“Why Not Me?” Is the Most Powerful Question All of Us Should Ask
For most of us, what we believe we’ll become is what we’ll inevitably become.
If you believe college will help you become successful, then college will help you become successful.
If you believe you don’t need college to become successful, then you don’t need college to become successful.
The difference is one route takes four years and the other you determine the time frame.
We all think of success in regards to time.
To get promoted in a year, I will have to be consistent with my work and say yes to hard projects.
To get promoted in six months, I will need to take some small risks outside my scope of work to produce a significantly higher ROI for how much I get paid.
To get promoted in three months, I will have to go above and beyond — attend numerous networking conferences, spend my own money on risks — it takes too long for company spending to get approved — , and push myself to come up with creative ideas to execute on.
To get promoted in one month, I need to take a couple of huge risks, work a lot over time, spend almost my entire salary on projects outside of company approval, and push my creative limits to discover great ideas to execute on.
Which thought leads to the most success?
The last one.
Which thought leads to the most failure?
The last one.
Here’s the point: If you don’t try, then you’ll never know. One day, when you need to take a big risk, and you’re willing to, then you’ll be surprised at just how far it will take you…or just how hard you’ll hit the ground.
It happened to me…
With only a year to graduate, I dropped out of college on the first day of a new semester to found a startup, an online publication called The Daily Confidential.
I believed wholeheartedly that if I sacrificed my college degree with only a year left that it would speed up my process of becoming successful. This happened because I asked,
“Why can’t I become extremely successful in less than a year, maybe even just a couple of months? Why not me?”
My startup failed a year later. We generated close to zero revenue.
Does that make me wrong?
I’ve gotten far better at taking bigger risks and recovering from bigger falls. As a result, I’ve had bigger wins. When I began to disregard time limits, something incredible happened. I learned to accomplish things I thought would have taken me months in just a week.
In three years of hard failure, I’ve experienced huge wins. I’ve published a bestseller, helped run successful Kickstarter campaigns, was featured in over sixteen publications such as Inc. and Entrepreneur, and read close to two hundred books. Moreover, I’ve worked for amazing companies and helped them achieve incredible growth.
I’ve also worked at eight-failed startups, on failed Kickstarter campaigns, and had close to a hundred articles rejected from publications.
An entrepreneur lands funding in just several months for his company that produces zero revenue. At this point, it’s really just an idea.
How did he do it?
An entrepreneur who went to an Ivy League college for four years, and then worked at a big-time tech company for another four, struggles to find funding for his startup that’s generating a profit and has a scalable business model. Eventually, after a year of searching, he gives up.
Why did he fail?
The young entrepreneur believed he would get funding now. The ‘experienced’ entrepreneur believed it would take him awhile.
If you don’t have the resources immediately available to make things happen such as experience, money, and fame, then you figure it out along the way.
You get extremely creative.
You push limits that others dare to.
You make things happen.
You don’t need to know how to achieve your goals in order to start. Great entrepreneurs start in order to put themselves in the position to learn the ‘how.’
Elon Musk created Tesla and SpaceX by starting. He didn’t know what he was doing. In fact, he knew almost nothing about the industries he was jumping into. However, Musk believed he would figure it out along the way.
Stop thinking you need to know ‘how.’ You don’t.
Set crazy limits, then trust that you’re smart enough and ambitious enough to make it happen.
If you don’t believe, then it will never happen.
It’s not luck. It’s knowing big risks produce big results.
No one’s mentally prepared to take huge risks right away. The good news is that there are two ways to overcome this mental barrier to success:
- Spend the next several years working on setting shorter time frames.
2. Put yourself in a position where you have to act.
We’ve all heard the heroic story of a young boy who pushes a girl out of the way of an oncoming car. He dies. She lives.
What dared him to take such a huge risk? It’s because it aligned with his, “Why not me?”
In a split second, he answered this question with his life: “Why shouldn’t I be the one to save her?”
He had a moral imperative that he didn’t know existed until he had to choose.
Put yourself in situations where you must make split-second decisions. Stand at the edge of a waterful with thirty people cheering you to jump. Don’t think about jumping, just think about walking to the ledge. When you stand there, you’ll have a short period to choose whether to jump or look like a coward to your friends.
Same thing works if you want to become a tough gangster. Hang out in tough neighborhoods where you’ll have a small time frame to choose whether you run or fight every day.
Let’s say you just want to make more money. There are two ways you can do that:
- Specialize in something that takes years to learn.
- Develop a bigger appetite for risk.
Here’s how to start:
That promotion you’re waiting a year to receive — set that time limit to two months. Small wins like this will make you confident enough to believe in acting ‘now.’
The ‘now’ mentality:
When you can live in the ‘now,’ anything becomes possible. Rather than write a book over several years, you’ll put in ten hours a day for a month to get it done. That’s what I did.
You’ll take so much risk every day that eventually you’ll get used to it. I had a hundred great ideas I’ve started this year that led to me tripping and falling on my face both figuratively and literally — such as becoming a great skateboarder. What was I thinking???
As Rocky Balboa says,
“It ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.”
If you continue moving forward, you’ll have more success than others — how fast you move forward is entirely determined by you.
Your journey is possibly just beginning. So, give limits a big, “Fuck you!”
And always ask yourself,
“What is my time frame?”
And more importantly,
“Why Not Me?”