Over the last few weeks I’ve been studying the top 1% of successful people by reading books from the likes of Tim Urban, Benjamin Hardy, Kevin Kelly, Felix Dennis, and even Prince Harry of all people.
No matter what field you’re from there are a few patterns I’ve noticed.
Be impossible to explain
The top 1% struggle to explain what they do because the average person won’t understand. Their level of obsession and the size of their mission seems borderline insane.
Don’t explain. Just nod your head and say 1+1=5
The haters will tell you hard work is for chumps.
It’s not. No one joins the top 1% without a near-impossible work ethic. It’s not about hustle, culture, burnout, or work-life balance. No. When you’re mission-driven work doesn’t feel like work. It feels like play.
Find work that’s play.
Dare to challenge the status quo
“That’s just the way it is.”
A bank risk manager once said that to me. I got him fired. The world is moving fast and you either move with it or get left behind and spend your life in a wood log cabin with no electricity.
Challenge the status quo. Rip apart their beliefs. Create a new world the way you see it. Dare to dream then make it become a reality.
The top 1% are visionaries. They’ve got a positive chip on their shoulders and are relentless in their pursuit.
Screw being normal
There’s no point trying to fit in.
Being average is where all the competition, pain, and disaster lie. Normal people become lost or even forgotten about.
Be the black sheep in the flock. Or dare to be a purple cow or a blue monkey. When you stand out it means you’re being yourself.
Authentic people attract people and opportunities normal people do not. It’s why their life looks easy when in fact it’s just authenticity working in their favor behind closed doors.
Be real at all costs.
Alternate between monk mode and beast mode
Monk mode is where you work on a single task with zero distractions. You become like a monk. You act like a monk. You find your Zen.
Beast mode is where you embrace your primal nature and let your instincts drive your mind. In video game culture beast mode is where you consume a secret power up and go from an average avatar to a superhuman one.
At the intersection of monk mode and beast mode is your genius. Unlock it.
Create a cult of crazies
The top 1% never do anything alone.
They join together with others. They have a mastermind. They have a hidden network. They have coaches and advisors. They’re not building businesses or enabling transactions. No.
They’re building a cult.
People that buy their stuff or follow their content are a little crazy like them. They want to be brainwashed and indoctrinated into a different philosophy. Legal cults are the future. They’re built on relationships.
Relationships equal money. Money helps to buy freedom and make you a time billionaire. Build a cult you’re grandmother will be proud of.
Choose one big goal and do it forever
It’s fashionable to chop and change and never stick with one thing.
The top 1% are obsessive and are happy to choose one goal and do it until death. That’s how I feel about online writing. I decided 9 years ago this is all I will ever do until I’m dead.
There’s something about forever that’s beautiful.
It’s a level of confidence and commitment that’s stronger than marriage or the child-parent relationship. Commit.
Disappear for 6 months
There are times of extreme focus and times to live in balance.
The crazy ones in the top 1% are comfortable to hide away for a while. They don’t always need to be seen. They can go dark on social media. They can move countries and not see friends for a bit. The mission takes over their mind.
There’s deep work and there’s the variety that makes you work 12 hours a day for short stints to build something spectacular.
When I write my first book I will be off the grid for a while. Only my wife and daughter will see me. If you want to achieve a big goal you need once-in-a-lifetime focus. Disappearing for 6 months is one way to get it.
Do the opposite of what society tells you
In 2019 I got a new boss.
He told me if I work hard for him he would one day promote me to run a big team of 20 people. I told friends and family and they thought this was an amazing opportunity.
The instant I got this news I committed to change my career.
Something didn’t smell right. I didn’t want to serve anyone or kiss anyone’s feet so I could one day get a promotion and a medicore $10K pay rise.
A few months later that dumb boss fired me for no reason. He could see I didn’t follow what society told me.
Not long after I left the corporate world forever. Society tells you a lot of stuff, but that’s only because the advice-givers want to justify their own decisions.
There’s something about taking the common path and throwing it in the bin that’s unbelievably appealing. Go in the opposite direction.
Choose a game with lots of players
I chose the writing game.
You might choose the software development game or the AI game — that’s fine. Pick a game with lots of players and that’s saturated. This goes against common advice but here’s what is missed…
Most people playing the same game as you will give into temptation and quit before they ever reach success’s threshold of participation.
People in my field operate in 90 day blocks of time. I started my writing career operating on 5-year timeframes and later moved to decades.
If you make the timeframe longer the game is piss easy to win. Everyone I was writing with back in 2014 has now quit except one person.
Being the smartest doesn’t make you successful. Surviving the longest does. That’s the final way you become successful in any field. It doesn’t require money, good looks, or daddy’s connections.