Recently, I heard a song that was so good that it suffered from its own greatness.
The guitars were incredible, I’ve never heard guitars like that. The singer was so good, he was unbelievable.
I wanted to hear the singer sing because he was great, but I couldn’t hear him because the guitar player wouldn’t stop showing off.
Every time the singer was singing, the guitarist was doing some crazy guitar solos in the background that totally took away from BOTH the singer and the guitarist.
What they should have done, instead of showing off constantly, was put some thought into making the songs enjoyable rather than making them sound “wacky” and unique.
They had guitars riffing over the vocals constantly, to prove how good the guitarist was I suppose.
I heard it and thought: “Wow, that’s cool. But it’s too hard to listen to. Next.”
It was a fun song, it was very clever and new, and the band had amazing potential… but the song wasn’t enjoyable or easy to listen to.
The singer was very good but he didn’t get to shine. The guitarist wouldn’t do what was best for the work.
His unwillingness to let anyone but him shine sabotaged the song’s listenability.
This band also labeled itself a sub-genre of music, which is another form of self sabotage.
It’s like saying: “I’m allowed to do this, I’m not allowed to do anything else, so it’s to excuse why we aren’t more popular.”
Everyone in the world loves music, if you create good music you should want most people to hear it.
Instead, a “sub-genre” or “niche” places strict limits on what you’re allowed to do.
Because of those limits, most people in the world will never get the chance to hear it.
That’s why you always put the work first and that’s your number one lesson in greatness…
DO WHAT’S BEST FOR THE WORK.
The work ALWAYS comes first.
If you put the work first, you’ll be on the fast-track to greatness.
Only a small percentage of people enjoy any particular sub-genre of music.
If the band just did what was best for the work, they’d be mega-stars instead of underground stars.
If you only do what’s best for you, you’re on the fast track to mild niche success.
For big success aka greatness, you cannot place limits on your work.
You have to make the work the absolute best so that the biggest number of people can find it and you can become great.
Speaking of becoming great, this is how you do it…
—“I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.”
1. EVERYBODY WHO EVER DID ANYTHING GREAT DID IT THE SAME WAY
The basics never, ever change.
There are no secrets to greatness except for the ones you always hear…
If you can believe it, you can achieve it.
Lead, follow or get out of the way.
Just do it.
Consistency is key.
These are all cliche for a reason, the principles of greatness and success are always the same.
2. IT TAKES TIME, OBSESSION, DEDICATION, FOCUS, SELF-BELIEF
I don’t like the word passion, that’s a word for women’s romance novels, the correct word is obsession. You have to live like an obsessed freak.
When you’re obsessed you start working on something at 6am and the next thing you know it’s 5pm – you haven’t eaten, you haven’t gone anywhere, you haven’t been to the gym, you haven’t showered, and you haven’t heard the phone ringing. And you keep doing it.
Normal people’s obsession stops at their favorite sports team or TV show.
The star athlete holding the trophy didn’t get there because he loves his sport, he got there because he’s consumed with obsession and desire to be great.
Obsession is the key to turning nothing into something.
If you can be obsessed with it for long enough you can turn it into money.
3. ALL GREAT MEN FOLLOW THEIR OBSESSIONS TO THE EDGE OF THE EARTH AND BEYOND
Remember this? If you can be obsessed with it for long enough you can turn it into money.
The key word is LONG ENOUGH. You have to keep going. When you stop, you lose focus.
Focus is the hardest thing to achieve and when you stop or give up, you give away the hardest thing you have ever achieved: F O C U S.
Losing focus is the same thing as dying. When you lose focus, you lose momentum.
When you lose momentum, you have to start all over again.
What to do? Don’t lose momentum. Keep going.
The only reason B&D; is a huge success, other than the obvious, is that B&D; is consistent.
B&D; is always here. I never “went away” and came back. I never went back and forth. B&D; from day one to day 2,190.
Even when I was at my worst I was still 100% focused.
4. STUDY GREATNESS FROM THE MOUTHS OF THE GREATS.
You have to spend time learning about great men. You learn by reading or by being taught by a mentor.
To learn by reading, it’s best to read auto-biographies.
You have to read their AUTO-biographies to hear the stories straight from their mouths.
AUTOBIOGRAPHIES ARE THE ONLY WAY TO GET THE FULL TRUTH.
Otherwise, it’s just gossip. A biography is gossip for the grownups. An autobiography is the real deal.
If it’s not an auto-biography it’s hear-say, it’s just gossip. Only one person ever knows the truth and that’s why you need to read auto-biographies.
Also, read great blogs. Blogs are auto-biographical as well.
5. ALL GREAT MEN OF GENIUS AND POWER USED THEIR SEX DRIVE AS FUEL.
Sex is the driving force that makes a man do anything. It’s always for sex. It is our biology, our DNA. There is nothing wrong with that.
Being highly sexed (i.e. having sexual energy) but not giving in to any and all desires is the key to success.
All great men of genius and power used their sex drive as fuel.
If you want to accomplish something great, you have to transform your sexual energy into fuel for something else.
The process of turning sexual energy and aggression into fuel for something bigger is called transmutation of sexual energy.
Sex transmutation is one of the most powerful tools in existence when it comes to creation, invention, accomplishment, creativity, advancement, and achievement.
Don’t dissipate your energy haphazardly because your energy is felt by other people and good energy draws them to you like a magnet.
The greatest men in history have a huge sexual magnetism BUT THEY DO NOT ROUTINELY GIVE IN TO THOSE DESIRES and they never make that desire the goal.
This doesn’t mean you can’t have sex but do not make sex your primary goal.
Don’t masturbate too frequently or watch internet p*rn too frequently. It drains vital energy from you. You can see vast, positive changes in your mood and happiness by giving it up.
(This kind of behavior will also bring women to you without much additional effort.)
Sexual energy is damn near limitless and when re-directed can turn any man into a money making machine.
You can also get yourself a good woman who will take care of all your needs (not just sexual). The love and support of a woman is essential for greatness, many great men had a good woman behind the scenes.
This will free your mind from having to even think about these things and you can focus completely on your goal at hand: G R E A T N E S S.
6. PREPARE TO WORK LIKE A DOG
The dreamer sits in his cubicle dreaming about when he can run his own business. The doer TAKES ACTION.
If you want to be great, you have to start working towards greatness. Start now.
If you want to be your own boss and make your own rules there is one thing that is absolutely required of you, that one thing is sweat equity. Your time. Your effort.
All I ever did was simply work more and not quit. I lived like no one else would so now I live like no one else can.
Great men are producers, they produce what the people consume.
There is no such thing as a day off for a great man.
7. DOES IT REALLY TAKE 10,000 HOURS?
Haha, that’s for amateurs. 10,000 hours is only eight hours a day for three years. Easy!
Mastery comes at about 10 years of work.
All it takes is ten years. All it took me was 10 years.
Hard work had nothing to do with it. Nothing is hard about what I do. I just work more and I don’t quit.
They say that success is a marathon and not a sprint. And it’s correct.
If you want success tomorrow, well, you’re shit out of luck. Because even working hard is not going to give you success that working consistently will give you.
Consistent work is what pays off. It takes consistency. It does not happen overnight. It does not happen fast like that.
You know how much I made the first year? I made zero the entire year. You know how much I made the second year? $15,000 U.S.
It does not happen overnight. And hard work again ‑‑ hard work has nothing to do with it.
Consistent work beats out hard work. Every single time.
8. PREPARE TO GIVE ALL TO GET ALL
It takes a long time to become great. In fact, it takes ALL OF YOUR TIME to become great. You give all to get all.
It took me a long time to get from A to B. So just prepare to put in the time.
Be ready to put in the time. Even if you have to be broke now, do it. You have to spend the time learning.
To get to heaven, sometimes you gotta spend some time in hell. Just keep going until you’re in heaven.
Prepare to be a minimalist now to become a maximalist later. I’m willing now to give up everything to get everything later. I was willing then to give up everything to get everything later.
Put in the work. Do the work. If you do the work consistently you’ll get it. If you whine about how long it takes you’ll get nothing, you’ll never get anything.
It makes no difference if you have nothing now, because you’ll have everything you want or need in the future.
9. LEARN, EARN OR BURN
The first step to saying goodbye to the nine-to-five jive is learning, learning and more learning. And it can all be done from the internet.
Learn, learn, learn until it’s time to earn, earn, earn.
First you learn from it and then you put your plan into action and earn from it.
Don’t waste time on baloney, your time needs to be used to advance your level of greatness.
If you can’t learn from it or earn from it then burn it. Let it go. Light it on fire and watch it die. It’s a waste of time and it’s a waste of life.
If it has no tangible, positive results then burn it up.
IF YOU CAN’T LEARN OR EARN FROM IT, BURN IT DOWN
Years ago I sold everything I had. What didn’t sell I tossed into a dumpster. I let go of any emotional attachment to my “stuff”. That detachment allowed me to live on a tiny amount of money while I built Bold and Determined.
Doing that, getting rid of everything, freed my mind to concentrate on what was important. Doing the work required to turn a hobby into money.
During the first year and a half of Bold and Determined I had no bills, no debt, no house full of junk to worry about, no nagging wife or screaming kids, no nothing. You need that focus.
Focus and time. Focus and time works for any business that you want to do. The principles are always the same.
10. NEVER STOP LEARNING
YOU CAN’T LEARN EVERY LESSON IMMEDIATELY!
It takes time to even absorb even one lesson. You have to learn each lesson individually and at your own pace.
Giving a list of 12 rules to the fresh-faced new guy would be like giving him a list of zero rules. It’s too much at once and he’s just gonna remember the one rule that sticks out anyway.
No one can learn 12 new ideas instantly. Learn rules like you live – day by day.
Remember what Batman said? It’s always darkest just before the dawn. The dark is when you’ll be tempted to quit. Weak men will give in and quit.
If you never give in and quit, if you possess endurance, you will be victorious.
Endurance beats strength over every single timeline and a big part of achieving greatness is just showing up every single day.
11. DO THE WORK NOW TO BECOME GREAT LATER
It’s often been said that you reach success right after the moment you would have quit, when you were at your lowest. Like everything they say it has much truth to it.
You have to learn your craft before you make money from your craft. It’s in the learning stage where the Average Joe gives up and the great man continues and endures.
Learn steadily but whatever you do, don’t stop learning. Learning is a gradual process and eventually success happens “overnight.”
So never never never give up. You must show up, you must put in the time.
Like Nike says, Just Do It. Especially on those days when you feel like you’ve failed and it isn’t going so well for you.
Time plus effort equals results. You’ve got to put in that time before you get yourself a paycheck.
How long does success really take? It takes time, so keep at it and do not give up. You won’t make any money your first week, month and probably you won’t make any money for over a year.
Big deal, you’re building something and that takes time. If you don’t want to wait go and play the lottery and talk about how lucky great people with money are.
If you want to be great you have to be willing to do the work first. If you want success right now you should have done the work yesterday.
If you want success tomorrow, start today. That’s the real way from A to B. Do the work, then get paid.
If you don’t give it your time, you don’t get nothing in return.
12. LOSE THE PART OF YOU THAT CARES
Genius takes time to be shown to the crowd and at first they will not understand.
They’ll mock and sneer and boo hoo and all that, but eventually they’ll see.
Eventually, they’ll be in on it with you. But probably not at first.
When you have a vision for the future, you need to lose the part of you that cares about immediate reactions.
Greatness comes in the long-term, never in the short term.
Eventually they’ll all get it and they’ll be in on the gag with you and having so much fun at it’s blossoming.
Do your work and move on instantly, never worry about critics.
13. GREAT MEN ARE ALWAYS ONE THING: AUTHENTIC
Marketing is a necessity at a certain point (not the beginning) so you will have to learn marketing.
The #1 thing you need to know about marketing is this: Being the best in the world is the best marketing strategy in the world.
Having the best product on earth is the most effective marketing strategy on earth. Why? Because people will like it and tell other people about it.
You’re more apt to listen to your friend than you are to listen to a commercial. Word of mouth + great product = profit. Do the work, become the best, deposit the checks.
It’s easy to market a product that is great. It’s hard to market a product that isn’t great. Actually, hard is the wrong word. The right word is phony.
MARKETING IS SO PHONY BALONEY
My “marketing strategy” has always been just to write the best articles.
My personal marketing & advertising strategy: I publish works of staggering genius.
I never do any “outside marketing” because it’s phony and it doesn’t work.
The only way I built Bold and Determined was to write articles that men wanted and needed, what they were ready, waiting and salivating to hear.
I walked the walk before I talked the talk and I’ve used myself as the billboard (and you can too).
BE LIKE THE JOKER, THE REAL GUY THAT DIED
The famous actor who played the Joker in The Dark Knight, Heath Ledger, was a very popular and good-looking actor taking roles in romantic comedies.
But he wanted more out of the “pretty boy” roles and he wanted the meatier roles. So what did he do?
He had to kill his old career to birth his new, raw career.
I always loved the balls of that idea. It takes a real big set of balls to be great.
Burn it down and start anew, but with knowledge this time.
With knowledge, you could burn it all down and start fresh, if you wanted to.
14. TAKE ACTION EVERY DAMN DAY THAT YOU’RE ALIVE AND YOU’LL GET WHAT YOU WANT
The door is always open for action takers. All you have to do is walk through it.
If you ask permission to walk through the door you are going to be denied. If you don’t need permission you cannot be denied.
Figure out a way to do it and then take what you want. The only real option.
If you want something you plan for it, you visualize it, you take action and then you grab it.
“That’s mine. Give me that.” What unsuccessful people think of your actions is of no consequence.
Action takers are rule breakers. Men of greatness got that way by taking ACTION.
If you want it, friend, you damned sure will find a way to get it. If you want it you will take it. No excuses, no whining and no crying. Just killing.
Dreams are what happen when you are asleep. When you are awake you take action and you make life happen. Start right now.
15. ALL GREAT MEN ARE POETS
Poems come easily to men who have led lives of greatness. Great men don’t even have to try, greatness just comes out naturally.
A man who cannot write a poem isn’t a great man, he’s a normal man – he hasn’t led the life of a great man.
If you can’t put it into words – it’s because you’ve never done it.
That’s why all great men are also great poets: been there, done that, wrote the book on it.
ALL great men are poets.
Words are the most necessary tool in the toolbox.
Every great man was also great with words. Arnold Schwarzenegger isn’t famous because he had a great body, he’s famous because he had a great body and used his words to make sure everyone knew he had a great body.
How do you become great with words? First, you live a life of greatness. Then the words just come out naturally.
It’s the easiest thing in the world to write a great poem if you’ve led a life of greatness.
All Arnold ever did was live his life and then speak about it (after working consistently for many, many years).
16. Believe in your own greatness
“I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.”
Know who said that? I’ll give you a hint: He was the greatest boxer who ever lived.
As it just so happens, he was also a poet. His words were how he achieved greatness. If he simply boxed and kept his mouth shut he’d be another nobody.
Instead, he used his words as a weapon and he got what he wanted: He became the greatest boxer of all time.
He believed it so damn much it became true. That’s what you have to do, believe in yourself first.
If you don’t believe it, no one else will. You have to believe it so damn thoroughly that not even God or Buddha could change your mind.
60 years ago, a young boxer trained in a dirty boxing gym, broke and invisible but hungrier than a starving dog.
He was determined to be great, and great is what he became.
60 years later we all remember Muhammad Ali as the greatest boxer who ever lived.
He put in the endless time training and then he took the extra step that separates the greats from the people whose names we don’t remember.
Ali made greatness happen with his words and he backed it up with proof.
That’s all you gotta do friend, make it happen and back it up with proof and then *poof* greatness appears.
17. EVEN WHEN YOU’RE GREAT, THE RIDE NEVER ENDS, KEEP GOING
So you’ve achieved greatness, huh? Great.
Whatever you do, don’t stop now.
What do I always say a million billion times?
Don’t. Ever. Stop.
PS – I OWE MY LIFE’S GREATNESS TO THE PLATFORM OF THE BLOG.
Every great man should have a blog/journal for your notes. The best way to take notes and collect your thoughts is to write them.
The blog is my favorite thing to read, ever. The blog is the best you can ever get at both classic, timeless and reliable content mixed with up-to-the-minute insights, “unconventional” advice, which is the only kind that works and honest (yet sensational) content.
The blog is the best way to read and create words ever invented. I owe my life to blogging. Blogging is the best art platform ever invented in my opinion.
I don’t give a damn about books, I hustle up the books just to make sure I have a lifetime income. My one true and only love is the blog. The best form of written communication in human history.
Remember when I said all great men are poets? Today’s greatest men write their poems on websites instead of journals. You can’t be great if no one else sees your greatness.
Originally published at boldanddetermined blog, and republished in 2020.