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Kevin Evans

In sales, it will take a certain amount of sales calls to make one sale. You may need to make 20 sales calls before you close 1 sale.

It may happen on your first call of the day, it may happen on your 20th.

It may happen that 5 sales happened on one day and for the rest of the week you close zero sales.

Another week, you may have an even distribution of one sale per day.

All you know, is on average, it will take 20 calls to make 1 sale. That’s the expectation. It sets the frame for how to think about failure. Each failed sales call is one step closer to making a sale.

Why don’t you think of more failures this way?

You may be bummed that you got rejected by woman you asked out to tea today, but what if your failure quotient is you need to approach 5 women to get one yes to a date?

You may be bummed that your business failed, but what if your failure quotient is it will take 3 attempts to start 1 successful business?

You may be bummed that the meetup group you attended sucked, but what if your failure quotient is 1 out of 4 meetup groups will be enjoyable?

You may be bummed that you wanted to talk to a stranger today, but failed to do so, but what if your failure quotient is 1 out of 7 days you’ll talk to someone?

The hard part is in the beginning you have no baseline.

You may get the result you want from approaching the first woman and then fail with the next 8. Averaged out of 100 women you approach, it may be 1 in 5, but once again, it could come on the first or the 5th. You could have a week where many say yes, and another week where many say no skewing your expectations.

The other issue is comparing our baseline to another’s baseline. There are too many variables that lead others to having their baseline and yours, yours. Use theirs as inspiration to improve, but realize your failure quotient is yours alone.

This is what all the failure rhetoric is about – You should expect a certain amount of failures until you get one success. And with certain endeavors (i.e. starting a business), all you need is one success. So get going!

Believing Before Others

If you want to change your personality, you face two narratives colliding: your narrative of who you think you are and the narrative of your peers about who they think you are.

These two narratives reside in an infinite loop. Your narrative of who you think you are informs your peers narrative which in turn informs your narrative, and the loop repeats to infinity.

To put this in more practical terms, if you identify as being depressive, this informs your friend’s opinions of you, which in turn informs your opinions of yourself, which in turn informs their opinions of you. Or in other words, if you act depressive, you get labeled as depressive, which reinforces your identity as being depressed.

But the loop all starts with you. 

The hard part is if historically you’ve identified and been labeled an asshole and today you act kind, generous, and compassionate, although you may see the new narrative, it’s going to take a while (if ever) for your peers to catch on. Your new narrative will collide with their pre existing one should you choose to change the script.

And with good reason. If you’ve been an asshole, we may be skeptical about your intentions to act kind as some sort of manipulation only to screw us over later. It’s also easier. We each have a bunch of things we deal with each day (work, finances, getting laid, purpose in the world, etc), it’s easier categorizing people into simple boxes.

He’s the goofy one. She’s the party girl. He’s the uptight brainiac. She’s the compassionate business woman.

It will take a while before it becomes, “he was the directionless screw up, to the inspiring, ambitious, generous man”.

In other words, you have to be the architect and believe or your new narrative long before others catch on.

As Maria Popova said,

“When people tell you who they are, Maya Angelou famously advised, believe them. Just as importantly, however, when people try to tell you who you are, don’t believe them. You are the only custodian of your own integrity, and the assumptions made by those that misunderstand who you are and what you stand for reveal a great deal about them and absolutely nothing about you.”

They can build their business blasting the internet using retargeting ads and PPC to track you everywhere you go.

They can build their business using slick sales page copy and autoresponder sequences that earn them impressive revenue numbers, but have a student success rate of under 5%.

They can manufacture their products in China with less than quality materials.

They can seek to choose squeezing every last drop of profit as their #1 metric.

They can choose to send daily discount emails every day.

They can choose to have a culture of overtime as the norm.

It does not mean you have to. 

As Seth says, “One way to work the system is to work the system. The other way is to refuse to work it.”

You can choose to work 25 hours a week. See Tower Paddle Boards.

You can choose to make an online business course by application only, expensive, and have high accountability, where student success rate is 90%+. See the AltMBA

You can choose to NOT do joint ventures, not do a ton of guest posting, and choose to make the best content in the industry to attract people to your info products. See Ramit Sethi.

You can choose to have flat organization, offer 4 day work week summers, actively discourage working past 40 hours a week, discourage working on weekends, and kill off all their other businesses to focus on becoming the best at one product. See Basecamp.

You can choose to manufacture clothes at mass scale in the United States. See American Apparel.

You can choose to use natural ingredients, minimal packaging, fight against bogus beauty claims, and offer beauty products at an affordable price. See the Body Shop.

You can choose to sell your product for less because the consumers you are selling to can’t afford the maximization of profit. See Tree T-pee.

You can choose to be an industrial manufacturer giving cleaning ladies say in management decisions, employees who hire their bosses, share in profits, control your own hours, and set your own salary. See Semco.

Do you want just a job or do you want to change the culture? Do you want to climb a hierarchy trying to change an organization internally or start something new?

The former works too. But is that what you want? If not, act and take advice accordingly. You are playing a different game.

The thing about abs

You see them everywhere. Gorgeous men and women with perfectly chiseled abs. If only I could look like that you think. And it’s that last part you fail to question.

As I began my quest to gain a better body, I’d say I’m doing it for health reasons. Yeah right. It took me a solid year to admit it was for vanity.

Obtaining abs takes work. It requires sacrifice in the gym. Many hours. Many sessions. Adjustments to diet. Assuming you are doing it to get a good body, why would anyone pursue such a thing?

As man, being manly = getting women = self validation. When “manly men” in the media all have six pack abs, it’s an easy connection. Sexy women = more desirable to men. It works both ways.

It’s insecurity for sure. And that insecurity takes work. You can play the high horse route, sure, saying stupid vane people. But then you still will be bombarded 10 ways from Sunday saying this is the body type we as a society value. Do you really feel 100% secure with your couch potato body?

I’ve come to terms that much of me wanting a good body = me needing validation from others. (1) From women. I must be seen as desirable and attractive (2) From men. The “not being a pussy” stereotype still runs strong.

If I am going to feel insecure from not having a good body and feeling insecure from having a good body, the latter feels better. It’s a higher quality insecurity. One that I’ve learned to accept. My name is Kevin, I’m vane (which also has health benefits woohoo) and I’m ok with it.

We can measure the distance between the Earth and the Sun. We can explain how gravity works and why the moon affects the tides.

But what about the effect people have on other people? Or the effect people have on an entire ecosystem? How do you explain that with some people you feel strengthened after and others weakened?

It’s clear that there is some other energy at work that we can’t quite explain yet.

Market Receptiveness

The best predictor of whether a business will do well or not is the market. If there can only be a top 3 of winners, you have a problem.

3-4 years ago, if you were an EDM DJ, it was a great time to be one. We wanted more. We were willing to listen to new people. If you had a couple hit songs, we’d want to see your show. There is still a pretty good market here for newbies, but it is much more saturated.

If you are making a cola drink like coca cola on the other hand, you have a problem. We don’t need much more cola drinks other than coke and pepsi and the “healthy” cola brand I’m sure exists. That’s about it. You need to pick a different market,

In general though, we don’t need another one of the other one. We don’t need a podcast to be just like the Tim Ferriss show, we want Tim Ferriss. We don’t want a company like Alex and Ani, we want them.

So while you can draft off the backs of the leader in a good market, the better question then is, “why?”

Some people just want to run a business that works and makes money. They are not trying to change things. It’s more follow the path than be the leader. Totally cool. The rewards are usually less, but again, in a good market, Pepsi, Avis, and Lyft are still making good money.

Are you entering business to create change in the world or create a “me too” business that works? It’s never too late to shift gears.

Meditation helps me silence my inner critic — dealing with the neurotic, worrying, fearful part of me. I’ve learned that making environmental changes helps every bit, if not more, than meditation.

Tidying up my apartment feels better when I come home, eliminates stressing about having a dirty apartment, and helps quiet my resistance voice when working.

When I buy the things I’ve been putting off buying (toilet paper, chapstick, new light bulb), ditto.

When I moved in with my girlfriend, I also moved away from a toxic roommate. My life got better.

Perhaps today you don’t need meditation. Rather, sit down and identify the chronic stressors you can eliminate that will make your life significantly more enjoyable long term.

Self-Changement

Do not seek self-improvement, seek self-changement. This shifts the mindset from “once I do X, then I feel Y” to a place of curiosity.

“Hmmm I’m pretty overweight now, I wonder if eating healthy and exercising is all it’s cracked up to be?”

“Hmmm I’m fairly lonely now, what if I changed parts of my personality and weekly habits? How would my life be different?”

“Hmmm, what if I started my own business, would I really be happier?”

The problem with seeking self improvement is you have no first-hand experience. You are only reading about the experience of others who profess the benefits of the change you are seeking. Your mileage may vary.

You may follow someone who worships the gym, only to find out you dread it. Keeping an open mind, you may decide Jiu Jitsu is your jam instead, rather than self-shaming yourself into not following a gym routine.

This loosens the reigns from “I need to this” to “I wonder if I did this, what would happen?”

Yes, it’s fucking weird

  • Trying to improve yourself.
  • Changing your diet.
  • Changing how you interact with people.
  • Acting more enthusiastic.
  • Acting more optimistic.
  • Switching careers.
  • Bulking up.
  • Opening up your viewpoints.
  • Making new friends.
  • Staying in the relationship when it’s not convenient.
  • Sticking with the thing people say you’re not good at.
  • Making the first move.
  • Admitting you’re wrong.
  • Doing the right thing.

You’re in the arena trying. And it’s fucking weird. It’ll always be weird. Embrace it.

Let the critics criticize. Savor the champions. Either way, keep going. For you. You got this, you weird motherfucker.

You’ve gotten used to reading drive bys. You scan reddit, hacker news, email newsletter subscriptions, or your blog feeds for interesting articles. Then you proceed to open multiple tabs. Then you quickly scan the first paragraph and article to see if it is worth your time OR you read the comments to do the same. You’re being efficient!

But are you really?

Did you really understand the article from a skimming? Did you really get the gist of it from reading the comments? No, not every article will be worth your time and skimming is a useful skill. However, when it becomes your standard operating procedure, you can’t help but wonder, what’s the point in the first place?

Data extraction? Give me the hit of knowledge heroin, and I’ll be on my way. But for what? You are not reading the article so you are not getting the pleasures of reading it and you are not applying the advice so you are not getting the usefulness of the article.

You are more in love with the idea of wisdom than actually acquiring it. It’s like when you scan Facebook profiles and like your friends posts thinking you are being social, rather than actually hanging out. It’s efficient, sure, but satisfying, not really.

Maybe it’s time to go on a media diet or actually read the tabs you have open.