“Every day, you have to prove yourself and convince – move forward and challenge yourself. And doubt all the time.”
Christine Lagarde (Former French Minister, Finance & Industry)
“When you’re used to being prepared to reject conventional wisdom, it leaves you open to learn more.”
Mayim Bialik (Actress and Neuroscientist)
“Swim upstream. Go the other way. Ignore the conventional wisdom.”
Sam Walton (Founder, Walmart)
He rose to power by appealing to the poor without alienating the rich.
He spent time in local shops, taverns, markets, and port areas, building his support.
He built a reputation as a man of the people, a champion of the working class.
In a time when most politicians in Athens wanted to appeal to the rich and powerful, Themistocles (524 BC – 459 BC) realized that getting the much more numerous poor on his side was more effective in the democracy he was facing.
As a result, he quickly became one of the most prominent men in ancient Athenian politics.
But even though he appealed to the poor, he never pandered to them.
For example, when Athens discovered a new silver mine, Themistocles did not give the proceeds from it to the poor, even though he would have been loved for it.
Instead, he saved the silver.
He saved it because he knew what was coming…
Athens and all of Greece had been invaded by the Persians once before and Themistocles knew they’d be back.
He didn’t know when or how many warriors the Persians would bring, but he knew they would bring them.
Athens had to start preparing right away.
Of course, Themistocles could have taken the easy way out.
He could have given half the silver to the poor and the other half to the Persians, in exchange for their mercy.
Athens would lose its freedom, but the poor would get their silver and Themistocles would remain in a position of power under the Persian king.
Themistocles took the hard road.
Instead of distributing the silver to the poor and then surrendering to Persia, Themistocles proposed building a stronger navy.
The commoners complained.
But Themistocles made them realize that all the silver in the world would mean nothing if the Persians conquered Athens.
The Athenian navy was built just in time.
When the Persians attacked—and they did attack—Greece was able to beat them back and remain free.
Years later, when the Peloponnesian War broke out between Athens and Sparta, it was Athens’ strong navy that allowed them to stand against the Spartans, the greatest soldiers in the known world, for nearly three decades.
Themistocles saved Athens by never accepting the easy road just because it was easy, or just because the common wisdom of the time suggested it.
He rejected popular opinions and conventional truths.
Instead, he made his own way.
He bet on himself and did what he knew was right.
Why You Are Not Entitled To An Easy Life
You’ve seen the commercials, the ads, and the billboards.
They tell you how much easier your life will be if you buy their product.
Exercise without leaving your couch.
Eat what you want and still lose weight.
Buy a robot vacuum cleaner so you can sit and watch TV.
Throw this food in the microwave for 10 seconds so you can get back to doing nothing.
These ads convince you that this is your right.
That you’re entitled to an easy, comfortable life.
But an easy life isn’t a good life.
It’s certainly not a great life.
Having it easy might seem desirable, but it’s actually detrimental.
If you’re never challenged, you’ll never improve.
If everything is always easy for you, you’ll never grow as a person.
What most people don’t realize is that it’s not the easy life that leads to happiness… happiness is earned by challenging yourself and doing the hard things.
Adversity actually makes you happy.
A paper published in American Psychologist theorized that humans are more resilient to adversity than we think, and the only reason we see it as rare is because most people don’t bother seeing a psychologist for them to take note of it.
The following year, in the same publication, another group of researchers took this a step further when they said humans are not only resilient to adversity, but also have a tendency to use adverse situations as a springboard for further growth and development.
Adversity is a crucial ingredient for growth.
But you won’t face adversity when you live an easy life.
So you’ll never grow.
You’ll stay trapped in your boring, easy, mundane life forever.
If you want to grow, you need to stop looking for the easy way out.
Conventional truths that tell you otherwise are lies.
Stop Listening To Common Lies
Conventional truths are meant to keep you calm and quiet.
They’re meant to never be challenged, and to keep you in line.
They’re meant to keep you down and hold you there.
For the rest of your life.
Everyone expects you to believe them so you’ll fit neatly into their boring society where you’ll live an unremarkable and average life.
Don’t listen to them.
Conventional wisdom and popular opinions come from unremarkable people who don’t want you to surpass them.
They don’t want you to be successful, and they’re scared of anything that’ll challenge their little world and their small-minded beliefs.
Their lies are poison to your brain.
Listening to what they say will only make you accept the same boring mundane lifestyle they did.
You’ve probably heard them so many times you don’t even realize the fact that they don’t make any sense.
They’re so ingrained into today’s society that you’ve started to accept them without knowing it.
If you want to grow as a person, to live like a lion and to have a better life than the one other people say you should be satisfied with, you need to recognize the most common lies they tell you.
Accepting conventional wisdom will only lead to a sad, mediocre life. Here are five conventional truths that are flat-out lies.
Lie #1 – Never rock the boat.
People are scared of risk.
Scared of change.
They’re wired to resent anyone who challenges their beliefs, and they hate everyone who disturbs their comfort zone.
This is why they come up with nonsense like this.
Lies, disguised as truth.
Just to keep you in line.
Crippled, so you can’t ever surpass them.
They’re miserable in their own boring lives, so seeing anyone break free from their boring life is like a personal affront to them.
It reminds them of what they could have been.
What they could have achieved, if only they hadn’t been so scared.
If they weren’t cowards who never strove for anything beyond comfort and routine.
When they tell you “don’t rock the boat,” they pretend it’s for your own good.
They pretend that not rocking the boat will keep you safe.
But it’s their own jealousy of your courage that makes them want to hold you back.
Rock the boat.
Break free of your comfortable little life and safety blankets.
There’s so much more to achieve than routine.
Routine is what the common, boring people strive for and cling to.
Greatness is only for the ones who are brave enough to see a routine life for what it is: a dead-end.
Lie #2 – Fighting is never the answer.
Fighting is scary.
Not just physical confrontations, but verbal disagreements as well.
It means having enough confidence in yourself and your knowledge, so that you put your ideas out into the world to be challenged.
If you never step up and confront anyone, never tell anyone what’s bothering you or what you want from them, you’re scared too.
You’re afraid of upsetting people.
You’re afraid they’ll get mad at you, or that they’ll say you’ve upset their feelings.
You’re afraid they’ll disconnect from you forever.
Being afraid of this will ensure you stay exactly where you are.
The way out of this is to conquer this fear and seek out conflict.
After all, it’s conflict that defined us throughout history.
It’s conflict that made humanity progress further and faster than anything else.
If you want to accomplish anything, you need to step up and embrace the fact that you’re going to upset a few people along the way.
Running the risk of hurting someone’s feelings is not a good enough reason to shut down your instincts and let an obvious mistake continue.
Don’t be afraid to challenge people directly.
Recognize that fighting against ideas you know to be foolish or poorly thought-out will upset people.
Know that the result is worth hurting their sad little feelings.
Lie #3 – You can never have enough friends.
Society wants you to get along with everyone.
As many people as possible.
Everyone should be your friend.
Don’t get me wrong, allies can be a powerful tool.
Knowing the right people and calling upon them at the right time can be tremendously beneficial to you.
But trying to be friends with everyone out there will make you weak and docile.
You’ll stop having a personality of your own because you’re constantly trying to please and be accepted by everyone around you.
You will become a watered down version of yourself as you assimilate into the least common denominator of everyone you know.
You’ll forget who you are, and for the rest of your life, you’ll be living for other people instead of with them.
And you certainly won’t be leading them.
Too many people around you will weigh you down.
Slow you down.
And steer you away from achieving your goals.
You need to deliberately choose the people in your life.
Keep the ones that truly add value to your life.
An intellectual equal or superior, someone with powerful friends, or just someone who is great company.
But there are many people in your life who don’t add any real value.
The ones that clamp onto you, give you bad advice, use you for their benefit only, or try to drag you down to their level.
You already know a few.
You know you should’ve cut them off ages ago.
Don’t be afraid to drop these people.
The less of these people around you, the better.
Your time is your own. Choose wisely who you spend it with.
Lie #4 – Good things come to those who wait.
This boils down to, “Keep your head down and shut up.”
The next time someone says this to you, you should hear, “Sit down and shut up,” instead.
Doesn’t sound so friendly and helpful anymore, does it?
And for some reason, people actually believe this is true.
It’s a worthless platitude without a shred of evidence to back it up.
Good things come to those who work for it.
Fight for it.
If you want an improvement in your life, you need to actually put in the work.
You need to take all those hard steps on the long road to success.
This is the whole reason why so many people continuously live boring, average lives.
They might have had a dream at one point, but when they realized how much work it would take to achieve it, they gave up.
They decided to buy into the lie that one day it would happen on its own if they just waited it out.
And then they settled for never having it at all.
What they never realized is that a better life begins when you begin putting in the hard work.
Starting that long road and challenging yourself to be a better person leads to feeling more satisfied with your life.
It leads to you being more motivated to see it through to the end.
To keep trying and fighting, and to savor every moment of the entire experience.
Because by that point, you’ll have already figured out the final lie:
Lie #5 – You’re entitled to an easy life.
You’re not entitled to anything.
The world doesn’t owe you anything.
You are one person among billions.
The only way to be special is to make yourself special.
The only person responsible for your own happiness is you.
And happiness doesn’t mean an easy life.
An easy life is not the thing you should strive for, no matter what society tells you.
An easy life means a boring life.
People who are handed everything their entire lives, and who choose to do nothing but buy relaxation with it, are bored out of their skulls.
They complain that even with all the money and goods in the world, they’re unhappy.
They never learned that happiness comes from overcoming challenges.
That true happiness lies in the satisfaction of achieving a goal you’ve striven so hard for.
If your end goal is an easy life, you don’t have to strive for it to begin with.
You simply have to do nothing.
But if you want to achieve greatness in life, to live like a lion, you need to strive toward accomplishing your goals.
Society doesn’t like it when its dominant morals are questioned or challenged, so it invented a bunch of lies disguised as common truths to keep people in their place. Only by challenging your situation and the people around you will you feel the thrill of success. By confronting people, by not being afraid of conflict, you will get what you truly want. You’ll have to leave some people behind on your way, but it’s worth it. Keep working towards your end goal and know that the work you’re putting in now is already helping you become a better person. That alone is something worth challenging and fighting for.
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