The Search For Shortcuts and Secrets
There is a very common idea in self-help areas. Even one of the most successful and widely read book and widely seen movie had the same name as this idea. “The Secret” was titled “the secret” because this is what we often seek. We want something, but we can’t get it. We conclude that there must be some hidden method that we don’t know. That once we find out what this hidden method is, we’ll be one easy street. Unfortunately, this idea is absolutely incorrect. In this post, we’ll understand exactly why that must be so, and exactly what you do need to do to get whatever you want.
Yes, but it’s not what you think. The path from where you are to where you want to be (unless you want something impossible like being able to fly or mentally time travel) is straightforward and simple. You do not need any secrets. You don’t need to learn any ancient meditation techniques or manifesting principles from Atlantis.
Ever since the dawn of time, humans had one thought in mind. We wanted stuff, we had to get stuff, and getting that stuff wasn’t easy and instantaneous. Everything required work. Everything required uncertainty. The future is unknown. We can guess sometimes, but never perfectly. Because whatever we want exists in the future, we must necessarily go through a period of uncertainty before we get there.
Spectrum of Difficulty
Some things are easy and straightforward. You have a good idea of what’s in your fridge and a near certain expectation that getting up, walking to your fridge, getting it and returning will be accomplished without issue. Other things aren’t so easy. If you are driving in a strange town, even with GPS you never really know what might happen. Driving on an unfamiliar street, even while guided by GPS requires a lot more focus and concentration than driving through your own neighborhood.
Uncertainty Is Brain Intensive
Any time you venture too far into uncertainty, you start to feel warning signals. Ancient humans survived by using as little brainpower they could get away with. Whenever they can, our brains like running on auto pilot. Even when you are in familiar situations, your brain runs on memory cache whenever possible. Studies have shown that when we are in safe and familiar surroundings, our brain uses as much of our memory as possible to create our experience.
Brain Is An Expensive Organ
Our brain burns a lot of calories. Those who thought quicker and more automatically had an edge over those who constantly used a lot of brainpower. Our world is much more complicated than our ancient world. We have the same brains (more or less) than our ancient hunter-gatherer ancestors. We still like to use auto pilot whenever we can.
Hidden Success Stories
Magic looks like magic because we don’t know it happened. The guy doing the trick talks a good game, we look at his left hand while his right hand does all the work. Few people believe in actual magic, Harry Potter magic, but good magicians can earn a decent living. They aren’t even called magicians. They are called illusionists.
We know they are tricking us. Yet we still enjoy bring tricked. It gives our brain a funny feeling, not unlike when we hear jokes. It gives us an emotional burst of pleasure. It feels somewhat the same as seeing an unexplainable event in nature happen.
Unknown Magic Tricks
It’s very common for people with no money to dislike people who have money. One of the reasons is our ancient instincts. Our instincts still believe we are living in an egalitarian world, where we share everything. So when we see a rich guy, and it’s not obvious why he or she is rich, we feel cheated somehow. Our instincts tell us he should share, but in the modern world, doesn’t even acknowledge us. This creates anger.
Ego Protection Device
We have tons of biases that keep us from seeing what’s around us. Confirmation bias keeps us from seeing viewpoints different from our own. Normalcy bias keeps us from noticing when things go wrong. Doing something different (when things go wrong) takes a lot of energy and thought. We don’t like that, so we’ll pretend things are normal as long as we can. If we are that proverbial frog in the boiling water, we’ll end up boiling to death.
This is a broad name for many biases. Cognitive means thinking, dissonance means conflict. It basically means we can’t see things that might make us realize something bad about ourselves, something we’d rather not admit. Think of this as an ego protection device. This pops up most when we think about the two things we want, but have the most trouble getting. What two thing? You know what two things!
Money and Sex
Everybody wants more money. Everybody wants more sex. Let’s just put that out on the table, take a deep breath and admit to ourselves we’d like to get laid more than we are, or by better people than we are getting it from currently. We’d like more money. We also know, or feel, or suspect, that getting more money and more sex is difficult. Maybe you’ve tried it? No matter how you slice it, no matter who you are, getting more money, getting more (or better) sex ain’t easy.
What Happens When We See Somebody Much Better Than Us?
Let’s say your merrily strolling down the street, and you see some guy from school. Some guy you knew ten, twenty years ago. Back then he was an idiot. So today he’s probably an idiot as well. You see him, but he doesn’t recognize you. When you get close, you notice he’s wearing about ten grand in clothing. You follow him into Starbucks. When he pays, he pulls out a thick wad of $100’s.
What Can We Conclude?
There are three things most normal people will conclude from this imaginary rich-idiot experience. All of them are designed to protect our ego. Our ego doesn’t like the fact that some idiot we knew in school is no making way more money than we are. That just can’t be right. So what are our options?
This is very common. This happens when we see rich people we don’t even know. This is instinctive. All our instincts act like we still live in a hunter-gatherer society. We lived in hierarchies, and shared everything. Those higher up had all the power, and it was their responsibility and tribal obligation to make sure everybody got a fair share. Those who didn’t do that ended up getting killed in their sleep. This instinct kept tribes functioning smoothly. So when we see a rich guy, and it’s not obvious how they got their riches, we immediately assume they are cheating if they don’t give us some.
They Know A Secret
Now we’re getting somewhere. What if that idiot from school discovered some secret to getting rich? This actually feels better. If the only way people could get rich was to cheat, and we aren’t cheaters, then that means we’ll never get rich. But a secret? A secret to getting rich? What if we could learn that secret? That guy from school is an idiot. You probably know a lot of idiots who are rich. Many of them are on TV all the time. That’s got to be it, a secret.
Secret Pick Up Lines
This is how all those guys (who look like and dress like dorks and work the drive-thru at Taco Bell) can bang hotties left and right. They must know the secret pick up line. Or the secret place where all the hot girls (who happen to dig Taco Bell guys) hang out. Or maybe they are wearing some secret pheromone that does the work. That’s got to be it!
The Secret Playing Field
A secret to success in any area (money, investing, pick up, relationships, sales, whatever) does a lot of things for us. It doesn’t make us feel like idiots. It gives us hope that all we need do to is learn that secret and we can get rich (or get laid or pick winning stocks or whatever). Unfortunately, this secret idea is one of the oldest cons of all. Why? Because there is no secret. There are only two paths to success. One is wholly within your control, and one is only partially within your control.
There is luck as in you are genetically lucky, or born-during-the-right-time lucky. Then there is luck where preparation meets opportunity. One luck is out of your control. The second luck is not. The second kind of luck doesn’t even feel like luck to the person who has that luck. When you prepare yourself, you slowly build up your skills. When you see an opportunity, it’s obvious to you, since you’ve got the skills and you are looking for it. But to others, who have neither the skills or the calibrated mind to look for opportunities, they see it as plain old luck.
Luck Is A Defense Tactic
Luck is another one of those defensive ego tactics. We see some guy get rich, and we just assume he got lucky. But even if it’s real luck, calling it luck doesn’t help us much. It builds up the idea that “success is based on luck” which is one step away from “success doesn’t depend on my actions.” This mindset, of thinking success doesn’t depend on our own actions, will decrease our chances of getting lucky. Paradoxically, the more we take responsibility for our own success, the more “lucky” we’ll appear to others.
What Is Beyond Luck?
This is the real secret to success. That nearly everything you want to do involves skills. The kind of skills you have now, or the kind of skills you’d like to have in the future. This is very good news. Because if lack of skill is the only real thing keeping us from where we are to where we want to be, then it’s just a matter of learning and practicing those skills. Let’s consider those two words.
Some skills are easy, and you can learn them relatively quickly. Learning how to bake a cake doesn’t take much effort. Learning how to write HTML code is fairly straightforward, and doesn’t require a lot of practice. But here’s the thing, the easier a skill is to learn for you, the easier it is to learn for everybody else. This means we have to take slight detour into economics.
Supply And Demand
There are four basic rules when we talk about the simple law of supply and demand. Consider something has a basic value. We’ll talk in terms of monetary value, but all value works the same. We’ll call that thing “X.” If the demand for X increases, while the amount of X stays the same, the price will go up. If the demand stays the same, but the amount of X goes down, the price will go up. If the demand for X goes down, while the amount of X stays the same, the price will go down. If the supply of X goes up, while the demand stays the same, the price will go down. These simple rules are summarized below:
Demand for X Increases; Supply Of X is Constant – Price of X Increases
Demand For X is Constant; Supply of X Decreases – Price of X Increases
Demand For X Decreases, Supply of X is Constant – Price of X Decreases
Demand For X Is Constant; Supply of X Increases – Price of X Decreases
If the price is not measurable in monetary terms, those same rules apply. A commonly used phrase is “Sexual Market Value” or SMV. If a type of person is in demand, and that type of person is scarce, that person is going to be very valuable. But this is the same for any skill. If you have a particular skill that is common, it won’t be very valuable. If you have a skill that is in high demand and is always very scarce, that skill will be required by a great many people. This means you can pick and choose who you decide to supply that skill to (or your wonderful personality and sexy body), and control the terms of what you get in exchange.
Developing In-Demand Skills Is The Great Contest Of Life
The more skills you have that are in demand, the more you will be wanted by other people. The more you are wanted by other people, the better your life will be. To be in a position where you are wanted by a great many people, the simple solution is to get busy building as many skills as you can.
Your Time Is Your Time
Many people waste time. They spend all day on Facebook, or binge watching on Netflix, or complaining about why life is so hard. Beyond luck (which either completely out of our control or it is preparation meeting opportunity) the quality of your life will depend on how willing you are to build whatever skills you need.
But They Lied To Me!
Yes, they sure did. Who? Pretty much anybody that has wealth and power. Why? Because they don’t want the competition. The Romans took on Christianity as the official religion and told everybody that it was holy to be poor. A population that beliefs it is holy to be poor will be very easy to control!
Similarly, in feudal Japan, the first Shogun came up with the crazy idea that money was bad. Merchants were the lowest from of society. Samurai’s weren’t allowed to have money. The Shogun controlled all the wealth, and created a bunch of ideas to make it part of the samurai code to not have any wealth.
You may have been told if you just show up, do what you’re told, you’ll get to live a good life. Were they lying? Maybe so, maybe not. Maybe they believed it when they said it. Maybe they didn’t want any competition (the elite class who secretly rule society rarely do!)
All On You
Whether you feel you’ve been lied to is really irrelevant. Why? Because how you decide to spend you time is your choice, not anybody else’s. You can spend your time silently fuming at the elites and secret string pullers, or you can get busy learning as many in-demand skills as you can.
That’s up to you. But a good guideline would be to develop thinking skills, social skills, persuasion skills and learning skills. You already know how to do all of these, so the beginning part of the learning curve is over. Consider that practicing them is the ticket to success, however you define success. But however you do define success, accept that it’s going to take a lot of skills to get there.
The Clock Is Always Ticking
Every human has the same twenty four hours each day. Some get a head start, but the longer you stand their complaining about their head start, the further they’ll get away from you!
Trial And Error Is Absolutely Necessary
I know you would love a simple, step by step system to get anything good. But that idea is self-contradictory. If there was a step by step method for anything, everybody would already have it. And consider that if there really was a step-by-step method for getting something good like money or sex, who the heck would be teaching it in seminars?
Sure, there are basic methods and structures to get what you want, but they all involve trial and error. If you wanted to bake a cake, it would be straightforward. But something even a simple as shooting free throws takes a shitton of practice. And what is practice but self-correcting trial and error?
Anything involving other people would require that you find your own way, based on your own thinking patterns and beliefs and world view. Shooting baskets at the same basket doesn’t have a lot of variables. But talking to different people (which you’ll need to do to get laid and paid) includes too many variables to even count, since everybody you talk to is different.
This is perhaps the greatest thing keeping us believing that there exists some “secret.” All humans are naturally frightened of taking uncertain action that might result in failure. So we keep spending money on these complicated methods that supposedly remove risk from the equation. But as we mentioned before, these are false.
The Meta Skill
Consider the most important skill you can practice is allowing yourself to learn from trial and error. Taking action when you aren’t quite sure what will happen. Since most people are terrified of doing this, this will make you a very in-demand person. Once you master this skill, you can learn anything. And the more you perform this skill, of taking action without really knowing what is going to happen, you will continue to increase your in-demand status.
The Real Secret
The real secret of life is that there is no secret. There is only you and your unknown future. Once you step into your unknown future and learn whatever you need to and get whatever you want, you’ll have in-demand skills that few people possess.
Mind Persuasion has plenty of courses and books to help you achieve greatness. You’ll learn the mindsets, insights and more importantly the daily practices you’ll need to create a wealth of in-demand skills.