If you read enough content on social media, you go mad.
That’s how I feel.
Too much nice advice that is useless. Advice that sounds logical but is actually extremely bad for you when you try to apply it.
Here are popular lies to rethink.
Lie 1: Reading books will change your life
A friend of the family is a professor.
He’s still a minimum wagie after decades in the workforce. On Zoom calls he has bookshelves behind him full of smart-people books. He can tell you how many books he read this year. (It’s a lot.)
The guy is a human quote machine. He can tell you what George Washington said right before he led the patriot forces to victory in the war.
All the books didn’t change his life though.
When you talk to him he sounds like a broken man full of shattered dreams. I love him like family though.
The lie of “read 99 books a week” gets peddled by snake-oil bloggers globally. Somehow more information in our brain will help us change the world. Wrong. We’re drowning in too much information. How’s your inbox? Mine is permanently screwed.
What changes your life is execution.
Execution produces evidence of who you’ve become and who you’re going to be. Read less books. Take what you learn from books and apply it, rather than procrastinate by over-reading.
Lie 2: Owning a home is what legends do
My boomer parents would love me to reach the Australian Dream: own a house in the suburbs with a white picket fence.
They tell me that homeownership is incredible. They read the property market updates like crack addicts. When “a correction” is on its way they go down to the local supermarket and buy party poppers and glitter canons to have a little celebration at home.
“You’ll be a homeowner very soon, son. Just you wait!”
My face turns to disgust. I want to vomit.
Homeownership is how many good people drown in debt. Debt creates enormous stress. They can’t take days off or enjoy a career break. They have to feed the debt monster, or the monster will eat them.
The problem comes from the fact people think homeownership is an investment. When you look at property prices in government-issued currencies, it looks like the investment of a lifetime. Remember: unlimited money can get created out of thin air (aka money printing).
So if you measure the price of your home in something that is infinite then the price looks amazing. Then when you change the denominator reality sets in.
Price growth in property is modest, not phenomenal.
Own a home because you can afford it without excessive debt — not because your parents passed on their flawed view of the world to you.
Lie 3: Millionaire startup founders quit when they sell their companies
Startup smut is everywhere.
Build a tech company with thousands of employees and you’ll become an icon. Elon Musk will attend your IPO. Silicon Valley will assemble a statue in your name. Kids with backpacks and startup t-shirts will worship you.
The point is to build a big company, get acquired by Salesforce or Microsoft, and make a stupid amount of money.
The story that is rarely told is, most founders who get an exit from their startup start new businesses. They don’t sit on the beach and sip mojitos. Good startup founders enjoy the work they do. They build things they love.
More money allows them to be fussier about what problems they work on.
But exiting a business doesn’t cause them to give up on startups — quite the opposite. The most common thing successful startup founders do is mentor other founders. The fulfillment is in the startup process, then it’s in helping others find the same magic they found.
Call it a love of being an underdog.
Lie 4: Successful people are different from you
Successful people have just as much fear as you. They learn to feel the fear and act despite it. You could say they are excellent fear handlers, not brave men and women.
They’re not born lucky. They’re just persistent.
From a distance they look like tycoons, but that’s marketing and branding — two things that aren’t real. People thought I was some successful god. Then they learned about my years of torture, thanks to mental illness. Suddenly, they didn’t think I was so successful anymore. Fair enough.
I can’t deny the truth. Neither can you.
What doesn’t destroy you makes you better at handling fear. With fear under control, you can do anything. That’s what nobody tells you. Now you know.
Lie 5: Making money online is only for a tiny few
You already do it. It’s called your job. You’re plugged into the internet when you work, right? Your job sends you emails?
Well, you’re already making money online. Welcome to the club. My name is Timbob. Making money online is simply adding a second income stream from a different payee. Don’t overthink it. That’s all it is.
When you break down complex ideas into stupidly simple concepts, everything becomes achievable.
I’ve spent my life doing that. You can too. Make ideas simple so the execution becomes easier. If you once got a job connected to the internet, couldn’t you do it twice, three times, four times? Yes you can.
Let me blow your mind: getting a job is harder than making money online.
A job requires you to impress gatekeepers. Making money online requires you to impress no one. There’s no interview circus show. Just you and your keyboard. Dip your toe in the online waters.
Lie 6: Crypto is extremely risky
Amazon was once risky. Facebook was once risky. Netflix was once a DVD mailing service, waiting for Blockbuster to destroy them.
Crypto is just the new version of tech stocks.
Volatility in price to the upside is good. Volatility to the downside is bad. Zoom out. The most popular cryptos are all up if you set your time horizon to years, not weeks. Crypto isn’t risky.
Believing in a centralized world run solely by big tech is the real risk.
Crypto looks risky when you’ve done a lack of research.
When you go deep enough, you realize a decentralized crypto world is the future. The only problem is you won’t ever feel like you were able to invest enough in it looking back in five years.
Lie 7: Traveling the world will help you recover from a breakup
In 2016 my life blew up.
A romantic relationship ended. A little piece inside of me died. I listened to my blokey friends. They all told me to “escape Australia and travel the world, mate.” So I went to America looking for answers.
I arrived on the shores of San Francisco. I wore a stupid chequered shirt and got myself a nerd backpack at the airport to look “techy.” None of it helped. The whole trip all I could see was happy couples holding hands and making me feel like dirt.
Harsh truth: endless international travel is an escape from reality.
Eventually reality catches up with you and it hurts twice as bad. Travel for fun, not to escape the pain you don’t want to endure.
French philosopher Blaise Pascal was right: “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”
Sit in silence. Reflect on what has happened. Work on yourself.
Lie 8: You need to network to level up your career
Networking is for great grandparents.
Networking feels desperate. Chucking business cards in random peoples’ faces is worse than putting junk mail in a stranger’s letterbox.
People do help you gain access to new opportunities. But the lie is, people who barely know you will give you great career opportunities.
The best opportunities come from deep relationships. Rather than network, make genuine friends.
- Connect via DMs.
- Do favors without expecting anything back.
- Show you’re a good human being.
- Aim for a small network of deep relationships rather than a wide network of shallow “connections.”
Most of all: use proof-of-work as evidence you’re worth backing.
Lie 9: Getting 1M social media followers is useful
No. You become an attention junkie. Your ego blows up. You create a personal brand that is a disguise for extreme selfishness.
Followers are a distraction from execution.
I repeat: Go deep not wide.
Lie 10: Ghosting is a quick way to get rid of people
Ghosting isn’t about not responding to a message from a new person.
Ghosting is where you’ve known someone for ages and then they suddenly stop replying. Rather than confront you about the problem, they choose what they believe to be the easy way out. They think they can avoid your communication forever. This is stupid.
Ghosting is a sign of immaturity. If you ghost, what else do you do? Do you avoid washing your underwear too? We hope not.
With the rise of technology came the dumb art of ghosting. Don’t fall for it. Deal with your problems. Show up with courage and empathy to face people who get offended by something you did or that no longer see value in your existence.
We don’t ghost because we’re busy.
We ghost because it hurts to hear the uncomfortable truth. That truth hides exponential personal growth.
This article is for informational purposes only, it should not be considered financial, tax or legal advice. Consult a financial professional before making any major financial decisions.