I’ve been reading Choose Yourself by James Altucher these past few days. While reading, this paragraph really stood out to me and caught my attention. As soon as I read it I knew I just had to write a post and share it:
You no longer have to wait for the gods of corporate America, or universities, or media, or investors, to come down from the clouds and choose you for success. In every single industry, the middleman is being taken out of the picture, causing more disruption in employment but also greater efficiencies and more opportunities for unique ideas to generate real wealth. You can develop those ideas, execute on them, and choose yourself for success.
Do you see how powerful and significant that is?
This personally really resonated with me.
Think about it, we live our whole lives on other people’s terms. Playing by other people’s rules.
From the time we were kids. To the time we tried to get into College (applying for many and most hoping to get chosen).
Then we get into the job market and apply for many jobs and hope to get chosen. This continues throughout our career. How many people have gotten overlooked for that promotion when they know they were the most suitable candidate and they were hoping to get it this time after having been overlooked the last time.
Or maybe you go to the bank and pitch your business idea or you want to borrow money to buy a house, hoping the bank will approve your loan.
Heck even in your dating/love life – have you had a romantic interest whom you just hoped would feel the same way about you? (I’m going on a slight tangent here but the point is instead of hoping and praying you should just focus on making yourself a person of value that people will want to enter into a relationship with). It’s kind of like what Einstein said many years ago:
Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.
If you do that, success will follow.
But I diverge. Back to the main point.
Essentially what James is getting at is that today we live in a New Economy. We are in the Digital Age. And that means that the Old Rules of the Old Economy no longer apply.
What are the Old Rules of the Old Economy?
The Old Economy is characterized by Gatekeepers, Middlemen as well as large Centralized Organizations who effectively had a Monopoly on the Means of Production.
Consider this example. In the past if you wanted to be a published author you would have to write your book, then submit it to numerous of the large publishing houses and hope and pray they would publish you. In other words you had to pray they would Choose You. If you were somehow “lucky” enough to be in the small percentile of people that got “chosen” you would have to sign away a good chunk of your ownership rights in your book. They basically own most of your book now and effectively just took a big cut of any proceeds of the sales of your book. Worse still, if you were a first time author you would often get an even poorer deal.
Yet you would still agree to their terms because you simply couldn’t do it without them. They own the distribution network and have the marketing budget. Good luck trying self-publishing back then during pre-Internet days…
This was the same with most fields. If you wanted to be a singer, actor or get into film or video editing you would have to apply to all the Gatekeepers (“talent scouts”) and be at their mercy and whim. They owned all the big brands and platforms and audiences.
In stark contrast, the New Economy is characterized by the Decentralization of the Means of Production. In many industries (especially digital products) the cost of distribution has dropped close to zero.
Today you could just make a video and upload it onto YouTube. Or if you were an author, you could self-publish on Amazon. If you had some skill you could sell your services on Elance or Upwork and as Gary Vaynerchuk often says, “the cream will rise to the top” – in other words if you are good enough today (if you make yourself a person of value), you don’t need to wait for others to Choose You.
Today you can Choose Yourself.
Just a quick update on what I’m working on next: I’m writing a guide (kind of like a cheat sheet) called How to Make Money Online (or Offline). It’s in large part based on inspiration I got after finishing The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau. Don’t want to give too much away so look out for that.