Building Skills

Making Yourself Valuable

valuableWe all want the best things in our lives.

We want that perfect, well-paying job that lets us be creative, autonomous and do what we love. We want those millions of followers on Instagram. And we want that perfect partner who is not only good looking and smart, but also rich, funny, talented and great in bed.

Of course, these things are rare and valuable. So of course everyone wants these things in their lives.

But have you ever asked yourself; why in the seven hells should you get any of those rare and valuable things? There are a billion people like you out there competing for these same things – what makes you so different that you should be rewarded with the best the world has to offer?

I know, I know; we’ve all convinced ourselves that we’re perfect and that we should get everything we want from life simply because we’re unique little snowflakes who are special in our own little ways.

But then again, so is everyone else. I mean, let’s look at this from the other perspective.

Let’s say you’re the owner of a big corporation, and you need to hire someone for an extremely well-paying, fun position that also happens to allow for a lot of autonomy and creativity in the job.

Now who are you going to hire? You know that half the god damn world would love to have the job you’re offering. You’re offering something rare and valuable, and you have your pick of literally anyone.

Obviously, you’re going to pick a person who has a lot of rare and valuable traits to give in return – say, a master’s degree in such and such fields, a history of being trustworthy, and a track record of brilliant innovations.

That rare and valuable job won’t go to your random office worker who has done nothing to distinguish himself from the crowd. It will go to a rare and valuable employee who has something to offer in return. (more…)

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Let’s Talk 2017.

2017-mathias-ostlundSo far on this blog, I’ve written primarily about my current thoughts and goings-on, whatever those may be at the time. But for the most part, I haven’t shared much at all in terms of future plans.

But let’s change that, and take a look at what 2017 will bring in the life of Matt.

I guess you could consider this post my New Year’s resolutions of sorts – as much for my own benefit as anyone else’s.

2017 – The Year of Habits

In short, I have some big ass plans for 2017. To begin with, I hope to implement some major life changes in the areas of fitness, health, discipline and productivity, as well as drastically improving my learning process.

Basically, I plan to expand on my long-standing goals of becoming the best, most awesome version of myself I can possibly be – in every area of my life.

But more on that later. First, let’s take a look at the business end of 2017; (more…)

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Achieving Excellence – Putting in the Work

(Note: this is the final part of a longer series of articles on the subject of Excellence. For some context and an explanation to why this whole thing is happening, check out part 1 – Excellence vs. Reason)

So far in the series we’ve talked about the various obstacles we need to overcome in order to have a chance at reaching excellence. We’ve looked into how making exclusively reasonable decisions is holding us back, how our irrational risk aversion severely limits our potential for success, and how our addiction to social support keeps us stuck at a mediocre level in life.

But there’s one aspect of reaching excellence that we haven’t even scratched the surface of yet. And it’s a pretty important component too: putting in the hard work.

Ugh, such an un-sexy phrase. Hard work. That’s not what we want to hear – give us some more tricks or life hacks that promise us instant success! Anything but hard work!

Unfortunately, there is no way around this. Hard work, more than anything, is what determines whether or not you will reach excellence. Because anyone can do what’s easy. Anyone can go for the low-hanging, mediocre fruits of life.

But to go past this low-hanging fruit and reach for that perfect apple at the top of the tree – that’s what separates the extraordinary from the ordinary. (more…)

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Excellence Beyond Social Support

master plan

(Note: this is part 4 of a five-part series on achieving Excellence. For more context, and an explanation of why this series is happening, check out part 1: Excellence vs. Reason)

In the last post, I introduced the concept of external support systems, and how much we rely on them to do just about anything. To briefly summarize, this external support is made up of all the support we get from the world around us to help us live a decent life.

This support comes in many shapes, from the school system teaching us the things we need to know, to the medical system that brings us back to health when we’re sick, and even our social circle supporting us in achieving our personal goals.

The only problem is that most of this external support is only there to help us reach a certain point – usually mediocrity – after which it seizes to exist. Our schools help us pass the test, but no further. Our social structures help us get everything we need to live a decent, ordinary life, but not an extraordinary one.

Anything past the point of mediocrity, and we’re usually on our own.

This is, of course, a problem for anyone who wants to go past mediocrity and reach excellence.

It’s not easy to go from relying heavily on this external support, to tackling the problems of life all on our own. In fact, this is the hurdle that stops the majority of people from ever going too far beyond mediocrity in the first place.

All of this leads us to the following conclusion; in order to reach past the point of mediocrity, we need to stop depending on external support systems to carry us through life.

Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done. We can’t just stand up one day and declare that, okay, as of right now, I don’t need any more outside help! We’re far too dependent on it to do such a thing.

What we can do, however, is replace this external support with a solid internal support system. A system that we control; one that doesn’t depend on the support of any outside factors that may or may not want us to succeed.

But in order to replace anything, we need to first figure out what it is we want to switch out in the first place.

(more…)

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If You Want Excellence, You’re on Your Own

excellence

(Note: This is part 3 in a series of posts about achieving excellence. If you want some context for the whole thing, you might want to start out with part 1)

So far in the series, we’ve talked about how excellence can never come from reason, and how a certain degree of risk is essential in the pursuit of excellence.

But reaching excellence isn’t all about taking risks and being unreasonable. There’s also one major obstacle that needs to be overcome – an obstacle that tends to be the one thing separating the excellent from the mediocre.

That obstacle is learning to get by without the support of the world around you.

Let me explain.

Throughout our lives, we’ve depended heavily on the support of the rest of the world. We depend on others to teach us how everything works, to show us how to get a job, to help us get good at the things we suck at, to show us how to buy a car, find a partner and do our dishes, and to help us stay healthy and in shape.

We depend on these external support systems to help us do just about everything we do.

Unfortunately, these support systems only exist up to a certain point; mediocrity. Once we’ve reached that point, the majority of this support will seize to exist – and in order for us to keep going, we’ll be more or less on our own.

Your teacher will help you pass the test, but if you want to learn more, you’re on your own. Society will help you find a job – but if you want to start your own business and get filthy rich, you’re on your own. And your friends will support you in losing weight and reaching an average level of fitness, but if you want to get into better shape than them, you’re on your own.

This is where we’ve reached a magic threshold that separates the mediocre from the excellent. It’s the point where we’re forced to stop relying on support from the world around us, and start depending on ourselves to keep going.

Unfortunately, this is not an easy thing to do, seeing how..  (more…)

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