Get a ‘fuck you’ attitude to be successful
The major significance between drivers and passengers is the harder life hits the driver, the faster he/she gets back up. Passengers, on the other hand, are down and out for a count of ten after the first punch.
I believe the level of your success and the beauty of your life is dictated by how hard you can get hit and still keep moving forward.
It wasn’t until relatively recently that I realized that most people don’t have this default reaction to life. My younger brother Mark has always looked at my life and declared I am the luckiest son of a gun he ever met. He has repeatedly expressed his frustration that I get more than my fair share of luck.
He recently complained to me that he doesn’t understand how I can just see something I want and then almost by magic it appears in my life a short while later. I will tell you what I told Mark; it has nothing to do with luck. Getting what I want out of life comes from an outrageously stubborn insistence that there is no other option. No matter how many times life says no I keep demanding what I want.
I wonder whether sometimes I just wear the universe down until it gives me what I desire just to shut me up.
Let me pause here for a moment because I want to make a major disclaimer. I am British, and as such, I find it very uncomfortable to blow my own trumpet and boast about my achievements in life. I am already finding it quite painful to talk about my success thus far and in such a nonchalant fashion. I hope you will not take my words as bragging; I would be horrified if you walked away from this post with that opinion of me.
My motivation for writing Unstoppable is to dissect my life, and how I got to this beautiful and abundant position, by doing so, I can show you how to replicate the journey for yourself.
A driver in life has three essential driving components.
From a very young age, I have repeatedly been told that what I want to achieve is unrealistic, unreasonable and often just downright silly.
When I was a teenager, I told my father I wanted to be a famous radio presenter. I was ordered to quit being so stupid, get on with some serious school work and get a career. My father would have been much happier if I had declared that I wanted to be a plumber or an electrician. A trade he could understand and encourage, but all this flight of fancy about announcing music on the radio was some joke.
If my head I was thinking ‘fuck you, just watch me, I will show you.’ It is this downright refusal to accept authority and a stubborn belief in myself that has got me this far in life.
I can recall hundreds of occasions in life where I have been chastised by those around me for chasing an impossible dream.
- You can’t become a radio presenter – Fuck you attitude
- You can’t become a photographer – Fuck you attitude
- You can’t become the director of radio stations – Fuck you attitude
- You can’t quit your job and hope to survive – Fuck you attitude
- You can’t become a millionaire like that – Fuck you attitude
Please forgive the language but no other words seem to sum up my attitude better. I have never accepted anyone’s opinion that I can’t-do something. My response to such judgments of me has always been, oh really – well you just watch me and see what happens.
Over my career running radio stations in the United Kingdom, I assumed for a long time that everyone has that attitude to life. I was quite shocking to me when I found out that a lot of people just fold and hit the mat when you tell them no or you can’t.
The first time I was introduced to the passenger mindset was one cold night in November about fifteen years ago. I was running a radio station in Wigan, Lancashire. The roadshow truck was parked up in the town center, and we were preparing to host the official switching on of the town’s Christmas lights. A lineup of minor celebrities and pop stars had been booked to perform and entertain the thousands of people who had wrapped up warm to watch the celebrations.
The radio station’s morning show host was to host the proceedings, which included warming up the crowd and getting them nice and excited for the acts that were to perform later.
The morning host was a guy called Steve; he had been employed by the station for a few years. I was relatively new and had only worked with him in the confines of the studio building, never on a remote location like this. When it was time to start the event, I passed Steve the wireless microphone and told him to go out on stage and get the crowd cheering and making some noise.
Having done the same job myself many times in the past, I knew that you had to explode onto the stage with a crazy amount of energy. The crowd will mirror your personality and energy levels.
So if you want an excited crowd and good atmosphere you have to go a little over the top.
Go over the top with your fuck you attitude
However, Steve walked onto the stage like he had been forced to go and announce the death of a box full of puppies. He stood at the center of the stage with his back to the audience, mumbling something inaudible. As you would expect the crowd responded with deafening silence.
For fully twenty minutes he continued this half-hearted monologue of dross.
Meanwhile, I was in the wings silently screaming abuse at him. I imagined what it would be like to put my hands around his stupid neck and strangle him to death.
Eventually, the nightmare came to an end, and he walked off stage right. I walked right up to him, the veins in my neck throbbing with rage. I tore strips of the poor guy. I told him it was the most pathetic, limp and impotent performance I had ever seen. I said it was the worst stage work I had ever seen in my career and he should get back out there and prove to me that he even has a personality at all.
Why did I treat him like this? Because if anyone had spoken to me like that (and they had many times before), my response would have been a fuck you attitude. My response to any attack has always been to wipe that condescending expression of their face and blow them away with my reply to their abuse.
At this point in my life, I just assumed that everyone thought the same way as me. I naturally expected Steve to flick me a finger, go back out on stage and have the crowd screaming in extasy and excitement within minutes. He didn’t. Steve started to cry and told me through his sobs that I was a disgusting human being.
He informed me that he couldn’t work for an asshole like me. At which he promptly resigned and walked off toward his car. He never returned to the radio station again.
I was genuinely shocked; I wasn’t trying to upset him. I wanted to motivate him, and I had only said the words that would have worked on me. For several weeks after that event, I felt bad that I had got it so wrong with Steve but what was causing me sleepless nights was that he hit the mat and stayed down for a count of ten so easily. I wondered if this was indicative of the level of fight in most people?
It taught me a valuable lesson as a manager of individuals.
What I discovered over the following years is that people are typically a lot more fragile than I had ever expected. It seemed to me that I very rarely met someone who would respond to being knocked down by bouncing up harder and faster.
The hardest challenge I have had to face in this area is that of being a father. Both my kids are grown up now, and I see flickers of that oh so necessary ‘fuck you’ attitude, but I genuinely wish I could reach inside them and turn up the flame. It’s hard to watch from the sidelines as your children set off on a path, hit an obstacle and instantly declare themselves out. Perhaps it is my fault for doing too much for them when they were younger. I do wonder whether we spoil our kids with too much love these days. But that is a subject for an entirely different book.
When I see people hit the deck on the first punch, I often tell them to Google a guy called Nick Vujicic and then come back and explain why they believe they can’t continue.
Nick Vujicic was born without any arms or legs. The closest thing he has to a useable extremity is what should have been his left leg. Looking nothing like a human foot, it is a small protrusion that he affectionately refers to as his chicken drumstick. He uses the limited motion of this appendage to control his electric wheelchair.
Can you imagine what childhood was like for this guy?
He grew up always feeling different, always feeling left out. Watching his friends run, jump and play soccer. Always the spectator and never the protagonist. Sure he has had his moments of despair and openly admits that he has been to some dark places, but he chooses to do the opposite of what you would expect.
Rather than wallow in his misfortune, he chooses to embrace the life he has been given. Despite all the odds, he is an exceptionally talented and popular motivational speaker. He tours the world speaking to schoolchildren about positive thinking and self-esteem.
If you have never heard of this guy, I encourage you to get on YouTube and watch some of his videos, if he doesn’t move you to tears within a few minutes I insist you get checked for a working heart as soon as possible.
When Nick goes to speak to a group of children they normally watch in stunned silence as he is helped onto a table at the front of the assembly hall. The severely disabled and yet smiling man in front of them mesmerizes the ordinarily raucous group of youngsters. Such is the stillness in the room that you could hear a pin drop. Nick breaks this profound silence by challenging them to a game of soccer, and a nervous laugh fills the room.
Nick Vujicic is so full of positive, loving energy that it causes the whole room to radiate with the most incredible and tangible peace.
By the end of the talk, the dozens of girls who had previously cried themselves to sleep thinking about the words of a bully are now crying in joy and love for the man who found happiness against all odds. Love pours out of every cell in this guy’s little body as he sits there propped up on a table and dares to ask the kids if they think he is beautiful. Without a flicker of hesitation or doubt the whole room agrees that he is an amazing and stunningly beautiful person.
There is a very real mass awakening as children realize the true gift of their own life. The child who hates her freckles suddenly realizes just how perfect she is. The boy who is bullied for being overweight suddenly understands his true worth.
Every child sees their potential.
But surely when it comes to sex and women Nick has a valid excuse, right?
No, a few years ago Nick Vujicic married his sweetheart, and let me tell you, she is stunningly beautiful. They now have an amazing, healthy son and if you see pictures of Nick and his wife you will see two of the happiest people you ever saw. The beautiful woman at his side is a reflection of the man inside the body. Nick Vujicic is full of love, he is aware of his limitations, but he believes that he is a valuable human being with the ability to enhance the lives of all those around him.
But the single most important aspect of Nick’s success is he is not a victim.
Of course, he had the choice to become a victim, many times. But he chose to see the opportunities rather than the obstacles.
If you think Nick is a one-off and you still believe you have a valid excuse to defend not having the wealth, abundance, happiness and amazing life that you desire then I will remind you of the story of W. Mitchell:
In 1971, June 19th, he was 28 years old. He didn’t have a care in the world. He was a very good-looking guy. He was driving down the freeway in America on his motorbike and not a care in the world. Something caught his attention to the left in a field, and he looked to see what it was. When he turned back to concentrate on the road, he realized he was traveling at 80 miles an hour towards the back of a truck.
He was only 5 ft. away from the truck.
The only thing he could do to save his life was to slam the bike onto the floor so he would slide under the truck. As he slid under the truck, the fuel cap came off the motorbike and covered him in gasoline. The sparks from the motorcycle ignited the fuel. He was ablaze.
Sixty-five percent of his body had third-degree burns. His face was nearly burnt off. His fingers were stumps. He was unrecognizable. People would visit him in the emergency ward of the hospital and pass out when they saw him. He was that bad.
He was in a coma for two weeks and when he came round would you have blamed him if he said, I can’t go on; life is just not worth living?
W. Mitchell chose a different path. He realized after a time that he didn’t have to accept society’s notion that to be happy a person must be healthy and good looking. Mitchell came to see it, as he put it I’m in charge of my spaceship, my own ups, and downs. I can choose to see this as either a setback or a new beginning.
Instead of being overcome by his apparent problems and the pain of the therapy he’d have to go through, Mitchell decided to turn those problems into challenges. He joined two friends, and he founded a new wood-burning stove company. A few short years later he helped build Vermont Castings into a multimillion-dollar company. He was a millionaire. If you think that’s the happy ending of the story, think again.
In 1975, November, disaster struck again. W. Mitchell was sitting on the runway in his private jet with three friends in the back. He’d forgotten to check the wings for ice and as you probably know ice can cause disaster for planes. As he attempted to take off the plane crashed.
His three passengers got out without a mark on them.
W. Mitchell was paralyzed from the neck down.
Mitchell chose to survive, and those negative people went up to him and said, somebody must really hate you up there, how are you going to continue? He said, before all this happened there were 10,000 things I could do. Now there are only 9,000. I could spend my life dwelling on the 1,000 that I lost, or I could choose to focus on the 9,000 that are left, and that’s what he did.
In 1982 he married his sweetheart, and in 1984 he ran for Congress. He went door-to-door campaigning, and he used the catchphrase, vote for me and I won’t be just another pretty face. Mitchell says that he had two big bumps in his life and he chose not to use them as excuses to quit. To become a success, to become wealthy, concentrate on the positive.
Take out a pen and paper and think of goals and objectives you have had in life where you know you folded too soon. It could be anything from trying out for the soccer team at school to setting up your own business. Perhaps you registered the domain name for your new idea but when you realized you would have to risk money on employing at web designer you gave up the project.
Go through the list of incomplete and failed ventures and select the one that most excites you.
Today do something to breathe life back into that project and make a commitment to yourself that you are going to see it through to completion. No matter how many times you get beaten to the ground, you are going to jump back up and start fighting again.
Every time something goes wrong, or you hit a seemingly insurmountable obstacle I want you to look it square in the eyes and proudly have that fuck you attitude.
I will include myself in this exercise. Last year I started to learn Greek, I have always wanted to be able to speak another language, and in 2016 I set about it.
My partner Daniela can speak three languages, and it is a constant source of shame and embarrassment for me that she has to act as translator for me.
I got started with the Greek lessons, and I will be honest it nearly melted my brain. I was shocked by how tremendously difficult it is. The alphabet, genders, and tenses just seemed ridiculously complicated. After four months of learning the teacher asked me to read two words out of the exercise book.
For twenty minutes I made a series of horrible grunting sounds. I just couldn’t say the words; they just seemed like a random jumble of letters on the page.
Eventually, with sweat running down my forehead and a huge migraine building behind my eyes I gave in, and the teacher read the words.
In Greek letters, the words were Jenifer Lopez! Jenifer fucking Lopez, are you kidding me? I went crazy; I couldn’t believe I had spent twenty minutes trying to say, Jenifer Lopez.
I felt like I was the most stupid and mentally disabled individual the world had ever produced. I was so furious that I stood up and walked out of the classroom, on the way to my car I threw my Greek books into an industrial garbage bin.
I drove home and announced to Daniela that there would only ever be one member of our household that would speak Greek, I was done with it.
In the spirit of leading by example, I have just booked myself on a week-long intensive Greek language course in Athens this December.
I am proudly saying fuck you to Jenifer Lopez and I am getting back up from the mat on a count of nine.
I will learn Greek because I am not being beaten by this.