When you’re a young, in University or starting off at your first job, you want to be cool, accepted and liked. However, if you want to do something different, a pursuit that isn’t mediocre or actually excels at something, there’s a price for it.
When you pursue non-mediocrity, firstly, you’re going to give something up in yourself, you’re going to have to take the risk, you’re having to have to be responsible for your own decisions, and secondly, you’re going to piss few people off around you.
Okay, here’s a great example I faced for the last half a decade. When I was busy pouring myself into books, pushing myself through world travel, approaching girls, chasing women, failing my first couple of tries in business, attempting to take everything life has to offer, I’m sure the world felt that I left them behind.
I was also sure that a lot of my friends couldn’t stand what I was doing. In fact, a couple of them unfollowed me on Instagram.
Initially, I thought, fuck them, they can’t do anything with THEIR life, they see me doing it and it’s uncomfortable for them to see me do it. That may or may not be true. However, true friends should support each other in one other’s success, right? So, fuck them I thought.
However, if I dig deeper, I realized that it’s not about leaving anyone behind, or anyone leaving you behind. It’s just an incompatibility of values. Your values have just changed. I changed from a lazy underperforming sack of shit to someone who isn’t afraid to care about something, whilst the rest of the world still stood still.
Choosing Higher Quality Problems
If you dug even deeper, you now face a different set of problems. Perhaps you started out thinking: if I read this pick up artist advice, I would now be able to sleep with girls and be happy. Great, you got that down, however, now you’re exposed to a different set of problems: attachment theory, long term happiness, life purpose, connecting with your deeper values and more.
What the hell!?!
It’s funny that you read stuff like that online, you go back home, feel guilty about change and never do end up doing anything.
‘I shouldn’t be doing this, it’s too selfish’.
‘What if I failed?’
‘What if I succeeded?’
‘What if my friends all laughed at me?’
This was a huge problem I faced. I thought to myself: what if I started posting nerdy shit like good grades on Instagram? What will my friends back home think? What if I started telling my bum friends: I want to be rich, I am going to start a business.
What if I told your friends: I know you think I’m crazy, I’m going to quit my finance degree, and take a psychology degree, I know it’s a long shot, however, it’s something I always wanted to do in my life
How will they react?
These are problems that I face today. It spiralled out of just wanting to be good with women. These are a completely different set of problems from just going out and talking to girls. These are a set of problems you’ll face when you start pursuing non-mediocrity in any area of your life.
- Everybody’s a Critic
This set of problems hit me a couple of times a year or two ago when I started noticing different set of people falling off from my life when I made several decisions in my life. It was extremely tough for me. I even told myself: maybe I shouldn’t be doing all of these. Perhaps I should go back to school, get my accounting degree, get a job, and lead a non-controversial life.
That’s exactly what I did for a year. Well, it was a half assed effort and I flunked it.
Did I feel accepted by society? Yes. Did my friends pat me on my back for doing something realistic?Hell no.
I figured this:
If I did a degree like I really enjoyed: an unrealistic idealist.
If I did an accounting degree: obsessed guy over money.
I’ll share with you a story. After going back and forth on a decision about taking a certain degree for years. I made the decision, fuck this if I failed, and if everyone thought I was being unrealistic, so be it, I’ll figure something out.
When I made this decision, I told a long time friend that I paused my accounting degree, signed up for a degree that I’ve always wanted to do.
She rolled her eyes.
I was expecting something like: You’re crazy Marcus. However, it’s really cool that you are finally trying to do something you’re really into.
I guess I’ll never be fully accepted either way. I’ll never be cool either way. Since, I’ll never be cool either way, then fuck everyone else, I should do what the fuck I was going to do in the first place right?
The problem I face in collectivistic Asian culture is that almost everything is geared towards NOT rocking the boats. Don’t be selfish, don’t be outspoken, don’t be this and don’t be that. It’s a piss poor mindset for growth.
I know that if I want to be a true success, I need to give all of that up. Just like how you want to be better with women, you’ll need to kill a part of yourself and be willing to be polarizing and controversial. You’re going to piss some people off; you’re also going to have to be perfectly OKAY with that.
Look, I’m not saying to go about, start pissing everyone off on purpose, or declaring that you read X number of books a week. I’m a lot more diplomatic than that. That’s part of social intelligence.
These days, I never outrightly say that I am attempting to run a company. I just say that I’m an employee of a company. I don’t say that I write long self development articles like this one. I don’t flaunt the books that I’ve read, the countries I’ve been or the girls I’ve been with.
- Self Awareness
Self-awareness is like an onion that you constantly peel the layers of, and it gets more painful whenever you get closer to the core. You form higher order habits to better handle these anxieties and insecurities, however, at the end of the day, you have to go back to the core and deal with them face on.
I paused my accounting degree and signed up for a psychology degree. Call me ambitious, however, I plan on working full time and studying consecutively. I started micromanaging a lot of factors in my life. Things that I didn’t care about, I pay full attention to now, like how I use my time and how I allocate my time.
Call it hitting a quarter-life crisis, or whatever you want. When you wake up and you’re 25, and you figured you didn’t really achieve much but you spent your past years bouncing around different cultures, chasing skirt.
It hits you and it hits you hard.
I don’t think life should only revolve around work. However, finding work that you enjoy and something you want to sculpt and contribute to the world is important.
One huge flaw I have is impatience. I often over stretch myself too quickly, either through brute force or willpower. It takes the joy out of living. It’s akin to going out to the clubs 6 times a week just for the sake of ‘practice’. The intensity also puts pressure on a lot of people around me. I’m quite uptight, and I dislike things going wrong these days.
Towards the last quarter for twenty seventeen, I’ve put too much attention and focus into my entrepreneurial projects. I end up feeling constantly burnt out. In the next year, I’d like to put some personal boundaries on myself and let myself breathe a little more.
Secondly, I’ve been driving myself crazy thinking of potential projects and business models.
Some projects have monetary payoffs and some projects have a legacy pay off. If I was being dead honest to myself, yes, I want to be hugely financially successful. It’s one of my pain points that drives me day after day. I want the independence.