Let’s say you have never played baseball, but you are in a situation where you will get a million dollars if you score a homerun, or get killed if you dont. And you only have one try.
You go in the field, grab the bat, breath, assume the position, the machine throws that unique ball at you, and you swing.
What are your chances of hitting a homerun?
See, sometimes it happens.
Sometimes someone hits that lucky homerun. And against all common sense they keep hitting one homerun after another, without really knowing how they are doing it. We call these the prodigies, the miracles, the naturals. The media and eventually the history fills us with these stories. Mozart, the Beatles, Einstein. It’s a compelling story: some people just have it.
And sometimes when pushed against the unfathomable, in do-or-die situations, when all the bridges have been burned, an unlikely prodigy awakens. David defeats Goliath, four musketeers defeat an army, a gladiator becomes king, a kiddo with two karate moves grabs the title and the girl.
Lucky strikes happen. Miracles happen. Material for movies.
Highly inspirational stuff that makes you “believe”.
Which is bullshit.
The win / lose, success or die, go big or go home, prodigy / miracle / luck frame is not how you get shit done.
See. While some of these stories are true, most are just fabrications. Media has a business, and its business is selling you the story. The highly inspirational figures and stories are marketing campaigns, whose aim is to raise the perceived value of a specific system, which has money and resources invested into making you believe.
So believe, you do.
And when your belief starts to fade, a new inspirational story and figure emerges out of nowhere. Oh, such a lucky strike. Or such a prodigy.
The moment you believe the story, the moment you buy into the binary thinking of success / failure, you become part of the mass of people who can only experience life by consuming.
Because the other side of the story is that you cant. You cant go in the field and make a homerun. You cant win. You’re not as talented, as lucky, or a prodigy enough. So you cant bare the thought of going all or nothing and burning every bridge ever created. The stakes are too high. You dont even try.
You consume the stories because you cant create your own.
But Im going to tell you how you can. How to get shit done.
Let´s say you have never played baseball, but you are going to spend a few months on the field. The machine is going to throw one ball after another. You pay by the hour, but it’s cheap and you have it covered. When you miss the ball, no one cares. When you hit the ball, you get some cheering. When you are clueless, you get some advice from a more experience hitter. Your main reward though is the learning, watching your body adjust to the game, and the sound that emerges from the ball every time you hit it hard and properly, and watching it fade in the horizon.
What are your chances of hitting a homerun?
Now let’s say when the process is over, you comprise your top game, your best moves, and make a portfolio, which is what the rest of the world are going to see. That is your net worth.
In case you missed it, that second scenario is the nurturing approach. Our parents job is to enable a sandbox where we can fail and attempt without real consequences. Somewhere we can play. A game where we can find our strengths and our own moves, and polish ourselves before going into the external world.
Then the formal education is another sandbox.
Both systems are broken. The rewards are misdirected and the focus is in the wrong places. I could critique this stuff for years but let’s skip it for now. The point is that when you leave that process, if you have been properly indoctrinated, your core belief is that:
So you have to settle. You have to aim to survive. To buy stuff to fill some weird void that was also induced in you by the system. Get social status and external worth to compensate for your lack of thereof. So you have to believe the stories and live their glory by projection. And whenever your sandbox, that you never formerly abandoned, get´s attacked or, when shit gets real, or, when a big opportunity emerges and finds you unprepared, or, when your own dissatisfaction finally pushes you to the edge and you wonder what would happen if you went for it, what was “really” waiting out there for you…
… you get derived to the first scenario. The one-hit, homerun-or-die, 0.0001% chances one. And it’s too late. And the stakes are too high.
But scoring homeruns isnt the problem. The frame is.
Making it big isnt the problem. The frame is.
It doesnt matter if you’re a kid or a senior or how much you have invested in your current frame. This is how you get shit done:
First, quit all distractions. Quit surviving. Quit do-or-die.
Then, embrace do-and-live.
Procure yourself with a sandbox.
Get a mother to nurture you and a father to guide you, or be your own mother and father. Create a sandbox where you can afford to make mistakes. A sandbox where you can play. To your strengths. Where the price for failed attempts is marginal, and the returns for achievements are marginal as well, and where you can ask for advice when you dont know what you’re doing. Where what really matters is your own experience, watching your mind and body adjust to the game, and the sound that emerges from the ball when you hit it hard and properly.
And every time you make a homerun, honor that, hone that. And iterate. And while you are at it, aim for greatness. Aim for excellence. Make it the best, make it count.
If you´re a company, keep it small and contained and cheap and make products. If you´re a writer, retreat to an inexpensive beach and write. If you´re a casanova, go work in a bar. If you´re a business person, make inexpensive deals and grow steadily. Or get jobs were you get paid to learn. And do you best on every step and play like there are no consequences, because there arent.
Then compile your best moves and share them with the world.
When you operate like this homeruns are not the goal. They are an inevitable part of the process.
And last. Most of the stories out there are the nurturing kind. Someone had a kid and decided to make them a star. Some company needed a product and grabbed someone and created a sandbox around them. Some movement needed a leader and some circle needed a villain. And they contain their mistakes and maximize their achievements or viceversa, to make you believe. If you dont know already, that’s how business are made.
Making it big means achieving homeruns. And your top 10 game is all people care about. When you make it big, due to their belief, most people are going to assume that it was easy for you, that you got lucky, that you’re a natural, that you were just borned with it.
And in a way, they will be right.