anyone can give on the topic is to remember that humanity does not exist to feed your desire for positive attention. Conversely, it doesn’t exist to deny it, either. That’s something to embrace. Because it means that failure is simply a matter of perception, rather than fact. We can only fail if we accept that as the case.

Read More »
Failure is a slice of pizza
Advice
Brian Force

Failure Is a Slice of Pizza

This is the reality of failure. While it’s widely agreed upon that success takes time, resilience, commitment, we assume that failure is simply the absence of success. It’s not. Failure is achieved in the exact same way. Little by little, moment by moment, in resilient, momentum-building fashion that grows with intensity as we pour ourselves into it with ferocious commitment.

Read More »
Advice
Brian Force

What If You Just Did What You’re Supposed To?

But what happens when we don’t have that excuse? What happens when the only thing we need to be successful in our endeavors is a bit of resourcefulness and the will to take massive action? This is the litmus test facing today’s entrepreneur. The barriers have been removed, the tools are readily available, all he has to do is take action.

Read More »

Opportunity is the most expensive commodity you can buy

Opportunity is the most expensive commodity you can buy

There’s an old financial adage that lays out the groundwork for long-term prosperity by asking the subject to take every dollar he spends eating out and, instead, invest it. (If you skipped your morning Starbucks and put that money into a total market index fund, in thirty years you would have fifty-bajillion dollars!)

It’s a valid point to make about financial prudence, but often it’s met with arguments regarding quality of life versus monetary saturation. And the counterpoint about enjoying the money one earns in a reasonable and responsible fashion as to find a sense of daily fulfillment holds a certain validity as well. But it would be foolish to overlook the underlying theme of that analogy. That is, if you want to get to where you wish to go, you’ll be required to make sacrifices.

(more…)

The Easiest Business You Can Start in 2017

The Easiest Business You Can Start in 2017

If you’re anything like me, the prospect of a new year fills your mind and soul alike with the promise of opportunity. A new chapter in the endless pursuit of growth and fulfillment presents itself, revitalizing the spirit and refueling the proverbial tanks. So what to do with all this unfettered optimism? Where do we begin to unleash the brush that is our potential all over the blank canvas of 2017?

Well, what if I told you there was a business that you could start running today, right now in fact, that would bring you immediate fulfillment, instantaneous success and require zero startup capital?

What if every employee you hired performed their job at the highest possible level on their first day, and every growth strategy you implemented worked exactly as you had envisioned?

(more…)