Inevitability

A note to my future self…

Today I was listening to two of Tim Ferriss’s podcasts back-to-back. One was with Chris Sacca (well-known investor) and Caterina Fake (well-known entrepreneur + investor). I think that it was fascinating to hear these two episodes back to back because the takeaway was rather clear – successful people believe that their success is inevitable.

I think that this is a tricky state of mind but one that deeply resonates with me. Let’s start with the main issues with thinking that your success is inevitable:

  1. Arrogance: you can get too cocky by drinking your own Kool-Aid
  2. Conformity: “knowing” that you will be successful might actually make you less ambitious because you already “know” you will win.
  3. Short-sightedness: you might stop exploring alternative because you know that your current path will “guarantee” you success.

Tools for Thinking about Success

Now, despite all of these drawbacks I still think that thinking about success as inevitable is the ideal way to frame your efforts. Here’s why. If you follow a system rather than some arbitrary goal and you get enough chances at bat, then you will inevitably have some amount of success. Probabilistically it’s just very likely.

The issue is the that the clock runs out for most people before before they get a system in place and 1000 chances at bat. They either give up or for some reason they’re no longer able to pursue their objective (e.g. they die ¯\(ツ)/¯). Understanding this has been a huge relief for me because it has given me a logical and mechanical way for understanding that success is inevitable.

Another tool that has helped internalize that success is inevitable is a simple question that I ask myself. Whenever I catch my brain freaking out about something that isn’t working I ask myself:

“Things have always worked out in the past. You have always figured it out. Why would it be any different this time?”

This question is super powerful because it acts as valve to relief a lot of pressure on my brain. Asking this question automatically surfaces all the memories of times in which I have figured it out, which gives my brain evidence to say “see here are all the times you have figured it out. Now chill out”.

Takeaway

I think the key takeaway for me is simple – success is inevitable. It will take a lot of work, effort and failure to get there but we will get there. It’s not a matter whether it will happen but when. This is not some raw-raw self-talk (although that’s useful at times). We have the tools to get it done. Now it’s just about doing the work(:

Now back to work…