Too many people are being convinced to accept the mindset of the victim. They’re being told they don’t have the power change their life. They are buying the idea that the system is rigged against them and that there’s nothing they can do about it. Set aside for the time being that none of these things are true.
But even if they were, holding these beliefs would not serve the holder, creating resentment, anger, frustration, and a debilitatingly negative mindset instead.
If the system is rigged, there’s still an age-old recipe for beating that system and succeeding in the pursuit of your goals.
- Attitude: Your attitude is 100% within your control, which is not to pretend it’s easy. A good attitude is a discipline. You will always have a negative stimulus. However, you also have the power to pause between that stimulus and your response. If you want to understand how important the decision is to control your attitude, read Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning. Frankl survived three concentration camps in Nazi Germany while losing his family. He attributes his survival to the ability to control his mind—his most important freedom. Your attitude is what gives you power inside a rigged system.
- Work Ethic: Your work ethic is also within your control. You can show up early, stay later, and work harder than anyone else. You can also do better work than almost anyone else by merely giving that work your full focus and concentration. In an age of infinite distractions, a strong ability to focus is a defining differentiator. It is difficult not to like and appreciate people with an exceptional work ethic. Work ethic by itself will provide advancement opportunities. The system has no way to protect itself from a hard worker. Wherever they go, hard workers are highly valued and reap the benefits and rewards of their efforts.
- Level Up: if you look for one common denominator among all successful people, regardless of their human endeavor or pursuit, and regardless of the circumstances of their birth, you will find that they continually work on improving themselves. They read books, and they take courses, they study other people to gain an edge that allows them to produce better results. Leveling up isn’t a matter of money. There’s enough content on the Internet in whatever area you want to improve at no cost-or an extraordinarily low cost—that self-improvement has never been more available to you. The system was long ago broken here. There are no more gatekeepers. No one can stop you from becoming super-competent.
- Accountability: If you want to grow and advance, you have to be accountable for greater and greater outcomes. Jocko Willink proposes extreme ownership. The first thing you need to be responsible for is your performance. When you look to externalities for reasons that you are not succeeding, I promise you will find them. When you understand that your state is the result of your beliefs, the decisions you’ve made and the actions you’ve taken—or more likely, not taken—you recognize that you control the one thing you need to manage to produce the results you want. The system is rigged for those who are accountable, taking responsibility for delivering outcomes. It rewards that behavior in every case.
- Find a Model: Other people are right now producing the results that you want in your life. They are no different than you are. You are human; they are human. You have natural talents and gifts as well as deficiencies, and so do they. But the recipe for producing almost any result you want in life is well known and well documented. There are specific sets of action when repeated that generate a particular outcome. If you’re going to speed up the time it takes you to create a result, find a model, deconstruct the recipe, and follow that recipe. This result is already being produced within the system, and because you are in that same system, all things being equal, it will produce the same result for you.
The economic world in which we find ourselves is not an easy one to navigate. There are systemic challenges, in some ways greater than earlier times. That said, a scrappy go-getter always bends the system to their will.
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