Success is My Video Game

Success is My Video Game

Some of you will remember how I recently wrote that a big key to success is just showing up…

And then I gave plenty of examples of times where salespeople I’ve interacted with haven’t shown up at all…

Which is hard for me to understand, because it seems like they’re costing themselves so much money.

Well, I got a bunch of replies to that email…

And one of them was from Tony Ostian…

Who asked me why I thought it was that most salespeople are so crappy.

My initial impulse was to answer back that it’s because humans are fundamentally lazy…

And I do believe that…

But yesterday, I was thinking about this more deeply…

And I had some interesting ideas and insights, which I’m going to jot down here:

In a capitalistic society like ours…

Laziness is viewed as a sin.

The reason why…

Is because whether consciously or subconsciously…

Most of us subscribe to something called the Protestant Work Ethic…

Which is a phrase that was first termed by sociologist Max Weber back in 1904…

Success is My Video Game

To describe the Protestant values of hard work, discipline, and frugality.

Max Weber argued that those Protestant values and capitalism go hand-in-hand…

And, I’d say he’s right.

Which is why today, we often celebrate grinders and hustlers.

We tend to love stories about people who bust their ass for years before finally making it…

And there are countless books written about discipline.

In the world we live in today, laziness is NOT a virtue.

But, it’s worth noting that this wasn’t always the case.

In the early 1900s…

Success is My Video Game

At around the same time Max Weber was coming up with his idea of the Protestant Work Ethic…

Many looked at more leisure time as the ultimate goal of humanity.

This includes the famous economist John Maynard Keynes…

Who predicted that, thanks to improved productivity and technology…

There would be an explosion of leisure time in the next 100 years.

Keynes went so far as to predict that one of the great problems for humanity would be how to use our leisure time in a meaningful way…

Success is My Video Game

And, when we look at Keynes arguments through the lens of 2019

It’s easy to think he was wrong.

Why?

Because as Valerie Ramey and Neville Francis from the UK’s National Bureau of Economic Research point out…

On average, people in the West have the exact same amount of leisure time today as we did in 1900…

Success is My Video Game

So statistically, leisure time hasn’t increased one bit.

But, here’s the thing…

Statistics and averages never show the whole picture…

And, as the University of Chicago economist, Erik Hurst has found…

While today’s “rich” are working more than they have at any other point in history…

There is one portion of the population where the opposite is true – this group has more leisure time than ever before!

Success is My Video Game

Who is this group?

It’s so called ‘low-skilled” men without a college degree who are between the age of 21 and 30…

And, according to Erik Hurst…

22% of these men have not worked at all during the prior twelve months.

In fact, when Hurst looked into how they spent their time…

He found that about 75% of this group’s leisure time goes to playing video games…

Success is My Video Game

Which, I’m pretty sure wasn’t what Keynes had in mind when he wrote about leisure time almost a century ago.

Here’s the thing though…

What Hurst also found…

Is that this “lazy” group of men reported higher levels of satisfaction in their lives than their counterparts did a few decades ago…

Even though in the past, employment rates were about 10% higher for this group.

So, at least on paper, for these unemployed and unskilled men who typically live with their parents, don’t date, and have very few friends…

Laziness = happiness!

And, while it is fair to say that laziness is antithetical to the idea of the Protestant Work Ethic…

Who’s to say that the Protestant Work Ethic is really that great in the first place, ya know?

After all, it seems more likely that our natural state is one of laziness…

Not one of uber-disciplined productivity.

And anecdotally, there are lots of examples in nature supports this idea too…

Success is My Video Game

Because if you look at most animals…

Whether lions or primates…

They’re productive when they need to be – like when they need to find food, or they want to mate, or they need to protect their offspring…

But whenever they don’t have to be productive…

They’re lazy AF.*

You’ll never see a lion or a gorilla who says:

“Well, I’ve got all of this free time on my hands, let me find some busy work to do!”…

And, there’s probably a good argument to be made that human beings are the same way…

Because while we’re more intellectually evolved than other animals…

At the end of the day, we’re still animals nonetheless.


Okay, so does this excuse the behavior of lazy salespeople?

Success is My Video Game

No, but it does perhaps explain their behavior…

Because if we agree that all humans are fundamentally predisposed to a state of laziness…

And we agree that all salespeople are humans (duh)…

Then it follows that all salespeople are fundamentally predisposed to a state of laziness too.

That’s basic logic and not at all shocking.

But, realizing this has me reframing the way I think about people…

Because I’m always shocked when people are lazy.

When really, maybe I should only be shocked when they’re NOT lazy…

Since that’s the real deviation from the norm.

And, here’s a final thought….

Everything I’ve written further reinforces my point from the previous email…

Success is My Video Game

Which is that if you want to succeed in sales…

Simply show up.

You may have to go against your fundamental nature at first…

But that’s what all of those books on discipline are for, anyway…

And over time, discipline forms habits.

Or, don’t show up…

And, if you decide that’s your preference, it doesn’t make you a bad person.

It’s your choice.

I know for me personally, though…

Given the state of our capitalistic society today…

The way it’s configured and the rules that exist…

I like the fact that, if I simply show up…

Stay disciplined…

And act with consistency…

It’s going to put me in a position to live the kind of life others only dream of.

I guess success is my video game…

And, because I’m pretty good at ‘showing up’…

It often feels like I’ve got the cheat code to this game in my hands…

Which is kind of cool.

Okay, that’s it for now.

I know this one may have been a bit intellectual…

But, at the end of the day – I’m just going to write about what is interesting to me…

And my hope is that more often than not…

You’ll find these topics interesting as well.

-SPG

*An obvious exception to this stuff about animals would be insects – bees, ants, etc. My counter to that would be that we’re a lot more similar to gorillas than we are to most insects. In fact, the famous and Nobel Prize winning biologist, EO Wilson, once wrote that if aliens ever showed up to earth, it would be ants that they’d find to be truly fascinating, not humans. The reason why being is because ants act differently than almost any other animal in nature. Considering that Wilson wrote the definitive scientific study about ants, it was appropriately titled The Ants.

P.S. This post originally came from an email I sent to my private list. If you want to see more stuff like this from me, you can apply to join my list using this link.

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Stefan Georgi

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