Everything’s a Scam

Scam

Scam: Anything and everything new you’re excited about

Word of mouth is crucial to the business community, especially in the world of entrepreneurship. New business thrives on excitement and energy, and a critical key to its success is imparting enough of this energy onto investors to secure startup funding. Because of this, frauds, thieves, and con-men have long exploited the entrepreneurial environment to convince investors to part with their hard-earned cash before disappearing into the night. Therefore, the basic “Stay away from X, it’s a scam!” warning can be a currency of high value in the business community.

That’s where we run into problems: people “printing money,” or fabricating scams to artificially inflate their own value in the community. You see, the cost of poo-pooing a new idea is very minimal in the long run. Even if a new venture succeeds, no one doubles back and makes former critics eat their words. They instead focus (as well they should) on keeping their victory going. Meanwhile, the consummate critic gets a momentary boost of clout, and this only increases if they end up vindicated.
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Seven Ways to Ignore Criticism

haters

Haters everywhere. Try to do almost anything, positive or negative, and you have to wade through a host of comments and critiques trying to bring you down. Qualified or unqualified, warranted or unwarranted, you can expect plenty of people telling you why you’re wrong and should feel bad.

But you need haters. You need criticism. You need people questioning what you do and how you do it. It’s the only way you can grow as a person or as a professional. The problem is, most of the criticism you get is anything but constructive, and only serves to drag you and your dreams down to the bottom of the ocean floor if you let it. It’s human nature, after all.

So how do you know when to ignore criticism? You keep reading, that’s how. Here’s the seven types of critiques to ignore:

By people with no connection to the issue

Is the person delivering the criticism an industry expert? Industry amateur? Do they have any authority to comment on the subject at all? No? They’re probably just haters, then. Please note, though, that consumers do have authority to comment. For example, if you’re a writer, avid readers might have something important to contribute, as could people who aren’t usual readers of your subject of choice, but have some personal connection or interest in the subject of your particular piece. But if the critic isn’t a writer, doesn’t read on the subject you write about, and doesn’t care about the subject the piece at hand, ignore them.
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Trust Is Debt-Based Currency

trust

One phrase that will make me instantly feel I can’t trust you: “Trust me.”

Trust is believing something or someone in the absence of hard evidence. If someone asks you to trust them (or otherwise tries to gain your trust), they are trying to get you to believe that they will do right by you based solely on their word. Trust is investing in someone’s character based on the abstract feeling that you’ll totally win big from it someday. When you trust someone, you’re effectively paying real money (sometimes metaphorically, sometimes literally), and when asked what you got for it, you answer “Oh nothing yet. But I have this really good feeling that I’ll get something eventually.”

Most people spend their lives trying to figure out who they can trust. I think this is totally backwards. Instead, we should be dealing with people who don’t require our trust. We should get off of a trust-based system and demand something real instead. [Read more…]

Boulevard of Broken Porcs

porcupine

We walk a lonely road.

We liberty soldiers, those of us pledged to the defense of human freedom, are few and far between. That’s precisely why many thousands of us decided to concentrate in New Hampshire for the Free State Project. It’s understandable, then, when some of us can get emotional when one of our fellows exits the movement.

Many feelings were stirred up by the recent departure of activism legend Ian Freeman from the Free State Project. He’s still around, still doing what he does best, still working with the same people as always. The only thing that’s changed is that he won’t be at a couple of FSP-sponsored events. To some people, this is the entirety of their interaction with Ian, so it’s understandable that they would be upset, but for the rest of us, everything is exactly the same.

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My Free State Story

Representing the Free State Project at a Students for Liberty conference outside of Boston

Representing the Free State Project at a Students for Liberty conference outside of Boston

It finally happened. After well over a decade of toiling tirelessly in the dark, the Free State Project has finally reached its goal of 20,000 signers pledging to move to New Hampshire for liberty in the next five years.

This barely-funded, largely decentralized, volunteer-driven last stand for liberty has taken thousands of individuals contributing their all for a rash dream: liberty in our lifetime. I can’t disrespect all the others who worked towards this goal by attempting to speak for them. Instead, I’ll only speak for myself.

This is my Free State story.

Discovery

In early 2012, wasting my time in Phoenix and working side jobs to get by, I decided to restart my old career in public policy in the liberty movement. I went to the Atlas Foundation’s global compendium of pro-free market think tanks, scrolled through the entire list, and applied for a job at each and every one that was hiring, from positions in Washington, D.C. to those in Lima and New Delhi. When I came to New Hampshire listings I noticed the Free State Project, investigated, very much liked what I saw, but noticed they weren’t hiring. I moved on to search for other opportunities, but always kept my eye on those strange rabble-rousers trying something new in almost-Canada. [Read more…]

How Do Masters Get So Good?

master

Ever see someone who’s so good at their craft that you’re left in wonder as to how anyone could get that good? Their skill is unparalleled. They are instantly able to conjure up the perfect response to any situation. And, most mystifying of all, they are able to do so effortlessly, almost as if by magic.

How do they do it? How did they get so good?

Well, I’ll tell you how they didn’t do it. They didn’t discover a shortcut. They didn’t find a secret method for success. The standup comedian didn’t discover the perfectly hilarious subjects and vocal tones that make every crowd go wild. The martial artist didn’t memorize a killer sequence of moves that will allow them to fight their way out of every situation. The writer didn’t learn all the rules and techniques, use the ideal structure and format, and start producing masterpieces. The community organizer didn’t obtain a list of all the important local leaders, devise a communication pitch perfect for energizing people into action, and instantly command the attention and respect of an entire community.

In short, the master doesn’t know some big, specific secret you don’t. Instead, he or she lives by two brutally simple principles: [Read more…]