I’m 45; and just getting started. From drifter to serial entrepreneur, from University dropout to Growth Hacker, from an average student to successful advertising agency owner, it all happened because I live my life in pursuit of ambition.
It was 1991, I was 19 and there I was failing miserably at Uni having only just scraped into the course in the first place. I was bored and restless. And I hate failing.
So I decide to do something about it. It was a recession and there were no jobs to be had, so I bought a bucket, a sponge and some car wax and went door to door offering car washes. I ended up with two staff members and one day the Managing Director of a local advertising agency, whose car I washed, asked if I could do some deliveries for him.
So I expanded my business to include courier driving. Over time that agency MD offered me the position of assistant to the receptionist and I worked my way up from there (and married the hot receptionist).
Today I run three advertising agencies billing in the tens of millions of dollars. I stayed the course, put in the hard work and positioned myself in the right places to succeed. Fuck what anyone else says. I wanted to do it, so I did and you can too: Dream, Believe Achieve.
Now let me tell you this story in another way.
I come from an upper middle-class home. I went to a fancy school. I’ve never had any real disadvantages and had everything handed to me on a silver platter; I’m white, male and Anglo-Celtic; so naturally when I got to Uni and had to motivate myself, I failed miserably. I used to wash a few cars with some mates on a Friday and deliver ads to newspapers to get some beer money for the weekends. Luckily for me my dad owned an advertising agency so when I got kicked out of Uni, I had a job to go to.
Now, I do own some ad agencies, and they are doing well, but not because I willed them into existence. Not because I out-worked anyone. I worked just as hard as anyone else, no more, no less. I took a few little risks going out on my own, but it was an easy decision that made financial sense at the time.
I prefer the second story. It doesn’t paint me in the best light: but it is true. I prefer it because I hate those wankers who think because they’ve had a few lucky breaks that they are somehow amazing and that if you listen to them, you can be amazing too. I hate their insinuations that they somehow wanted it more than you. I hate how they position good fortune and happenstance as them being more awesome than you. They’re not. They are just better bullshiters than you are. They are hot air and ugly vanity.
Beware of a story well told. Beware of a white middle class male telling you how to get ahead (unless you are one). Be a sceptic. Be humble. Sit down. But most of all if you have to listen to them, don’t give them what they want, adoration, attention and validation.
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