“The way to become rich is to put all your eggs in one basket and then watch that basket.” -Andrew Carnegie, net worth $310 billion
Conventional wisdom says “don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”
Why? Because that’s risky. It’s scary. And traditional wisdom is inherently risk-avoidant.
Going to college, getting a steady job, everything in moderation — that’s what traditional advice says. There’s nothing wrong with this path — life is a balance, and many people find much happiness and satisfaction in the road most traveled.
But if you want to be insanely successful — the kind of successful most people will never experience — you need to put all your eggs in one basket.
It’s the only way you’ll get the truly enormous results that will put you on top.
“Success is 20 steps in one direction, not one step in 20 directions.” -Anonymous
How To Make Your Bet a Sure-Thing
“Always bet on the man who bets everything on himself.” -old proverb
Did you know that 99% of people who start a marathon finish it?
Your greatest strength is your resiliency and persistence. You can keep going and going, failure after failure, and still win big in the end.
There’s an old rule the Navy SEAL’s use when training young recruits for the famously brutal program called The 40% Rule.
The 40% Rule is simple:
When your mind is telling you you’re done, you’re really only 40% done.
Most people have never reached anywhere close to their limits and potential. They always quit far before they needed to.
You can change your bet to be a sure-thing by moving forward when your mind is telling you you’re done.
Years ago, I ran my first Olympic Triathlon. The distance:
- 1.5km swim
- 40km bike ride
- 10km run
I had one goal: never stop during the race. I could go as slow as I wanted, but I could never fully stop.
I remember how unprepared I was for the race. While everyone around me had expensive swimsuits, fancy aerodynamic bike helmets, and brand-name road cycles, I must’ve looked ridiculous:
I had gym shorts with holes, a heavy cotton t-shirt, and a borrowed $75 Walmart mountain bike designed for teenagers.
There was this one section of the cycling part where we had to ride up a huge hill. I’m talkin’ big. It was the hardest part of the race.
I remember there was no one around me — I was probably in literally last place, and I didn’t even have any water (because my stupid little bike was so cheap it didn’t have a bottle holder!).
But I stuck to my rule: I can’t stop. I can’t get off my bike and walk up the hill. I have to keep pedaling, no matter how slow.
It probably only took around 10 minutes, but biking up that hill felt like hours.
I didn’t think I could do it. It seemed impossible.
But I reached the top, without stopping, without getting off and walking my bike up the hill.
You can do far more than you’re capable of. You can change your bet to be a sure-thing if you commit to keep going — even when your mind is telling you you’re done.
Odds are, you’re only about 40% done.
The World’s Most Successful People Played High-Risk, High-Reward
I’ve been studying the lives and choices of many highly-successful people — actors, entrepreneurs, politicians, comedians, athletes — and I’m finding a common theme:
These people always seemed to play high-risk, high-reward.
The truth is:
- Only a tiny fraction of actors can make a living from their work.
- Less than 2% of all college athletes go on to become professional.
- Politics is one of the most competitive and difficult industries in the world.
Yet all these individuals — men and women from every walk of life — got successful in these high-risk fields because they put all their eggs in one basket.
When Arnold Schwarzenegger came to America, his agent begged him to take the only roles he was being offered — evil henchmen with big muscles. But Schwarzenegger refused; he was betting it all on himself. He later became the most famous and highest-paid actor in the entire world.
When Tina Fey was a writing assistant for TV shows, her friends and family never understood why she kept wanting to work in such a harsh, sexist business. She bet it all on herself, and eventually became an iconic comedian, actress, and Emmy award-winner.
Steve Martin and Kevin Hart both performed thousands of comedy shows in front of mean, uninterested audiences making barely enough money to pay rent. After years of betting it all on themselves, they both became the most recognized comedians of their generation.
There are dozens of these stories — stories of people who “foolishly” put all their eggs in one basket.
But these are the individuals who experienced insane success in their endeavor — they didn’t branch off and have 10 backup plans. They had one plan: succeed, or fail.
They put all their eggs in one basket, and watched that basket very carefully.
You Don’t Have To Be What Everyone Wants You To Be
“Once in a while, it really hits people that they don’t have to experience the world in the way they have been told to.” -Alan Keightly
The majority of people don’t end up where they had hoped. They played the safe, low-risk game for too long.
Here are some statistics to keep in mind:
- 46% of Americans are on track to retire with less than $10,000.
- When asked how many close friends they had, over 70% of participants in a survey by Cornell University answered less than 2.
- About 1 in 7 Americans has an addiction to nicotine, alcohol, or other drugs.
- About 50% of Americans don’t use their vacation time (time they can’t rollover and save).
- Americans are working longer and retiring later.
- 40% — 50% of marriages end in divorce, but many more marriages end in the “Un-divorced” category — living together, but not happy.
These are the dangers many people will fall into — the result of living a low-risk, “sensible” life.
But you don’t have to. You can choose to be whatever you want to be. You can choose to have whatever you want.
You just have to be willing to do whatever it takes.
You could have an incredible, intimate marriage for the rest of your life.
You could be deeply spiritually engaged.
You could master new languages, instruments, and skills.
You could have best friends to joke around with for the rest of your life.
You could be muscular, healthy, fit, and strong.
You could become a multi-millionaire.
You don’t have to end up like most people.
You just have to do whatever it takes.
Put all your eggs in one basket, and watch that basket very carefully. If you do what most people do, you’ll just end up with what most people have — and that isn’t great.
If you want what no one else has, you must do what no one else does.
“I’ve always loved the idea of not being what people expect of me.” -Will Smith
Want a Life 99% Will Envy? Make the Unsafe Choice.
“Ordinary people work very hard for little money, clinging to the illusion of job security and looking forward to a 3-week vacation each year and maybe a skimpy pension after 45 years of service.” -Robert Kiyosaki
If you want what no one else has, you must do what no one has done.
Darren Hardy, best-selling author and entrepreneur, once said: “Successful people do what unsuccessful people are unwilling to do.” If you take a look at highly successful people’s lives, you see this is true all the time.
If you want to live a life people envy — a life defined by freedom, passion, and doing what you want to do when you want to do it — you’re going to have to start doing things no one has done.
You need to make the unsafe choice.
Today, making the unsafe choice has never been easier. There are so many ways to succeed — technology, opportunity, and access have never been more abundant.
But it still takes guts.
I’ve been making the unsafe choice for a long time. Getting a degree in English was very unsafe choice — everyone scoffed and reminded me how “English” degrees have the lowest job rates. But now, I’m a successful writer and author.
Leaving my corporate job to go teach abroad was unsafe. When I came back from overseas, I remember my grandpa scolded me about my life choices. “How could you have left your job! You have no job prospects now! What are you going to do?!” he said. Now, I work from home for myself, making more than I ever did in corporate America.
If you want high-level relationships, high-level income, and meaning to your life, you need to make unsafe choices — the kind of choices that make people question your motives and remind you how dangerous that is.
“If you want to live an exceptional and extraordinary life, you have to give up many of the things that are part of a normal one.” -Srinivas Rao
“The standard pace is for chumps.” -Derek Sivers
Putting all your eggs in one basket is not common advice.
But common advice produces common results, and as you look around you — you see that “common” and “average” are usually another word for “mediocre.”
If you want to experience insane success, you must do what others won’t do.
Make the unsafe choice.
Change the odds so you bet becomes a sure thing.
Put all your eggs in one basket — then watch that basket very carefully.
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