It’s one of those words that’s thrown around and sounds smart … but no one has a clue what it really means.
“Become a person of value” is a common social media trite that grinds my gears and makes my big ears stick out. I just can’t stand it. Value is subjective. Value means something different to everyone.
So if your goal in life is to become a person of value then you’ve got no hope of succeeding. It’s like looking for the end of a rainbow that will never reveal itself because it’s an optical illusion.
Or it’s like the “find your calling” or “trust the law of attraction” advice. It’s all mumbo jumbo. It just confuses people.
When people search for the meaning of their life and stumble across this person-of-value rabbit hole, what they’re really trying to do is find a goal worth chasing.
They’re trying to have their life mean something. They’re trying to make a difference in the world.
Instead of becoming a useless person of value, do these things instead…
I felt lost in 2011.
I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and had just left a successful startup. I burned my life to the ground and wanted to rebuild it in a new way. Because I had no clue I just decided to do new things.
I got into public speaking, started writing online, traveled around the world, and met a bunch of strange people. I didn’t know what was interesting and what wasn’t.
What happened is things happened to me.
I missed flights, lost money, failed at a side business, got my heartbroken by many different women, and got trolled badly on LinkedIn. These experiences became stories, and some people found them interesting.
When you do new things it creates interesting stories. Interesting people are then attracted to those stories. And oddly, those people lead to new opportunities you could never have dreamt of.
Taking random action always beats procrastination.
When life makes no sense it’s easy to chase easy.
That’s what I did in 2010. Everything felt broken and empty, so I drank myself to sleep and partied hard, hoping all the problems would resolve themselves on their own. They didn’t.
When easy didn’t work for me I decided to do something hard. I didn’t know what exactly, but I just knew I needed a goal to distract me.
I tried podcasting, then more dating, then I began making electronic music again. Nothing worked.
I eventually chose the hard goal in 2011 of turning my life around. I committed to do whatever it took. Through that process I wrote about what it was like to get help and seek therapy. I published it online.
Pretty soon I found myself being drawn to this strange world of writing on the internet. It was such a hard goal because I had no clue and writing combined with English in high school were never my strong points.
But I realized people online didn’t care so much about the writing. They were more interested in the person and their stories.
I then spent the next 9 years working on this hard goal that looked impossible. What I learned is when you do hard things you learn so much more. It’s less about what you achieve and more about the process.
Valuable people choose to do hard things — it’s what sets them apart.
If you feel like you were born to do more then consider taking on a hard goal and doing it for the next 5–10 years.
When I think of valuable people, I think of helpful people.
To be able to help others, at a foundational level, comes down to your skill stack. If we want to help more people, then we have to learn new skills.
In my mini-transformation I re-learned sales, figured out copywriting, studied internet marketing, watched Youtube videos about online business, and mastered online writing.
These skills were a way I could help others. First I did it for free. Later, I asked a small percentage of people to pay me for my skills.
Upgrade your life with valuable skills.
Creative people are masters at joining the dots.
It’s easy to master one field, industry, or skill. It’s harder to master several and be able to join the dots between them. That’s what writing is. We write to link ideas between different topics which creates new perspectives.
Creativity is what is missing in so much of society. Instead of joining the dots between ideas, we’re taught what ideas we must know and incentivized to follow the rules and not think differently.
If you want to be more creative then consume more of other people’s ideas, rewrite them in your own words, and dare to link ideas between one another through writing.
This will make you appear smarter than you are. People will start to think these ideas are yours — in a way, they are.
It’s common to get stuck in a social bubble.
If you feel stuck in life you want to get around new people. That’s why building relationships with strangers is a must. During the last 9 years I’ve spent countless hours in the DMs with potential new friends.
I made it a habit just to start conversations and see where they led.
The people in society who have the real power are those who can call the right person for the right problem.
We’re all just 2–3 messages away from those right people. When you proactively find them life becomes 10x easier.
I’ll give you a clue: they’re all building things. They’re not on social media shouting about what color someone’s skin is or what political party a person votes for.
They say your network equals your net worth. I don’t quite agree as money isn’t everything. But who you know definitely helps you solve other people’s hard problems and that creates value.
So meet new people. Start conversations. Have zero agenda.
A true person of value isn’t wandering aimlessly through the woods hoping to get lucky. They are living life. They’re not afraid to fail. They lean into rejection. And they take the meaning of their life seriously.