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Everything You Know is a Lie

We think we control our lives, our destinies, and our outcomes. The problem is that we are more manipulable than ever. Everyone is vying for our attention – there is fierce competition for real estate in our brains. Corporations and governments make it their top priority to understand us. If they understand us better than we understand ourselves, then we are fucked. They will play us and we don’t even know it. People who believe they have free will are the easiest to manipulate.

Capitalism hides behind the myth of free will – the customer is always right! We don’t tell corporations what we want – they tell us what they want to sell to us. We believe we are in control, but that is bullshit. Henry Ford said that he never asked people want they wanted because they would have said, “we want faster horses”. Steve Jobs also did not spend much time on what customers wanted, and neither did Elon Musk. People do not know what they want. We are sheeple (sheep + people).

Most people live their lives based on a list of lies. These lies have been passed down through the generations and are now "conventional wisdom". The fact that everyone believes something is not enough reason to believe it. The time has come to become a functional rebel. You need to rebel against these lies.

Here are 10 of the most dominant lies that are fucking up your life.

Lie 1: All You Need is Love

Romanticism declares that love means the end of all loneliness and that one special person will make your life complete. You know you are in love when you are overwhelmed with that special feeling.

The Beatles declared "All You Need is Love". They then followed it up with "Elanor Rigby", and the line "All the lonely people, where do they all come from?" The Beatles turned loneliness into evidence of pathology. Modern society makes it mandatory to have a partner and a large cohort of friends, and an empty diary has become an emblem of social deformity. Being committed to the friendzone is a death sentence.

So let's take a few minutes to throw love and friendship into the boxing ring to test the thesis that friendship is love's puny, ugly cousin. In the left corner, we have the champion - Love. Feels great at first. Fresh and tingly - you feel invigorated, like a sprig of eucalyptus up the nose. But after a couple of rounds, love starts to play a little dirty. Blood, tears, and frustrations start to rear their ugly heads as fatigue sets in. The viciousness of insults also starts to increase. Scenes that can unfold between lovers would scarcely be considered imaginable outside of conditions of open pugilistic hostility.

Romanticism has delivered a debilitating body blow to love. This notion that one special person will complete us has created untold misery and heartache. We settle for someone very nice in a few ways (she has great tits, or laughs at our jokes), but fucking awful in many other ways (she is possessive, moody, and just a massive pain in the ass). After a couple of weeks, months, and maybe years (if you are lucky), the relationship turns into a fucking disaster when compared to previously high expectations. But we ignore the red flags because we are terrified of being alone for two reasons. What will people say when we spent Saturday nights alone watching Netflix? They will think we are social lepers, and secondly, being alone means you have to deal with all the shit in your life that you have been running away from – like answering the most difficult question in the world – who the fuck am I?

Let's now move to the right corner and friendship. In friendship, we find our highest and noblest virtues. We find patience, tolerance, encouragement, and kindness - qualities that have no real place in a boxing ring. Friends stick by us no matter what we do or say. We always bring out our best selves in front of our friends.

I am amazed at how underrated friendship has become. Lovers soon become bored. Friendship is more profound. It is an arena in which people can get a sense of each other's vulnerabilities - reassure one another of each other's value. Million Man focuses on the forging of deep and meaningful friendships between members. I teach men not to chase women, but to chase excellence and high value in their lives. I do not discourage romantic connection, quite the contrary, I just do not believe that it should be high on the priority list.

Lie 2: Nice Guys Finish Last

I am a nice guy. I am pleasant, positive, and take a genuine interest in other people. I am not a dickhead who plays macho alpha male head games to get what I want. Lately, however, I have been embarrassed by my “niceness”. Motivation speakers have started to hate on niceness - "nice guys finish last", "if you want to be successful in life, you need to be less agreeable", "women relegate nice guys to the friend zone", and "nice guys are betas and get no pussy".

"Nice" has become a dirty word. In some twisted way, it is now associated with boring, predictable, agreeable, weak, insipid, and exploited. You do not want to be nice because then everyone will walk over you. Instead, the world encourages us to be competitive, cutthroat, and ruthless. I have seen a notable uptick in Machiavellian-inspired motivation that preaches how the nice guy always finishes last in business and relationships.

Men are led to believe that women are looking for men who are edgy, domineering, unpredictable, and brutal. The question is posed - do you think women would rather have lunch with a nice guy on a park bench, or be down inside a dungeon with a stranger and a whip? They would tell you that women want danger.

Most women do not want this. Adventure is good. A degree of unpredictability and spontaneity is good. But being in a relationship that always moves you into the danger zone is not sustainable. Women want a man who will take control, which knows what he wants, who is confident, who understands his value and is also capable of making a deep and meaningful connection.

In business, no company can survive without trust and the bonds of affection. We love to praise the exploits of Steve Jobs, but he was a fucking tyrant. His management style was not inclusive. He did not trust his colleagues and created an environment of survival of the fittest. Take a look at what the Apple share price has done since Jobs passed away and was replaced by a more inclusive and nurturing Tim Cook. In the last five years (2016 to 2021 -Jobs died in 2011) the stock is up 5x. You are mistaken in thinking that business is 100% dog-eats-dog. Money and the bottom line is not the sole motivator.

As for the sexual thrill of nastiness, it can only be pursued in an environment of trust. Some women may fantasize about a night with a ruthless conqueror, but the idea of living with Attila the Hun seems less appealing.

If you still believe that "nice guys finish last", look no further than the biggest dickhead of the 21t century, Lance Armstrong. I am a fan, but he is a self-confessed dickhead. He lied, cheated, bullied, and intimidated his way to seven Tour de France titles. Almost everyone in the 20 years between 1990 and 2010 was heavily doped in the Tour, yet cycling's governing body (UCI) only stripped Lance. Do you wonder why? Because he acted like a dickhead!

Lie 3: Life is Too Short

The phrase “Life Is Too Short” in 1741 by Thomas Love Peacock. Back in the 18th century when this phrase was coined was very different than it is today. You would get married in your teens and have kids, be a grandparent in your early thirties and die in your late thirties. Today, life expectancy has almost doubled.

Humans have an unusual relationship with time. Bill Gates said we overestimate what we can do in one year, and underestimate what we can do in ten years. Our problem with time can be explained by our lack of patience. We are living in an age of instant gratification. The Internet and technology mean we never have to wait for anything. When I was growing up, SportsCenter aired on Friday at 6 pm for one hour. After it ended, I had to wait six days and 23 hours. Today everything is on tap, on-demand, same-day delivery, etc.

This lack of delayed gratification is lethal in your management of two fundamental parts of your life - your money, and your relationships.

1) Time and Money

Anyone can be rich. All they need is patience. The reason why most people are not rich is that they are impatient. We want to get rich quickly. Theodore Johnson worked for UPS and never made more than $14,000 a year and yet, in his old age, was worth more than $70 million. Even though he made little money, he took 20 percent of his money and it went straight into the stock market. Over more than five decades, that compounded to make him $70 million.

Let us look at the numbers. You invest $1,000 per month into the stock market which delivers a return of 10% per annum. If you do this for 5 years, you will have $68,000. Let us say you have a little more patience, and you double the time horizon to 10 years – you will have R155,000. Notice how doubling the time horizon gives a little more than double the money. Look now what happens if you go to 20 years – you will have $411,000, and if you double to 40 years, you will have $1.5 million. Do you notice the snowballing effect of patience? The more patience you have, the richer you get because you earn returns on returns – this is known as compounding.

Albert Einstein said that the power of compound interest is "the most powerful force in the universe" and went on to say..." he who understands it earns it; he who doesn't, pays it." Compounding only happens with patience.

2) Time and Relationships

You move to a new city and you have no friends. You are lonely and feel the world is judging you for your loneliness. You jump onto Tinder and hook up with the first person that expresses an interest in you. Before you know it, you are unhappily married, with 3 kids, living in the suburbs, and commuting 2 hours a day for a job you hate to finance the life you are starting to despise.

We are impatient with our relationships because we are scared of being alone. Time alone is seen as being a poor reflection of who we are as people. It seems to indicate that we are socially undesirable and that there is something inherently wrong with us. Would you go to a restaurant by yourself? Would you go to the movies by yourself? I would wager that the majority of you would answer NO to both of these questions. Why? Not only are you afraid of being alone, but you are also afraid to be seen alone. What will people think?

Make some friends first. You need to find a tribe centered around a common interest. Join a motorcycle club or a running/biking/swimming/surfing club. This will reduce the probability of making stupid and unhealthy relationship choices. This patience will not only make you happier but will also make you more prepared to enter serious long-term relationships.

Lie 4: Freedom is a Life without Responsibilities

For many, freedom is the absence of responsibilities and obligations- the chance to do whatever you want, to pursue a passive lifestyle of limited exertion and physical effort. It is lying on an exotic beach sipping a colorful cocktail.

I told a former work colleague that I exercise every day, and she replied by saying that I am a product of an unhappy childhood, to which I told her to fuck off (in my head – I was working in a large multinational that prided itself on political correctness). People think that routines are restrictive and they impede our liberties and freedom. Freedom is not anarchy – freedom comes through self-control and discipline.

You decide to go to the gym every weekday morning at 5 am. If you hit every session of the week religiously and set a routine, are you free or a slave? To answer the question, consider how you feel if you decided to hit the snooze button and miss the session. You are racked with self-guilt – you feel like a failure and a piece of shit. Those negative feelings will weigh you down for most of the day. They will hold you back like a ball and chain. Are you free or a slave? The answer is obvious.

Freedom is actively pursuing responsibilities, disciple, and routine. It is the process of turning yourself from a slave into a master. Freedom, and happiness, is the process of finding the chains that control you, that make you anxious and depresse, and then working on dismantling those chains. Notice how I said “dismantling” and not “breaking out”. Liberation is a process – not an event. This is not like busting out of Alcatraz. It is more like the French Revolution which took more than a decade. It is a long and agonizing process of self-observation, self-correction, and control.

The brain can handle periods of idleness for a couple of days and maybe up to a week, depending on how lazy you are. Pretty soon it will resume with its worries, and questions and will force you to account for yourself by asking “so what have you been up to?”.

I travel frequently to Colombia. A common greeting is “Que has hecho?” which means “What have you done?” Not familiar with Colombian slang, I was often confused by the question – do I need you to give them a brief resume of my entire professional life, or would a quick recap of the last few days suffice? I then realized that this phrase should not be directly translated, and was simply a common greeting of “how are you?”. The human brain, however, is far more literal in its persistent persecution. It does require you to give an immediate account, and often the honest answer is “well, actually, not that much”. You are then engulfed with feelings of unworthiness – irrational as they may be. We start to believe that no achievement will be enough – not even climbing Mount Everest and that we are doomed to a lapse of despair.

Lie 5: You Have to Go to University

After finishing school, we are overwhelmed with a sense of urgency. We need to get into university, get our degree, and make money as soon as possible. We don’t take the time to think carefully about what we want in life. We jump into a career that we think we want, but it turns out that we are doing what is expected of us. Five years into the degree, we drop out and take a year off to travel and discover ourselves. You need to take a deep breath and not be in such a rush to plunge into the workforce.

Travel first (if you have that luxury). If not, take a gap year and pursue your interests locally. Meet people, understand the business and social world outside of school, and make every effort to understand what you truly want out of life.

Another factor to consider before embarking on an expensive trip through a tertiary education institution is the value of a university degree. In 2018, job-search site Glassdoor compiled a list of top employers who no longer require applicants to have a college degree. Companies like Google, Apple, and IBM are all in this group. In 2017, IBM’s vice president of talent Joanna Daley told CNBC that 15 percent of her company’s U.S. hires do not have a four-year degree. The message from these companies is that a traditional college degree does not necessarily equip graduates with the requisite skills to operate in their world.

The market value of a university degree has declined while the cost of that education has increased. In the 1980s, a college degree almost guaranteed a job in a specific field of study. This is no longer the case given the higher number of degrees and the shrinking number of jobs on account of technology and automation. In the face of this, the cost of a university degree in the U.S. has more than doubled since the 1980s. Student debt in the U.S. in 2019 stood at $1.4 trillion. University education in the U.S. is now more expensive than marrying a Las Vegas showgirl. The problem is not only the debt. The problem is also that the skills acquired in the accumulation of this debt no long correlate with what is required in the real world.

Lie 6: Risk is Bad

Helen Keller said: Security is mostly a superstition. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Everybody wants to be more than they are. How else can you explain the growth in the self-help/improvement industry? Surely, if these self-help gurus were so fucking effective, this market should be contracting and not expanding. Everyone who buys the courses, the books, and the expensive 1x1 sessions should be crushing it. The single biggest reason why businesses grow is loyalty – clients keep coming back. There is no industry in the world with more repeat business than self-help. It is a drug – it gets you hooked and keeps you high long enough to attend the next course or buy the next book.

So why is it that we are all so depressed, unfulfilled, and operating so far below our full potential? We are terrified of what people might think if we start to take risks and do radical things or make big changes in our professional lives. We are all so worried about what people will think if you quit your job as a doctor and start writing screenplays for Hollywood movies, or you post a video about your new sneaker business or start a podcast to brand the wines you sell. You use these excuses: I have a face for radio, or I don’t have a funky studio, or my voice is more irritating than Marge Simpson. NOBODY GIVES A FUCK ABOUT YOU.

This is a cruel thing to say but most people are too busy dealing with thei ow shit to be concerned about your squeaky voice. Sure, there are deeply hurt and conflicted people that will hate on you, post negative remarks and tell you you are a piece of shit – but in all honesty, do you care about the opinions of these sad and broken people. There will always be haters. Go to your favorite song on YouTube, what is the probability of finding zero dislikes? Michael Jordan didn’t make his high school basketball team. Tom Brady was the 199th pick in the 2000 NFL draft.

You need to get over yourself and start taking risks. Risk is your friend – not your enemy.

The secrettof success, happiness, and fulfillment in lifeares not being enslaved and paralyzed by self-consciousness. I know this is not easy because we are all hardwired to be concerned about the opinions of others. But you need to move away from that. If you want to launch a personal brand on social media and tap into millions of potential clients, you need to put yourself out there and be vulnerable.

People are going to say you are ugly, stupid, full of shit, a piece of shit, etc. Many people in the world are so sad and miserable, and have lives that are so empty, that they will take the time to write you a nasty comment. Instead of being hurt, feel sorry for these miserable fuckers. Don’t ever lose sight of your mission and purpose. The same is also true of the praise. When people say how fucking great and awesome you are, this too should not be taken too seriously. You do not need external validation. You know who you are, you know your value, and no one should be allowed to change that.

Lie 7: The Media is a Reliable Source of News About the World

What do you think the media's top priority is? To inform you or to scare the living crap out of you? In theory, the media plays a very important role in a functioning democracy. It is tasked with the job of finding problems in the political system and then pressurizing politicians to make changes. The problem is that weaknesses in the system are not sexy news and do not drive traffic. What does drive traffic? Scandals and sensationalism. People want to read about the member of parliament that held a 3-day orgy at a 5-star hotel and then made the taxpayer foot the bill.

The media wants to deliver content that will excite and titillate so we remain engaged throughout the news cycle. Power, fame, disaster, and sex are the four horsemen of the apocalypse off of which the media feeds. People are guaranteed to click on this shit - me included. Our appetite for sensationalism is the same as our weakness for junk food. We are not evil, we are just weak-willed and predictable. We secretly want to do the same things that were committed during the scandals. The media is not your friend. Do not rely on it to generate informed and objective opinions about the world.

Lie 8: You Need Lots of Material Shit to be Happy

Mercedes, BMW, Louis Vuitton, Gucci – the list goes on. They refer to this as aspirational shit. Beautiful smiling influencers on Instagram in their luxury cars, on their mega-yachts, sipping on Verve Cliquot champagne, with their perfect bodies and brilliant white teeth. Corporations know that we are weak, impressionable, and desperately seeking happiness, and they attack us with all this shit 24 hours a day through our phones. In the old days, it was only when you watched TV, read a magazine, or saw a billboard. Now, it is relentless and the fucking algos know exactly what you like. The richest people I know are almost always the most miserable. They are surrounded by beautiful material possessions, and they are unhappy because they don't own this stuff, this stuff owns them. It defines them and prevents them from discovering their true selves.

Lie 9: The Pursuit of Money will Lead to Fulfilment

There are two different kinds of money people – those that want to have enough to survive and those that are obsessed with making it. In the first group, “enough” money is that amount that covers basic physiological needs. For the second group, money is an eternal pursuit - if you have a million, you want another million. If you have a billion, you what another billion. It is like climbing Everest, but when you reach the summit, you discover that another 100m has been added. For the super-rich, money is a game and a measure of who is winning. The rich want to be honored and revered. Wealth and honor have become intertwined in the modern world. This is a hollow and vain pursuit.

Lie 10: Money will Cure your Insecurities

We are all insecure about something. We question our intellect – are we smart enough to contribute to the conversation? In our relationships, we may be unwilling to trust the other person. We worry about what we look like and are self-conscious about our bodies. In our jobs, we are afraid that we don’t have the necessary skills to perform and that we will be fired. Guess what – money will not make any of these insecurities go away. Money is physical and these insecurities are emotional – they do not exist in the same realm which means that one cannot meaningfully impact the other.

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