Asshole Envy and the Value of Extreme Focus

What do Simon Cowell, Steve Jobs, Dr. House, Bill Belichick, and Donald Trump have in common?

They’re all assholes… but lots of people (including me) love them anyway. Why is that?

Maybe its envy. Deep down, we would all like to be able to say anything to anyone, cause trouble without consequence, and act without caring what others think.

But we don’t do it.

We can’t bear the shame of becoming an asshole. We’ve been conditioned by centuries of faithful mothers teaching us to mind our manners. We are proud of being polite.

Except… could that be the problem?

I know about a dozen people that make over $1 million per year, and I’d imagine all of them are called assholes on a regular basis. The two seem to go hand in hand, and I think there are reasons why.

Extreme Success Requires Extreme Focus

If you want to be successful, you have to focus. We all know that, but I don’t think many of us understand it.

Focusing means giving one objective all of your attention and ignoring everything else. Dr. House from the House M.D. TV show focuses on saving people’s lives, and nothing else matters to him. He’s willing to cheat, lie, steal, manipulate, and coarse in the pursuit of that end. And it works.

The wealthiest people in the world use the same approach with their finances. Frequently, they’ll:

  • Leave behind a trail of broken marriages and forgotten children
  • Lose the life savings of their friends and relatives on an ingenious but doomed business
  • Refuse to lend anyone money or give to charity
  • Avoid unnecessary expenses to the point of miserliness
  • Treat everyone that can’t help them as if they’re expendable

We hold up cases like those as “how not to be successful,” but really, I think it’s exactly the opposite. The amount of wealth you’ll accumulate in this lifetime depends on how willing you are to put money ahead of everything else.

Frugal investors become millionaires because they’re willing to give up immediate gratification and luxury for a few decades. Successful entrepreneurs become billionaires because they invest every ounce of their life in the business and convince others to do the same. In each case, someone will inevitably labeled them as a miser, workaholic, or asshole, but they don’t care.

For them, it’s worth the trade-off. So ask yourself: how much are you willing to trade?

Are you willing to let some people think you’re an asshole?

Networking for Introverts: 5 Logical Processes for Calming Your Fears

“Go introduce yourself. You’ve got nothing to be afraid of.”Scared.jpg

It’s innocent advice, but you grimace inside. Yes, there is something to be afraid of. You’ll look stupid. Worse, you’ll know you look stupid, and you’ll spend the next four hours thinking about what you’ve should’ve said and how you should’ve acted.

You know because you’re an introvert. You also know that the smiling, well-meaning person telling you to “Go introduce yourself” is an extrovert. They couldn’t possibly understand.

Or so you think.

How do I know? Because that’s exactly what I used to think. Seven years ago, I was a pimple-faced game designer with a laundry list of reasons for why I didn’t need other people. Then I tried to start a company. Facing $20,000 a month in expenses and no revenue, I realized I was never going to make a sale without getting to know someone first.

So I burned my list of reasons. Unfortunately for my company, I didn’t do it in time and everything fell apart. Fortunately for me though, it set me on a seven-year quest to become a master networker. I’ll not lie and say I’ve never been afraid again, but I have developed a collection of techniques for calming myself.

Let me share them with you.

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10 Lessons in Innovation from Amazon’s Kindle

Innovation. It’s a tricky thing.kindle.jpg

Do it right, and you can make billions. Do it wrong, and you’ll end up in bankruptcy court. Either way, you’ll be called both a fool and a genius, and no one will know which is true, least of all you.

Amazon’s new Kindle is a classic example. Everyone is talking about it, and I did my best to avoid chiming in, but it’s just too good of a topic for me to resist.

Rather than telling you whether I like it or hate it though, why don’t we talk about what it can teach us about innovation? Because I think there’s a lot to learn.

Here are my top 10 lessons that we can learn from the Kindle. Feel free to chime in with your own in the comments.

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How to Build a Crystal Ball and Predict the Future

How do some people in the upper echelons of business seem to make the right decision every single time?

Some of them seem to have the Midas touch, investing in the right people working at the right companies that dominate the right markets at the right time. Watch them long enough, and you’ll begin to think they have a crystal ball that lets them predict the future.

And they do.

It’s not a paranormal phenomenon, per se, but a method that allows them to make extraordinarily accurate guesses. They know exactly which type of data to look for and how to interpret it. Sometimes they’re wrong, but they’re right often enough to make themselves very, very rich.

Fortunately, it’s not a skill that’s exclusive to billionaires. You can learn how to predict the future too. This post will show you how to build your own crystal ball.

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