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What do you call performing the same action over and over again but expecting a different result each time?  The definition of insanity.

Under this definition, I know a lot of regular, yet insane people.  It is very common for people to perform the same actions they’ve always been doing, or do the same actions as others, yet expect a different result.

Let’s talk about average.  Let’s say you work hard in school, graduate from college, take an entry level job, and work hard at that and eventually move up the ranks.  What outcome should you expect?  It should be the same outcome as all the other countless people doing the same thing.  It is not likely you will become exceptionally wealthy, or only work 20 hours per week to spend more time with your family, or be your own boss, or even take a four month vacation.  I bet many hard workers inherently think if they work hard enough and are smart enough that they will achieve greater professional success than their peers.  The problem is that there is a giant herd of others fighting for the exact same thing so they’re going to wait in line.  How about retirement?  Think of all the other hard workers and planners that have still been unable to realize their early retirement dreams.

So what do you do?  Be unpopular.  Whenever you are considering devoting time to something think, is this something the average person would do? (i.e. is it popular) and if the answer is yes, do something different.  Let’s give some examples to help you see what I’m talking about:

  • Get Hired– you want a new job and there are a few companies or roles you had in mind. What’s the popular thing to do?  Go on recruitment sites and blast resumes of course!  What if instead, you fine-tuned the list of companies you wanted to work for, researched and listed the hiring decision makers, and see if you have second or third connections on linkedin that could get you in touch?  How about emailing them directly (use an email guessing tactics to get their email)?  How about figuring out an event the company is hosting and work your way in to attending? What about not caring whether they are actually publically hiring?
  • Advance in your job– You want to advance faster than your colleagues. Plus you want more $$$$.  What’s popular?  Typically either working normal business hours or putting in extra overtime handling client issues that come up.  What if instead, you came in one hour early every day and purely devoted that time to becoming more technical or tackling new high-value-but-not-urgent projects?  What if you set up a schedule with your boss once a week for a 15 minute meeting to go over your next level job description and cover all the things you are doing to get there?
  • Free up your life– You want to get to a point that you don’t have to work a lot yet you still want income rolling in. What’s popular?  Save and fund retirement accounts, working with a financial advisor.  What if instead you worked to start a drop-shipment business on the side of your current job to help fund this future dream?  What if you slowly started buying real estate whose rentals will eventually free you up?  What if instead of reading the news/garbage every morning you read about how other ‘unpopular people’ become financially free?

You get the point.  Only if you do something different and exceptional, will you get a result that is different and exceptional.

Have fun being unpopular-

Eric

Note: I stole the title for this blog post from The Four Hour Workweek, written by Tim Ferris– a must read!