If you are saying “I’m not good at anything” or “I’m not good enough” then there are 2 possibilities:
- You are right
- You are wrong
Let’s find out which is the case:
1. Decide if it’s an opinion or a fact
A fact is something that is consistent with objective reality or can be proven with evidence.
An opinion is a belief or judgment about a particular subject which is not based on complete certainty.
People often confuse opinions with facts and beat themselves up for mere opinions which may or may not be true.
- Fact: You are fired from your job.
- Opinion: Your life is ruined.
Reality: There are millions of people who found a better job or built a business after getting fired from their jobs.
- Fact: You are single.
- Opinion: You are undesirable.
Reality: There are millions of desirable people who are single.
Opinions are subjective. They don’t necessarily reflect reality. If you think you are not good at anything or you are not good enough then you must analyze where these beliefs are coming from.
Did the opinions of your parents, teachers or other authority figures make you feel inferior? If that’s the case, I can safely say that any and all of those opinions are wrong because here’s the truth:
The people who instilled in you those beliefs are likely to be average or below-average people since the majority of the people are average or below average. The opinions of average people don’t count. If their opinions mattered then they wouldn’t be dabbling in the cesspool of mediocrity.
The average person has no business giving advice because if his advice was valuable then he wouldn’t be average himself in the first place. Moreover, average or below average people hate to see someone else succeed because someone else’s success would remind them of their loserdom.
It’s highly unlikely that your beliefs are coming from the opinions of successful people because successful people know it’s perfectly possible to suck at something now and master it with a few months or years of effort. They also don’t hate to see others succeed.
Of course, there’s the strong possibility that you, in fact, are not good at anything or you are not good enough for the goals you want to accomplish. If you are positive that these are not subjective opinions but cold, hard facts then don’t fret and read on. You are light years away from being hopeless.
2. Give the middle finger to societal norms
Society has powerful shaming mechanisms to bully you into living a normal life.
If you deviated from the normal trajectory of
- Go to school
- Get a college degree
- Find a good job
- Get married
- Have 2.5 kids
- Drown in debt trying to raise the kids and keeping up with the Joneses
- Live in constant fear of getting fired from your job
- Retire at old age (if that)
then society will do its best to make you feel inferior. Never mind the fact that following this trajectory is a surefire path to inferiority.
Societal pressures exist to make sure that you conform to the norms and they are extremely effective. Most people are unable to resist the pressure and they fold into leading a normal life. The problem is that living a normal life sucks.
Normal is to be a wage slave until you are too old to enjoy life. Normal is to get married and hand your fate into the whims of a woman who can divorce you with impunity. Normal is going neck-deep in debt to buy expensive cars, homes, and other status symbols on credit and hope that you never get fired from your job or the economy never tanks. Normal is to retire at an age when you no longer have the energy and vitality to enjoy your freedom.
The only way to live a great life is to give the middle finger to the societal norms, break the rules, and live on your own terms.
Society won’t be there to help you in court when you are getting divorce raped. Society won’t be there when you die a thousand deaths every day in your soul-crushing 9 to 5 job. Society won’t be there when you get fired from your job and still have a mountain of bills and a mortgage to pay. Society will not only shamelessly bully you into living a normal life that’s bound to suck but also it will expect YOU to be ashamed when you step out of the line.
There’s no shame in refusing to be a slave. If it’s the societal norms that are making you feel not good enough at anything then you can give the middle finger to them and build yourself a great life that’s far above normal.
Sure, it’s not easy to build a great life, you have to work hard for that, but enduring a normal life is harder and you pay the price by wasting your entire life in misery. Unapologetically ignore the societal norms and proceed to be a great man.
3. Stop with the destructive self-talk
Criticizing yourself and accepting your shortcomings is necessary for growth but there’s a difference between destructive criticism and constructive criticism. Constructive criticism focuses on the solutions whereas destructive criticism focuses on the problems.
The only way to solve your problems is by focusing on the solutions, not by focusing on the problems.
Destructive self-talk is harmful because we are hardwired for consistency. We strive to ensure that our actions are consistent with our thoughts. If you constantly keep telling yourself that you are not good at anything or you are not good enough then you will do anything to prove yourself right.
Be vigilant with your self-talk. Reframe your self-talk in a way that helps you to focus on solutions.
4. Skill is more important than talent
Talent is inborn, skill is acquired. The majority of successful people who are believed to be talented are not talented but skilled.
If you are not good at anything, that doesn’t mean that you can’t be good at anything. Nobody gets it right at the first try. Getting good at something takes repeated practice reinforced with the right kind of education.
You didn’t learn how to walk without repeatedly falling flat on your ass. You didn’t learn how to speak without butchering the words. When we get to be adults, we forget about how many failures it takes until we get it right. We grow up to be terrified of making mistakes and embarrassing ourselves in the process which cripples our ability to learn new things and build new skills.
Mastery requires enduring failures, setbacks, boredom, and embarrassment. If you are not good at anything then you didn’t stick to anything until you got good. When you see someone who is good at what he does, what you don’t see is the countless hours of work, failures, embarrassments, and boredom he had to endure. Nobody is born with the qualifications to be a CEO. Ask any CEO and he will tell you that it took him years of hard work and education to put his skill stack together.
Most people give up before they get good at anything. Humans tend to overestimate their abilities in the short run and underestimate them in the long run. Overestimating your abilities in the short run is bad because getting good at something doesn’t happen quickly which results in frustration and quitting early.
Underestimating yourself in the long run is bad too because you will give up easily thinking that you will never be good enough no matter how hard you try.
Do the opposite. Stick with something worthwhile until you master it. There’s a reason delayed gratification is always better than instant gratification.
5. Take full responsibility for your life
We live in a world of entitlement. The majority of modern people are spoiled. They want to win without putting in the work. They are reluctant to suffer the consequences of their actions. They don’t even want to pay the price for their own mistakes.
Fat, weak, or lazy people want to be told that they are perfect just the way they are. They can’t handle the truth because the truth is bitter whereas lies are pretty. They rationalize their failures by going through elaborate mental gymnastics. They constantly lie to themselves in the name of keeping their self-esteem high.
Self-esteem became a buzzword for dodging personal responsibilities. You can’t be fat, weak, or lazy and uphold yourself to high esteem. Esteem is the synonym of respect. If you are fat then how in the world are you respecting yourself when you are abusing your own body?
Evading personal responsibilities and expecting to be treated like a responsible person isn’t self-esteem. It’s delusion. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. Disrespect yourself and expect to be disrespected.
If you have the power to fix a problem but you don’t fix it then you are weak. Weakness is the only crime that nature punishes indiscriminately and swiftly. Nature won’t punish you for being an asshole, a liar, a scoundrel, or even a murderer. But you can’t get away with being weak. The laws of nature always favor the strong and they are not subject to negotiation.
For example, let’s take obesity. Obesity is a problem that can simply be solved by not eating too much. But instead of going through the ordeal of fixing their diets and enduring the uncomfortable periods of hunger, many obese people go great lengths to rationalize their obesity. They demand to be loved and respected as the way they are.
Obese people arouse visceral disgust in other people and for good reason. Millions of years of evolution instilled in all of us a disgust for obese people to ensure that we don’t reproduce with them and carry their lazy genes to the next generation. What an obese person should do is to take responsibility for his weight and eat less. That’s all. But the entitled generation demands the entire world to change to accommodate their whims instead of putting in the work and changing themselves which is something completely within their power. If you are fat but you don’t have the willpower to endure hunger then you don’t deserve to feel like how a fit person feels.
Losers blame others for their problems in life. That’s why they keep losing. If you are an adult then every problem in your life is your own fault. There are no if’s, or’s and but’s about it.
Weak people lack the self-discipline to change the things that they have full control over. They waste their time and money in their endless search for quick fixes. They are the targets of the crooks who happily exploit their weakness. “Pop a pill and lose weight”, “get rich quick with this easy to implement scheme”, “get six pack abs with this exercise machine by only training 5 minutes a day” and so on. Who needs self-discipline and responsibility when there’s a quick fix for everything? Disciplined, responsible people must be stupid as they are unnecessarily enduring boredom and hardship.
Stop being entitled and start taking responsibility for the things that you can change and forget about the things you can’t change. Get rid of the victim mentality and adopt a victor mentality. Don’t rationalize your shortcomings if it’s in your power to overcome them. There are people who had it worse than you but that didn’t deter them from becoming massively successful.
Stop making excuses. If you are fat then lose weight. If you are skinny fat then build muscle. If you are unattractive then make yourself attractive. If you are poor then build the necessary skills to make money. Make the most of the hand you are dealt. Doing something and failing is better than doing nothing and living a life filled with what if’s. Failure is a great but selective teacher who only accepts the brave students who dare to fail. Fail enough times and you will eventually succeed.
Modern comforts allow people to forget that life is hard. Life is not a smooth sail but a rough ride. Any man can be great but success has a price. It’s paid with hard work, boredom, commitment, mental strength, and the right kind of education.
Refusing to pay the price for success doesn’t mean you don’t pay a price though, mind you. You pay the price of being a loser by enduring lifelong misery, regret, envy, frustration, and resentment. You pay the price for success only once. There’s no point in going through mental gymnastics to find excuses for being a loser and convince yourself you are perfect just the way you are. The more you win the more you’ll love yourself.
6. Elevate your status
If you are constantly feeling inferior then your brain might be subconsciously picking up the signals which are subtly telling you that your status is low.
There’s a mechanism in your brain that constantly tracks your status in the hierarchy1. Humans live in hierarchical communities. If your status is low within the hierarchy then you become timid, stressed, impulsive, and unhappy. Your brain emits octopamine which makes you feel inferior. If your status is high within the hierarchy then you become bolder, calm, collected, and happy. Your brain emits serotonin which makes you feel superior.
High-status people are rare and low-status people are dime a dozen. For example, there’s only one CEO but there can be thousands of minimum-wage workers in the same corporation. Furthermore, resource allocation between low-status and high-status people is highly uneven. Winners (high-status people) take all and the losers (low-status people) settle with the scraps. This is a law of nature honed by 300 million years of evolution.
You can easily witness how it plays out in real life. For example, the richest 1% of the human population own 50% of the world’s wealth2. This is happening at a time when the civilization is doing its best to improve income distribution. No matter how much you try to bend the laws of nature, the income inequality between humans will always continue to play out in the real world for the simple reason that humans are a part of nature.
Instead of trying to bend the laws of nature, play the game by its rules. If winners take all, then raise your status, be a winner and take it all.
Status markers for men are health, wealth, good looks, social skills, popularity, confidence, strength (mental and physical), courage, decisiveness, posture, leadership, adventurousness, and artistic talent. Raise your status by improving your status markers.
If the list looks overwhelming don’t fret. A lot of the things in the list go hand in hand. For example, if you increase your physical strength then you improve your posture and you look better. If you become more courageous then you will take more intelligent risks and increase your wealth. If you increase your wealth then you increase your confidence and so on.
7. Take action
There’s a good chance that “I’m not good at anything” or “I’m not good enough” are limiting beliefs that paralyze you into inaction.
You don’t know whether your beliefs are true or not unless you take action and receive real-world feedback. Most people live inside their heads without testing their limiting beliefs in real life. They preemptively reject themselves before the world rejects them. They are afraid that taking action will expose their shortcomings because their egos are too fragile to endure real-life failure.
It’s the world’s job to tell you whether you are good enough or not. Don’t assume the responsibility of a job that the world can do for free. Take action and see what happens.
If you fail, don’t beat yourself up as it’s far from being the end of the world. Learn from your failure and try again. The universe doesn’t remember the past. It’s quick to forget your failures. Evaluate the feedback you receive from your failure, implement what you learned, and try again and again until you succeed.
Unless you are starving, terminally ill, or you take stupid risks (such as gambling away all your money in Vegas) then you are always in the game. The universe is generous. It will give you unlimited shots until you succeed.
Don’t worry if you haven’t built the confidence to succeed yet. Confidence comes from mastery. Don’t put the cart before the horse. If it will push you into taking action then it’s perfectly acceptable to fake it until you make it. It’s better to err on the side of irrational confidence than to be full of self-doubt.
Confidence leads to action even when it’s irrational. On the other hand, self-doubt leads to inaction. It’s impossible to accurately and precisely predict how your actions will pan out in real life. Act and the world will provide you with valuable feedback. The worst-case scenario is that you will fail. Big deal. Everyone fails at their first try. There’s no successful person in life who never failed.
Be irrationally confident and take intelligent risks. Failing is infinitely better than never trying. When you eventually succeed, it won’t matter how many times you failed.
8. Educate yourself
During the slavery era in the United States, slave masters ensured that their slaves remained illiterate and ignorant3. Education of African Americans was even illegal in some states. Ignorance was the major control instrument of slavery4. Throughout history, dictators and tyrants kept their power by keeping the public ignorant. Only the rich had access to high-quality education.
Now, in the age of the internet, almost all of the information you need is freely available online. If you are not good at something then you can educate yourself about it. Self-education is a must if you want to escape from the prison of modern slavery. Most people believe that they are done with education after they graduate from school. The truth is that what you learned at school is mostly worthless propaganda. Moreover, the school incorrectly taught you that failing is bad, something to be embarrassed about. Not only you should never stop learning after school but also you have to unlearn the lies you were told. Education should be a lifelong weapon in your arsenal.
Nobody is born “good enough” or “good at something”. Mastery is earned through hard work and education.
In the past, you had to be a slave or poor until you died because your masters had limited your access to education. Now you have no excuse. All the education you need is available online. You don’t even need a formal education. The world is chock full of highly successful people who lack a college education. By educating yourself and working hard, you can get good at almost anything you want.
Be sure to read:
- How to Be a Superior Man, an action-driven self-improvement program to take immediate control of your life, master yourself and become the man you want to be.
- “I Hate Myself”: How to Stop Self-Loathing
- “I Hate My Life”: 5 Simple Steps to Turn Your Life Around
- Why Is Life So Hard? (And What You Can Do About It)
- How to Get Your Life Together
- Do You Really Take Responsibility For Your Life?
- Peterson, J.B. (2018). 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos. Random House Canada.
- Richest 1% own half the world’s wealth, study finds
- Education during the Slave Period
- Erickson, Ralph (1997), The Laws of Ignorance Designed to Keep Slaves (Blacks) Illiterate and Powerless