How to Get Ahead of 99% of People

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How most “get ahead of 99% of people” advice is useless

There’s been a recent trend of videos popping up online claiming they can put you ahead of 99% of people. The advice typically includes things like setting goals, being more disciplined, and eliminating distractions. Strategies like waking up at 5 AM, meditating for hours, or going into “monk mode” are often touted as surefire ways to get ahead of the pack.

But when you think about it, much of this advice is useless for actually becoming more successful than 99% of the population. Goals? Having goals is not exactly rare – even your mailman probably has some goals. Being disciplined and removing distractions? Those things alone didn’t propel people like Bill Gates to the top. If you look at the habits of insanely productive people, waking up early and having tunnel vision focus are not universal traits.

The reality is that if a habit or mindset is common knowledge – if there are hundreds of YouTube videos and blog posts about it – then by definition it will not make you more successful than everybody else. Because if the majority of people are willing to do something, then that thing cannot be your competitive advantage. It cannot be what vaults you into the top 1%.

To truly blow past 99% of people in your achievements, you need to be willing to do something rare and extreme that most are not willing to do. You need to go against the grain and think differently from the herd.

To get ahead of 99% of people, you need 3 things:

1. A contrarian idea

Most people will go through life without ever questioning conventional wisdom and coming up with an original idea of their own. They just accept what they’ve been told about how the world works and follow the status quo.

But to be in the top 1%, you need to be part of the small minority of people who actively think for themselves and develop beliefs that go against the mainstream. You need to be willing to disagree with the crowd.

Coming up with a viable contrarian idea is the first essential step. Without it, you’re just following what’s already been done.

2. To be correct about that idea

Here’s the hard truth: most contrarian ideas are dead wrong. Of the few people who bother to come up with unconventional concepts, most are completely misguided in their beliefs.

So it’s not enough to just be a contrarian. You have to be a correct contrarian. Your idea can’t just be different – it has to be right. This is far more difficult because you have to be willing to disagree with everyone AND have the clarity to see something valuable that no one else can.

For your crazy idea to change the world, it has to be grounded in reality, not fantasy. It has to align with how things truly work, not how you wish they worked. Being correct is vital.

3. Execute massively on it

Even if you have a great contrarian idea, that alone is worthless if you don’t do anything with it. You need to have the courage and commitment to act decisively on your beliefs.

It’s not enough to just say, “Wouldn’t it be cool if…?”. You have to be willing to devote years of your life and withstand tons of criticism to drive your idea forward. You have to go all in and risk it all to make your vision a reality.

Having the right idea is crucial, but you also need relentless drive and resilience to execute. Massive, sustained action is required to go from thought to tangible achievement.

Downsides of extreme success

Before you get overeager to leave 99% of people in the dust career-wise, it’s important to understand some of the downsides that can come with extreme success. Being at the pinnacle of an industry sounds glamorous, but has definite drawbacks.

– Nobody likes contrarians, even when they’re right

Human psychology has an unfortunate kink – we tend to resent people who turn out to be right after being contrarian. Even if someone’s crazy idea makes them incredibly successful, people still hold it against them for going against the crowd.

So expect a lot of haters and critics even after you’ve “made it”. You might gain wealth and status, but don’t expect much additional love or approval. The validation you crave likely won’t come.

– You’ll be incorrectly contrarian many times first

For every correct contrarian belief that pays off big time, you’ll likely have dozens of utterly wrong non-consensus views first. Your journey will be littered with embarrassingly stupid notions that turn out disastrously.

You have to be willing to spew total bullshit and be utterly mistaken for years before you finally land on the right breakthrough concept. Developing the clarity to have the one correct contrarian idea is a messy process.

– Success doesn’t necessarily make you happier

There’s a fantasy that becoming massively successful will fill some void and finally make you love yourself and your life. In reality, huge success tends to amplify your current emotional state rather than fundamentally change it.

If you’re already prone to anger and depression, massive success will typically make you more angry and depressed. If you have great relationships, then success will deepen those bonds. But it won’t heal you or fix internal issues.

Happiness comes from within, not external achievement. Don’t expect business accomplishments to solve your psychological problems. That ship has sailed.


– Extreme success shouldn’t be the end goal

Being highly successful can ironically become destructive if it’s an end in itself rather than a byproduct of pursuing what’s important. Don’t just chase status and wealth for the sake of it.

Aim to follow ideas you truly believe in and contribute real value to people’s lives. If success naturally flows from that, great. But don’t make it your god. Chasing validation through achievement is hollow.

– Focus on pursuing ideas you believe in

Let your motivation come from challenging assumptions, testing theories, and advancing society – not just from fame, approval, or big numbers in your bank account.

Ideas have power and consequences far beyond just making money. Follow what you believe could truly change the world for the better – success will follow naturally from that conviction.

The people who alter history do so because they tenaciously pursued what they believed was right and important, often in the face of scathing criticism. Get-rich-quick schemes won’t cut it. Aim for fulfillment, not just billboard charts and mansions.

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