We’ll use the back of this couch, here. This is you. Can you? Are we filming that?
Maybe, I don’t even know if this is going to be worthwhile, but we’ll say this.
“The best way to get involved, to get started in anything is to be willing to work for free. Internships to me are the path to anything.” – Neil Strauss
A lot of people come just to hear what they already want to hear like codify this into five principles I can then apply to my life.
I know so many people who think they want to appeal to everyone by being generic and universal and you appeal to nobody.
Evan: He’s an American author, journalist, and ghostwriter. He’s best known for his best-selling book, “The Game: “Penetrating the Secret Society of Pick-Up Artists.”
He’s a contributing editor for Rollingstone and also writes regularly for the New York Times.
He’s Neil Strauss, and here’s my take on his Top 10 Rules of Success.
Rule number two is my personal favorite, and make sure to stick around all the way to the end for some special bonus clips. Also as Neil is talking, if he says something that really resonates with you, please leave it in the comments below and put quotes around it, so other people can be inspired as well. Enjoy.
Rule #1: Choose Anything
Here’s my advice, just choose anything. It doesn’t even matter just choose anything. So here’s an example if you’re, so I wish I could almost draw it, but I’ll tell you what, like.
Let’s see what can I use as a. We’ll use the back of this couch here. This is you. Can you, are we filming that?
I don’t even know if this is going to be worthwhile, but we’ll say this.
This is you, right, and you’re like, “I don’t know what to do. “I’m not sure what to do.” And you’re just sort of sitting here doing nothing, right? This little white stain. I don’t even know what it is.
It’s Lamar Burton’s back sweat. Is that his name? Lamar? LeVar Burton. I don’t know, it could be anyone’s sweat right there. So that’s you, that little piece of sweat, toiling and trying to decide what to do, but then just choose freaking anything.
Let’s just say, “Oh, I want to be an actor.” Just, who cares? Maybe you don’t. I don’t know. Just choose one thing.
“So you choose one thing, and now you have a goal.” – Neil Strauss
Right, just choose a goal. It doesn’t matter now. Maybe you’re going to start going to auditions.
You’re going to auditions, and then wait, you got a job, but it’s a voiceover work. It’s a, or maybe it’s on radio. You get a little radio gig, so now you’re like, “Oh, radio’s fun. “I’m going to be a radio host.” and that’s your next goal.
And then you get a call to do like voiceover on a cartoon or something here, and you’re like, “Okay, I’ll be a cartoon voice,” and guess what, now you’re actually moving, and maybe you will end up being a you know the voice of whatever, you know, the next Pixar movie or something like that.
Interviewer: Eugene Mirman. He’s a voice in Bob’s Burgers.
Yeah, yeah, exactly, along with. There’s somebody good. John H. John Benjamin, is that his name?
He was also in Home Movies. He was great, anyway.
The point is like just just choose one thing to move toward, and then the path, and then just go with the path, and you’ll end up somewhere.
If you’re standing here trying to decide what to do, you’ll still be here in a year, two years, three years, four years. Just choose something you kind of like and don’t hate, and then start moving toward it, and you’ll find that the course and path of life will bring you exactly where you’re supposed to be.
Rule #2: Don’t Chase Money
Interviewer: So you’ve sort of arrived at these different approaches to writing, what was the first to your mind, like the first writing piece that you did that kind of put you on the map. Where, not like, I’ve arrived, but you’re like, “Okay, I actually, I actually could make this work “or I could actually really be good at this.” Or wow, I just got recognition for this piece. I mean, was, were there any sort of defining moments in your career as a writer?
Yeah, I think, I mean I don’t know. I’m not, yeah, I mean the things that I remember like I was like by the way, the best way to get involved is get started in anything is to be willing to work for free.
Yeah, yeah. Internships like to me are the path to anything and I mean I could really think being. There’s definitely a lot of people who are entitled, basically, I have some words to say, but anyway.
If you want to live in your passion, whatever your passion is, you have to be willing to not make money at it. If you want to do what you love, you’ve got to do, you have to, you have a choice.
You can choose money or you can choose what you love that. Joseph Campbell has a great quote that I always use. I don’t know if you guys know this, the. Joseph Campbell, so “The Hero with the Thousand Faces.”
Yeah, the great kind of professor of mythology, but he said, “The insecure.” Have you guys heard this? “The insecure was is the secure way.” You guys have heard that quote?
And what it means basically is, you know, my parents, and I’m sure like most people’s parents say, “Get a good job, try and make some money, “make a good living,” and because they think that’s secure.
If you make, go and make money, but if you do a job and you make money and lose that job, then you lose the money, you have nothing.
Interviewer: Right, right, right.
What he says is you choose your passion.
“It actually doesn’t matter whether you make money or you lose money because you’re always going to have your passion and be happy, so it doesn’t actually matter.” – Neil Strauss
Interviewer: And that’s your safety net.
Right. And but the challenge of that is it might be eight years or four years before you’re actually making a living at it. Versus, versus something else.
Rule #3: Deal With Criticism
There’s four things when someone gives you feedback or criticism however it’s intended, whether ill or positive, and so one is not to take it in, but to kind of catch it.
I think of like a catcher’s mitt. If you tell me something, you come across this way, I’ll grab it, and I’ll look at it, and I’ll think, okay, is it true? If it’s true, cool, I’ll put it in and learn from it. If I think it’s not true, cool, I’ll throw it away, no harm, no foul. I’m not going to dwell on it, right?
And I think everybody needs this in this world because we’re all on, most of us are on social media, and we’re all getting like, you know, all our thoughts are getting picked apart, you know, all the time, so we really need this more than ever.
Then the third one is, you get it and it’s a maybe or I’m not sure. You said this about me, I’m not sure.
You know, what do you guys think?
You know what do you think?
I’ll ask my friends, and I’ll ask other people and get some feedback, and if it’s true, cool, maybe I’ll learn from it. If everyone’s like this is total nonsense, ignore that dude, I throw it out.
But then there’s a fourth one, and this is where the real growth is. Do you know what the fourth one is? I don’t. The fourth one is, you get it, you throw it out.
I’m talking to you, and then maybe later I’m talking to, you know, you. I get it, and I’m like nah, it’s not true, and then later I’m talking to someone else. I get it, it’s the third time it’s come back to me, I throw it out.
I’m like, wait, maybe I got to take this thing a little more seriously, and it becomes a maybe, and then it becomes a yes, and that’s when the big growth thing is because you kept ignoring this thing that was in your face, so the best feedback, like where you really grow is you keep getting the same feedback, you keep dismissing it, at some point you say, “wait, maybe they have something.”
“The best feedback, like where you really grow is you keep getting the same feedback, you keep dismissing it, at some point you say, “wait, maybe they have something.” – Neil Strauss
So one way I do this is I get together a group of people, and we sit together once a week, and talk about the … stuff going on in our lives. I find group therapy really powerful because if it’s just one on one, I can say I just disagree with you, but when four or five people are saying, “Hey dude, no you’re really coming off like that,” or you’re really having this problem in your relationship and maybe need to look at it, and five people are saying it like it’s pretty hard to dismiss them.
Rule #4: Be In Touch With You
I know a lot of my friends have written really, really successful books, and even I wrote a book called “The Game,” which has probably sold like millions of copies, and really when I wrote it, I thought nobody would read it. I thought nobody would read it, but I thought, this story’s so crazy I just have to tell this story.
So these things that seem you can spend all your time trying to engineer the perfect thing, and the truth is, we have no control.
We just don’t know what’s going to work or what’s not going to work. For example, a lot of marketers say to follow your audience, see what your audience wants, and the problem with following your audience, for those of you who even have audiences already, I’ve seen it, it can become a trap because all your audience knows is what you’ve done in the past.
“They don’t know what you’re going to do in the future, so if you’re following your audience, you’re already trapped. You know, your audience should be following you as you move forward through life, and it gets harder.” – Neil Strauss
And again, because I talk to so many musicians, you think, okay, is it true that as musicians or artists get older they just don’t get as good ’cause they’re not young and in touch any more. It’s not really true.
What happens is they get trapped in their own success. They get trapped in what their audience wants of them, and they get trapped in having responsibilities.
So sort of being in touch with you and going where you want to go and not being afraid to leave people behind is what’s going to actually make you a leader.
Rule #5: Don’t Take Things Personnaly
“Here’s the secret to life. Don’t take it personally.” – Neil Strauss
Not just for pickup but for life in general. Everyone’s a jerk to you someday, and when someone’s an asshole in the street and bumps in to you and says, “duff,” it’s not about you, it’s you know, he’s a jerk.
If you have a day and you lose your job and your girlfriend breaks up with you and you crash your car, the world doesn’t hate you, you just had a bad day.
So same thing, it’ll make life so much easier if you don’t take it personally, which means that as you go in this world your friends are not going to tell you the truth about the things that are really wrong with yourself, so as you enter this world and you talk to guys, you’re going to find out what your problems are and what they aren’t.
When they tell it to you, don’t take it personally. You think about it, and you got to have this filter inside. I think this is what allowed me to excel.
You have to have this filter inside that takes in all criticism, not personally and not judgmentally, you take in the criticism you think, “Is that true?” You take a hard look at yourself, and if it’s true, you work to solve it and change it.
If it’s not true, you just throw it out and move out because as you go there, we’re here because we’re admitting we need something better in our lives.
We’re here because we’re admitting we’re a little bit broken. There’s something we need to learn we haven’t. So as you do it, you want to take in all the criticism that comes in and work on what you need to work on, so don’t take it personally.
Rule #6: Be A Great Story Teller
Interviewer: How do you think of yourself? How do you describe yourself? And I think about this because words matter, and I know that we’re all becoming a bunch of hyphens, like I consider myself a photographer, director, entrepreneur. I’m getting tired of it. How do you describe yourself?
I mean if I had to say like one thing maybe it would be a storyteller. I just like to tell really great, compelling stories that if it’s a book, you can’t put it down. If it’s a movie or a TV show, you can’t turn it off. So to me, it’s the art of storytelling, which I think is probably one of the oldest human art forms there is.
Interviewer: Yeah, like caveman times, they’re like sitting around the fire, even like that’s what cave paintings are, right? They’re scratching out a story.
I always encourage people. This is probably true for people listening right now that people love to read nonfiction. They want to get a book that’s going to tell them what to do and a bulleted list of what the should or are supposed to do, but I really believe that the mind learns through metaphor.
Right, that storytelling is to learn how you learn the roles of your tribe or your culture or the world or about being a human being, you learn through metaphor, and I really think we undervalue storytelling this like quick fix culture.
Rule #7: Manage Your Time
Oh When Tim said that I’m, you know,
“I’m very methodical about time management because it’s so hard to do.” – Neil Strauss
So the first things, I’ll give you a couple of important life changing tips for anyone trying to do something creative on the computer.
So number one thing is no e-mail in the morning. Like number one thing is there’s a program called Freedom that I downloaded, and it says. And I love the word freedom because actually what it is, it says, “How many minutes of freedom do you want?” You say whatever it is, 90 minutes, and then you cannot access the internet for 90 minutes. There’s no unlock code. People are gasping. You’re all going to use it, yeah. There’s no unlock ’cause the first thing I do is phone, I give to someone else or put it in a drawer somewhere. It’s best if I give it to someone else.
Internet goes off, and I commit to that amount, a certain amount of time, so my thing is that it’s compartmentalizing. That if you’re going to check your e-mail, check it from four to five. They have a, there’s a, someone wrote a book, which I never read that’s called, “Never Check Your E-mail in the Morning.” You don’t, I don’t know if you’re going to read it or not, but just know the title, and that’s really great.
It’s great, but the thing is with time, it’s to become proactive about time instead of reactive because I know so many people who can’t do anything because you’re getting a message on Facebook, and then you’re getting a, an e-mail, and then you’re just reacting to that because it feels like you’re getting something done.
At the end of the day, you got nothing done, so I, what my thing is I’m really, and everyone knows that I’m proactive about that to the degree that, and by the way I’d have Facebook and Twitter blocked on my computer.
What I did is I downloaded Intego Content, I think it’s a content barrier, whatever it is.
Interviewer: The rest of time can be used.
Net Nanny. Net Nanny can be used to block specific sites.
And I had someone else put in a password for those sites, so I don’t even know the passwords, so I couldn’t get into Twitter or Facebook if I tried. So finding those things that are those and putting walls between you and them or limiting them in certain ways.
There’s one other thing I was going to say was. Oh, which is, friends can be a pain in the ass if you’re trying to be creative, and if you have more than seven friends, and everyone wants to see you one day a week, what do you do?
So another thing I want to say is I do a Wednesday night dinner party, so if my friends want to see me, I’m like, “Great, Wednesday.” If someone wants a meeting who I’m not sure about, Wednesday night, so Wednesday night, we all go to a restaurant and basically, whoever I want to see or catch up on, I’ll see them there, and then maybe afterward I’ll break off with my closer friends, but that way, I can see everyone, people who I want to meet with, but I don’t really want to take the time for a lunch or meeting one-on-one. If I like them I talk to them a bunch. If I don’t, I put them far away.
Rule #8: Have Humality
“Humility is the most important thing that you can have to work for change.” – Neil Strauss
If you really want to have a big change. A lot of people will come just to hear what they already want to hear like codify this into five principles I can then apply to my life.
You know you get your codify is the word, and I’ll codify, I’ll codify some self-awareness for you. But humility to recognize you know, what got you here won’t get you there as the saying goes, right?
And to say at some point, if you really want to change and you’re really stuck, “I know nothing, I’m letting go of everything, “and I’m sort of going to relearn “as with like a childlike mind.”
Rule #9: Be In State Of Joy
We treat ourselves horribly, we talk to ourselves in ways that we would never, ever allow a stranger to talk to us. We take your self, if someone in here walked up to you and said, “You’re not interesting,” “You’ve got nothing good to say,” “You’re not enough,” “You’re not attractive,” you’d be like, “you …, mother ….” Right?
So, why do we allow ourselves to talk to ourselves that way? Right, so there’s sort of a message that I will give you guys today as I’m trying to help you get over approaching anxiety, is start treating yourself the way you want that person you’re approaching to be treating you, right?
If she says that she, she’s not going to say anything half as mean as the … you’re telling yourself. So you have nothing to fear anymore, right? ‘Cause you all have given yourself the worst of it.
If I could give you like one thing this whole weekend, it’d be to stop talking to yourself this way. So every version has this course while I aim action.
You may feel like you’re getting nothing but rejection, right, but where is that coming from? Like you were saying earlier, if you’re giving someone more worth and value, higher status than yourself, you’re loving them more what is that saying?
That’s shame, shame about who you are, shame that you’re not worthy to talk to this person. Shame that this person somehow still has some power over you or is going to hurt you, and that you’re not enough. That you’re not good enough. That you’re not attractive enough. That you’re not rich enough. That you’re not socially comfortable enough or too awkward, whatever it is.
That’s shame about who you are. And what happens, right, your shame when you walk in turns to joy.
“So the whole idea is, if you’re going to approach from a place of joy instead of a place of shame, you will have no approaching anxiety.” – Neil Strauss
And that’s what we call, what I call and they call having an A game day is being in state. You’re being in state, which is just really having joy. So they walk in and you walk up, and you’re like, “Okay, all right there are all “these people, and they’re going to approve of me, “and if they approve of me, I’m going “to feel good about myself, and if they don’t approve “of me, I’m going to feel … about myself, “and I’m going to go out and put my self-esteem “in the hands of every stranger I talk to.” You’re just setting yourself up for trouble.
You know, you can push past it using a lot of this full mentality of love, but you’re starting off with a giant, giant handicap.
Rule #10: Don’t Hold Back
Don’t hold anything back.
When someone asked Heidi earlier what had really worked for her, she was like, I think you said like, “Sharing my feelings.” Is that what you said? And I find that so many people when they’re going to write, they just want to show like a glorified side of themselves that everyone can relate to.
There’s a quote from Carl Rogers, the psychologist, who says, “The personal is the universal.” I know so many people who think they’re going to appeal to everyone by being generic and universal, and you appeal to nobody, but if you talk from your heart, and you say the most personal stuff, the stuff you’re scared.
By the way, the only book, reason my books, I think are successful is ’cause I say the …. that I’m too scared to tell my friends or tell people. Somehow I can write it, and when you write it, people read it, “Oh yeah, I relate to that. “No one’s said that before, but that’s exactly what I’m, “what I’m going through.” So don’t hold back.
There’s a difference between just vomiting emotion all over the page. It still has to be, follow the number one rule of being interesting, right, but the stuff you’re too scared to tell everyone, that’s the stuff you should be writing about and sharing.
And that thought that you think maybe is going to get you unliked, and it’s a scary time right now in the culture because everything, we get instant feedback on everything, right, everything we write, we get instant feedback.
We know everybody’s opinion, which if you don’t have a rock solid sense of who you are and what you’re doing can lead to just trying to conform and be liked, and I promise you.
I wrote a book called “Everyone Loves You When You’re Dead,” and the reason, it was interviews with celebrities because when you’re dead, you’re no longer competition. As long as you’re here, right?
“If no one doesn’t like what you’re doing, then you’re probably not doing anything interesting. Right? If everyone, if you’re only getting positive feedback, then you’re probably not doing anything new or interesting” – Neil Strauss
So let some negativity be a sign that “Okay, good, I’m actually saying “something new and something meaningful.”
Evan: Thank you guys so much for watching. I made this video because James Esler asked me to. So if there’s a famous entrepreneur that you want me to profile next leave it in the comments below, and I’ll see what I can do.
I’d also love to know what did Neil say that had the biggest impact on you. What lesson did you take from this video that you’re going to immediately apply to your life or business? Leave it in the comments. I’m going to join in the discussion.
Finally, want to give a quick shoutout to Phanta Media. Thank you guys so much for picking up a copy of my book, “Your One Word” and posting that great picture to Instagram. I really, really, really appreciate it.
So thank you guys again for watching. I believe in you. I hope you continue to believe in yourself, and whatever your one word is. Much love. I’ll see you soon.
Make People Care
Number one rule in writing is this. Nobody cares. Nobody cares about you. They don’t care about your thoughts. They don’t care about your ideas. They don’t care about what you have to say, what you did yesterday, or anything. They do not give a ….
And from there can you make them care?
“Everything I write, I assume that nobody cares, that they have no interest, and if I start from that perspective, and if I can draw you in through the writing, that’s where the story begins.” – Neil Strauss
So just assume, start by assuming nobody cares, and how can you draw them in to your story or your point.
Number two then, one way to draw them in is something called the open loops.
Who here knows what an open loop is?
Cool, has anyone seen the new Doctor Strange movie?
Anyone seen that?
Cool, Kyle you saw it, so is it good?
Okay by the way, that’s an open loop. An open loop was I asked you what an open loop was and then rather than explaining it, I went on to another subject and talked about Doctor Strange or something. So an open loop is, I can start with something that captures your attention and 98 percent of you didn’t know what an open loop is. You’re probably curious about it by now because I’ve been talking for two minutes and still haven’t explained it yet, right?
An open loop is that at the top I tell you something that you’re interested in and you want to know the answer to and wait ’til the end. How many times have we just stayed through a really … movie just ’cause you want to know what happens at the end, right?
It can be the worst movie ever, but I want to know how that happened, right? So an open, so one is to use the idea of open loops, and it’s true in relationships.
You meet somebody you have a lot in common with, and you start telling all these stories. You want it to continue. So an open loop is a great way to create intrigue because we’re creatures who love storytelling, right? Early, early, storytelling is part of our sort of our DNA, so creating open loops at the top of a post or in a book is really powerful.
So yeah the best, I’d say the best advice for anyone who wants to write a book is literally, the best way to write a book is to have a looming, impending deadline with hard, real world consequences for missing it.
Tim: Stakes, remember stakes, guys? Honestly.
Yeah, did you know I put out stakes?
Tim: Yeah, you need stakes.
Like stakes to be–
Tim: I talked to–
Day old diet or the S-T-A-K-E-S?
Tim: Oh yes, stakes. This is, yeah not like. Stakes like vampire stakes but for consequences.
And I think that.
Tim: That’s something that a media coach said to me recently, and they were like when you say stakes, and you have a book called “The Four Hour Chef,” they’re going to think you’re talking about steaks.
But I think if you can’t do it, you manufacturer it. You talk about it at stake.com, and things like that, but I really know that literally, you know Tim’s always, Tim would be calling, and I would be calling Tim saying, “I got to get this in. “I got like three months. “I can’t do,” but literally, if we didn’t have those deadlines you wouldn’t have written three books in this amount of time.
Interviewer:It would never have happened.
It would never have happened. Yeah, so you have to, so I’ll do that if a friend of mine wants to write a book, and they want me to proofread it or take a look at it, I’ll say, “I’ll take a look at it, but what date are you “going to get it done by ’cause I’m going to hold you to it,” and they’ll say, “January.” I say, “If it’s not done by the end of March, “I’m not going to read your book at all no matter what.”
So I’ll give consequences and deadlines to my friends, so it’s a good way to write is to really if you don’t have a publisher or a deal or something like that, find some real consequences that’s externally imposed.
Learn From Your Mistakes
You have to learn from your mistakes. No, I have this attitude that no situation is impossible.
There is nothing impossible. There’re just contingencies and obstacles to get around, so if I went out and I’m just trying to think of obstacles. – Neil Strauss
Let’s just say you did an opener, and she’d heard it already. You did your line, and she’d heard it already because your friend just approached her with it 10 minutes ago. Do you run screaming? Maybe that happens the first time. The second time you say, “If that happens again, what do I do?” You say, “Oh my god, you must have met my friend. “That’s really funny.” “We were just talking about that,” and problem solved.
Whatever it may be, say you, any problem has a solution, so I kind of have that attitude. You know, what if she’s with eight guys? What if she is on her way out the door?
Any problem is going to have a solution. So you have to have that attitude, and if something goes wrong, and I’m saying this in a positive way, not a negative self-esteem way, but if something goes wrong, it’s always your fault.
That’s what I feel like. I’m not being hard on myself if something goes wrong, it’s never her fault. She’s not a bitch. She is not mean. She is not uptight. I did something wrong to make her uncomfortable.
So for example with the openers, I would start walking up and saying, “Hey guys, I want to get an opinion on something. “I got this question I’m trying to ask. “Can I start asking it?” But I noticed they weren’t really listening. They were tuning me out. They were kind of giving me bad body language.
So I realized what are they thinking? Why is that happening? Well it’s happening because I’m standing around. They don’t know when I’m going to leave, so I added what’s called a time constraint. I’d walk in, I’d say, “Hey guys, “I want to get a quick opinion on something. “By the way, I can only stay for a second “’cause I got to rejoin my friends over there.” You know, problem solved.
So any time something went wrong or was I coming. Maybe I would do everything, and I felt like I was doing it perfectly, but people weren’t interested.
Well I was doing it, doing all the right things, but I was doing it in a very needy way. A lot of people will read the material, and they’ll say, “This doesn’t work.” Everything works.
What I say is going to be different than what Zan says and different than what someone else says. It all works. You just have to do it right.
So for example, the opinion openers we’re talking about. The opinion opener is how you start a conversation. If you go and you say, “Can I ask “you a question on something?” And they say, “No, we’re talking. “Get lost.”
Well the opinion openers don’t work. You just did it wrong. You walk and you say, “Hey guys, I want to ask a quick question on something.” Now you haven’t asked them a yes no question, and it’s going to work, so there’s so many little subtleties. Did that make sense?
Okay. So there’s so many. I saw someone looking at me strangely. So there’s so many little subtleties that you have to work in, and it’s always, always going to be your fault that it’s not working.
Not in a negative way, and not in being hard on yourself. It’s feedback so you can improve yourself.
That whole idea that there’s no such thing as failure. There are only learning lessons. – Neil Strauss
So that’s what I did, but you know what, I’m a guy who’s hard on myself, but I’m hard on myself because it makes me excel usually.
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