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The internet is packed full of content from influencers and experts and successful people. They give away all their best tips and advice, often for free, to millions of viewers every day. And yet almost no one becomes as succesful as they are following their methods. Why not?! In this video, we explore the true principles of succes that successful people themselves are often completely unaware of. And we look at the cognitive biases and fallacies that cause people to give the wrong advice, even when they’re trying to help others succeed.
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All right. So if you’re into self development or entrepreneurship, you already know that one of the hardest things to do is find good information to follow. There’s so much stuff out there, all of it almost looks good. And most of it is total crap.
We’re living in the information age, we are drowning in information, there’s too much to choose from, and so much of it is bullshit. And there’s even too much good advice, isn’t there? Let alone the bad advice. There’s so much good advice, it’s hard to know the difference between the good advice we should have taken, the good advice that’s not for us, and what’s better than the other one.
So we ended up taking on all of it, you know, we get what I call information overwhelm, we get a head full of ideas. So full, that we can’t take action. Or we do follow a certain path, often quite religiously, and only that path, with no other kind of variations or nuances, and it turns out it was total shit.
So in today’s video, I want to help you differentiate what’s good information and what sucks, who you should follow, what a successful person actually looks like, and how to take the information from them that you need rather than the stuff that they say. Most importantly, I want you to get away from the information bingeing that comes from the fear of missing out and the fear of taking action. Learn how to judge what is a good piece of information, how to put that into action.
10 years I’ve been studying these people, and I’ve been looking to see what actually works rather than just what they think works, or what is commonly held as beliefs around what creates success. So before we get into that, there’s a few problems you need to be aware of when you’re trying to follow a high profile person and follow their advice. There’s a lot of so called influencers these days, people saying this is how I did it, this is my way, my method. They’re either giving it away for free, or you have to pay for it. And there’s a few problems with this.
Number one is survivorship bias. A lot of the so called successful people you’re seeing might be doing the same thing that many 1000s of others are, but those others didn’t become successful. And the thing that they’re doing, they were just the exception to the rule. A great example of this is the people who recommend that you grind hard, you know, that you work every spare minute of the day, that you sacrifice your social life and all these other things, and just hit the grind. The people who actually succeed doing that are quite rare compared to the number of people doing that. There are millions of people grinding hard all day every day, but very few of them become successful with their method.
So survivorship bias will cause these successful people to say this is what worked for me, when actually that were just very, very lucky that it worked for them. It especially happens when people do big risk taking. We saw this a lot in the crypto space. Somebody will say this method really works. It’s like, No, you’re one of the few people who were lucky enough to get the timing right with that method. Everybody else who did that method is now bankrupt.
The second problem, I think it’s a worse problem, especially when these people are actively giving their advice, is the fundamental attribution bias. Specifically, what I mean is they will say what I did worked, and they’ll be talking about the things they hope were the reason that they’re successful. The stuff that they like about themselves and stuff that they’re proud of, the stuff they might not even be accurately remembering correctly. They’ll say, This is why I was successful. But they don’t actually know that that’s true. They don’t know that was what did it. They just want that to be what did it.
Like I said, like the people who say I grind really hard, maybe they did, maybe they did 90 hour weeks. But maybe they were successful in spite of that, not because of it. They want to believe that they are successful because of it. Because I mean, they gave up their family and their social life and their health to do it, so it better have been a good reason. A lot of the times they’re attached to what they think should have worked and they’re blind to what actually gave them the advantage.
You can see this in professional sports. An interesting factoid is you’ll find that in certain sports, a lot of the players have their birthdays within a couple of months of each other. They’re like really clustered into a certain time of the year. Why is that? Because they were the biggest kids in school when they were kids, right? So they easily defeated everyone else just based on size difference. And then they got into the representative teams, and they got the better training, and they got more practice, and they got sponsorship and support. And the reason they’re at the top level now is simply because they were the biggest kids in school, but that’s not what they’re going to tell you. They’re gonna tell you that they trained hard and that, you know, they put in the hours and that they put blood sweat and tears. It’s like there’s heaps of people doing that at the gym every day and they’re not successful athletes. That’s not why you were successful. You got lucky at the start.
Which brings me to the next problem, which is ego. A lot of people will attribute luck to other things. They’ll say it was talent or skill or effort, when really it was just an advantage that they had almost no control over. Now, I’m not saying that being successful is all about luck, but if you don’t have that luck, you’re going to have to do workarounds. You know, if you’re not really tall, you’re going to have to get really good at dribbling to play professional basketball. You know, if you’re not a very talented artist right out of the gate with some sort of autism, then you’re going to need to be very good at marketing and going to classes and getting your technique proper.
So a lot of these successful people will tell you that what they did was hard work, and that anyone could do it. But actually, they were lucky. And no, not everyone can do it that way. Not everyone has that advantage.
There’s something else that you might call the independence fallacy, some sort of confirmation bias, where people will say that they’re self made, that they did it all themselves, you know, and that’s that you see that a lot in the entrepreneur space online at the moment. This just one man band, right? Or one woman,. This business and all you see is this one dude, he just talks about how he did it all himself.
Now, I don’t know what that person’s forgetting, but it’s a lot. There’s nobody does it all on their own. Alright, they either start with an advantage that someone gave them, or they get supported along the way, or they got mentorship, or they at least read some books, or they got funding or something. They got a lot of help from other people, and they still are getting that help.
So even when you see some really famous actor, they’ve had training, and they’ve had managers, and they’ve had agents, and all of these people were critical to their success. They weren’t just hangers on. Without these people, the person wouldn’t have made it. There are people out there who can probably act better than the top Hollywood actors that you see and yet they’ve got a bad agent, right? Or they’ve got an unsupportive partner. Or, you know, their parents won’t lend them money to quit work so that they can go to acting school, like they have some sort of disadvantage that those Hollywood stars didn’t start with.
How do you know what I’m saying is true right now? You shouldn’t trust me, just like I’m saying you shouldn’t trust all those influencers. But what you can do is figure it out for yourself, which is look at all those successful people, let’s say the person you most admire right now. Make a list of all the things they say are the reasons for their success, and then go, are they exceptional, or are there millions of people also doing all of the stuff?
For example, someone says they grind and do a 90 hour week, go find anyone doing that many hours and see if they’re as successful. And what you’ll find when you do research online, or you go interview people, you’ll see that most of the time it’s 1000s of other people doing the exact same formula, and it’s not working for them. And that’s how you know that the successful people are mistaken often in what works for them. And that buying their course and following their way is not going to work for you because it’s not even what worked for them. And they don’t even know it half the time.
Yet they are successful. Something worked. They’re doing something we can learn from. So how do we figure out what that is?
We’ve just got to ask the right question, and you have to figure out the correct answer. And the right question is, what are the things that they do that other people don’t? Right, plenty people are grinding, plenty of people sacrificing their health and their social life to go and make their stacks or whatever. Plenty of people doing the Facebook advertising, doing whatever it is that all these people say you should do. And yet they’re not successful. So what are these people doing that other people aren’t?
I can tell you right now, this is all actually answered by a book. And I’m not in any way sponsored to say this. It’s called The Formula. I can’t remember the name of the author because it this weird, like Polish name, but I’ll put a link to the book below. And his team of scientists basically have studied what actually quantifiably makes people successful, and all the answers you’re looking for in that book. I’m just going to summarize some of them here for you in the rest of this video, and add some of my own.
Number one: It really is about who you know. No matter what industry you’re you’re in, no matter what your definition of success is, whether it’s material or integral or social, anything, it’s about who you know. You should be spending a significant portion of your time, if not a majority, connecting and building relationships with valuable people in the industry you’re in.
If you’re an artist, you should be building relationships with gallery curators. If you’re an athlete, you should be building relationships with other athletes and personal trainers and nutritionists. If you’re a business person, you should be building relationships with CEOs and marketing geniuses and so on. It’s really about who you know, and the influence those people have on you that will do most of this, especially when it goes to marketing yourself in any way, it’ll be other people referring you on, it’ll be other people’s audiences that make the big difference. This even applies socially. If you want to do well socially, you need to build a circle of socially successful people around you that will do most of the work for you.
Secondly, is about a balance of effort. Now, as I started this video, most people absorb lots of information, a video like this, for example. And then they go absorb more information and more and more, and they get overwhelmed. Successful people do not do it that way. They take on very little information.
What they do instead is a plenty of practice. All right, they are out there and doing the thing much more than they’re doing anything else. So when it comes to marketing, they are actively marketing something more than they’re learning about marketing. If it comes to ju jitsu, they’re out there rolling on the floor most of the time, they’re doing very little watching videos of MMA and so on.
There’s an actual rule, you can follow 70/20/10. So 70% of your time should just be practice. No new information, other than what you get from practicing. 20% of your time should be mentorship and coaching. So that will be active learning. So if I’m doing a martial arts it will be getting a private lesson with a black belt. And only 10% of your time will be passive information. And even then, you’re only getting the information that you need to solve a riddle that came up during your practice. You never get more information than you’re going to put into action.
The next one is essentialism. A lot of what successful people do is actually superfluous. They waste a lot of time, even though they’re successful. So those Gary Vaynerchuk guys – he doesn’t know so much anymore – but the ones promoting the 90 hour grind, they were successful in spite of doing that, not because of it. There’s a lot of wasted time going on there. We’ll get into measurement a bit later, but you should always be focused on doing just a few things that are very important and have a big impact, rather than trying to do everything all the time. You should actually have a lot of free time if you’re doing this right.
Number four: timing. I don’t mean luck in terms of timing, I’m more about doing what’s right for the level that you’re at. This is one of the best lessons I ever learned in business. I wrote books right at the first year that, I actually started my business with a written book. And I later learned that books are really only good when you’re already an authority figure. It’s the same with running say group coaching programs, it’s very, very hard to sell a book or get a group coaching program off the ground when you’ve got a tiny audience. Simple facts. There is no way around that.
So I was watching all these people who are way above me in the industry doing things differently to me and copying what they were doing without realizing that’s appropriate for the level they’re at. It’s not appropriate for where I’m at. You get the same thing, say in dancing, you get people try and do fancy moves that they saw on YouTube and just injuring themselves when they’re at a level where they should just be practicing fundamentals. But when you’re going to competition level and you’re an advanced teacher, No, you don’t just practice fundamentals all day, you got to learn the fancy shit too. So you have to figure out What level am I at and what’s appropriate for that level?
Number five: quality over quantity, the right effort in the right places rather than lots of effort everywhere. So for example, just become excellent at one thing, rather than becoming a jack of all trades. You’ll see successful YouTube channels, for example, they just have one topic, and they just beat it to death. Right? Say there’s someone I follow who talks about nothing but narcissism, all the various nuances of different narcissistic problems that come up. Right? She’s mastered that. And so if anybody needs a podcast guest on narcissism, they call her. She’s just done one thing very, very well. As opposed to, you might say, a blog that covers every topic on the sun. My blog is guilty of that, and it doesn’t really go anywhere because you’re just spread too thin and you don’t master anything.
Number six. And now this is an example where successful people often are correct in expressing what they think works: courage. Most of the moves forward are going to require significant emotional discomfort for you. So if you’re feeling comfortable emotionally most of the time, you are probably doing it wrong. The kind of discomfort you’re going to have to face would be risk of rejection and humiliation, failure, confusion, physical pain. There’s really no successful person that was able to circumnavigate those discomforts. Most of the big moves you make will be things that are unfamiliar to you. So it comes with pain. Right? So if you’re feeling very familiar and safe and comfortable, I guarantee you’re not going to get far.
Number seven is ruthless measurement. And this is where I recommend quantitative, it actually becomes important. You need to find a way to measure what it is you’re trying to do numerically, okay, you need to find a number based way to measure what it is you’re doing. Even if you’re just trying to build confidence, there needs to be a measurement of some kind that cannot lie because it’s numbers. And you need to choose the right numbers to measure what is it you should be measuring that would tell you if you’re making, you know, the right results or not?
So it should be results based measurement rather than process based measurement. And then you should measure that forcefully, you make yourself do it. You need to measure it accurately. No matter what you feel, you have to admit what the actual numbers are. And frequently, you should be measuring yourself constantly so you don’t get off track too far too often. Right, it’s one of the things I noticed, one of the reasons I put out YouTube videos is because when I look at all my clients and where they come from, the majority is YouTube. So I might feel like writing a blog post or putting out a book or even doing a podcast, but my business doesn’t lie. My my clients come from YouTube. It’s as simple as that.
Number eight, which is attached to the last one, is you need to drop attachment to anything that isn’t contributing. So no matter how much it feels like something’s good, and how much you want to do it, if it isn’t contributing to the goal, if it does not come up in the measurement system as being helpful, then it’s got to go. You might enjoy posting your art on Facebook, but when you go to measure all your art sales, and none of them come from Facebook and they all come from galleries, then you need to be cutting Facebook and going to the galleries, because it doesn’t matter how comfortable posting on Facebook feels, it’s not selling your art. So it doesn’t matter.
Resources. Again, some entrepreneurs influencers are correct when they share this one. But you know how most businesses fail, like nine out of 10 businesses fail in the first two years or whatever that stat is. The number one reason is bad spending. It’s not a bad product. It’s not even bad marketing. It’s bad spending. Now you can equate this to time, effort, who you spend time with, everything, attention, not just money. But basically one of the best things you can do for your success is not overspend.
So we’ll just talk about it in terms of money. Never spend more money than you have. Don’t get into bad debt. You can invest, that’s not counted as bad debt, but spending money you don’t have, borrowing to spend, is bad debt. Just never do it. And never spend more than you earn. So you should know how much money, time, energy, resources, you have coming in each month and your expenses should never be greater than that. So if you’re having a low month in your business, then in the next month your salary needs to come down to balance that out.
Lastly, number 10. And of course, I’m gonna say this: mentoring and coaching. Pay for coaching and training from the best, but not necessarily the most successful, because there are those who can win and those who can teach and those who can do both, and you’re looking for the person who can do both. Because as I mentioned, one of the biggest problems that I’m trying to address in this video is that a lot of people you follow they are good at winning, but they’re not good at teaching. They aren’t able to deconstruct why they were successful and pass it on in a packaged way that other people can follow.
You know, a lot of personal trainers are actually great at this. So they won’t win Mr. Olympia, but they’re in really great shape. And they can tell you how to exercise properly and how to eat properly in a way that suits your body type so that you also end up in great shape. Whereas some great bodybuilders, they’ll just say, Oh, I just do this n that, follow me, and you do that and you just end up injured and sick, because what works for them doesn’t work for you. And it doesn’t even work for them properly.
So not all winners are also good teachers, but all good teachers must also be winners. So you don’t want any hypocrites, right? You’re not going to get a personal trainer who’s obese. So what you’re looking for is the person who not only is doing well, maybe not the best but doing really well in the area that you want help with, and they know how to teach it to almost anyone. All right, they have a proven track record of being able to pass on this formula to others, and it works for those other people.
You got to watch out for this when you’re reading testimonials and stuff. Quite often the testimonials are taken really early in the process. The person’s like, It feels great to be on this course and I think it’s gonna do wonders, and you’re like, Wait, those aren’t results. Those are just feelings. What you’re looking for is a person like, Five years I was struggling, then I applied this formula and it works for me and it works for me and it works for me and it works for me. And you can go talk to these people personally, They’re like Yeah dude, he just adapted it to my style, blah, blah. And you’ll get all this evidence that yeah the person knows how to teach.
Think of mixed martial artists. You know, there’s plenty of great fighters out there, but very few of them would be good trainers. And yet a lot of great trainers, like Israel Adesanya’s coach is somebody who I went to school with and you know, he isn’t going to win MMA fights himself, but he creates winners, right? So he knows how to find how to deconstruct fighting and pull apart someone’s fighting style and make them a better fighter without being the best fighter in the world himself. And that’s what the greatest coaches are usually like.
So, of course, that’s also a bit of a pitch for my own coaching. But I only have a couple of specialties which is nice guy recovery and general social confidence building. What you should be looking for is a mentor that suits you in your area that meets the criteria we’ve talked about. And that person might not be the flashiest, most high profile person, but they will be somebody who gets you results. I hope that was helpful. Get in touch if I can help you further firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ll see you next time.