“To get what you want, you have to deserve what you want. The world is not yet a crazy enough place to reward a whole bunch of
undeserving people.” – Charlie Munger
You only get what you feel entitled to in life.
If you believe you deserve certain outcomes, on a long enough time scale, you’ll get them.
If you don’t, you won’t.
It sounds a little “law of attraction” to say this but your belief systems do dictate your objective reality.
You are who you think you are.
“But Ayo! You don’t understand. I don’t have access to resources, I come from a messed up family, I’m left-handed […].” Yes, the limits in your mind are very real, but only because they are real to you. The mere fact that someone else with your exact same circumstances can interpret the differently negates your argument that the situation you’re in itself is too dire to fix.
Until you feel like you deserve to live a better life, you’ll stay the same. But what if you already do feel this way? I mean, who doesn’t think they deserve to live a better life? Who wants to be in a bad spot? People are for the most part, good. You’re most likely a good person. Don’t you deserve more based on that alone?
Sounds nice, but no.
You have to truly deserve what you want. This happens in the mind, but you build the mindset with the work.
The words ‘think’ and ‘believe’ seem similar, but they are in entirely different universes.
You think you deserve to live a better life, but until you believe you deserve it at a core level, something will always get in your way. Why do you think you sabotage yourself on the path to reaching a goal?
At a subconscious level, you don’t feel worthy enough to get that outcome, so you shoot yourself in the foot to maintain that lowly identity.
Messed up, right?
And that’s what this all comes down to — identity and ego. These are no easy problems to fix.
Can you even fix them?
I doubt you can entirely rid yourself of self-doubt, ego protection, and limiting beliefs, but you can do the next best thing, which is to gradually replace your old identity with a new one that feels entitled to having success in life.
There are two different types of entitlement:
I wish ‘the secret’ actually worked. That would make life a hell of a lot easier. Just create a vision board and your work is finished. I also wished the pollyanna form of self-care worked — just love yourself for no reason at all! Hell, I’d even move to Tibet and meditate in a cave for 10 hours a day if I thought Eastern Philosophy taken to the extreme would work.
Alas, your lizard brain, inner critic, the resistance, whatever moniker you like to call it, just seems to be too tricky and clever to fool. Your monkey mind is like a prosecutor. Your self-worth is on trial. You need a good defense attorney.
Instead of trying to trick yourself into thinking you deserve a better life, try finding, or creating, evidence that you deserve to live a better life.
I constantly talk about these simple elements of self-improvement:
Over time, you will get what you deserve because you deserve it.
Would a handout make your life better? Maybe, short term. But, in the long run, you wouldn’t appreciate it because you didn’t earn it. Ask any trust fund kid. The money itself doesn’t make them happy. Often, it makes them miserable.
Contrast this with a self-made millionaire who doesn’t have to keep working but still does. When you’re self-made, money is the bi-product. You just love playing the game. You can enjoy being rich.
The point is that the object itself doesn’t matter. In both scenarios, you’re rich.
You won’t appreciate what you don’t earn. Should everyone in society be able to have their basic needs met? Yes. But that still won’t solve the meaning problem. Meaning, the true core confidence that comes from sweat equity, is irreplaceable.
When you deserve what you want, truly, you reach a level of confidence that can’t be gained any other way.
This also allows you to set the right expectations, boundaries, and scenarios that you want in your life.
Let me explain.
Not to sound snobby, but it feels good to be able to turn down money.
I get emails about random writing projects all the time — freelance writing gigs, ghostwriting books, people looking for coaching. I turn many of them down, not out of arrogance, but from a purely mathematical perspective, they’re literally not worth my time.
The point of all this isn’t to brag, it’s to juxtapose against the way I started out.
Five years ago, I would’ve taken any money for my writing. In fact, I used to write articles for $15/hr. When I was running a coaching practice for writers, I was afraid to charge them anything, which led to me under-charing because I needed the money. I published my first ebook for $.99 cents. Why? I didn’t have enough reference experiences and work under my belt to feel like I deserved better. I was still needy and wanted things to work.
When you’re needy and you want things to work instead of believing they will, they’ll never work.
As soon as you start working on yourself and leave the idea of success in the back of your mind where it belongs, you’ll start to become more deserving and entitled to more. It’s like the law of attraction in reverse. The less you need good outcomes to happen the more opportunities come your way.
You’re not sweating it because you know you’re the shit.
You know you’re the shit not because you’re arrogant, but because you’ve done the work.
So…just…do the work.
Look, I’m not going to lie to you.
That dream you have in your mind of the person you want to be is as hard to accomplish as you think it is. I’m not one of those ‘believe it and you will achieve it’ types. If you’ve been reading me for any length of time, you already know that.
Actually, the people who say things like “I’m going to own a billion-dollar company” are the ones most prone to failure. Puffy chested confidence is always a sign of insecurity.
You do have to be delusional to succeed, though.
On the one hand, you have to be a little insane to think that little ol’ you is going to be the one to pull it off. But instead of going overboard with irrational confidence, you harness that mild level of delusion into doing the work.
Build your dream one day at a time and celebrate your little wins as you go.
Finish your website? Do some promotion? Get your first customer? Celebrate.
Write your first blog post? Get a dozen more under your felt? First 100 email subscribers? Celebrate.
Research the idea? Network in your community? Get that grant you want for your non-profit? Celebrate.
Make it a month? 90 days? 6 months? Celebrate.
You want to create a ‘winner effect.’ As cruel as it sounds, the Matthew principle is true:
“For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.”
Don’t become a winner because you’re greedy. Do it as a defense against downward spirals.
Here’s what will happen. As time moves forward and the longer you sustain whatever it is you’re doing, you’ll realize how special and rare you are for simply not quitting.
Let’s be frank here. For most people, self-help is just a slightly healthier version of entertainment. They replace Netflix with Tonny Robbins and TED talks. Acting on the information is so rare that you can’t help but build a little bit of that healthy arrogance and entitlement as you go.
I love seeing people on their paths. They have no clue what’s in store for them if they keep doing the work.
I won’t make you any promises that any of what I say will work for you, but I will say that if you do the work, something good will happen.
You will understand the truth that you are already inherently deserving of what you want. That’s the funny thing about it. The personal legend goes in a circle, back to the origin point. You won’t understand your inherent value until you ‘earn it’ even though you never needed to do the work to understand that in the first place.
So, go on the journey.
It’s the only way.