Beliefs are powerful, both negative and positive. Beliefs can dramatically improve your life, spark positive change for the collective, start wars, cause anxiety, help you find love, help you destroy relationships, make you a ton of money, make you broke, make you happy, make you sad, help you find purpose, or push you to aimlessness.
There is nothing more powerful than a belief. Why? Because once you hold a belief, it becomes the operating system for your reality. And once you already believe something to be true, it’s hard to change your mind. But you can still do it.
Usually, you’ll change your beliefs when you’re still at least somewhat on the fence about them. Much of society is fully indoctrinated, thus can’t be saved. But some people, maybe you, smell BS in some of the narratives you hold dear. You want out, but it’s hard to let go of those beliefs because your beliefs make you who you are.
You don’t want to lose your sense of self on the path to living a better life, but you kind of have to. It won’t be easy. It might even feel like death and cause grief, but it’s necessary.
I could talk about what beliefs to adopt, but getting rid of negative and limiting beliefs is much more powerful than adopting positive ones. As soon as you get that little societal parasite out of your mind, you’ll develop a new belief system that’ll help you get what you want and it won’t be all that hard.
Get rid of some, and eventually all, of the following beliefs and you’ll be well on your way to a successful life.
“Outrage is like a lot of other things that feel good but over time devour us from the inside out. And it’s even more insidious than most vices because we don’t even consciously acknowledge that it’s a pleasure.” — Tim Kreider
You know why people keep bucking even though life is, without question, much better than it was in past generations? They bathe in outrage because their living standards are, in absolute terms, good, but they’re still unhappy.
Most of us have smartphones, flatscreen TVs, a two-ton piece of metal that moves, endless entertainment, an abundance of food — even living paycheck to paycheck is amazing compared to being a sharecropper. But still, we’re unhappy.
Why? Because humans are wired to look at themselves in comparison to others. It looks like the sky is falling because you don’t have as much as other people have. Not only that, but you’re not confident in your ability to go get it.
Self-confident people don’t get outraged at the news and believe the sky is falling narrative. If you were confident, you’d just assume you could be a part of the one percent. You’d assume you could lift yourself up by the bootstraps. You wouldn’t care about the disadvantages you have because you’d be confident in your ability to overcome them.
Some people are circumstantially screwed, poverty line, and they suffer from a double whammy of real obstacles and the psychological ones that come from their situation.
If you’re not one of those people, be thankful, focus on yourself, and avoid the need for a savior. The destitute have a harder road, but, still, they won’t be magically saved. No one will.
Optimism isn’t idealistic. It’s pragmatic. It’s the only sensible choice.
“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” — Lao Tzu
You have to remove this idea that you’re “just the way you are.” Says who? What proof do you have of this other than your own negative feedback loops and psychological reinforcement?
I talk about this constantly — life is a game of upward and downward spirals. When you’re losing in life, you become blind to opportunity and subconsciously look for more opportunities to lose so you can justify your current identity. This, of course, causes you to lose more, creating a spiral.
I used to have it in my mind that I was the type of person who started projects but never finished them. Five years have passed since I decided to reinvent myself. I’ve published three books, gave speeches in front of 1,000+ people, created products, successfully completed hundreds of blog posts.
How? I gradually re-defined my sense of self and grew my confidence by developing competence at a skill I enjoyed. This is the process. One day, you look up and the old you doesn’t even feel real anymore.
This happens whether you decide to consciously do it or not. Most people reinvent themselves by drifting more and more until they develop hardened hearts, stubborn ways, and even more warped levels of limiting beliefs.
You get to choose.
You don’t have to believe your limiting beliefs. Me saying that doesn’t make the process easier for you, but it is the truth. Within reason, you can do or be anything you want if you have a bit of talent for it. You don’t have to be destined to be a background character in the game of life at all.
“The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary.” – Nassim Taleb
Middle-class thinking will subtly ruin your life. Here’s an excerpt from an article I wrote about the dangers of middle-class thinking:
Some people have the misconception that I don’t understand the plight of the average person in society, that I don’t care, that I’m turning my nose down on these people. The truth is the opposite.
I care deeply.
Not only do I know about the injustices of society, but I’m also probably more acutely aware of it all than you are. I don’t say that because I think I’m smarter than you, but because of the conclusions we draw from the situation. See many people think there’s a collectivist way out. I don’t.
Don’t focus on wealth building because you want more stuff. Focus on it to get your time and sovereignty back. The American dream is a marketing campaign created by banks and companies to keep you living like an indentured servant the rest of your life, using the keep it up with the Joneses routine to numb yourself from the fact you’re wasting your life. Let it go.
All that work just to get some piece of paper collecting dust in your office, a Lexus, some ugly house in the burbs that looks like all the other ugly houses in the burbs. Is it worth it? Not to me.
Make however much money you need to make to be free and do what you want to do. Could be $60k selling your own hand made art or running a $6 million dollar e-commerce store. The number doesn’t matter. The freedom, flexibility, and joy do.
Before you say you’re not an entrepreneur, understand that you are. You just have one client. Before you say wealthy people sell their souls, understand that working a job you hate is also selling your soul, just for pennies on the dollar.
“How much time he gains who does not look to see what his neighbour says or does or thinks, but only at what he does himself, to make it just and holy.” – Marcus Aurelius
The “eat the rich” argument presupposes that it’s rich people’s fault that you’re not living the life you want. Abolishing billionaires won’t make your life better.
Hell, distributing all of their wealth wouldn’t make a drop in the bucket anyway — anyone with a calculator and a basic understanding of math would understand this.
The government spends 4 trillion dollars per year on average. And it seems like they can print as much money as they need do, so why all this billionaire hate?
Don’t misinterpret this as me caping up for billionaires. They could pay their people more and late-stage capitalism has several problems. The larger point is this — stop worrying about what other people are doing. Give up the belief that there’s a causal link between the success of others and your personal shortcomings. There isn’t.
I like to think of the Kardashians as a Roarsarch test. Why do people care about them so much? What do their lives have to do with you? Nothing. You could ignore them. Kylie Jenner is a billionaire. So what? People like her and her makeup. Her customers seem happy with it. What’s the big deal?
Yeah, trickle-down economics doesn’t work, so don’t rely on it. Just focus on yourself. You’re smart. You can make a living doing what you love. You have the ability.
But you’re wasting all your potentially useful energy if you use it to worry about what other people are doing — from billionaires to the Kardashians to your friends on Facebook and Instagram posting those BS curated versions of their lives. Fugghedaboutem.
Envy comes from the negative manifestation of aimless energy. That’s where all this outrage comes from by the way. Just negative energy from people with low self-esteem who can’t fix their own problems re-directing it in any direction they can except back at themselves.
Exit the comparison game. There will always be someone smarter, richer, more beautiful, more talented, and more successful than you are. Always. But there will never be another you. Plus, you have to be you. So, you might as well just like yourself, right?
“You begin saving the world by saving one man at a time; all else is grandiose romanticism or politics.” – Charles Bukowski
Ok, look, “the man” is kind of sort of out to get you. Still, it’s not useful to believe he’s out to personally get you. “The man,” the system, the machine, is an emergent property.
You can’t pinpoint exactly who or what it is, it just is. And it is trying to get you, but it’s trying to get everyone, not you superficially. It doesn’t care about you that much that it seeks you out. If you escape, it won’t notice you’re gone.
Again, this speaks to the idea of self-fulfilling properties. The law of attraction works in a negative direction, too. Being paranoid is counterproductive because your paranoia attracts bad things into your life.
You’ve been around this person before — they just can’t seem to get a break, someone is always screwing them over, this or that is another sign they’re marked with the scarlet letter in life. And we all suffer from this to a degree, even if we’re not a total pessimist like the person I just described.
Vibes are real. The energy you put out in the world is real. I believe in all that metaphysical stuff. You feel vibes coming off people when you interact with them, so why wouldn’t you think your own vibe is affecting you? It is.
Vibes come from beliefs. Have you ever met someone that shouldn’t be confident, but they are, so you just go with it? Since they believe it, you believe it.
The world and the people in it often react to how you view yourself. You attract what you are. And the best way to get momentum with your vibe is just first letting go of the negative aspects of it.
Trust me, the whole man is out to get you conspiracy vibe isn’t going to pave the road to success for you, avoid.
“Most people have a price. And they have a price because of human emotions named fear and greed. First, the fear of being without money motivates us to work hard, and then once we get that paycheck, greed or desire starts us thinking about all the wonderful things money can buy. The pattern is then set.” – Robert Kiyosaki
If you want to earn the type of living that gives you flexibility, you have to stop believing that money is scarce. It isn’t. You have to stop believing economics and trade is a zero-sum game. It isn’t. Actually, it’s a positive, multiplicative game, with some exceptions like rent-seeking of course.
Money is a deeply emotional subject. The way you feel about money dictates how much of it you have, your feelings about earning it, spending it, and saving it, it affects your entire economic situation.
Look at money as a necessary evil, and you become a slave to it. Look at money as a fuel for the life you want to live, and money serves you. View money as a byproduct of providing value, and you can enjoy it.
You know who taught you money is scarce? People with money. Politicians who make a killing off their rent-seeking, pseudo-Buddhist environmental activist Hollywood actors who fly private jets, millionaires who criticize billionaires. The games they play are so simple and see-through, don’t fall for them.
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. – 1 Timothy 6:10
Who loves money more? Someone who slaves over it, gets in debt with it, and uses it to build a middle-class dream turned nightmare? Or someone who uses money as a simple means to an end for their freedom?
“I don’t care about money.” Bullshit. It’s all you think about. You can’t wait to get your little grubby paws on it because you think it’s scarce.
Change your relationship with money. It’s everywhere you look. Transactions happen all the time — you’re just on the wrong side of those transactions, always consuming and never producing.
You don’t need a huge slice of the pie, just get a tiny fraction of the 7 billion people on planet earth to buy something from you. Do the math — $100k a year is ~$12hr when you have a business that sells products 24 hours a day.
Five years to build a business that gives you your freedom. That’s the number. Do it.
“As he thinketh in his heart, so is he,” – Proverbs 23:7
Last, give up the belief that any laws or rules dictate reality except for the laws of physics. Understand your susceptibility to authority bias, which is your penchant to just take what someone with authority says at face value.
Roll the dice. What’s the worst that could happen? You apply for that job that says 5 years experience required, but you create a crazy, cool, unique resume that says you only have 3 years of experience but shows with evidence why that doesn’t matter.
You learn that pretty much everything is negotiable. I remember once haggling over a car and the salespeople would go back to ‘talk to the manager’ and print up some fancy looking document with the adjusted price to make the price seem unbendable and official. BS. Whittled them down some more.
You let go of the societal rules. ‘You need a degree to succeed’ Untrue. I don’t have one and I’m winning. ‘Starting a business is risky.; Untrue in the internet age because capital requirements are low. ‘You have to get a 30-year mortgage, drive a brand new car, vote, have 2.5 kids, live in some series of homogeneous boxes on the hillside.’ Nope. Don’t have to do that either.
Hell, laws aren’t real. We just agree to them. They’re backed by force but if we all uprose at once that force would be rendered useless. Money isn’t real, we just agree that it is and use it as a medium for exchange. Your perception of reality isn’t even objectively real because someone else would react differently to your exact set of circumstances.
None of this is ‘real.’ Except it’s real to you. So what do you do?
Gamify your life. Take it extremely seriously yet unseriously at the same time. At this point, I’m just trying to see how far I can take things for the sake of doing it — seeing how far I can make reality bend to my will and continue to do things I previously thought I was incapable of.
I want you to play the game, too. Once you realize how powerful you actually are, you’ll kick yourself for having so many limiting beliefs in the first place.
Rules are for dorks. You’re a winner. Forget the rules altogether.