You don’t get to be lazy.
The greatest lie sold to society is that you can cruise through life and that the system will take care of you.
Sometimes, this lie is presented in different ways:
- That if you just do what other people do, you’ll get the same results as them.
- That the world is fair and it will all balance out in the end.
- That you can work smart, and not have to work hard.
All these are lies.
Simply doing what others do, will not get you the same results as them, because there are many, many factors in play.
The world is not fair. Equal opportunity does not exist.1And fuck attempts to enforce equal outcome.
Working smarter isn’t enough. You need to work harder too.
If you want something, be prepared to earn it through taking action.
Life isn’t fair. It’s just life.
You need to hustle and work hard.
You don’t get to be lazy.
Why People Get Lazy
Most people want to be successful.
In modern society, this is considered normal.
So what do people actually do?
Those who really have no clue, look to the system to take care of them and they end up with average results.
A little better are those who look at what the successful people around them do.
But there is a problem with this. Usually people look at the done version of success, not the in progress version.
And then they make assumptions that because so-and-so successful person does this-and-that now, that is how they achieved their success.
This could be right. But more likely, it is wrong. Many of the habits of successful people are completely arbitrary and just eccentricities.
Even the actions of successful people that are the right actions for them, are not necessarily the right actions for everyone else.
This is problematic, because it leads to people underestimating how much of their own effort they actually have to put in to achieve their goals.
People are hoping to become overnight successes, rather than walk the long black road.
The Solution – Don’t Be Lazy
The solution to all this is simple: don’t be lazy.
When you’re starting out on something, you don’t get to be lazy.
You can look at other people when they were starting out and see what they did – they most likely worked, very, very hard and tried many different things before they started to take off.
Over time, yes, if you do the right things, you will achieve your goals and get what you want. But you must put in the work.
I have no idea why so many people are allergic to hard work and effort nowadays.
Perhaps it is illusion of success created by the Internet.
Perhaps it is because of digital distractions and destructive snacking.
Perhaps people just don’t want it bad enough.
The solution for this is simple – don’t be lazy.
The World Is Not Fair
Time for some controversy.
The world is not fair, and equal opportunity does not exist.2I’m not saying that society doesn’t try – it does. We’re just not there yet.
We like to think it does, because it’s nicer to believe that.
I believe that democratic ideals, government overreach and the general milieu have all come together to sell us on the idea that things are fair.
And if you think about it, it does kind of make everyone feel better to believe that.
People who have inherent advantages in life, feel like they have earned what they have achieved.3And a lot of them have – they put in the hard work and made it happen.
People who don’t have those advantages, feel like they have a chance – they have hope.4If you want to be cynical, you can say that hope makes people obedient members of a stable society.
Equal Opportunity Does Not Exist
I caught up with a friend of mine earlier this year.
She mentioned that it kind of sucked that she had to put so much time and effort into learning and practicing English, whereas I didn’t even have to try because I was arbitrarily born in an English-speaking country.
And she was right – she had to study hard, learn grammar, pass exams and constantly reference things.5I just watched TV.
And yet, she still did it.6And now she has flawless generic international-sounding English with no accent.
The Default Build
There is a concept in role-playing video games called the “default build”.
Most games let you customise your character – do you want to be male or female? Human or elf? Guns akimbo or a magic wand?
Game designers worked out a long time ago, that sometimes people just want to start playing and not think about it too much, so they design a “default build”. This is the generic, base-level character that has no inherent advantages or disadvantages in the game world.
Real life is the same.
The “default build” is white, male, over six foot, extroverted, educated and from a middle class or higher background.
This is the baseline.
If you are anything apart from this, you come with certain advantages and disadvantages in life. I would add to this and say that mostly, you come with certain disadvantages.
If you are woman reading this, you already know this. You see it and live it every single day of your life. And if you are a beautiful woman, you also know this, albeit from a different perspective.
That Sounds Horrible, What Can I Do?
Don’t be lazy.
Forget about seeking retribution or reparations or trying to get laws changed or whatever.
Those things may happen. They also may not. And they are mostly outside of your control.
You can get the same results as someone who entered life with the default build… you just have to put more effort in.
To borrow from Lee Kuan Yew:
[Just be] better organised, more efficient, and more competitive.
And don’t be lazy.
Wait, Isn’t This Discrimination or Bias or…?
Sure, you can call it that.
I would rather call it reality.
You can ask any Asian immigrant who lives in a Western country.7I say Asian, but you can ask any immigrant really. They all know the implicit rule – you can achieve whatever you want… but be prepared to work three times harder for it than all your Caucasian friends.
One of my younger cousins recently visited me in Bangkok. Over catching up, he mentioned that he was bumped from the top sports team for his grade because of “bias”, despite being the best player last season.
I asked him what he meant. He said that the coaches wanted to present a certain “image” in their top team. And being Australia, by “image”, they meant that they wanted a team of only Caucasian players.
By no means would anyone consider that fair – but it’s life.
To get back into the top team my cousin will have to work harder, train harder, and put in more of an effort than everyone else.
Again, it’s not fair, and this is why you don’t get to be lazy.
Isn’t Thinking This Way a Limiting Belief?
It can be.
I believe it is actually more of a paradox.
I believe it is good to recognise reality for what it is – and then to proceed to not let that reality define you.
If you simply say “the world is not fair and it’s biased against me” and do nothing about it, then yes, thinking this way is a limiting belief.
But if you say “the world is not fair and it’s biased against me” and then you overcompensate and overachieve, then it’s not a limiting belief. It’s an empowering one.
And hey, if the bias for whatever reason turns out not to be true, your efforts will still yield results – and you get what you want, all the same.
Gary Vee talks a lot about immigrant hustle.
Immigrant hustle exists because the world is not fair.
Immigrants to foreign countries are grateful for the opportunity to work hard. They also know that it won’t be as easy for them, and that they may be discriminated against in all sorts of ways… so they put their heads down, work harder and end up overachieving.
Despite our ideals, the world is not fair, equal opportunity doesn’t really exist, and the only way to deal with it, is to work hard and not be lazy.
The Work Smart Fallacy
You may be asking, “OK Aaron, this kind of makes sense. So why don’t people actually work that hard nowadays?”
I believe this is because of the third item in our set of lies – that you should work smarter, not harder.
This is a largely Western mindset. Western-educated people (including myself) are big into working smart.
Working smart and working hard are not mutually exclusive.
I read an interview recently with an entrepreneur who moved from Singapore to Shanghai to start up a fintech company. Upon arriving, he said that the scariest thing was that everyone there was not only smarter than him, but also worked three times harder than him.8And Singaporeans are generally pretty smart and work pretty hard.
Simply working smarter is not enough, because others out there will also be working smart… and hard.
But What About My Friend…
Look, counterexamples exist.
Of course they do.
There are people out there who entered life with a “default build” or some variation of it and everything just worked out for them.
There are also people out there who didn’t work that hard and became successful.
But there are so many variables in play that you simply cannot rely on the same factors for your own goals and success.
As Naval Ravikant says, we are playing the probability game here: we don’t want to succeed in just one reality, we want to succeed in 99% of them.
And the best way to do this is to work hard and to not be lazy.
What Hard Work Actually Looks Like
Hopefully by now you realise that you don’t get to be lazy.
And that you have to work hard.
So what does hard work actually look like?
- You have to work 10x harder than everyone else.
- You don’t get to take (all) weekend off.
- You don’t get to sit back and binge on Netflix.
- You don’t get to play video games.
- You don’t even get to have craft beers with your buddies.
Whatever you see successful/lazy people doing, you don’t get to do that… yet.
You have to live virtuously, with discipline, with industry and with fewer mistakes being made.
This doesn’t just apply to your business or career – it applies to every area of your life.
What To Do Next
Why are you still reading this?
Go kick your own arse and get to work.
And don’t be lazy.
- And fuck attempts to enforce equal outcome.
- I’m not saying that society doesn’t try – it does. We’re just not there yet.
- And a lot of them have – they put in the hard work and made it happen.
- If you want to be cynical, you can say that hope makes people obedient members of a stable society.
- I just watched TV.
- And now she has flawless generic international-sounding English with no accent.
- I say Asian, but you can ask any immigrant really.
- And Singaporeans are generally pretty smart and work pretty hard.