Success is Inevitable. Or is it?
I’ve never liked writing because I fucking suck at it. When my girlfriend inquired as to which topics we'll write about in our blog, I muttered, "well, obviously since we primarily sell hair products to men... I'll be giving guys advice about... ya know, manli...".
And in the midst of the word "manliness" I stopped. I’ve been accused of a lot of things in my life, and manliness is not one of them. For those of you that don’t know me,: I don't exactly ooze what most might consider macho “manliness”.
Don't believe me? Here, you decide: I grew up working at Abercrombie, I can’t fix shit (outside of a stiff drink); I hate lifting weights; I have gentle; callous-free hands; I shave my chest; I've never been in a fist fight; I drive the speed limit; and sometimes I hold back tears of joy while watching Ted Lasso. So, what can I provide here? Well, it depends on what you are looking for. Let me paint a word picture for you:
I am a never-been-married 36 year old with a twin sister (who's married with kids), a little sister (also, married with kids), and a younger brother (lost to suicide). I was given every opportunity in life and was repeatedly told "You've got it kid, the ‘IT’ factor. Success is inevitable''.
I heard it throughout high school, college, and my 20s. I kept hearing those words and over time they became part of my identity: the very fibers of my “me-ness”. I believed them because I've NEVER been average at anything. At 22, I used my overpriced, private-school, liberal arts bullshit economics degree to leverage myself into eight years of schlepping golf clubs at a private golf course.
Then, it was off to Hollywood for an illustrious ten month career as an actor/model (read: barista), followed by three years as a door-to-door scissor salesman. Eventually, I found myself in a position where I had saved up enough money to start my own business. Time to put that economics degree to work! So I did: and was I instantly successful? Lived happily ever after? That was my destiny, right? I mean, I’d been told that would be successful right?
Nope, not even close.
Fast forward three years. I’m 34 years old and sleeping on my best friend's couch. It was a few months before the pandemic, and 18 months after my brother's suicide. I was newly single, 25 pounds overweight, and getting drunk to fall asleep every night. Like many first-time business founders, I was second-guessing my ability to grow a business, and waiting for my publicly-assured success to show up in my bank account. In reality: I was average as shit.
Author and physicist David Deutsch starts his book The Beginning of Infinity with this quote from John Archibald Wheeler:
“Behind it all is surely an idea so simple, so beautiful, that when we grasp it—in a decade, a century, or a millennium—we will all say to each other, how could it have been otherwise?”.
Naval Ravikant simplifies this idea even more by saying, “Once you see the truth, you can’t unsee it”. This resonates with me because my life has changed so drastically that now I can’t even see that “average” person I was only two years ago. What happened? What changed? Is it because I'm in the perfect relationship? Nope, my amazing girlfriend lives in Canada, and post-Covid border crossings are a nightmare. Is it because I've made a bunch of new friends? Nope, my circle of friends has become smaller over the years. Is it because business is booming and my money problems are gone? Nope, I've made so many questionable business decisions, it sometimes looks like I'm trying to fail. So what happened to change my life so drastically? Honestly, I got lucky. I stumbled upon a tweet. A fucking tweet.
That tweet (which I will discuss in my next post) sent me down a path that I will attempt to illustrate throughout this blog. It led me to a book called How To Fail At Everything And Still Win Big, by Scott Adams. Not only is Adams the genius creator of the Dilbert comic, he is a wildly entertaining life-hack specialist who coined the term “talent stack”.
“Talent stacking” is the idea that you can combine (stack) basic skills and knowledge until you have “stacked” enough to be extraordinary. Chances are you won’t be in the top 2% in any specific skill or talent, but if you are in the top 30% of 6-7 different skills, your “talent stack” could easily place you in the top 2%. My goal here is to work on my talent stack by becoming a better writer.
They say that the best way to test your understanding of any concept is to try and teach it in the simplest terms possible. I hope this blog can serve as a platform for me to do just that. Topics I plan on covering here include:
dating/relationships, meditation, book reading strategies, book recommendations, decision making, persuasion, sales, sleep, fashion, hair, simplicity, mental health, happiness, suicide; and even gambling.
So no, this blog is not about manliness. It's about learning. It's about how I adapted my world view and discovered how to turn motivation to action. Because motivation without action is nothing. It’s about how I continue to make small changes every day and how I am growing into a version of myself that is truly “successful”. It’s about a life that is working for me. A happy life. A free life.
My name is Chris Werme. I am the co-founder of ATLAS, and we make the best fucking hair product on earth.
Because getting better isn’t optional.