4. How to fight authority and win

Progress is a nice word, but change is its motivator.
And change has its enemies.

-- Robert F. Kennedy

The question is not who is going to let me, it's who is going to stop me.

-- Ayn Rand

Marginalization and the Department of No

Why do people do what other people expect them to instead of what they really want?

sometimes people fall in line because authority figures are very skilled at keeping them in their place. Many of these authority figures are “gatekeepers”.


  1. A person or group with a vested interest in limiting the choices of other people.
  2. An obstacle that must be overcome to achieve unconventional success.

Gatekeepers are especially effective at telling you which choices you have, thus giving you the illusion of freedom while simultaneously blocking access to what really matters.
It's like asking, “Would you like a or b?”—without letting you know that c, d, and e are also valid choices.

when the underdog adopts an unconventional strategy and changes the rules of the game, the percentage of victory jumps even further, to 63 percent.


What you need

You need passion

You need to be absolutely passionate about what you believe in. If you don’t feel passionate about anything, chances are you haven’t discovered what you’re really good at yet. Keep looking.

You need a vision and a task

The vision tells you where you are going; the task tells you what to do next to get there.

You need the answers two most important questions

What do you really want to get out of life? How can you help others in a way that no one else can? Once you have the answers, you’ll be ahead of most everyone else.

You need commitment to stay the course

Many people give up too early. Can you continue in your quest for 10,000 hours or more? If so, you’re on the right track.

Important: What’s the big difference between the things you don’t need and the things you do? Most of the things in the first category come from other people. All of the things in the second category are up to you.

Above all, you just need enough. You need enough money, enough time, enough courage, and so on.

But don’t worry about what you don’t have. When you let go of all the things you don’t need, a lot of other things become much easier.

Part II: Reclaiming work

It’s tempting to believe that the secret to happiness is less work. Here’s another idea: instead of giving up on the idea of work, why not find a way to make it better?

5. Competence is your security

Take your life in your own hands, and what happens?
A terrible thing: you have no one to blame.

-- Erica Jong

The real culprit here is the attitude behind the MSNBC article: when times are tough, you need the security of someone else’s business to get you through.
I think a better statement is: when times are tough, you’d better get creative.

Taking Responsibility by Taking Action

Memorize and follow this never-fail recipe: get started. Don’t quit.


The gap between igno­ rance and knowledge is much less than the gap between knowledge and action.

When 300 people apply for a single position, you have to find a way to stand out from the other rockstars.

Confessions of a Renegade Entrepreneur: My story

I’ve heard it said that an entrepreneur is someone who will work 24 hours a day for themselves to avoid working one hour a day for someone else.

Paradoxically, when you manage to survive a crisis that had “deathblow potential,” you’ll often end up stronger than you were before the walls fell down.

A Cautionary Note on Your Escape Plan

When you focus on escaping the humdrum of the cubicle (or wherever you spend your workdays), you also need to have something to escape to. Otherwise you may end up no happier than you were prior to the escape.
Like the bride and groom who spend dozens of hours planning a wedding but little time actively planning the life they’ll share after the big day.