So you want to be the greatest.
Doesn’t matter what. Insert your profession, hobby, or goal of choice. You want to be the greatest. This means you have to be prepared to bleed.
Let me give you some insight into the mind of a really, really screwed up serial killer. The guy who tortures. Not the one who goes for the clean headshot. Naw, that guy is nice. He gets it over, nice and clean.
One bullet. Brain. The end.
Naw, the guy who is really F’d in the head is the guy who bleeds people out. Cuts out one vein at a time. Lets the blood drip everywhere. Let’s the victim be covered in their own blood. Let’s them drown in it. Drowning is supposedly the most painful way to die. Now imagine doing it when you’re tied to a chair, unable to move. The most painful death of all, in your own blood.
The ocean seems merciful at that point.
The point is, if you want to be the greatest—you have to bleed until you can bleed no more. And then, only then, if you can manage to endure it all—will you be said greatest.
Now, I’m young. I am not the greatest at anything at this point in my life. However, I’ve now seen the path that it takes to get there. For a long time, I was the overachiever. But I did it for someone else. I bled not for my own soul, but for someone else’s.
…I took a trip to Colombia, came back, and realized I had finite time in the world. I realized that dying a long painful death with no chance of redemption was no way to go. Especially covered in my own blood, yet pursuing someone else’s dream.
I’ll never forget when I was a sophomore in college. I had a job selling home theaters, expensive headphones, and overpriced speakers. It was for what is probably the most famous American speaker company, whose name conveniently tells you all you need to know about them—Buy Other Sound Equipment.
My first Christmas holiday, I was the superstar of the store.
Working a part-time schedule (25-30 hours), I smoked everybody for the entire month. I sold well over $100,000 of product that month, between Black Friday and New Year. Out of the ten stores in Southern California (i.e. rich people), I was by far the most successful salesman of the month.
My closest competitor sold $63,700—and he worked 40 hours a week.
You know how the regional manager responded? By saying that it wasn’t fair that some people were taking more of the individual commission than others. Yeah, that meant me.
That same manager then implemented a “team commission” policy. Now, at 20 years old, I had my salary cut by nearly 30% because I was the top performer.
That was my first insight into bleeding for someone else. I’d bled like crazy that month. I turned on the charm to every single customer who walked through those sliding, gigantic glass doors. I bled because I wanted to be the greatest. At the time, it was all I knew. Be the single greatest headphone and home theater salesman on the entire planet.
I bled, and bled until I had no more blood left.
It was worth it when I saw my commission check at the end of the month.
Fast forward again—I’m now 21 years old. I’m working as a computer engineer for a Fortune 500 company.
My second month on the job, I take home a “Top Gun” award. I solved the most cases out of anyone. However, my best friend had set a precedence before he left my position.
He won Top Gun so often that they made it a rule that you could only win it a certain amount of times a year.
Other people felt “hurt” that they couldn’t win.
So for the next year, despite the fact that I took more cases than anyone, solved more than anyone, and was generally the best person on staff—guess what? I was rarely rewarded. I cut myself deep. Bled all over the keyboard. Putting miles on my body just so I could be the greatest engineer I could be.
Again, how was I rewarded? By being insulted when it came time to apply for a new job. Despite being the best of the best, I got passed up multiple times for promotions. Why?
Because it was a (foreign) company who thought that a 21 year old being a Senior Engineer was too much. They valued an arbitrary number such as age—instead of performance, skill, and confidence.
Was it because of my attitude? Some might say so. Perhaps I was brash. But that’s also what made me the greatest at that job. All the pain was worth it. I loved the work. The chaos. The stress. The gigantic puzzle I solved every day.
The company put the knife in me.
For something stupid.
I applied for a position in the same department, same building. At the encouragement of my boss and my would-be new boss. They said I didn’t even have to interview. (Just a month prior I’d been passed up for a different position in New York City.)
So for the second go-round, rather than just tell me that they hired someone else, they simply did nothing until I tracked the manager down myself (who worked all of a 30 seconds walk from me). Some internal old guy wanted to move to San Diego (if my memory serves me it was from Maryland) and retire in a couple years—so they gave it to him, despite the fact that I was way more qualified.
They did not even have the courtesy to just walk over and tell me I didn’t get it.
That was it for me there. It became a joke of a job. A way to pass the time. I didn’t care how good the reputation of the company was, what they promised me—none of it mattered.
I bled and got nothing in return—not even respect.
Within a month I got a call for another job offer and took it. I left San Diego behind and moved to Los Angeles.
I don’t need to get into that one, but it reaffirmed things in my mind.
You want to be the greatest?
You should. But for the life of fucking God, don’t be the greatest for someone else. Being the greatest for someone else just makes you the Top Bitch. Do you want to be the greatest at something but still have to take orders from someone else?
If you do, guess what—you’re not cut out to be the greatest.
Each and every one of you has the ability to be great. You just have to find it. And most likely—to walk away from whatever the hell it is you’re bleeding for now.
Remember that dying in your own blood is the most painful way to die.
If you’re ready to start bleeding for yourself, get started with Troublesome Solutions.