I will be the first one to admit, I have fallen for the trap.
For my fellow sales reps, we commonly refer to it as “selling the dream.” I am just as guilty as the rest. I have bought the dream before. These days I know better. I know when someone is selling me a dream.
When I first got started as a business owner, I fell in love with the idea of being an entrepreneur. These days, being an entrepreneur is sexy and cutting edge and rebellious. “Fuck the man!” I say. I stick my fists in the air and refuse to be held down by the status quo. It is so easy to portray this kind of lifestyle through our virtual identities.
Instagram selfies with the perfect filter. Pictures of Rolex watches and boats and Lamborghinis. Pictures of stacks of cash (usually it’s fake cash btw) piled on top of a mattress. Not to mention the awful hashtags. #makemoney
These are lies. Lies, lies, lies. No one has stacks of cash on a mattress. If they do it’s probably because they are a drug dealer, in which can you may want to rethink your life choices.
You all know what I’m talking about. You probably do it too. You need to stop this behavior and bring yourself back into reality. I can help you.
Hard Work > Everything
Here’s the thing about work. Real work doesn’t get noticed until it yields results.
I knew a man once, his name was Bernard. Everyone called him Bernie.
Bernie was in his 50’s and he was a general technician at a local auto shop I used to work at called Tires Plus. I was still in high school and I was eager to get out and join the workforce so I could make money.
Bernie was not well educated and he was not well off. Bernie lived in a row home off of Stenton Avenue in East Mount Airy. Bernie worked like a mad man. He said that he did it all for his family. He was always so cheerful at work. Never once did I hear him complain or even have a negative tone in his voice.He was truly a man who earned his rest.
Bernie was just a good man. He loved his wife, he loved his kids and he loved going to work every day. He was such a grateful person. Bernie and I worked together almost every day for a year, he used to call me “young bull.”
While Bernie continued to whistle while he worked, I was becoming frustrated.
Why should I go to work every day just to make money for someone else? I was getting paid $7.50 an hour to change oil and change tires (or sling hoops as we called it) and sweep the shop. All my work was putting money in someone else’s pocket. As is commonly seen in our country, I was bitching about upper management and how unfair the system was.
Bernie saw this. One day he took me aside and he said something to me that I will never forget.
“Listen to me young bull, you ain’t never gonna amount to nothing in life unless you’re willing to sacrifice your time.”
The next week, Bernie was gone. Apparently, he had been secretly going to truck driving school and he got a job driving big rigs across the country. I never saw him or heard from him again, but I knew that Bernie had made it.
He was providing for his family, he was having an impact on the world, he was being a productive member of society and he was happy.
Bernie understood it. He understood that in the end, what really matters is the time you put towards your craft. The secret to satisfaction is knowing in your heart that you did the best you possibly could.
Great Story Tim, But What’s The Point?
The point is that real success isn’t a bi-product of an image or a portrayal. Real success is a direct product of hard fucking work.
Sometimes I worry that our culture has forgotten what it actually takes to make real impact. The greatest achievements of American history have come from hours and hours and hours of painstaking work.
It took Edison 10,000 tries to successfully create the lightbulb. Henry Ford worked obsessively (Ford took the word obsession to a new level) to build his assembly line of the Model T. This shit doesn’t just happen, and it certainly isn’t glamorous.
I worry that these days people are more concerned with the glamour than they are of the grind. They are less concerned about achievement and more concerned with praise. The sad part is that praise is fleeting and doesn’t actually materialize into wealth, satisfaction, good health or happiness. Praise comes and goes like the wind.
We can’t be fooled by the glam. We can’t buy the dream.
You want money? Work. You want a house? Work. You want to provide for your family? Work. You want to build something that will change the world?Work.
Don’t talk about how hard you’re working. Don’t tell people how great everything is. Show them.
I’m Not Knocking Social Media
Quite the opposite actually. I love social media.
It’s 2016, there is a world of opportunities out there that didn’t exist 15 years ago. We have an immense amount of free resources at our disposal at all times. Use them!
Use Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Email, SEO, Twitter and whatever online tools you have the time to use. But don’t let these tools and resources distract you from the point.
The point is that nothing will ever replace value. Nothing will ever replace hard work.
Social media creates an easy avenue for people to talk. Everyone loves to talk, and people especially love to talk about themselves. If you pay attention, you will find that the ones worthy of our attention (with exception to Conor McGregger) are rarely the ones that talk the most. Usually, the men and women who are most worthy are the ones that work the hardest. They provide the most value.
Just let my boy Einstein drops more knowledge bombs on you. BOOM!
Believe In Yourself
I find that my generation has a huge self-esteem problem. We use these digital outlets as a means for self-validation. But just like any form of instant gratification, the itch quickly returns and we end up chasing the dragon. Don’t do that.
If you want to be successful (in whatever your definition of the word) you have to sacrifice your time. You have to add value to people’s lives.
Your looks will fade, your car will become outdated, and your watch will eventually stop working.
But the impact you have on the world, the work you produce and the lives you touch are the true legacy you leave behind.
Don’t talk about it. Be about it.