I’m going to make a bold statement — a statement that might piss you off but one I find to be true nonetheless. If you aren’t living the life you want, it’s because you’re getting in your own way, not because the world is against you.
I have a chapter in my book called Mindset Inequality. It says that there are two diverging viewpoints of the world. One lens shows infinite upside thanks to the internet. The other lens shows many downsides and a chaotic system where few can get ahead.
Your success depends on which version of reality you believe. Your perception of the world creates self-fulfilling prophecies. When you expect certain results to happen, they usually do happen because you’ll behave in ways that make your predictions come true.
If you see the world as a place with limited opportunity, you won’t perceive obvious opportunities in front of you. Many people in society don’t see the vast and obvious opportunities created by the internet.
Pre-internet, the barriers to entry in many industries were high, as well as the risks to enter them. Pre-internet, moving up in class was much harder.
Now? Almost anyone with a reasonable intelligence who works hard, iterates, and stays patient, can create a tailor-made career, achieve financial flexibility, and free themselves from the shackles of the rat race.
Notice I said the word can.
One the one hand, it’s never been easier to start your own path. But if you stay stuck in old paradigms and don’t see the opportunities, it doesn’t matter. Also, just because it’s easier to start doesn’t make it easier to finish.
The same basic self-improvement rules apply today, except the rewards are much much higher.
“If it wasn’t for the Internet, I don’t know where I’d be.” – A Boogie
Some people tell themselves that they’re not ‘tech-savvy’ and use this as an excuse not to use the power of the internet. Well, guess what? If you want to be really successful, at least financially, you’re going to need to know your way around a computer or a smartphone. There’s no way around it.
Why? Because these tools allow you to harness the power of scale. Scale means you can reach a lot of people at the same time. While you can still make a great living in a profession that doesn’t scale, e.g., working in a trade, you’ll never experience the full upside of your skills without being able to scale. And many non-tech fields have a tech-aspect to them, e.g., even using the internet to find the best jobs.
Also, you can use the power of the internet regardless of what job you have if you’re creative. You can take the skills you learn in your profession, combine them with tech-savvy, and create an entirely new income stream.
Let’s say you’re a mechanic. You could take that same job and utilize it in a variety of ways. Maybe you create a YouTube channel and do short tutorials with an upsell to a course that teaches people how to do basic repairs or custom modifications.
The website teachers pay teachers allows one of the most underpaid groups of people to take advantage of their knowledge by selling lesson plans to other teachers.
I bought a course from a CPA that teaches entrepreneurs how to get tax breaks. I found him because he posted excellent content on social media.
You can be creative with almost any profession and use the internet to increase your reach and income. But you have to be willing to learn how to do it.
If you don’t want to adapt to the times, don’t get upset that you’re not reaping the same rewards. When it comes to learning these skills, you’d be surprised how many of them are very learnable given a bit of focus.
You’d know how learnable these skills were if you got out of your own way and tried them, but many of you won’t because of the narrative you have in your mind.
Our society as a whole is suffering from a narrative problem.We’re coming up with bad solutions to nonproblems all because we don’t fully understand the story with infinite upside, the story of the great equalizer called the internet.
The masses won’t shift their mindset anytime soon. But you can. Here’s how.
“A generation of auto-didacts, educated by the Internet & leveraged by technology, will eventually starve the industrial-education system.” Naval Ravikant
You have no excuse not to become a learning machine. You can access an insane level of information for free. There are paid programs and courses on basically any subject. You can even hire a coach to work with you step by step.
Self-directed education is the path to the future. You can use the internet to build a ‘skill stack’ that makes you rare and valuable, which means you can make more money and have more freedom.
Use the internet to build your skill stack. Choose skills that can help you reach a lot of people at the same time. Build platforms based on those skills. Profit and find freedom.
Honestly, once you learn how to do this you feel like you’re cheating the system. You’ll understand that hard work in a vacuum isn’t the key to success. The application of your knowledge at scale is the key to success.
5 years ago I was working a job for $10/hr. I didn’t want to keep working at that job so I took to the internet to learn new skills. Today? I’ve made my old yearly salary in a month’s time, multiple times. And I don’t work harder, I worked smarter.
You can do this, too. It will take a lot of work upfront, yes. You won’t reap rewards right away. But if you build the foundation, eventually your results will grow exponentially.
Invest in yourself — either time or money — and trust that it’ll work. Stop worrying about being scammed. The mainstream narrative is the scam. Don’t fall for it.
“The problem both for us as a society and as individuals is that we’re asking the wrong question: “How do I get a job doing that?” What if the better question is: “How do I create a job doing that?” – Taylor Pearson
You can accomplish your dreams at little to no risk thanks to the internet. This idea that it’s risky to start your own thing is total nonsense, an outright lie.
Ironically, the convention path is much riskier — take on a bunch of debt to go to college, get in more debt as a working adult, and rely on one source of income that’s subject to disappearing overnight due to unforeseen events like, you know, a pandemic.
You can learn the skills you need at little to no cost and start your project at little to no risk.
One of the main sources of my income, writing on Medium, cost me zero dollars. Anyone can join and get paid. You could write articles from a library computer, for free, if you didn’t have internet access.
Lambda School offers to teach you how to code and doesn’t charge you a penny unless you find a job over a certain salary level. Then, they take a portion of your earnings for the first few years. Much less risk compared to taking on the debt upfront. I’ve seen stories of call center workers and Janitors getting six-figure gigs after going through the program.
You want to make ‘little bets.’ Choose a project where you know exactly how much you’ll lose if it goes south. Example: I have an amount I’m willing to spend to self-publish a book. I can’t sell negative books.
Careers like freelancing are low-cost too because you can use free platforms like LinkedIn to find clients. Starting social media accounts to promote your work is free. Most of you have a phone that you use to waste time instead of learning and building income streams. You already have a powerful tool. No excuses.
Maybe I will write an article with all these ideas you can start for less than $100. I bet I could come up with 100. Then, you’d know for sure that you’re the one getting in your own way.
Make no mistake about it, putting together this tailor-made career using the internet will be difficult. But it’s not inherently difficult. You can do it. It’s just psychologically difficult.
You’ve been conditioned into viewing upward mobility a certain way. You’ve dug holes for yourself as a result of believing that narrative. But you can unlearn the old ways of thinking and adopt new ones that help you thrive.
You don’t have to become a self-improvement guru or sell courses on how to sell courses to people who sell courses on how to sell courses. This is just a tiny drop in the bucket compared to many real and viable ideas you can come up with using your unique set of skills.
It’s up to you.
Which way do you want to go?
The path of infinite upside or the path of stagnation and anxiety?