Achieve or Go Mad With Power

napoleon

What’s more destructive to the soul? Power, or powerlessness? Or is it some combination of both?

The prevailing wisdom is that power is what corrupts. Offer someone something great, and you can bet that all kinds of moral compromises are on the way. The eternal search, therefore, is for that mythical creature: the incorruptible man, the individual willing and able to resist the temptations of power and maintain principle and integrity. However, I don’t think it’s that simple. Power means nothing without context. To a national legislator, for example, a million dollars can be significant, while to a fabulously wealthy businessman such a sum is absolutely meaningless.

You know what actually corrupts? Void. That internal emptiness that we all have to some certain degree, customized to our own personal life struggle. For some it’s recognition, to others it’s financial achievement, to still others it’s love and intimate validation. And people with the lowest amount of achievement tend to be those with the largest voids. For the out of shape, nerdy, lonely young guy, a charming young lady’s advances can get him to do just about anything. To the single mother spending her days at a low-paying and soul-sucking job, any recognition and acclaim can make her compromise. The political hopeful living in a trailer with no major accomplishment to his name won’t stick to his principles for long. [Read more…]

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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How Do Masters Get So Good?

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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…]

Seven Lessons I’d Give My Younger Self

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SONY DSC

Every action provides information. Even lies and failure tell you more than you ever thought you’d know. The collection of life lessons learned through living is wisdom, and sometimes we are able to avoid the mistakes and replicate the successes of others without having to go through the same experiences. Below are seven of the biggest life lessons I now know that I wish I had known years earlier.

Almost everyone is wrong You’re taught to respect your elders, revere clergy, and listen to gurus. Well, guess what: almost everyone is wrong. Even most experts are wrong about their own field much of the time. The beginning of adult wisdom is when you stop looking up to others with childlike wonder and start to see other human beings as equals. A child thinks that everyone but himself is right. A teen thinks that everyone but himself is wrong. An adult knows that everyone, including himself, can be wrong.

No one cares about you It’s easy to get caught up in the idea of a caring world with a defined purpose, filled with compassionate people waiting to help you along your way. Wrong. The world, and its inhabitants, don’t give a crap about you. Even family and lovers are doing their own thing, and only interact with you as it suits their own personal goals. This isn’t meant to be depressing, but to relieve frustration when the world doesn’t go as you had expected.

Everything is your fault Believe it or not, this is inspirational. No, not everything is your fault; however, you have sole responsibility and control over your own life. Viewing everything as your fault empowers you to take ownership and change whatever is wrong. If you make things other people’s fault, you become helpless to change your condition. [Read more…]

Who Makes Grown Men Cry?

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Grown men don’t cry. That’s the prevailing wisdom. Whatever great tragedy or deep sadness they deal with, men are supposed to keep their feelings bottled up inside and present a calm, stoic public demeanor. If a man cries publicly, you can be sure that he has been profoundly moved.

You can become someone who will move grown men to tears. The question is, will you be an inspiration? Or a source of pain? Two famous comedians, Bill Burr and Louis C.K., have spoken about individuals who had that level of impact in their lives, one positive and one negative.

Bill Burr is one of the most successful comedians in the world. He has sold out Madison Square Garden, has acted in shows like Breaking Bad and F Is for Family, and runs a successful weekly podcast, to name just a few accomplishments. He is known for his style of always pushing uncomfortable topics with glee, having stated that he’s having the most fun when 20% of the audience is alienated. All of the above made his story of his father all the more remarkable when Burr recounted a tale of Christmas from when he was six years old. His strict, borderline abusive dad chided him growing up for joking around (his comedic talent apparently started young), comparing him to a giggling little girl. One Christmas, Burr received a doll from his father to mock his budding love of comedy. When recounting the story, Burr, a seasoned veteran of performance, had great difficulty struggling through the story of that Christmas, choking up several times. Many decades later, the mere memory of a minor prank by his father could still bring a very successful man to tears. [Read more…]

Privilege Should Be Celebrated

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The hills are alive with the sound of privilege-shaming. Whether it’s white, male, heterosexual, affluent, first-world, thin, attractive, animal, mineral, or plant privilege, chances are someone’s asked you to check it. If there’s anything about you that makes you better off than anyone else, you should be made to feel guilty.

Well I’m here to tell you that privilege shaming is a cancer upon society, and its proponents are the scum of the Earth. It’s useless, counterproductive, and overtly harmful. Here’s why:

Privilege can’t be helped. Ripping on people for being born better off than you is entirely useless because they can do nothing to change it. Was someone born wealthy and with greater access to education, health, and professional networking opportunities? That can’t be undone, and attempting to do so, to destroy a privileged person’s life to the point where all their natural advantages are undone, sounds pretty sinister to me. Additionally, some aspects of privilege can’t be changed. To persecute people based on their race, gender, national origin etc. sounds an awful lot like racism, sexism, and xenophobia. Aren’t those supposed to be bad things? [Read more…]