It’s easy to make a person or object a god.
Society spends too much time turning basic things into religious cults we worship. Many of these overrated things creep into our lives. We become indoctrinated by them, secretly.
Here are common overrated things not to be fooled by.
1. Being famous
For as long as I can remember I have wanted to be famous.
Instead of doing well in school I chased fame. First as a rock drummer, then as a DJ, and later as a Wall Street wannabe banker.
What changed my mind is an article by Tim Ferris called “11 Reasons Not to Become Famous.”
As a famous writer young Timbo shares some horrendous experiences.
- Imagine having zero privacy.
- Imagine the extortion claims if people know you have money.
- Imagine worrying about kidnapping when you get off a plane at the airport for a holiday.
Fame is a disaster. Too much attention will rot your soul.
2. Email auto-responders
These piss me off.
I’m sure you’ve had the feeling like I have. You send an email to a busy person and a few minutes later you get a reply in your Gmail.
Your gorgeous face lights up and you can’t believe how quickly they responded. Then you open the email and it’s one of those pain in the ass auto-replies.
I have a supplier to my business that has their auto-responder turned on permanently. Every email I send them gets an auto-reply with the same dumb message every time.
“We only answer emails between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm. Replies may be delayed on public holidays.”
I’ve seen worse over the years. Some people literally list their entire calendar of activities.
Auto-responders come across as rude. People don’t need to know your every move. If you take a while to reply or choose not to at all, that’s your choice. You don’t need to freaking explain yourself with an auto-responder.
You’re a grown adult who no longer wears diapers. If someone needs to contact you urgently then tell them to call you. Otherwise, you’ll get to their precious email when you get to it — if at all. Author James Altucher nailed it:
Emails are a suggestion but not an obligation.
3. Validation from ‘experts’
This is a form of permission seeking.
Experts don’t know everything. There is so much information out there and so many paths in life. Experts only know the one path they took.
Maybe it’s not the path for you.
I see this a lot when people ask me for writing advice. The path I chose to become a writer is different now. So if all you do is try to emulate how I got started, it probably won’t work.
Focus on execution instead of validation. Gurus are overrated.
4. Job security
I used to worship job security.
Then I saw what happened with the March 2020 health crisis and the recent tech layoffs. Not a care given in the world.
“Revenue slightly down, people gotta go.”
Zero f*cks are given. “It’s just business” as leaders say every day. Once you know your job is a number in the cell of an Excel spreadsheet, you approach a career differently.
It makes you a little more selfish and a little less gullible. You’ll actually take calls from recruiters and consider new opportunities.
5. Job promotions
Many employers make you wait for a promotion. Like they’re Pamela Anderson in Baywatch.
There’s no need to wait. Just change employers every 1–2 years and you’ll automatically get promotions and pay raises with little effort.
6. Getting the CEO job
For many people this is the holy grail.
No thanks. A CEO’s job is overrated. Every problem rolls up to them. Sure, they get paid well but there’s no time to breathe.
A CEO’s job is to sit in back-to-back meetings and be everywhere at once. Do you really want that lifestyle? I’ve got a baby girl so the last thing I want is a personal assistant deleting my kid’s play time for a strategy meeting.
The best leadership roles are where you get to make a difference to humanity without compromising your values.
That doesn’t require you to be a Chief, chief.
7. Fad diets
I used to be a dieter. Not fun at all. Every bite of a piece of food makes you feel guilty.
- Is this good for me?
- What will my dietician think?
- Have I eaten too much? Or not enough?
- Does my butt look big in these board shorts?
A diet doesn’t have to be a cryptic puzzle from Indiana Jones. Just eat what your grandmother did.
Less processed foods, more plants, plenty of water.
8. Udemy online courses
I’m a self-learning junkie with a Mastercard.
On the internet that’s a dangerous thing. Platforms like Udemy sell these courses with beautiful titles: Become a copywriting master in 69 minutes.
I’m a sucker. I bought these $10 courses for years. But I learned nothing.
Bad quality video. A lack of editing. And the worst part, amateur teachers with zero social proof or qualifications.
Upgrade your learning on platforms such as Teachable or Maven.
Vet the teachers and look for practitioners, not fake experts who can google and will happily take payment for ten bucks.
9. Internet drama
This one hits home for me.
In my line of work there’s a lot of internet drama. Chuck a stray writer under the bus. Respond to a CEO’s email in public. Call out people’s tweets and make fun of them.
No thanks. Those who respond to internet drama do nothing more than flex their ego down a catwalk of broken dreams.
Leave it to TMZ and Hollywood to play the drama game.
10. Productivity apps
Most productivity is too bloody complicated.
I can’t get in an ice bath to activate my creativity because my balls will shrivel up and stop me from having any more kids. Ouch!
Simple productivity is much smarter because if your day becomes too complex, you’ll feel overwhelmed and not stick to your habits and systems.
I use Apple Notes. Own a basic iPhone. Use do not disturb 99% of the time. Have one key task to do every day. And aim to finish work as early as possible. Nothing fancy but it works.
Dumb down productivity to dial up living.
11. A huge network
The internet has made it easy to connect with anyone.
So innocent people collect huge friend lists and meet new people every day. They might send DMs a few times or jump on a Zoom call.
I’ve done this too. The problem is your phone contacts blow up. You try to stay in touch with a never-ending list of people. It feels like hard work.
But deep relationships bring the greatest fulfillment.
Instead of doing another Zoom call with a tech bro who might be able to help you start a side hustle, go on a lunch date with your mother.
Time is too short for shallow connections.
12. Driving a luxury car
I used to own a Big Man’s Willy (BMW).
If only the size of the exhaust and its loud sound could have matched my male anatomy. Yet it didn’t.
Luxury cars are a money pit. Yesterday I spoke with a Mercedes Benz owner. He uses satellite navigation in his Benz. Every time they service his car they charge him to update the maps.
“Don’t you use Google Maps on your phone for free like everyone else?”
The car doesn’t have Apple Carplay so he pays the high fee. The last service I had on my BMW before I sold the tin bucket cost $5000. I needed two new tires which cost another $2000.
Seriously, don’t get fooled by prestige car brands.
Unless it’s a Tesla and gives you full electric capability, they’re trying to appear better than a Toyota. They’re not.
The most underrated thing to do more of
That’s all the overrated things. Now let’s reverse it.
The most underrated thing in life is being kind because it’s often seen as weakness. Don’t fear kindness. Treat people well and you’ll get many new opportunities you’ll never have to apply for.
Kindness is a reflection of you. Shine bright.