Far too often in life, we are told some version of “sorry, you don’t belong.”
It pisses me off. It forces too many good people to give up instead of keep trying. Often these people who tell us we don’t belong are afraid. Or they’re pissed off that we want to join their world.
They’re hoarders. They want to keep all the opportunities for themselves. This is how a class system is constructed. It’s also why elitism thrives and the economy has run like a permission economy for decades.
Strange things happen in life when you go where you don’t belong.
The secret world of hookers, coke, suits, and Ferraris
The secret world I’m going to tell you about is investment banking.
When I walked away from my startup at 26, I felt lost. So I did what many lost people do and followed the money.
Money was how I could gain significance once again.
Several of my close friends convinced me investment banking was the best way to find the drug of money.
So I got a low-level job in consumer banking to start with.
Five years in, I reached a level where I could start to migrate over to the more glorious world of investment banking. I got to know one investment banker through a friend. He drove a bright yellow Ferrari that cost $650k.
Everywhere he went in that car you could hear him. As I got to know his story, I learned he did huge amounts of coke, cheated on his wife with high-class hookers, and wore Armani suits.
Despite the downsides I still wanted to be an investment banker. I rationalized my decision by swearing I’d stay away from the fast lane. So, I began doing interviews at investment banks.
The recruiters/managers had every excuse in the book.
They were great at telling people like me “you don’t belong here.” They wanted me to leave. So I did.
When I tried again years later I was successful. A major investment bank said yes. The difference was I decided to keep trying despite being told I didn’t belong.
That rebellious mindset did wonders.
One of the reasons it worked was because I didn’t care about the outcome. I had nothing to lose. And here’s the kicker: I never took the investment banker job. I realized I was secretly just trying to prove to myself I could do it.
When you don’t care about whether you belong, you get past the barriers in your way. People can only block you for so long before they get out of your way and realize you’re not taking no for an answer.
The mindset you must adopt
There comes a point where rejection doesn’t matter anymore.
Where you’ve had enough and simply don’t care about the outcome. That’s what will happen when you hang around in places for long enough where you don’t belong. To reach this nirvana there’s a mindset you need.
Here it is:
“Just do it and figure out the details later.”
Zach Pogrob says:
Start before you’re ready.
When you think like this, being in places you don’t belong is easier. The real question is this: why the hell do you want to fit in anyway?
Fitting in is a nightmare.
It means you bow to so-called “leaders.” It means you trade who you are for who somebody else wants you to be. I don’t want to fit in. I want to be me. And if that means I don’t belong then I’m okay with that.
Think deeply about what it means *not* to belong.
None of us belong. We’re tourists of reality.
Thought I’d drop a bomb on you to finish with.
We’re all imposters with an expiry date called death. We have a temporary stay in this hotel called Earth. We’re tourists of reality. Here one day, gone the next.
No one knows when their time is up. Maybe it’s age 115. Or maybe it’s tomorrow when an out of control bus mounts the sidewalk and squashes you like a tomato.
I’ve never felt like I 100% belonged. Perhaps you can relate. Maybe it’s a feeling we should stop running away from. Maybe we should run toward it.
If you fit in, you’re normal.
Normal people get paid less than they’re worth and often struggle to exist in this sometimes cruel world. I’d rather be weird because that means I’m being me.
Stop trying to belong. Just show up wherever you want to be. Eventually, if you keep going where you may not feel wanted, those in your way will get out of the way. Why? Confidence in yourself is unstoppable.
Start where you don’t belong and one day you’ll transcend the idea of ever belonging to anything or anyone.