Lessons on success (from a broke-ass 25-year-old)
About three years ago, I was at a women's event hosted by Charlie Kirk somewhere in Wisconsin. Don't ask me for the name of the city; I have no clue. Anyway, he invited this billionaire Republican philanthropist Foster Friess to give a talk about how to be a successful entrepreneur. You know, someone who hustles for a living and gets good at it.
That was my favorite talk of Charlie's event. Mr. Friess was hilarious and easy-to-follow, and he seemed pretty spot-on with his three simple tips for success:
1. Shop only when you need to.
2. Stay away from your phone.
3. Avoid "group" meetings.
Disclaimer: Numbers 1 and 2 may be totally off. We may never know, because that talk was given almost three years ago and I can't for my life remember whether there were three tips or four. But that doesn't matter. Number 3 is what I care about most.
Avoid "group" meetings.
Meetings are a waste of time. Unless you know exactly what you need to do, and being together in a room with a group of people is the only way to accomplish that, you're wasting a load of time doing nothing but discuss with a bunch of people how you're gonna get something done, when you could have just done that in an email and not wasted four hours including hair/makeup prep and transportation on it.
"Lost time is never found again." - Benjamin Franklin
Do you ever wonder why young women tend to lag behind men in some areas of entrepreneurship? It's not because we're stupid. Well, most of us aren't. I say it's because we're always at the mercy of time.
To start off, we're bound to a monthly visitor that makes us moody, lightheaded, bloated, crampy, and puky. During the time we have wasted being sick and frustrated, we're not making money, reading, relaxing, eating, doing laundry, completing homework, or doing anything that might contribute to our overall career goals. We're not allowed to choose at what time this stupid visitor shows up; it just does. We wish this stupid visitor could just eat shit and die, but we also don't, because then it would most likely mean we're pregnant. And dear god that would really suck.
Next, everything we do is a major ordeal. It takes forever for us to figure out what to wear in the morning, forever to get our hair, makeup, and nails done, and forever to trudge outside in our uncomfortable four-inch heels and massive handbags. All of that time was spent doing nothing but looking presentable. During that time, our male counterparts were catching up on sleep and hitting the gym. Perhaps they even smoked a pipe and read an entire book while they were at it. Lucky bastards.
And finally, the real dinger: we're social creatures. We spend so much time interacting with a bajillion people we're convinced we need in our lives, that we barely have any time to have a life.
Reminds me of this "Lonely women" meme I found on Reddit:
Think of it like this: remember the super popular kid in your elementary or high school class, whom everybody liked and wanted to hang out with (and you were dying to be friends with)? And remember the super awkward nerd kid in your elementary or high school class, whom everybody avoided at all costs because he had no friends and talking to him would be social suicide?
Well, the popular kid learned to rely on his friends for his ego fix. The weirdo kid, on the other hand, had nowhere to turn but his weirdo books and weirdo science projects. And while the popular kid may have also gotten straight A's all throughout elementary and high school and college regardless, the awkward kid obtained the invaluable skill of social independence.
Think of where both of these individuals ended up in life. The classic narrative is that the super awkward kid is now a successful CEO, and the popular kid is now an alleyway pothead. This is not a rule, but there's a reason stereotypes exist.
The same can be said of child stars and people who become famous or popular in youth without the chance to develop a sense of financial or social independence first. It's doable if you grow consistently more famous and popular into adulthood; but what happens to the child star who, as an adult, is suddenly forced to live a normal life with a normal level of social engagement? Just Google your favorite former child stars and their struggles. Extreme social dependency is a thing.
I'm going to add one more rule to Mr. Friess's rules for success:
Look for a single, committed partner.
I say this because almost no human is truly socially independent. Even Mark Zuckerberg has a wife.
Having a single, committed partner might give you the stability and gratification you need to keep you from constantly trying to connect with the entire world for your social fix. Find just one person in your life whom you are committed to, and who is committed to you. It doesn't have to be a marriage if you're not ready for that, and it doesn't have to be a romantic relationship. It can be a single meaningful friendship, or even a business partner you accomplish a lot of things with.
It's not necessary, but it can make a difference (provided your partner understands your needs.) Having a partner means that while everybody else is wasting time having useless micro-connections with a whole lot of people they'll never see again, you're building a connection that is long-lasting.
Now, if you think I've gotten all these rules down in my own life: I haven't. Surprise. I'm a 25-year-old wannabe "rich girl" who spends half my personal time responding to phone calls, text messages, and emails from people who aren't my mother, and the other half meeting up with a wide range of friends because I want to keep in touch, or I think they might be able to help me get ahead in my career, or I simply don't want to be alone. I'm barely being productive, building a strong connection, or learning new skills.
My dishes are piling up, my laundry is rotting in a corner, and I'm pretty sure I'm gonna die because I keep vomiting for no reason and haven't visited the doctor in ages.
But no, I can't be left alone for a second! Need. That. Social. Fix.
The truth is, nobody can help you grow as much as you can help yourself. Work hard, read a lot, learn new skills, take a break every now and then. If networking gives you the quick boost you need to help motivate and relax or reach better opportunities, then go ahead... but set the clock. Learn to self-motivate.
Your time is precious, and you're gonna die someday. They're gonna die too. And y'all have no freaking clue when it's gonna happen.