“I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody” – Bill Cosby
I won’t get into the controversial nature of the person who said the quote, but regardless, it carries a strong weight on it’s own. There is one thing that I have learned over the years, and that is that those that try to please everyone end up highly stressed, unsuccessful, and are surrounded by people that don’t truly value them.
I once dated a girl that claimed to be a “people pleaser” and couldn’t say no to others. It bit her in the ass so many times that it made me sad. I admittedly have always been more on the selfish side of the spectrum, and I think that selfishness gets a bad rep. If I wasn’t selfish, I wouldn’t have the health that I have, I wouldn’t be where I am, and I most certainly wouldn’t have started many of my businesses and pursuits. I have said “no” to so many people, because I was focused elsewhere, and I wanted to do what I wanted to do.
You need to learn to say no.
If you don’t want to do something, don’t do it. It’s literally that simple.
I never want to have a job that is salaried and with no potential of going above and beyond that pay, even if I work harder than anyone else. I won’t do it.
I will never go for lunch with someone that I don’t enjoy spending time with. Sorry if that makes anyone mad, I don’t care.
I won’t even spend time with others unless they are people I enjoy and who motivate me to be better. If you’re not getting better year-on-year, I no longer have your phone number in my phone.
But beyond that, you need to be polarizing.
By “polarizing”, I mean that you need to stand for whatever it is that you believe in, and you need to create an aura that people either love or hate. I can say that the people that are in my life actually value me, and are “real” friends. If I went to jail tomorrow night and I needed someone to bail me out, they’d be there. I can talk to them about whatever is on my mind, and we can build each other to be better people through constructive criticism and compliments. Can you say that about your friends?
I can also say that there are many people that dislike me. They don’t like my intensity, or my drive, or are jealous of where I am in life. They don’t like what I stand for, they don’t believe in me, and they don’t want me to succeed. Fuck em. They aren’t people I want in my life anyway.
Here’s a measurement to see if someone is your friend or not: Simply tell them you succeeded in something. If there is anything else than a “congratulations” or a “awesome buddy!” leave.
To be polarizing, you actually have to stand for something. You have to have standards. You have to hold people to those standards. You cannot be pushed around and let others walk over you. If you do, you won’t be respected, even though you have “lots of friends”. Those people aren’t real, they’ll sell you out in a minute.
As you get older and experience life, you’ll care less about everyone liking you. You’ll see that when you become polarizing, the friends you have are much closer. They’ll go to war for you.
And the rest? Forget them.