53 Ways To Be A Loser

Sometimes I feel like I’m moments from becoming destitute. In reality the last time I’ve been remotely close was when I was about 21 and I had somewhere in the vicinity of $200 left to my name.

It was stressful, but not entirely.

Since I was living with my Parents at the time I didn’t have to worry about much, but I still had these odd day-dreams of negative bank balances and eating trash. Those thoughts spurred me to learn more, to hustle, and to take focused action. In that way thoughts of dumpster diving and freeganism (eating trash) were useful.

Since that time I’ve never struggled to put food in my gullet or a roof over my head. Yet I sometimes still have this nagging voice in my head that won’t let up. A voice I could argue keeps the hustle alive, but can also let a loser mentality bubble to the surface.

I think this is common amongst entrepreneurial types. It’s easy to get caught up in mind games when you’re consistently challenging yourself. When this month looks worse than last month or next month looks great, but you’re not there yet. Or when you spend a lot of time on a project and it goes belly up.

Most people aren’t cut out for this lifestyle. They see the end results, not everything else that goes into it. It’s that “everything else” that separates the winners from the losers. The linchpins from the whiners and crybabies.

A bit of a tangent: These mind games might be why you’ll find many entrepreneurs and high-level executives take drugs like Adderall and its ilk. Most won’t talk about it, but it’s more common than you think. Which is why I respect guys like Tim FerrissDave Asprey, and Dan Andrews who aren’t afraid to discuss stuff that might be taboo to some.

This is more of a warning post than anything. If you find yourself in a lot of the 53 things listed below your life isn’t what it could be. It probably sucks. (It doesn’t have to.)

Note: The links below are not there to look pretty. Click on them. You’ll learn more.

Let’s get to it, how to be a loser:

  1. Don’t work on your craft every day. (Includes weekends and holidays.)
  2. Expect handouts and instant success. Feel entitled.
  3. Forget about the 10,000 hour rule, don’t even put in 1,000 hours.
  4. Don’t learned the fundamentals. (more on this next week; subscribe)
  5. Complain.
  6. Use your job/spouse/dog/anything as an excuse.
  7. Consume information, create nothing.
  8. I’ll do it tomorrow.”
  9. Watch TV more than you read.
  10. Don’t hold yourself accountable.
  11. Don’t reach out to people.
  12. Don’t help people get what they want.
  13. Don’t test.
  14. Don’t make mistakes.
  15. Buy $5 lattes, but don’t spend $100 on web hosting because wordpress.com is free.
  16. Don’t seek help from mentors.
  17. Don’t seek help from peers.
  18. Ask for help before you make a real attempt at figuring it out yourself.
  19. Tell yourself your past matters.
  20. Criticize often.
  21. Tell yourself your age/sex/location matters.
  22. Stop learning.
  23. Treat your body poorly.
  24. Look for an instant fix for everything.
  25. Think short term.
  26. Don’t write.
  27. Don’t speak your mind.
  28. Don’t take breaks.
  29. Don’t show gratitude.
  30. Don’t tip.
  31. Watch the news.
  32. Believe the world is scary.
  33. Start arguments.
  34. Go too easy on yourself.
  35. Go too hard on yourself.
  36. Don’t question your beliefs.
  37. Think, “I’m above this.”
  38. Hit a woman.
  39. Don’t get good.
  40. Live in fear.
  41. Care too much what people think.
  42. Don’t care enough about your craft.
  43. Don’t learn from your mistakes.
  44. Spend more than you earn; go into debt.
  45. Don’t travel or experience new places and people.
  46. Don’t ship.
  47. Talk more than you listen.
  48. Gossip.
  49. Don’t take chances.
  50. Be cynical.
  51. It’s too difficult.”
  52. Don’t take responsibility.
  53. Give up.

Giving up before it’s time to give up is the sure sign of a loser. Read The Dip for more about when to give up and when to forge ahead. It’s my favorite book by Seth Godin.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not stating that if you fall into some of the above categories once in a while you’re a loser. What I’m stating is you’re letting the loser mentality creep up on you. Let that happen at your own peril.

Hopefully I did my job and this lit a small fire under your ass. It did? Cool. Share it on facebook or twitter (right now, before you forget):

Samith

I always like your posts Karol, this one gave me a wry chuckle. But numbers 1,3 and 7 hit home and reminded me that I need to pay the price of admission if I want to get to where I want to head..

Thanks mate :)

Karol

Yup, those are biggies. You’re welcome Samith.

Joel

Agree – 1, 3, 7 are big ones for me also. Especially 7 – I love to learn even if there is no immediate result or application.

Here were a few others that would be meaningful to me also. They are challenging for me too.
- Fail to be “in the moment” when present with those you love or who are close to you, either work, social or family.
- Multi-task.
- Neglect the spiritual, whatever that may mean for you.

Karol

It’s more useful to “neglect the spiritual” than to embrace it so I would not add it to the “loser list.”

Brittany

I agree that neglecting the spiritual can be useful, perhaps as long as you are fully expressing all aspects of your being. If you feel balanced, neglect away!

If you feel out of balance, perhaps you do need some Jesus/Krishna/Mooji in your life but only to remind you you can be however you want to be.

I personally am practicing not multitasking because it’s TOO easy. And it’s a cheap fix for my intellect.

Karol

“fully expressing all aspects of your being” – this is one of many issues. What does this even mean?

re: multi-tasking. The truth is humans can’t multi-task. We only think we can. Lots of research into this. A good, easy-to-read, book is Brain Rules. (my favorite book I read in 2011)

Tim Starchuk

Normally I’m not one to comment on a post but this article did manage to light a fire.

Karol was right, it probably should have been called “53 ways Tim is a loser”. Before I read it I figured there would be 1 or 2 points that I could be working on, one of those probably has something to do with eating meat. I was wrong there were 19 items I need to work on. Even the wealth of info from the links was amazing.

Thank you for giving me a blueprint for self improvment and building new habits this year.

Great post!

Karol

Glad you enjoyed it Tim. And shit! I forgot to include stuff about not eating meat. :)

Ed

This makes me wish I was a regular tweeter. Some female ought by rights to tell you: “I wish you were my brother.”
This of course is brilliant and contains much I should have used. The biggest thing for me I’m sure is implicit in several places here or stated: It’s GIVE GIVE GIVE. Give of yourself, give a smile to somebody, help out on a forum ‘for no good reason’ etc.
You’ll get few unsubscribes with stuff like this…All the best to you.

Colleen

Karol, I wish you were my brother!

Karol

haha

Rebecca

Ok number 15 hit home but, since this is an experiment for me and I just want to see if I even like having a website. Then again I usually dont buy $5 lattes except for maybe once a week if even that. Thanks for the 52 ways they are very awesome except you might have forgotten one which would be think the world is always fair.

Thanks.

Karol

They’re supposed to hit home. Glad you enjoyed the list Rebecca.

Kacper

A little bit off topic — speaking about costly mistakes, I just found this one: http://snag.gy/jNnmb.jpg. It might not be a $30,000 one, but still… :)

Karol

ha, that happens pretty regularly … tough to gauge how badly it hurts the bottom line, but I’d guess it definitely hurts

Joel

Great stuff, Karol. Describe your reasoning behind #31 some more (not that I ever watch the news … just curious how it wound up on the list) – is it media bias, better sources elsewhere (online or NPR), inherent focus on bad news and “gloss” of topics / lack of substance, all of the above … ? Thanks.

Karol

Mostly all of the above. Just because it’s NPR doesn’t mean it’s useful or positive. They might present the same news in a more interesting way, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s the same news. And it really depends on what you’re referring to. RadioLab, for example, I wouldn’t call news, but it is NPR. I’d file that under “educational program” – it’s done phenomenally well though the usefulness of it is, again, negligible.

Wayne

Karol, this is an amazing post – absolutely amazing! My hat is off to you. Thank you!!! I am printing it off to review it daily – sooooo much wisdom.

Karol

Thank you Wayne.

Aitch

Great list Karol. Hey….11 out of 53 ain’t that bad is it?

Karol

Nope, it helps to have specific things to work on. I actually wrote this post for myself because many of these things creep on me. I could probably find 11 right now as well. Except the “hit a girl” thing which is vile and I added it to break everybody’s pad. “What is this doing here?”

Norman Wright Jr

I really enjoyed this post. I feel like this a lot… I think are you are right in that a lot of entrepreneurs feel like this OFTEN – LOL

Great post.

Sheila

Great post Karol. I have to admit, I am letting the loser mentality creep into me because I’m doing some of the things that you say DON’T and I’m not doing some of the things that you say DO. Thanks for the coming up with this list.

Rob LaRue

Thanks for the fire. Just what I needed to hear right now!

Lee Barton

Still working my way through the list and trying all the links. I’ve enjoyed it and learned some interesting things. Thank you for #30! I’ve worked at many different service jobs, and I feel I know something about a person by the way they tip. A decent tip is good karma! Ideally, of course, I’d like to see wages for everybody that are decent enough that tips aren’t needed.

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