Simple Examples of Thinking Differently.

There is nothing wrong with thinking like the masses in a survival situation. In reality, most people follow the herd because it is a survival instinct. If we dropped a random reader into a remote area of the world with no contacts, no social media (God forbid) and no electricity or access to shelter… The correct move would be as follows: 1) observe other living animals eating/moving towards a source of water and 2) consume similar foods and ration out water to survive. Pretty simple right? Unfortunately, this tactic only works to survive and doesn’t get you much further in life. Eventually, you’ll be forced to think differently and avoid doing what everyone else does to get ahead. In this post, we’ll go ahead and outline numerous examples since it is not possible to teach someone to think exactly as we do.

People are Not Equal. Throughout your life you’ve been told to “treat everyone equally”. This is horrible advice. If you follow this motto in life, it will be nearly impossible for you to build relationships with the right people. Instead, your goal is to find the winners and link up with said winners. We’ve said it numerous times on Twitter, but at the end of the day, winners like winners and losers like losers. Never, under any circumstances do you work *with* or *for* a loser. You will get 100x further in life by working *with* winners (emphasis on the word with and not “for” as they are unrelated).

Utilize Probabilities. If you do what everyone else is doing, you will end up like everyone else. This certainly prevents you from becoming homeless and living on the streets begging for change, but it also prevents you from living a better life than the masses.

For our non-finance readers, unfortunately, the best example is Wall Street related.

If you deem yourself to be more intelligent than your peer group then there is no reason to follow the herd. You have to come up with a differentiated strategy. In the world of finance, most junior employees focus on “financial modeling”. But. Less than 10% of junior employees (Analysts and Associates) will ever see a single day as Vice President at their firm. Let alone Director or Managing Director. This means you should probably be focusing on other tasks (not financial modeling) which would be… Sales. Every single position on Wall Street (excluding Quants) becomes a sales role at the end of the day. Even the buyside becomes a sales position as you need to raise funds. In short. Stop wasting time learning how to build a complex model (something that can be mastered in 6 months) and get busy getting connected.

Stay on Offense. There is no point in playing defense. Staying on offense is actually the number 1 rule to financial independence. If you follow our advice on becoming a millionaire in 10 years (*easily achievable for intelligent readers*) then you will realize this immediately. The path to becoming rich is paved in consistent *offense*. You’re busying working a career and at the same time busy building a sales business. As you continue working on both your career and business, time becomes a leverage point for you and you can delegate tasks at a rapid rate freeing you up to do anything you like.

In short. The best way to save money is to spend your free time making money. You won’t be able to spend and you’re increasing your income.

Fun for You Should be Boring to the Masses. Talk to a regular person (disgusting) and you will find that their lives are extremely boring. They will also believe that your life is extremely boring as well! While making money is just a game for you once you have enough to be financially independent, they will not understand why you want to grow your company/career/(insert anything else that is difficult). Why? They are more interested in watching other people live interesting lives.

The biggest joke is reality television where 20+ contestants compete for $1M while the host of the show makes $1M+ per season. If you want to go the fame route (not recommended), your goal is to become the creator of a show or host of the show. You do not want to be one of the contestants hoping to make less than the host… After embarrassing themselves on television for multiple weeks in a row.

Perception is Reality… For Most. After creating multiple products that do not sell well (you will quickly realize that what you want is unrelated to what the masses want) you’ll be forced to realize that perception and branding is just as important as the product itself. Laugh if you wish. But. Having a celebrity endorse your product will add more value than actually creating a product better than your competition.

The previous sentence is not a joke.

Once you realize perceived value is equal to real value… You’re going to immediately change your sales technique and your marketing technique. You will obtain superior traction from “quick fix” and “Celeb X recommends” than you will from creating a product that is 2x better than your peer group. As long as your product is roughly equivalent, spend your time selling the perception.

Pay for Help. Most people have huge egos when it comes to living life. No one is willing to ask for help and the difference between being arrogant and simply having an ego is this: realizing when help will accelerate the process. No one has time to be the #1 player in every single sport, the #1 banker, the #1 brand in clothing and the #1 doctor. It just isn’t possible.

Instead of wasting time choosing to become an expert in 10 topics, choose two or three and hire consultants for the other seven. The power of 1% is on your side.

Find the winner (top tier professional) in the seven topics (piano and tennis as examples) and simply take lessons. You’re going to learn more in 2 hours a week than you would through self learning anyway. Asking for help is perfectly fine. Pay the fee and save yourself the headache. Besides. The topics you focus on will generate a lot more cash flow than the hourly rate for an instructor.

Stop Working for People by Thirty. This is the hard cut off. By thirty you should not work *for* anyone. The emphasis on the word *for* cannot be strong enough. You may work “with” people. But. Under no circumstances will you be in a position where you’re taking orders all day. You are either contributing to a project (working with) or you are running by yourself. Notice… If you’re working with someone, you’re essentially working for yourself and throw your contribution into the pool at a stated deadline.

If someone does not know the difference between working “with” someone and working *for* someone, they should no longer read this blog.

They do not have any idea how revenue generating roles work. And. They have never generated a meaningful amount of money.

Ask Questions… When You Know the Answer. As many of you are aware, the typical person is an expert on everything. They know how to make money, get girls and lift more than professional body builders.

All jokes aside, you can use this to your advantage. When you are meeting new people you should ask them questions you already *know* the answer to. If for example, you are an expert in three topics and the new person claims to know one of them… Ask them 2-3 questions and use the following phrase:

“I don’t know anything about XYZ can you explain the basics?”

Jackpot. Instead of being forced to waste time (IE: seeing if they are full of it) they will now be forced to show their cards. Most people will ask them about topics they do not know. This doesn’t work. Why? You won’t know if the person is legitimate or not and you’ll be forced to back track and research the topic yourself to confirm the statements.

Focus on the Audience. People do not speak to each other equally. If you are speaking to a family member, friend of 10 years or a client… you will not use the same tone of voice, verbs or nouns. This is why you should never waste your time getting information from mainstream outlets. The targeted audience is too wide and the speaker is going to *change* the message to resonate with the people in front of him.

In addition, this works for advertising as well. Most people focus on if an ad would work on “them”. This doesn’t work! An ad working on you is irrelevant compared to an ad working on the masses.

Think differently and ask who is in the audience? Then find an advertisement that appears *repeatedly* for many days, weeks or months. The ad must be good because the space they are paying for is not cheap and if it is converting at a high rate… then you are certain it will be re-run until unprofitable. Take notes.

Let People Tell You How to Succeed! That’s right. We get a lot of questions on “how to make friends” and this section will solve every single one of your problems.

In short. People are insecure and have a superiority complex.

Knowing this as a fact, here are the two rules to making a new friend (note this works for casual acquaintances and is not to be confused with business). Rule #1: Ask for advice and let them tell you exactly what to do (remember they know everything). Rule #2: Regardless of what they say to do, report back and say it “absolutely worked and that you appreciate their time immensely!”.

Congratulations. This will work every single time as long as you avoid correcting them when they say something foolish in the future. Let someone believe they are better than you and you can bet everything you have that they will happily hang out and give you more of their advice.

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Updated for 2016 and beyond.

*As Usual Absolutely No Questions, No Clarifying Questions Either. They Will be Deleted with ZERO Exceptions. Interesting Value Additive Comments are Always Welcome.*

Comments

  1. Young Manhattan says

    Loved the post!

    Two comments:

    1. “You’ll be forced to realize that perception and branding is just as important as the product itself.”
    – I just met a man who owns two companies – one is a supplement brand. To reiterate on this point you made in the post he said albeit 2-3 words “perception in supplements is 100x more important than the product as long as it functions”.

    2. “When you are meeting new people you should ask them questions you already *know* the answer to.”
    – I would think the one exception to this is asking a “natural” or very looking guy for the basics on getting girls when he gets tons of them. Even though he gets tons of them, he may not be able to explain the basics for obvious reasons.

    Again, awesome article!

    • Wall Street Playboys says

      1) correct. Supplements are a good example so is clothing. The material is practically the same and it’s usually up to the logo/brand.

      2) this actually emphasizes the point (unless we mis-read it). If a good looking guy can’t even explain the basics then you know he doesn’t even know the basics. Not a big deal, just befriend him using tip number 10 to get access to a new group.

  2. Marko M. says

    Once again, great article!

    “Let People Tell You How to Succeed! ” – this can be a good tool for filtering people that can save your time. It’s not that hard to conclude whether person has an average mindset or not.

    I think that real questions regarding this is – How did i meet a regular person? How often do i meet these kinds of people? How to avoid them in the future?

  3. SV says

    Dope post as usual. As someone in tech, one obvious point comes to mind.

    Everyone (read: mainstream) thinks a startup’s value comes from the idea. e.g “Wow you’re starting a company… what’s your million dollar idea?”

    The people who are really owning shit (million $+ startups) realize that the initial idea is worth almost nothing in comparison to product-market fit, sales and iteration. Execution is everything.

    Also curious if anyone knows of any resources similar to WSP for those of us in silicon valley? Obviously WSP is great, but examples for tech entrepreneurs/engineers would be much more relatable.

    Cheers,

    • Wall Street Playboys says

      This a far far far cry from anything tech related (thanks for the complement though). We don’t know anything about it unless it is regarding marketing. That cat left the bag (sales/marketing) a year ago.

      Luckily your questions are addressed to the audience! IE: not wasting our time…. We get 30+ a day straight to spam eventhough we explicitly stated we won’t answer anymore (Thank you for reading).

      • SV says

        Haha didn’t mean to imply it only applied to tech.. only that it’s also prevalent there. I know Felix Dennis has already beat the idea to death in his book 😉

        Thanks to everyone for the shared resources, especially Julio (10/10 response man.. I wish I knew more people in tech like you).

    • Mid20s says

      Very true SV, the more mainstream startups become, the more idiots they attract.

      I haven’t found anything close to WSP, but if you are into SaaS, Jason’s saastr.com is the next best thing for me.

      Great post again WSP, long time no see

    • Julio says

      Kind of unrelated, but there’s an old blog post that I feel should be required reading for every CS / EECS / IT-related senior college student, be it from the US, Japon, Mexico, or Central African Republic.

      It’s titled “Don’t Call Yourself A Programmer, And Other Career Advice” by Patrick McKenzie (http://www.kalzumeus.com/2011/10/28/dont-call-yourself-a-programmer/).

      To quote a couple of lines from it:

      * “There’s nothing wrong with this, by the way. You’re in the business of unemploying people. If you think that is unfair, go back to school and study something that doesn’t matter.”

      * “You probably don’t want to be first employee for a startup. Be the last co-founder instead.”

      * “If you really like the atmosphere at universities, that is cool. Put a backpack on and you can walk into any building at any university in the United States any time you want. Backpacks are a lot cheaper than working in academia.”

      * “This is how the game is played. If you feel poorly about it, you’re like a batter who feels poorly about stealing bases in baseball: you’re not morally superior, you’re just playing poorly.”

      I think that applying that kind of specific career advice, in conjuction with the life philosophy of WSP and Mike from D&P, can give one a huge advantage in the tech sector, as the average tech nerd is practically living the alternate version of the “Day In The Life Of A Loser” (http://wallstreetplayboys.com/a-day-in-the-life-of-a-loser/#comment-52291).

      Anyway, here are 2 examples of ways of doing things differently, that I have learned from this corner of the web, and that have given me an edge among my geek coworkers:

      1) Commit yourself to hearing “no” at least two times every day: most tech nerds were straight-A students so we’re terrified of making “mistakes” or even worst, “failing.” The truth is you can never get an A+ in real life. Never.

      2) Work smart *plus* work hard: most tech nerds were straight-A students so we only know, either “work smart” (as in “hack your term project only two days before it is due”) *or* “work hard” (as in “pull an all-nighter”). How about working hard (10+ hr/day) *and* working in a smart way during that time.

      • says

        As an SEO professional, I never tell people I do SEO. I’m an “internet marketing specialist.” I offer “online marketing.” Too many scams have ruined “SEO.”

        “Think different” is not the same as “thinking differently.”

        Apple famously coined the first – as in, said “thing” is DIFFERENT from what you are used to…this is not the same as “change the way you think.”

        This would make the image incongruent with the post title. But now I am just playfully trolling.

      • K__S says

        The funniest thing is how aggressively those nerds attacked the author.

        “I *love* everyday I get to get up in the morning and write code. It’s the one thing my entire life that fills me with so much happiness I sometimes think I don’t deserve it. ”

        I love washing and cleaning stuff (seriously), so according to this, instead of choosing the right career for me (talent & skills) and building a business on the side, I should become a janitor?

        This is a common theme in IT in my country – a scarily large group of people say “I don’t mind if I’m severly underpaid as long as I do what I love”.
        Well your boss does and so does his brand-new Jaguar, if you don’t want it, somebody else will take it. Some of them will even straightforwardly vilify you if they see a more business oriented attitude.

        Before I found you guys (WSP), I thought I’m the one who was insane. The fact that I’d get 20% of what I’m worth at best, is something I simply cannot swallow but surprisingly, 90% of others don’t have any problem with it.

  4. Jay says

    I found you deleted my comment, but I don’t ever recall you playboys holding Q&A sessions. Sad I wasted time writing that, but thanks for spending your time helping us (And yourselves I suppose since teaching is learning).

    • Wall Street Playboys says

      We hold q&a’s once a quarter on twitter.

      Maximum twice a quarter.

      We will hold one again when the questions are no longer repetitive. So far same questions different day… Which have been answered in the past on this blog.

      1) the only person who loses time by answering the same question over and over again is us. Not worth it.
      2) we don’t answer questions we don’t know
      3) we have stated no more questions unless in a Q&A every single post for the past 3-4 months and it is clearly laid out in the start here section

      Much more efficient and prevents a slew of unrelated comments, we have no interest in boosting the “comment count”.

      • James Hunt says

        For real, most questions can be answered with the information already posted here. After a while you gradually develop the same mindset ( as described in this article) WSP has after reading all the articles. Therefore if you can think like WSP you pretty much have the own answer to your question. You are most likely looking for validation or permission to execute on your idea, or just lazy to use the search bar on the top right of this page. WSP won’t be around forever to hold your hand, you gotta come up with your own creative answers too. So from now on think WWWSP, what would wallstreet playboys do? That is the answer. Google is your friend too.

  5. says

    Like, like, like. Completely agree 99%. The 1% left is not that I don’t agree, is that I believe, what you say sometimes is just not possible to manifest. I explain myself.

    In an ideal world, we (the critical/smart thinkers) would not like to hang out with average people (as you call them).

    I am afraid though that, what you describe is wishful thinking. Since 90%+ of the total population have an inferior mindset, it is almost impossible to avoid such interactions.

    You might have used to live and interact in a “superior” all-Alpha Wallstreet environment but for good or for worse not all people have built such an environment yet.

    I know it is our fault 100% if we haven’t, but the truth is that something has to be done in parallel until this environment is built.

    What I suggest is decrease those “harmful” interactions to an absolute minimum (when not possible to avoid them entirely). Even if someone thinks that a bad mindset has no effect on him, believe me, it HAS.

    Subliminal messages of stupidity, “betaness” etc. affect us on a subconscious level, a lot more than we think.

    Cheers.

    • Wall Street Playboys says

      Ha! There are very few “alphas” on Wall Street. Whatever that means.

      Most guys are run by their wives. That is the case in all industries (Wall Street is no exception) and has been covered in the past many times.

  6. mk says

    Threw my first AdWords ad up in 2012.

    Naturally (or not?) I assumed no one would click it – I mean, I never do. I pre-funded it like 80 bucks, slept, and was shocked to see it burnt through the cash in 24 hours.

    To loosely quote a get-girls-via-manipulation ‘guru’:

    The people making the impulse purchases are not you. It’s the woman with 4 screaming kids at Walmart who, at this point, is just trying to cope with life.

    Seriously spend a few hours at Walmart, you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about. Yes it’s sad, but oh boy it’s very, very real (very).

    Anyways I get my credit cards cut off frequently because I buy shady sh-t online (like grayish SEO stuff, not like silk road or something – mind you).

    I was so tired of calling the damn fraud departments’ 1-800 that a few weeks ago I hopped on Amazon to verify if a card was cut or not.

    So I was browsing Walmart 2.0’s stock, and started to feel like the guy standing in the Campbell soup aisle trying to decide which one of 183 flavors I wanted (they all taste the same, anyways). I mean I was suffering from a serious case of that paradox of choice thing.

    Quite frankly, I didn’t *need* anything. I don’t understand how people do it……..now I have some sweet backup headphones, I guess.

    It was that or laundry detergent.

    PS: Unrelated but, due the nature of this blog, I may not be (immediately) written off as “paranoid.” In the last 3 months:

    – I have not been on Amazon
    – I am in a new city
    – I was accessing the internet publicly // not under my name
    – I am on a new computer that I am 100% positive has never been on Amazon
    – The only (chrome) browser addon I use is adblock & I do not use any desktop apps except skype

    What did I see when Amazon loaded?

    “Hello mk”

    Seriously?

    Anyways the robocalls are already scooping up the elders and teenagers (and McDonald’s clientele) with targeted “your credit card [brand] has been compromised, press 1 to save your sh-t (and then *confirm* your card).”

    Wait till the smart // bad people doing this figure out how to auto-populate names into the script, or even worse improve the AI.

    I know some very, very smart tech folk who assure me it’s starting to get scary in said field.

    • says

      You’re using Chrome, first mistake, and since Google’s products are so convenient i assume you use gmail?

      Adblock blocks ads. It doesn’t prevent tracking.

      Try firefox in “porn mode” (private browsing). Install Adblock, and more importantly install Noscript. Block EVERYTHING by default then allow trusted websites one by one.

      Tracking you will be (a little) harder then.

  7. says

    Once you reach a certain point, it is impossible to do anything on your own. We all need help. There are experts in every single specialization. The one skill that people will always pay for more than any, is being able to bring those specialists together in a meaningful way.

    As a CEO or MD, you shouldn’t even try to “know everything.” You have to ask for help. You must rely on help. You develop the skill of “how to ask people and find information quickly and efficiently” rather than learn everything yourself.

    As a leader, I often say, “I don’t know shit about this” – and then ask the experts, hear them out, and use my brain to make the best decision.

    This empowers people, brings them closer to you and helps you succeed faster and more easily.

    The only thing that matters is the best idea, not where it came from.

  8. Grivendal says

    I have seen many young people(including me) forget that they are not unique.Although not everyone is equal,everyone has some similar reactions,meaning that if you feel anxiety,anger,tension etc etc,know that everyone in this room probably feels the same way.Use this knowledge to make friends,meet chicks, get good first impressions etc.

    For example,first day at college no one knows anyone and everyone feels anxious.You know how everyone feels.Take advantage.Be mister personallity,everyone will like you just because you talk to them as it makes it less akward.(Meet with everyone and connect.College is for you to get good with socializing.Don;t get all picky and arrogant.)

    You will notice that the more you succeed,get more responsibillites and generally the more experience you get,your emotional reactions will differ from the average people.BUT you will still know how people think!Thats why you need a life.You need to get in touch with all kinds of people.

    • Wall Street Playboys says

      Entirely agree.

      Chances are several hundred (even thousand) people have achieved exactly what you want out of life. Pretty easy to find the right people to model your life after (and listen to) once they are located.

  9. says

    Great post

    Paying for help is something I’ve learned a great deal over the past few months.

    In business and fitness, a few expensive hours spent with a lawyer/trainer can save you HOURS AND HOURS of wasted time and efforts.

    If you are not an expert, use an expert, and pay up

    Also if someone has helped you immensely, let them know beyond just a payment (christmas gift, card, something), ALWAYS BENEFICIAL to make someone feel great about helping you out.

    • Wall Street Playboys says

      Yep, the wasted time of “trial and error” is not worth it at all.

      If you can get help and know you won’t use it as a primary source of income, you’re simply wasting time figuring it out instead of paying up.

  10. JC says

    Awesome post. Been reading this blog for a year and a half, went from 0 to 100 pretty hard about January.

    The biggest thing I’ve learned from you guys is the importance of sales. I tried to learn how to code last year and it was like punching myself in the nuts over and over. When I stopped that and started focusing on my natural sales ability, everything was easier and more effective. Started a physical product business and it’s blowing up (investors, distribution, etc)

    Thanks for writing, please don’t stop.

  11. Natural Gas Desk - Houston says

    God damn… It’s been a minuite since the last post haha.

    Excellent advice as per usual, thank you very much for posting, forced me to reflect on my own ways of thinking. Happy to say that I am able to avoid falling in line with the ways of thinking of the masses (i.e. Sheep). I think a huge part of it is due to the people I am surrounded with in both my professional environment as well as my social group. It’s *HUGELY* important to drop contact with regular people and losers at common intervals and re-evaluate the time you spend with certain people.

    After all spending time with anyone is an investment of your most valuable asset — time — so it better be god damn worth it and you better get that high ROI. I’ve always said a time waster is 100x worse than someone who drains your $$$ — money can be made back but time is gone forever.

    • Wall Street Playboys says

      Absolutely, you can’t get be time back.

      You end up speaking and acting in a similar way to the people you spend time with. Do your best to avoid contact with the unhappy and unsuccessful.

      You actually explained why we nixed the questions issue we have had on his blog. The comments are improving in quality and we’ll find a way to only answer questions posed by smart people in the future.

  12. says

    Great post. A good example who you can benefit from taking another road of thinking than most people do. If you get used to your own way of thinking it not only becomes easier, but you will also enjoy yourself more and be more successful.

  13. Rafael says

    Another example:
    Don’t follow someone’s advice just because he is old (or older than you), succesful people tend to grow wiser each year, but losers tend to get dumber and more bitter with time.

  14. Mid20s says

    Not so much thinking, but rather acting differently…

    It seems that by simply being reliable and doing what you said you were going to do (as you recently tweeted) puts you in the top 10%.

    It has been heartbreaking and frustrating how even supposedly “veterans” are so freakin unrealiable, lazy and apparently incompetent.

  15. a says

    I’m starting to realize there really are no excuses.

    I’m at a “nontarget”, 23, about to graduate, really mediocre GPA, and my industry just crashed (oil! weee!).

    I started messaging someone who was making 250k OTE in software sales, where a mil a year isn’t unheard of (on reddit of all places). From a post 2 years back on reddit.

    He told me what he did to get there, and even let em send him my resume for a position. Then told me the path he took to get there.

    If fate is on my side, within 5 years I’ll be making 250k a year (to a mil…). Otherwise I’m looking at a smooth 100k+ in engineering sales if I don’t hit those numbers.

    Either way I win. There really are no excuses.

    (I’m typing this as my roommate is running his company from his bedroom nextdoor working 16 hour days).

    There’s always a way. Find it and hustle.

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