I have now released
The Ultimate Commonplace System

10 Ways to Be Different and Profit from Contrast

0 Flares Facebook 0 Google+ 0 Twitter 0 Buffer 0 0 Flares ×

rockefeller do it different and profit from contrast

I Was Reminiscing the Other Day And Here’s What I Came Up With…

It struck me that the main reason SGM is successful is not necessarily because of me, but because of. . .

. . . the incompetence of most other site owners, and the rapidly increasing amount of SHIT content being put out on the Internet each day.

You know, stuff like:

  • “10 Things Successful People Do Before Bed”
  • “Manifest Your Destiny by Finding Your Passion in 3 Simple Steps.”
  • “The List of Secret Things That Cool People Never Do.”
  • “9 Questions to Ask Your Mom To Annoy Her During PMS.”
  • “What Your Dog Wishes You Would Do (Hint: It’s not buying expensive dog food)”

Did I come up with these on the spot just now or did I perhaps copy them from some site?

Who knows.

I guess we’ll never find out.

Clickbait content without any depth whatsoever makes me look good in comparison.

And it can do the same for you.

In Case You Didn’t Know, Differentiation is the Shit!

These days it pays to be contrarian, personally and professionally.

(…maybe this has always been the case?)

Sometimes the best thing you can do–when others are unoriginal–is to just do something different.

Let me give you 10-something examples of how this simple idea can pay off for you big-time!

1) McDonald’s Monotony Index

The “Monotony Index” was a term Ray Kroc came up with. 1

When McDonald’s looked to expand in new territories, the first thing they did was to try and diagnose where on the Monotony Index it was located. So they took a helicopter and scouted the area for real-estate locations.

First they looked for signs of community, i.e schools, churches, and other large facilities. Then they would get a ground survey of that area.

If they found few restaurants or other recreational facilities to compete for use of leisure existed in the area, they would buy the location and set up a McDonald’s restaurant.

The fewer competitors–direct or indirect–there were, the more the McDonald’s restaurant would stand out and be appreciated.

Hence the more money they would make.

Let’s do another McDonald’s example…

2) Ray Kroc on Building New Stuff

The economy was depressed and many big businesses wanted to lay low. But not Ray Kroc & McD:

Hell’s bells! When times are bad is when you want to build. Why wait for things to pick up so everything will cost you more? If a location is good enough to buy, we want to build on it right away and be in there before the competition. Pump some money and activity into a town, and they’ll remember you for it.

Where most others only saw the downsides and were afraid, Kroc, being a contrarian, saw 4 advantages:

  1. Profit by contrast.
  2. Scarcity of demand >> cheap!
  3. First-mover advantage.
  4. Gain goodwill.

(Read the quote above carefully and you’ll see all four.)

3) Frederick the Great Takes a Contrarian Stance

Machiavelli wrote The Prince 2, which is a book that has become popular to dislike by politically correct people.

One of the reasons that book was disliked is because it’s very pragmatic, and sometimes preaches short-term, egoistic thinking.

Frederick the Great wrote a book called Anti-Machiavel, where he goes over every single chapter from The Prince and challenges the words of Machiavelli.

In one of the better parts of that book, Frederick preaches long-term cooperation over short-sighted back-stabbing:

In policy, one should make a list of all the faults which the other princes show when pressured, for the use of those who want to make treaties or alliances…

It starts off sounding almost like Machiavelli, but then he continues:

…and try to guess at the time when it would be necessary to communicate with them in writing, when they need the time and the calm to make reflections, which could only benefit them. This tends to be better than a railroading, followed by a payback.

This is valuable advice for everyone today.

It reminds me of Henry Flagler’s preemptive maxim of doing unto others as you would have them do to you, only first.

4) A Timeless Strategy: Competing vs Dumb People

This is what professional gamblers and speculators do.

It’s kind of a sad way to make a living, but it works–and always will.

A Swedish stock/finance personality, Claes Hemberg, said that the average owner of Swedish company Fingerprint (the #2 stock to increase in value globally 2015) is a young man with little experience in investing who drastically overestimates his own intelligence. This is probably true.

Fingerprint different profit from contrast

Those who own the stock are like a cult in the sense that they feel very clever for being the first to “see the truth”.

For this reason, Fingerprint has been the most speculated stock on the Swedish market for over a year.

5) Apple Differentiates From IBM & Dell

Apple was the first software/computer company to do any serious branding.

They realized other big companies were marketing computers only to super-geeks. IBM or Dell, who were the biggest companies selling computers at the time, had no personality. Normal people were scared of the complexity of computers.

early IBM ad do it different and profit from contrast

Apple went the exact opposite way and decided to make their computers user-friendly and non-geeky.

Regis McKenna, Apple’s marketing expert, said: “Let’s make Steve very high profile. Let’s tell our story.”

20-something years later, most people use Apple products and are happy to pay 2-3x the price of similar products.

6) Rockefeller Center Was Built During the Depression

rockefeller do it different and profit from contrast2

The Rockefeller Center was the biggest private building project in history at the time (1930). It took 9 years to finish.

Because they built it during the economic depression, labor was extremely cheap. In hindsight, this was a genius move on their part. But during the time it was being built it was a bold and risky move. John Rockefeller Jr. nearly died from the stress.

Maybe Ray Kroc learned by studying this case?

7) Google Goes Minimal

When Google first came around it was different and stood out because it was minimalistic.

It was just a search engine; it had no ads, no mumbo-jumbo, no affiliates, and no ad-on programs.

Google stood out from its competition and beat the hell out of Yahoo and Internet Explorer, who did all of those things. Plus it was easier to use.

Almost everyone uses Google today.

8) Three Entertainment Examples

  1. Why was the movie Memento popular?
  2. Why did South Park become a hit?
  3. What made the Twilight series successful?

They all broke the traditional expectations of their respective genres.

Memento was non-linear (the movie goes backwards).

South Park was extremely outrageous and non-politically correct.

Twilight–which I haven’t read or watched, but know of–is about romantic vampires, whereas the norm is for vampires to be evil. 3

9) Warren Buffett Makes Berkshire Hathaway The Premier Holding Company

I was reading Warren Buffett’s Essays recently.

A photo posted by LudvigSGM (@ludvigsunstrom) on

 

As you probably know, Warren Buffett is one of the best businessmen alive, and probably in all of history too.

It just so happens that in managing Berkshire, he has done many things that have gone against the grain of the financial industry:

  • Other company owners wrote dull (and often dishonest) annual reports; sometimes they didn’t even write them at all, but only put their name on it as a stamp of authenticity. Buffett’s annual reports are personal and honest.
  • Other companies treated their shareholders like a faceless mass, Buffett invested into his relationship with  shareholders and treated them like fellow partners.
  • Other companies split their shares for speculative purposes or because it was trendy; Buffett felt it defeated the purpose of incentivizing “partnership mentality”:

If people bought for no other reason than a stock-split–that had nothing to do with value–then they would sell just as easily.

  • While many other big holding companies used what Buffett and Munger referred to as the “Gin-rummy approach” (to keep your best cards and discard your worst cards ASAP), Berkshire kept its sub-par companies. Do you know why? 4
  • During the 1980s, there was a prevailing trend of LBO (leveraged buy-outs) on Wall Street. Many companies feared they would get bought up and sold for profit) by “corporate raiders”. Berkshire took a contrarian stance and instead acted as a white knight. For a desperate CEO, selling to Berkshire could be a third route between succumbing to a raider and resorting to self-immolation via greenmail. 5

In summary, Buffett (and Munger) have done everything within their power to incentivize long-term investors with owner-mentality to hold Berkshire.

. . . and–equally important–they have disincentivized short-sighted speculators from ruining their life’s work.

10) How Arnold Got Attention From the Judges By Using a Special-Made Differentiated Posing Strategy

I recently read Arnold’s book The Education of a Bodybuilder.

Now, I already knew that Arnold is a master, but when I read his biography Total Recall, years ago, my framework of mental models was–maximum–10% of what is today. . .

. . . so my pattern recognition could only notice whatever my limited understanding could grasp at the time. Now, when I read Education of a Bodybuilder, I could see clearly that Arnold did just about everything correct.

Here’s a short list, off the top off my head, of some of the “universal success principles” Arnold used to become the best:

  1. Breaking out of the social conditioning of brain-dead and ambitionless people in his small village, at any cost.
  2. Getting positive role models early in life and consistently seeking out new masters to learn from.
  3. Working hard to cultivate a winning mindset and a positive psychology.
  4. Putting himself in a steady winner effect, and keeping it no matter what.
  5. Identifying and tracking metrics relevant to his success (taking measurements of his body), so that he couldn’t delude himself whether he was making progress or not.
  6. Seeking out valid criticism (only) from people he trusted and respected, in an effort to identify & improve on his weaknesses.
  7. Studying successful people from in and out of his field.
  8. Analyzing his failures and learning from mistakes.
  9. Etching his goals firmly in mind through mental rehearsal and visualization.

And, you guessed it…

10) Arnold studied the competition & used clever differentiation:

I also spent time watching other guys pose, watching films of them, especially guys I was going to compete against, to determine their weak points, their strong points. Then, on the day of the contest, I could outpose them. I’d see where they used slow poses, and figure out how I could put in three poses for their one, and thus be able to show many more body parts to the judges. All of this together made me certain I’d win.

Then he wanted to find other ways to gain an upper hand.

I asked myself over and over, “What can you do to be special and different?

He decided that special thing was ballet:

I went to a dancer at UCLA and started taking ballet lessons to further improve my posing…all this helps give grace to your posing routine. And grace is one thing people don’t expect from a big guy like me. That’s why it’s kind of shocking when I’m onstage posing and I move and flow into this smooth, super-graceful catlike routine. It definitely has a positive effect on the judges.

11) Lee Kuan Yew’s Greening of Singapore

I was reading one of LKY’s books recently. Part 2 of the Singapore Story.

See for yourself…

lky notes profit from contrast different

LKY planted trees and green fields all across the road from the airport to the city. This was smart on two levels:

  1. It stood out from all other Asian countries at the time 6
  2. It was a clever way to optimize for first impressions on foreign investors and other visitors.

This is SO OBVIOUS.

Right?

You would think. But most countries’ governments don’t do it.

When I went to Thailand recently they did indeed have some greenery along the way. But it wasn’t anything spectacular.

welcome to bangkok be different

 

12) My Podcast: 25 Minuter

Time for bragging rights.

We recently held a unified championship belt in 4 categories on iTunes New & noteworthy:

unified championship belt 4x

[Pictured:“25 Minuter” ranking #1 in All Categories, All, #1 in All Categories, Audio, #1 in Business, and #1 in Education on iTunes New & Noteworthy for Sweden. After 14 weeks.]

–Maybe you don’t care about iTunes, but that’s sort of a big thing.

25_min_cover (1)

[Pictured: me and Mikael Syding with 25 Minuter]

How is our podcast different?

As the name implies, we (try to) keep our show to 25 minutes, without too much nonsense, instead of 1h+ of empty rants on pointless issues. If you understand Swedish, do give it a listen.

Regardless, here are…

5 Things You Shuld Think About Before You Do Something Radically Different:

  1. What is the upside of not following the “rules”?
  2. What’s the worst thing that could happen?
  3. Would you be comfortable if it was printed on the first page of the paper?
  4. Could you get hurt by doing it?
  5. Do you even care?

The Top 2 Times When You WANT to Do it Differently

  1. When everyone else is doing something monotonously you will stand out by defying the norm.
  2. When you’re dealing with an outdated or idiotic system/model/set of rules/religions/obsolete laws/old people who’ve stopped adapting.

This is some big stuff. Seriously, it applies to whether you’re:

  • In school
  • Working in a big company
  • Part of some club
  • Doing advertising
  • Focusing on dating

….and more.

So just DO it, figure out a way to differentiate what you’re doing!

Over to You:

How can you use these ideas in your own life?

Please share.

Can you think of some example where someone or something–a person, company, movie, or whatever else you can think of–has differentiated themselves and stood out from the crowd? Favorably or wrongly.

Any example is interesting.

Join thousands of others and get free access to my 75 BEST TIPS + exclusive content in the SGM newsletter (I only email about once per month.)
0 Flares Facebook 0 Google+ 0 Twitter 0 Buffer 0 0 Flares ×

  1. unfortunately he never revealed exactly how they measured it.

  2. Holy shit, this book just costs $1-2 bucks on Kindle on Amazon. Buy it. It’s extremely good, if you have a talent/interest in strategy and high-level thinking.

  3. like in that vampire movie with Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt and Antonio Banderas I watched when I was a kid. It was pretty cool.

  4. It’s because they saw it as a long-term investment into their brand. Even if the company didn’t do too well, they still kept it because they wanted to acquire a reputation for being a reliable and helpful company to be acquired by. The plan–I believe (they don’t say it outright, but it makes sense to me)–was that their positive reputation would act as a counter-measure to “institutional imperative,” which is Buffett’s name for breaking homeostasis on a grand scale in organizations.  And when a company gets acquired, there’s always going to be fear, worry, and resistance among the employees. 

  5. greenmail = a company re-purchases its stocks from the “raider” (unwanted owner) at a price above market rate. This is often a waste of capital 

  6. As you can read above, many have now copied. 

The Ultimate Commonplace System

Finally out. . .
Click for more info:

Join the Waiting List for my Upcoming Book:

Comments

  1. Burt REyonolds says:

    Do you also love apple?

    • No, I do not.

      I don’t have any of their stuff. But I’m a big fan of Steve Job’s. He was clever.

      • You should try a MacBook. It changed everything for me. The quality is surreal and how much quality apps you can download to improve your productivity.

      • Cong — you’re right about the apps. That is one thing I feel I am missing. For example, my friend uses the app Alfred (which lets you search all your files extremely quickly), and to my knowledge there is no corresponding app for Windows.

  2. Interesting article, you always have smart things to share :)

    So you’re in Asia now? I have never been to Thailand but I’m in Vietnam now. I’ve heard they are pretty similar. Maybe we can meet? I will email soon :D

  3. I didnt know that about Buffett, even though I have seen him on TV many times.
    Funny btw because I see you do almost the same thing with your site for ambitious and smart people and to scare away dumb ones. Nice man. This is intentional right?

  4. I have a proyect on my mind, I want to build cars. The 2 top times part paragraph finished my idea. Im gonna build ultra basic super cheap electric cars. They wont have anything unnecesary. Totally spartan. Like a porsche 356 speedster, a vw bug, fiat 500, citroen 2cv. All made in fiberglass, and without anything that is necesary for driving the car.
    All actual cars are stupidly complex. My idea is not only good, but contrarian.
    Electric -> even more simple.

    • That is really cool. It is one of those things people want/wish to do, but is so hard most give up before trying. That includes me ;-)

    • Hey Art sun — awesome idea.

      What do you mean by this?
      “The 2 top times part paragraph finished my idea”

      “All actual cars are stupidly complex”

      –I didn’t know that.

      • I’m sorry, I was on the cellphone so I couldn’t copy paste. I meant this part:
        “The Top 2 Times When You WANT to Do it Differently

        When everyone else is doing something monotonously you will stand out by defying the norm.
        When you’re dealing with an outdated or idiotic system/model/set of rules/religions/obsolete laws/old people who’ve stopped adapting.”

        Both cases are true. Cars are stupidly complex. Starting from the engine, a “cool” car with a v8 is unnecessary complex, counting all the parts it has. See this picture: https://i.imgur.com/df1suGO.jpg
        Imagine all the quality standards, the tolerances, the machines needed, all the human labor, testing, development… Not to mention the oil it needs, and the maintenance.
        Now, a normal 4 cylinder car is still complicated. http://www.4wheelparts.com/images/hard-parts/TJ_2.5L_Engine.jpg
        Besides, these kind of engines cannot attain a better performance because of thermodynamics. 35% max. Imagine a piston inside an engine going up and down, like 4000 times in a minute. Every time it changes directions, energy is lost in changing the inertia of the piston’s mass. You need a flywheel to ease off this suddent change of inertia. You could make specially light pistons with materials like titanium alloys but you would guess that they are really costly. Besides from that, you have a lot of temperature that limits the performance of the engine (because the metal would melt). To avoid that you would need to add a liquid cooling system. That means you have more parts that can break and then, added complexity. And heat that isn’t used to produce movement goes trough the exhaust. Let’s not forget the noise, that is wasted energy. All of these things explain why car engines cannot go beyond 35% of efficiency.

        Normal cars are like Swiss watches. They are really pretty and work great. Everyone wants one, but a digital clock would be much better to do the job.

        Compare this with an electric motor:
        http://compressors.tpub.com/TM-5-4310-384-13/img/TM-5-4310-384-13_112_1.jpg

        Have you ever heard about “moving parts” in a mechanical system? That means, when less things are moving you get less problems (everything that moves likes to break). Also, Electric cars don’t need oil, clutch, sometimes they don’t need a gearbox… And the mass from the rotor is rotating so it doesn’t need a flywheel.

        Aside the motor, there are a lot of other things that everybody things are necessary for a car but that’s not true. I mean, the most basic vehicle is a motorbike. Everything that a car has and a bike doesn’t we could say that isn’t needed.
        Windows, doors (with open-close mechanisms), in some cases backseats, panels, a lot plastic… And the fact that cars are made of steel and not plastic like fiberglass or something else. More weight -> More expensive to produce and to transport and mantain -> More energy needed just to move the car.

        I’m not saying that Swiss watches and a lot of luxury isn’t cool, but why there isn’t ANYBODY that builds extremely basic cars? Not even Tesla. I will do them. And now I’m sure because I’ll benefit from the contrast.

        How will I do this? I’ll start gaining experience building an Porsche 356 replica (and selling it). Then I’ll see what will I do next. Yes, I’m reading Henry’s Ford book, and I love it.

      • I’m sorry, I was on the cellphone so I couldn’t copy paste. I meant this part:
        “The Top 2 Times When You WANT to Do it Differently

        When everyone else is doing something monotonously you will stand out by defying the norm.
        When you’re dealing with an outdated or idiotic system/model/set of rules/religions/obsolete laws/old people who’ve stopped adapting.”

        Both cases are true. Cars are stupidly complex. Starting from the engine, a “cool” car with a v8 is unnecessary complex, counting all the parts it has. See this picture: https://i.imgur.com/df1suGO.jpg
        Imagine all the quality standards, the tolerances, the machines needed, all the human labor, testing, development… Not to mention the oil it needs, and the maintenance.
        Now, a normal 4 cylinder car is still complicated. http://www.4wheelparts.com/images/hard-parts/TJ_2.5L_Engine.jpg
        Besides, these kind of engines cannot attain a better performance because of thermodynamics. 35% max. Imagine a piston inside an engine going up and down, like 4000 times in a minute. Every time it changes directions, energy is lost in changing the inertia of the piston’s mass. You need a flywheel to ease off this suddent change of inertia. You could make specially light pistons with materials like titanium alloys but you would guess that they are really costly. Besides from that, you have a lot of temperature that limits the performance of the engine (because the metal would melt). To avoid that you would need to add a liquid cooling system. That means you have more parts that can break and then, added complexity. And heat that isn’t used to produce movement goes trough the exhaust. Let’s not forget the noise, that is wasted energy. All of these things explain why car engines cannot go beyond 35% of efficiency.

        Normal cars are like Swiss watches. They are really pretty and work great. Everyone wants one, but a digital clock would be much better to do the job.

        Compare this with an electric motor:
        http://compressors.tpub.com/TM-5-4310-384-13/img/TM-5-4310-384-13_112_1.jpg

        Have you ever heard about “moving parts” in a mechanical system? That means, when less things are moving you get less problems (everything that moves likes to break). Also, Electric cars don’t need oil, clutch, sometimes they don’t need a gearbox… And the mass from the rotor is rotating so it doesn’t need a flywheel.

        Aside the motor, there are a lot of other things that everybody things are necessary for a car but that’s not true. I mean, the most basic vehicle is a motorbike. Everything that a car has and a bike doesn’t we could say that isn’t needed.
        Windows, doors (with open-close mechanisms), in some cases backseats, panels, a lot plastic… And the fact that cars are made of steel and not plastic like fiberglass or something else. More weight -> More expensive to produce and to transport and mantain -> More energy needed just to move the car.

        I’m not saying that Swiss watches and a lot of luxury isn’t cool, but why there isn’t ANYBODY that builds extremely basic cars? Not even Tesla. I will do them. And now I’m sure because I’ll benefit from the contrast.

        How will I do this? I’ll start gaining experience building an Porsche 356 replica (and selling it). Then I’ll see what will I do next. Yes, I’m reading Henry’s Ford book, and I love it.

      • That’s very cool.

        “now I’m sure because I’ll benefit from the contrast.”

        –I don’t know enough about the car industry to make any valuable predictions, but from a marketing standpoint you will definitely have an advantage here.

  5. An example… maybe not the same as yours but interesting enough, that comes to my mind, is Romans and Spartans. Both made a living (and a killing, hehe!) On professional soldiering whereas many other countries and civilizations were more about learning and education.

    • Thanks for sharing Ben. I like to collect example like these.

      The Spartans were some mean-ass dudes, if you think about it. I take it you know about their “Helot-runs” and other such traditions/rites of passage?

  6. I want to share something! :D

    There is a video on YouTube (https://youtu.be/tp5hgjD_Y5g) showcasing a Japanese arranger’s Disney piano arrangements which is very popular (>20m views). I liked them a lot myself, and wanted to purchase the sheets from the arranger, but like most people, was a little hesitant due to the high price of them.

    But I soon saw the opportunity…

    I thought this means that no one was recording these fantastic arrangements on YouTube, and I was right! Today, my current top 5 performing videos are these Disney arrangements. If you search for the arranger’s name “Hirohashi Makiko”, I’m all over the 1st 2 pages. I’m now the GO-TO pianist on YouTube for these! I also got to connect with the arranger herself from recording all her work. Lastly, I decided to make an album to go along with it! It became an Amazon Bestseller, #34 in movie soundtracks category at its peak, but on hindsight I think it’s not that much of a big deal than I thought it was at first. But I know without a doubt that from the sales of this Disney album, I’ve already covered the cost for purchasing all the sheets, and more! :)

    I wanted to point out also that sometimes as an artist, it can be challenging to balance between doing work that the masses like, and doing work that resonates with you. I’m glad I happen to like Disney music, and especially her piano arrangements!

    Btw, I’m thinking of getting Youngme Moon’s Different.

    And did you steal those article titles from LIFEHACK? Haha…

    • That’s awesome — glad to see your good idea pay off!

      Speaking of Youngme Moon’s Different — I’ve read it. Great book! I didn’t know you had read it. That’s where I read about the Google example.

      No, I did not steal them from LifeHack (I think?). I made them up.

  7. First paragraph had me grinning a lot, no wonder most self-help sites fail to attract readers.
    Personally I chose to start a blog that has little to nothing to do with self-help; it’s about writing fiction. The road to building a large audience is a long one but I will persevere.
    The fiction crowd is too focused on novels and unwilling to discover what exists in other media. For instance they look down on animation while they could learn a lot from it. In my site I mention works from all media – with no “holier-than-thou” attitude – which makes it livelier and with more diverse content. The writing people also love discussing the practice of writing itself (daily word count, procrastination, what software to use) but rarely mention vision and how they can stand out. This is a point I’m currently writing about in an upcoming free eBook. I have observed that all memorable works of fiction, aside from being both entertaining and educating, have an element of “freshness” (which allows them to stand out and leave their mark, e.g. The Matrix) that sometimes goes on to set new trends (the Mad Max franchise).
    (And this is where I realize that if I posted this comment in a writing forum, they’d slaughter me. But the unwillingness of “novel writers” to question themselves is what makes most of the current novel landscape unworthy of attention, while other media – movies, TV shows, anime – keep prospering.)

    • That’s cool. I’ve got a bit of an interest in fiction & screenwriting lately. Been reading a few of Aaron Sorkin’s scripts, like “The West Wing” and “The Newsroom”. Do you have any recommended readings for a beginner like me?

      “The writing people also love discussing the practice of writing itself (daily word count, procrastination, what software to use) but rarely mention vision and how they can stand out. ”

      –Hahah! I’ve noticed this too.

      Your site looks nice, by the way.

      • Thanks Ludvig. Reading scripts is great for understanding and learning–especially when it comes to dialogues. I suggest you check scriptshadow.net, although it’s a mess to navigate through–there doesn’t seem to be an archives pages. But the author is very active and provides a lot of valuable advice. He also has a book (Scriptshadow Secrets). I haven’t read it but from the “look inside” function in Amazon it seems approachable. The core concepts are laid out in an easy-to-digest manner so I guess it’s a good place to start.

        I’m also currently reading Story Engineering by Larry Brooks. I’m not sure if it’s beginner-friendly, but the author does a fantastic job in explaining thoroughly the nuances between terms thrown left and right. There is also a high level of insight and clarity of thought that gives the reader “aha!” moments. It’s a must-read for anyone interested in fiction and I highly recommend it.

        If you have any question about writing, just ask and I’ll be glad to help.

      • Thank you very much, Khalid. I appreciate it!

        I just bookmarked the site, bought the book, and downloaded a checklist of it. I will also read some of your articles soon. If I have any questions I will email you.

  8. I think your observations of contrarianism are consequential (not the cause of) the mentioned successes.

    Although the anecdotes appear successful due to their contrary stance, it’s my opinion their true worth came from being so utterly confident in themselves, they took on the world (and won). You may label it “individualism” but you’d probably more aligned saying “healthy narcissism”.

    Each time I see a success (morally & financially), therein lies someone so ruthless in their pursuit of growth that they quickly realized the only way forward is to make your own decisions, from on your own facts (self reliance).

    The key is then having the gall to pursue said decisions. When I see this at at a macro (company) and micro (individual) level, the ensuing result is eventual success.

    The default is to place little value on the self; exception being to step forward and promote your virtues. If you can back that up with a solid offering (expertise), you’ll win.

    Another great example you could have used is Pablo Escobar. One of the most feared (& wealthy) druglords, became a politician and “spread the wealth” in his hometown — result — “his” people loved him.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MzxYP0th-AU

    Another good one to watch is “Tommy Robinson” in the UK. If he gains credibility, he could ascend into government. He has a violent past & has committed fraud but is positioning himself perfectly for an influential career. A great man

    https://twitter.com/TRobinsonNewEra

    • You may be right. Most of these examples are big events in complex systems. Their success depended on many things. But I think they did a good job in differention / doing it differently.

      “The key is then having the gall to pursue said decisions. ”

      –You mean like the Gallant Gallstone? ;)

  9. Just watched School of Life’s video on capitalism and this article sync well. Let’s look at the pyramids of needs. Survival, safety and homeostasis are at bottom. Love connection and self actualization at top. %99 percent of people sells stuff for this kind of needs. There is a scarcity for upper needs. Your blog sells to higher need such as personal achievement. Great way to profit from contrast

    • What’s “School of Life?”

      –And I think you’re right about what you’re saying. I actually write something very similar in my book, quoting Maslow. Funny you should mention that.

      • Mert Torun says:

        The School Of Life is an organization which gives lessons on the stuff you should have learned in school but you didn’t.
        They have a YouTube channel which has tons of short video essays about big ideas and influential people.
        It provides very enjoyable starting point for learning big ideas.
        Here is the video I talked about: https://youtu.be/Yh_hRS15n_8

      • Thanks.

        Seems like a great educational effort.

  10. Hey Ludvig,

    Muhammed Ali certainly stood out from the crowd. He didn’t back down from his race during a time where most african american’s were ‘hiding’ their race. Not to mention how different his strategies in the ring were, dancing around like a butterfly and of course using psychological warfare against his enemies.

    Infact I recently heard on a podcast how Muhammed Ali straight up told people, “No, I will not dance around. This time I’m coming for [his enemy] head-first, fists swinging.” No-one believed him because he’d be type-cast in his strategy, but he took the piss out of his enemy, flattening him and earning himself even more attention.

    “Ali was black and proud of it at a time when many black Americans were running from their color.”

    Possibly one of my favorite quotes…

    “When you want to talk about who made me, you talk to me. Who made me is me.”

    What a fucking badass.

    – Shawn Michael Hartwell

  11. This is a little bit over my head to be honest. I never got marketing / branding / psychology (or how this article’ s theme might best be described).

    I understand the examples you explain but I don’t understand the underlying thinking that I can use.

    • I think the basic idea is, “Think outside the box,” where the “box” is popular ideas/activities. This doesn’t just apply to business/marketing/investment, it applies to every aspect of life: relationships, education, religion, warfare, politics, science, entertainment, /ad infinitum/.

      The observation is that 1. The majority is often wrong and 2. Intelligent people can often benefit by going against majority opinion.

  12. The thing that I have been thinking about lately is what types of lessons you can really learn from these types of cases, or whether it is just survivor bias coming into play. Hard to differentiate sometimes.

    • Yeah.

      In my opinion, the value of examples like this is not to view them as universal success principles or “proof” to boost my confidence in that I can do the same (which I guess many people do), but rather as training wheels to open up my mind and help me think more creatively.

  13. What’s your opinion on social media.. Everyone does the same thing. How can you stand out ?

  14. Hey Ludvig, mover tour post!
    Ir just keep coming to me how your philosophy is so similar to Luciferian Philosophy.
    Luciferian Philosophy does not include religious and esoteric themes per se, some people includes them if they wish. I think reading of this could be stepping to an area that’s new for you.
    I recommend Wisdom of Eosphoros
    Excited for your new book

  15. Jeremy Davidson says:

    Excellent article, as always. Smooth trick too – promising 10 ways then listing 12 to be different, very funny. A very obvious example of contrarianism is taking America by storm right now – Donald Trump. All the other politicians are careful to avoid saying anything that might make them look bad, but Trump seemingly has no filters. And it’s working. I suspect that you’d be interested in reading about him, he ranks up there with Ray Croc and Arnold Schwarzenegger for sure. Scott Adam has been discussing his persuasion skills on the Dilbert blog for several months now, well worth the read.

    • Hehe you’re clever :)

      I don’t follow the presidential election, but I keep hearing fun stuff about Trump so what he’s doing must be working (if even a mainstream media hermit like me hears of him).

      I will have to set out some time to study Trump more (I’ve read two of his books actually) sometime soon. If Scott Adam likes him I probably like him too.

      • Neither Trump nor Adams is in any sense a contrarian, however – quite the contrary (pun intended).

      • Trump is the classic click-bait populist politician. Saying stuff that he thinks the masses want to hear.

        He went from being a member of the Democratic Party, to Republican, to Democratic, then to Reform Party and now he is a Republican again…

  16. Reagerade på din bloggs namn, start gaining momentum, något jag precis läst om. Har du läst The Compound Effect?
    https://happycareerista.wordpress.com/2016/02/22/the-compound-effect-review/

    • So what is this Compound Effect? Can you delineate it in 100 words or less?

    • Hey Andrea,
      I have not read The Compound Effect, but I have heard of it from friends. Probably a good book :)

      Read your article:
      I suggest you read Napoleon Hill’s 16 Laws of Success (the long version) over Think and Grow Rich (which is a shorter version). I have read both.

  17. I agree with what you said about clickbait, it frustrates me to no end when I see people posting articles with these ridiculous headlines. A few times I’ve actually clicked on them expecting to get something out of it, but it’s the same old thing every time. So tiring. Seeing your content in comparison to the majority of other sites, I don’t doubt or question your success at all.

    • Thank you, Maggie.

    • LOL. Are you kidding me? (Not you, Ludvig)

      Or are you owning up to facts?

      Your site is just like what Ludvig is mocking in the article.

      “7 Common Phrases Losers Say a Lot – Do You Say Any of These”
      +
      “Most Successful People Get These 3 Things Done on the Weekend”

      I am not saying this to be rude to you or your site because you may be the best writer in the world but im not gonna read it after this article as you can understand. Anyway I hope my point gets through otherwise you’re deluding yourself somehow.

  18. Good job with this post and the blog in general Ludvig! I’ve noticed contrarian is the way to go as well, because by doing everything exactly as someone else, you literally are creating competition for yourself. When you go against the grain while providing value at the same time, it’s a winning formula because no competitors exist, as there is only YOU. People will buy/follow you for the value that YOU provide, as they see you are unique!

  19. This is an interesting article but I honestly don’t like the attitude towards other people and life in general. I don’t want to get into much details, as everyone have their own different views and we should respect that, but I will gracefully place here a quote from my mentor that fits this situation.

    “The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.” ― Jim Rohn

  20. “Over to You:
    How can you use these ideas in your own life?”

    The first example that comes to mind: I started an MMA school in 2007 in Munich, Germany, at a time when backyard gyms and tough guy owners were the norm. Very consciously, I decided to do everything the opposite way: Find a nice modern gym in a posh, hip neighborhood. Create a modern, welcoming website. Skip the unquestioning tough guy attitude and train my fighters to think for themselves. The results surpassed all my hopes: within two years, we were the biggest and commercially most successful gym in town, even though some of the other schools had a head start of several years on us. I eventually sold the gym to one of my former students with a profit.

    So, quite literally, it pays to be a contrarian.

Trackbacks

  1. […] and the favorable way to conduct oneself as a prince reigning over states and countries. Thanks to Ludvig, I picked up the book for only $.99 on […]

Speak Your Mind

*

Join thousands of others and get free access to my 75 BEST TIPS + exclusive content in the SGM newsletter.