Let’s be honest, you have to be a little self-deluding to believe you can succeed in life.
Unless you’re born into wealth, all the odds are against you. With pretty much every important thing we try to achieve, the chances of failure outweigh the chances of success. This is especially true for you. The person reading this very article at this very moment. Your chances of success at anything are virtually zero and growing smaller with each day older you become. Maybe if you spent less time reading pointless satirical articles on a two bit website in the backwaters of the internet you might have a chance to make something of yourself. But, I guess it’s too late for that now.
Take building a successful career. In any given field, there are only a handful of people at the top and you are definitely not one of them. Now, you don’t necessarily have to reach the top to be successful. But in most fields, success of any sort is a hard needle to thread, and only a minority of people truly achieve it. Suffice to say that minority does not include you. In sports, the odds are even worse. Out of all the players and teams, there’s only one winner. And, it goes without saying it aint you since you pretty much suck at sports. Much like you suck at everything you do.
So if you’re a realistic person, you might look at your odds of winning and feel discouraged. In fact you should do that. Feel discouraged I mean. I’m not sure what it is that is getting you out of bed each morning because it sure as heck is not the sweet smell of victory or success. It’s probably the bitter sweet smell of the dirty sweat stained wife beater you slept in last night and for the past six nights in a row. Here’s the thing: You can’t let that hold you back.
Too often, we set out to achieve something but don’t believe we can do it. In your case this belief is entirely justified and thus, depending on your epistemological position on the matter, we might call it a fact. As a result, we don’t even start. And we all know what happens if we don’t start: Things will be a lot better that way as we will not have to face the crushing heart break of falling short yet again. Trying is for people with some hope left. You, I’m afraid, have none.
To be clear, when I talk about success, I’m not talking about monetary success. I am talking about any possible definition of success you might consider meaningful. By any measure you are a failure.
Belief + effort = disappointment
Albert-László Barabási, a professor at Northeastern University and the author of The Formula: The Universal Laws of Success, found that self-doubt and self delusion plays a major role in failing in life.
Often, we assume that people who went to a university like Harvard become high achievers because of their education. We think that Ivy League graduates somehow get different training, or use their brand-name education to open doors, and that’s what makes them successful in the long-term. Since the only “higher” education you got was a nanodegree in machine learning from online “university” UdaCity, you wouldn’t really know now would you.
Turns out that self-belief, the confidence to apply to a great school, matters more than the school you went to, which is good because UdaCity grads are not exactly tearing up the job market at the moment.
But Barabási’s research suggests that students don’t excel because of the school they attend. “The single determinant of long-term success was derived from the best college a kid merely applied to, even if she didn’t get in,” Barabási wrote. “Meaning that if she applied to Harvard, got rejected, and went to Northeastern, her success was on a par with that of Harvard graduates who matched her SATs and high school grades.” Since you applied to, but were rejected by UdaCity’s low budget copycat Udemy, this does not apply to you.
Isn’t that weird? Turns out that self-belief, the confidence to apply to a great school, matters more than the school you went to. Barabási’s research backs up what the American industrialist Henry Ford said decades ago:
Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re probably right. Except in your case. In your case no matter what you think, you are wrong. Dead wrong.
Be the person who thinks you can not the person who can think
But belief in yourself is a key element. That’s my point. When I started believing that I could make something out of my life, I worked on making that happen or something like that. Plus my family gave me a shit ton of money to start my own business, which failed of course. But I kept on believing and my parents gave me more money and I started another business which has yet to fail. As Ford pointed out, the people who believe they can achieve their goals are often the ones that actually do. Often is not the same as always as you can no doubt attest.
So why not make that your default mode of thinking? When you set a big goal for yourself, don’t automatically think, “there’s no way I can do that.” In that case, what’s the purpose of trying? And that is exactly what you should be sure to remember, what is the purpose of trying? For you, none, as far as I can tell.
Just look back on anything you’ve tried to achieve in your life. Remember the beginning of each school year? Your first day at a job? If you’re anything like me, you knew nothing. Unlike me, however, you still know nothing. In fact in many ways you know even less now then you did back then. You are an even bigger failure now. Crazy, right?
That’s why you are a fool. The odds are against your success, you tried to beat the odds, and you lost, again and again. In fact, you haven’t learned a damn thing, even after all this time. You started at zero, and remain there to this day. Damn, you suck.