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I Wish Someone Told Me These Simple Things at 18

by | Feb 26, 2024 | Life

Being competitive is seen as smart.

The other night I watched a movie about the Von Erich family. The family consisted of six boys, a strange mother, and a sports father (Fritz).

The father treated his boys like soldiers. He was a once-great wrestler but never quite achieved his sporting goals. So he forwarded his dreams to his boys. Three of them were great at sport, one was a musician.

His father hated the 2nd-youngest. He thought music was stupid.

Throughout the movie you see the four of the brothers outperforming in wrestling. Their youngest brother died at age 6. He accidentally stepped on a trailer tongue, got an electric shock, fell into a puddle, and drowned.

This made everyone around the Von Erich family call them cursed.

Later in life this curse began to haunt the brothers. One brother died suddenly in Japan after a suspected drug overdose. Two more brothers took their own lives. Another brother overdosed on tranquilizers.

There’s only one surviving brother to this day.

Their father Fritz was a controlling parent. He dictated to his sons what they must do, even as adults. When one son tried to sell the family wrestling business, Fritz threatened to never speak to him again.

I wish I learned at 18 that being competitive is a nightmare. I now seek to fix the problem by ensuring I don’t pass on this bad trait to my 1 year old.

Being rich makes you lazy AF

From the age of 18, I wanted to be rich.

I dreamed of Rolex watches and doing BMW burnouts down Hollywood Boulevard, even though I live in Australia.

Being rich seems like a good idea … until you read hundreds of books about rich people like I have. Being rich makes you lazy.

Look at Connor McGregor. He did what no one else could do as a boxer. His rise to world champion was fast. He came from poverty so he had to succeed to provide for his family and escape his rough upbringing.

If he didn’t fight hard, he’d go back to being a low-paid plumber.

Once he made tens of millions of dollars in boxing, he became lazy. Every night he’d party hard, snort coke, drink like a fish, and start fights. He thought he was god and got slapped in the face by law enforcement.

Then he started losing boxing matches.

What changed is he no longer needed the money. The urgency to escape poverty and make a name for himself had gone. So his big-ass ego took over and ruined everything.

Poverty lights a fire inside you. Don’t lose it.

Few people are winning at 20 years old

Part of the reason I wanted to be rich and famous at 18 is because the internet told me that’s what people my age were doing.

I learned in my 30s that most of these 20 year olds are faking their success. They’re driving rented Lambos and taking photos outside of other people’s mansions.

Youtube is the worst for this. One of the most viral topics on the site is people showing off extreme wealth. A lot of it is staged.

Uganda oil and gas expert Hillary Bamulinde says to stop worrying you’re a failure in your 20s because even at 35 most people still aren’t successful.

Wise words.

Just do your best and enjoy all the experiences. One day you’ll look back on the hard times and realize they were the best of times.

Stop trying to be a fortune teller

At 18 I thought I could predict the future.

“No one will ever buy touchscreen phones.”

Then the iPhone went mainstream and I was wrong. I made this mistake all through my 20s. I kept thinking the market was saturated. Or that there were no jobs in more creative fields that aligned with my passions.

A writer said to me the other day, “My people aren’t on LinkedIn.” This is classic fortune telling. There are 1B+ people on LinkedIn. To say your people aren’t there is naive (even stupid).

Chances are none of us have spoken to all 1B LinkedIn users.

And you hear it with the age-old niche debate amongst creators. “People who read parenting content aren’t interested in AI essays.”

Wrong.

Even the most boring topics can have mass appeal if they’re framed right. Thinking you know everything is a disease.

Assumptions hold us back.

The solution I’ve found is to take action and pay attention to the data. I wish I did this at 18, then I wouldn’t have talked myself out of a $50m a year eCommerce business.

Ethical persuasion is a powerful skill

When I think of sales I think of a used car lot. I think of salespeople telling lies and snorting coke in between calls.

At 18 years old I hated working in sales. I fell into it by accident thanks to the 2008 recession. And I never seemed to escape it.

In my 30s I learned to love sales.

True selling isn’t jamming garbage products down people’s throats. No. True selling is just helping people with a problem in a human way.

When you do that you don’t have to persuade or sell. The process is natural. You spend time working out the problem and then coming up with a solution.

People who think selling and making money online is sleazy, unethical, or cheap internet marketing end up at a huge disadvantage.

By default, they refuse to sell their ideas. They refuse to ask. They refuse to make money from the internet. So they’re stuck in a dead-end job watching everyone else do it and being jealous.

Their only response is “It’s a pyramid scheme.”

Now in my 30s, I realize that ethical persuasion is a superpower. It’s the foundation of personal freedom and running a one-person online business.

Learn how to sell your ideas so get an unfair advantage.

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