Making 7 figures, DNA and cherry-picking | 932

My Author Journey, Monday, September 4, 2017

# 932 (countdown)

Again I have this feeling that people who read my posts might have gotten confused by what I wrote. I guess it’s because most subjects are multidimensional and multilayered and you can’t ponder or write about them without getting confused yourself at least once.

Most advice we receive from people, or which we give to people, is incomplete (the same is true for our opinions). Once we take this thing apart, this advice for example, it dawns on us that there are a lot of holes in it. And then, in order to make sense of it, we need to dig deeper. By still trying to take it at face value, now that we know something is missing in this jigsaw puzzle, we will only become more and more confused.

It’s like when we have already touched it (started to take it apart, attempted to challenge it, questioned its merits) we need to complete this process. We can’t leave it at that, implement the advice like nothing happened. We need to find the answers we’re looking for. Probably they’re not all possible answers — in most cases there are still questions we haven’t thought of.

Ten days ago I wrote about cherry-picking. How much it pisses me off when people use it as their first line of defence. How this cherry-picking is nothing but a yet another bullshit narrative in most people’s heads, a nice justification for following the flock / yielding to this herd mentality.

I said that as a society we came up with a catchy name for not taking 100% responsibility for our lives — we call it ‘cherry picking’ and it lets us off the hook immediately. In other words we can relax because clearly we are not cut from the same cloth.

And they go “Oh, but he is Philippe Petit. He can live like this because he is who he is. The majority of people, on the other hand, can’t. They have to play by the rules, so to speak. They have to live like all “normal” human beings.”

I said that I believe it’s way more likely that Philippe Petit is who he is today because his choices were different than the choices of the majority of people and he wasn’t born this special snowflake or this superhuman with superhuman abilities. And that accusing others of ‘cherry picking’ / showing someone a completely useless example of a person who accomplished exceptional things (it’s useless to them because they are not cut from the same cloth) is most people’s first line of defence.

We can feel more at ease by being able to throw out other scenarios, by convincing ourselves that they’re available only to the few lucky characters among us. I think we can even eliminate the regret by telling ourselves one of those nice little stories how we couldn’t have had or how we can’t or how we will never be able. That’s something most of us do all the time. We tell ourselves bullshit stories in order to stay where we are (in our comfort zones) or to evade the responsibility.

Those who use this ‘cherry picking’ defence only justify and sanction in their own heads their choice (mark my words — it’s a choice!) to be average and follow the flock. And this mindset is exactly what will prevent them from ever becoming exceptional.

We are not born exceptional. We become exceptional as a result of making exceptional (uncommon) choices.

Yesterday, on the other hand, I called upon people that they should always bet on their strengths, and ignore the advice that tells them that they too can have a massive financial success (earn 6 or 7 figures per year) if they lack the DNA of a genius entrepreneur. That we often forget that the people who did it and now offer their advice to people probably possess certain qualities which we may lack (and it would take us a shitload of time to develop them, if at all possible). We forget that we’re not them and they’re not us. Chances are we’re way better at something else.

So what’s with this whole cherry-picking? Is it some bullshit story (just an excuse) or is it a legitimate justification?

I think if we want to change the world on a scale comparable to that of Steve Jobs, or walk the tight rope and astonish the whole world with our courage like Philippe Petit did, or become a billionaire like Warren Buffett, definitely not all of us will be able to accomplish those things. We can’t choose to be what we’re not. But then again, there is this question What / How much do we really know about ourselves, what makes us so sure that our predictions / assumptions are accurate, and how can we know what we will be able to accomplish after say 10 or 20 years of deliberate practice?

But it’s easy to see that we’re not all the same, and that some people have a DNA of a genius entrepreneur (Gary Vaynerchuk) / others of a great visionary (Elon Musk), others of a great artist (Marina Abramović) / others of a fantastic comic (Jim Carrey) / others of a great actor (Philip Seymour Hoffman) / and the list goes on — great scientists/ athletes/ DJs/ singers/ entertainers/ investors/ hackers/ YouTube personalities/ photographers/ journalists/ etc.

We will never be able to move between all those professions like a grasshopper between plants and hope that we will achieve the level of success (although mastery is a better word here) of the world’s legends or people who are legends in their local communities. We will be good or great at one, or two, or three things, and we will suck at a couple dozen of others. And we will enjoy doing one, or two, or three things, and we will hate doing a couple dozen of others.

Now is it practical to spend our lives trying to become great at the things we initially suck at and don’t enjoy (which means we have no prayer)? Seems like an absurd idea, right?

So, in a sense cherry picking is a real thing — if my brain does not work the way Elon Musk’s brain does (or Nikola Tesla’s brain, or a brain of any genius visionary / inventor for that matter) because mine is the brain of an artist or a comic, or if my body will never be as flexible and able as the body of a ballet dancer (if it’s obvious to me), showing me the examples of people who did it (great visionaries / inventors / ballet dancers) makes zero sense because I will never be able to achieve mastery in this field. To put it differently it is not in my DNA.

But the problem is the majority of people use it to justify doing nothing. They use it to avoid the responsibility for their lives. Because it’s easier that way. You can sit on your couch and complain like most people. They don’t even try so they have no real chance to discover their passion. They settle for being mediocre and tell themselves that all great people in this world are cut from a different cloth, regardless the profession. Which is a huge lie they tell themselves because they could probably achieve great things too at their thing (where their strengths lie). I mean how can they know for sure in advance that they can’t? It’s impossible.

They think that trying to win is not in their DNA, being able to overcome obstacles is not in their DNA, having big goals and aspirations is not in their DNA, thinking they can is not in their DNA.

But thinking you can’t be the next Philippe Petit is something completely different. Of course you’re not him and your qualities are different than his. It’s different than thinking (having the conviction) that it’s futile to even try to accomplish anything you put your mind to (using your own unique talents).

Most of this advice is not Become the next Steve Jobs. If he could do it, you can too. or Make billions of dollars like Warren Buffett. If he could do it, you can too. or Found the next Huffington Post. If Arianna Huffington could do it, you can too. That’s not what it is. That’s incorrect. If you think that that’s what this advice is about you’re trying to evade the responsibility. It’s like you choose this interpretation on purpose, knowing that you can let yourself off the hook this way. It’s a smokescreen you use to hide the fact that you don’t want to take 100% responsibility for your life.

It’s Attempt great things. Be courageous. Trust yourself and your life choices. Bet on your strengths. Overcome obstacles. Have the mindset of a winner. That’s what it is about.

Reading.

In the Shadow of the American Dream: The Diaries of David Wojnarowicz (20 min; on scribd app).

Listening to audio.

The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future by Kevin Kelly (20 min, on my scribd app).

Movies.

Icarus (on Netflix). Fascinating!

Meditating: 10 minutes (before falling asleep, on Headspace). Seventh day in a row.

Music for this writing session: Liszt — My Piano Hero by Lang Lang (on spotify). Then Tessa by Steve Jablonsky (on spotify, on repeat). Then The Ecstatics by Explosions In The Sky (on spotify, on repeat). Then Landing Cliffs by Explosions In The Sky (on spotify, on repeat). Then Apollo — Live by Flight Facilities (on spotify, on repeat). Then Heart Attack — Live by Flight Facilities (on spotify, on repeat).

My today’s route.

My today’s favorite.

My today’s photos on flickr Warsaw, September 4, 2017.