Hitler was a Great Leader
It's a bit of a gamble that opening heading. I have been listening a lot to inspirational speeches and motivational talks recently, I think they always help to give you a bit of a kick when you’re feeling flat or tired. Now I’m not suggesting that I sit in a dark room and listening to the musings of Der Furher, yet on a recent trip with my Uncle we got to talking about The Great Satan and instantly agreed on one thing: he was a tremendous leader. Now you could say he was a bastard and a murdering psychopath, but he was also a man with a vision, a man that could inspire and motivate the people to his will.
The Reason for War
People can easily place blame at Hitler’s door for the Second World War, but it’s not necessarily the case. The root comes from the First World War, a non-sensical stupid war fought over very little in which millions of people died horribly. Germany was simply agitating for a fight. But the outcomes of that were that the Germans suffered economically which drove a hatred of the established elite, of those with money that were seemingly surviving the great depression. But it wasn’t only Germany that suffered, stock markets around the world had tumbled, America was foundering on the brink through their depression in the 20’s and 30’s, with Steinbeck Grapes of Wrath probably one of my favourite books on the subject.
But what has Hitler got to do with motivation? Because it’s the agitation. The niggling bit inside of you that says you deserve and demand more. It can be aimed at simply making money, needing the power to change yourself or others, proving your doubters (including yourself) wrong, but there is that niggle, that drive, that something in side of you that burns. There is something inside you that says you need to achieve something. But everyone has different goals, and it’s useless saying that “everyone wants to own their own yacht”. Sure, I’ll take one if it’s offered but I get sea-sick like a mother fudger, so anything that bobs up and down on the water would be useless to me. What do you want to achieve?
Passion vs Curiosity
I have been listening to various podcasts recently, The Tim Ferris Show is probably my favourite given he has interfaced with lots of interesting people and puts himself on the line in search of progress. Tim isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I find him amusing and engaging. The constant advice people tend to have, especially if you have well-meaning and incredibly lovely parents like I do, is follow your passions. But how do you know what your passions are? Not everyone, in fact very, very few people or young adults know exactly what they want to do. This is why JK Rowling was a researcher and secretary. This is why Einstein was a Patent Clerk. Richard Branson was a Bird Breeder. They may not have known their passions, but they were all curious about something. What are you curious about? You may not know, but dig into it. What do you find interesting enough that you want to know more about? Prepare yourself for this journey to take time, it might even take a year or two of research, but you’ll find something that will set you on fire (Ed - let’s hope it’s not petrol, eh?). If you want to write or become a race car driver, you don’t have to quit your job and go in full-time. Dip your toes. Try it. No one decides to set-up cake stand without at least learning how to make a cake first.
You need to know that whatever path you choose, you are going to get rejected. The first thing any budding entrepreneur will say is “yeah, but those guys weren’t me”. That’s true: they were and are much, much smarter than you. There will always be smarter, prettier, taller, faster, stronger people than you. Don’t scoff, just accept it. Prepare yourself to get rejected. A lot. But you need to have the drive inside of you to push on. How much drive is needed? Apparently, Gone With the Wind was rejected by 38 publishers; Walt Disney was turned down 302 times before finally getting financing for his dream; KFC founder Colonel Sanders was rejected 1009 times before finding a taker for his chicken recipe. 1009 times. Two questions on that: first, who the hell keeps count of a 1009?; secondly….1009?!
Getting the Best Advice
We live in an incredible age. The internet, which is basically one large social media hub, has brought the world closer together than ever before. A network of minds, of inter-activity, of accomplishments, of failures, of sharing (and oversharing) and communicating. Oh and it’s stacked with boobs and porn, too. Essentially we live in the Communication Age. Never before has the lives of people we deem successful been documented and analysed, and more importantly, been available. Through various platforms, you can access advice from the Penniless to Billionaires, people that are at the very bottom and the very top of the game. How incredible is that?! Advice from those that lost everything could be very insightful, but not probably as useful than those at the zenith. No one shouts from the top of the ladder, “how do I get down from here?” You can get their advice on the property market, stock market, sports, DIY, history, art, music, anything you can think of. You have the ability to surround yourself with the greatest living minds anywhere on the planet, and mostly for free. Sure, if you want to go more in depth, buy one of their books or audiotapes or in some cases, attend one of their seminars, go for it. That takes investment and time, and I’ll talk about that in another blog post.
So what does it really take?
Every one of the great thought-leaders, writers, innovators, technologists, visionaries, CEOs and financial wizards all have a few things in common. Strong habits. Dedication. Commitment. Some of these guys and girls may have just walked into jobs that their parents bought them, but they will be few and far between. Most have worked their asses off. And then worked again. It is simply grinding. There are two lovely sayings I hear on podcasts and motivational pieces, so I won’t try and pas them off as my own. The first says “when you’re lying flat on your back, if you can look up, then you can get up”. The second is from Richard Branson when he had a recent biking accident that almost killed him, saying that “even when I’ve fallen flat on my face, at least I was moving forward”. The former is interesting, purely in relation to Elon Musk as I was researching this article. I don’t know Elon (pah! I wish I knew Elon!) but he does come across as a socially awkward person lacking in charisma. It comes as no surprise that he was bullied as a child, but so much so that the bullies threw him down a flight of stairs and beat him until he lost consciousness. But what Elon does have is a vision, a why. And his why is progress. Elon makes bold statements which he delivers on, and people follow those that inspire.
Writing and writing...