Stop trying to work you way to the top by being everyone’s friend: it doesn’t work. And on top of that, it’s not honest. Because, you can’t be everyone’s friend. By definition. So instead of that, you’re gaming the social structures for your own benefit. To get up. It’s misaligned, one-sided and predatory. It’s not how friendship works.
Joe: There’s a lot of people that have the distorted misconception that this business is all about finding the right connections and then you have to work those connections and that’s how you get into the business, that’s how you get famous.
Alonzo: Although some people do that.
Joe: Yeah, but they’re not good.
Alonzo: Yeah, that’s not talent, it’s backstage salesmanship, it’s being everyone’s friend.
Joe: One thing that does happen for sure is that you find someone who’s really funny and you go “who’s that dude hanging out with?”. And then you find out “oh he’s got friends that are funny”.
But you gotta be talented, because if you’re not.
We all have those friends that we were friends with back from like 15 years ago who are not really that good, but you’re still kinda friends with them. And they’ll be like “hey man, why don’t you take me on the road with you?”. — Hey man, how come you never work on your fucking act. Hey man, how come you’re not really a comedian.
Alonzo: You know the people I admire? The people who weren’t funny, who got funny.
Alonzo: Because I think I was pretty funny from the start but I know some people who just weren’t. Because you kept doing it.
Joe: Hammering at it.
Alonzo: Yeah, when nobody believed in you. And maybe you weren’t funny. You were just bombing. But you knew there was something there and you kept doing it. I admire that. I think that’s a lot harder than being funny and just going out and being funny.
Joe: I think you’re right. I don’t wanna name any names but I know a few guys that are like that. They are just incrementally got better. And then you know kept chipping away. And then once they started developing real confidence, then it started taking off for them.
— Joe Rogan Experience #704 @ 2h15m
Learning a skill, becoming good at something, has a much higher return in the long-term than trying to get ahead by socializing, networking, and social salesmanship. There’s a definite short-term return of being everyone’s friend, because it gives you connections and people “perceive” you as the cool guy/girl. But that only lasts until they figure out that you’re just good at one thing: knowing people. Sure. But who cares, really?
Because 2015 called, and we can succeed in most stuff without knowing anybody. Just doing stuff. Making stuff. And not playing bullshit bingo at some conference or network event.
Do you recognize yourself here? You think I’m a dick. I get it. I know. But you probably know I’m right. So, go work on your skill set. Real skills. Learn to make stuff. Get better and people will value you for what you are, not for who you know.
And that imposter syndrome you had all those years? Yeah, by sheer magic, it’ll disappear.
Success comes from working hard and building your skills for many years, maybe decades.
You work day in and day out to make something great. Music, art, software, whatever it is. That’s how you become good.
It’s about your output. So just become great at whatever you do. That’s all that’s necessary for success.
P.S. I'm on Twitter too if you'd like to follow more of my stories. And I wrote a book called MAKE about building startups without funding. See a list of my stories or contact me. To get an alert when I write a new blog post, you can subscribe below: