Because you broke away from the pack a long time ago. You’re a different breed — a dog of a different color.
You cultivated the black art of individuality, learned the art of personality. You became brilliant. People argue about your modesty.
She does things differently, they say, she’s heterodox, self-contained, haunting the higher eminences of thought, hard-worker, school-leaver, reposed, self-taught.
Like all of us, she’s a tightly packed pod of living potential, but she’s EXPLODING: a life-giving force, a mustard seed.
She’s never in need.
She has the common touch. Yet, somehow, she remains pure and remote and above the fray.
She has a certain way.
She’s silent. She’s sensible.
She knows that self-development is the aim of life and that self-control is the basis of character.
She’s not sloppy.
It takes a certain kind of work to be boring, whereas in order to be interesting it’s … what?
It’s mostly a question of habit — and the true secret of habit, as everyone knows, is the insight that habit is discipline and that your habits are what you choose them to be.
Your life is your values.
Your values are what you most enjoy doing.
In this sense, your values are your habits.
How do you become unforgettable?
Here are three simple methods:
1. Cultivate your desire for knowledge
Work to want it more. Knowledge is at home in any public house, coffee-shop, diner, saloon, or bar.
Strive to become the unstoppable learning beast of unslakable thirst that you know you are.
By generalizing. Specialize, yes, that too, but read a little about a lot — or, if you don’t like to read, listen.
Take a course. Attend a lecture. Plug into a podcast. Take in a play.
Most importantly: seek to integrate the new things you learn into the full body of your existing knowledge. In this way, your web of learning will become interconnected, contextual, hierarchical, sweeping.
2. Learn to listen in a charismatic way
You heard me right. (Or did you?)
People love to hear themselves talk. Not you. You’re far too interesting for that. You’re far too self-contained.
Attentive listening is an infallible hallmark of magnetism and manners — which two things go together like whiskey and wieners.
By being an excellent listener, slow to speak and swift to hear, you’ll go far in developing a kind of irresistible fascination.
Brilliant listeners focus sincerely on what the other person is saying.
They never participate in a conversation with the mindset that they’ll listen only until it’s their turn to talk.
If the whole time you’re listening, you’re thinking about what you’re going to say next, it will show on your face like food in one’s beard.
If you’re fidgety, this, too, will show invariably.
In your patience possess ye your souls. Hurry up and learn to be patient, for fucksake!
Patience and presence are signals of extraordinary listeners.
Good listeners do this:
Pause before they respond.
Allow in total silence people to interrupt them.
3. Become a passionate storyteller
Create stories around subjects that you’re truly passionate about.
If the subject of your story is something you’re genuinely interested in, your personality will BLAST through, and you’ll be exposed as the ferocious creative force of insatiable appetite that you know you are.
Those who speak well speak briefly.
Talent is meaningless.
There’s not even really any such thing as talent.
Ambition is everything.
The truth is that the overwhelming majority of successful people aren’t particularly gifted or educated or blessed. Rather, they become successful, in any given endeavor, because they will it.
Because it’s not how smart you are.
It’s how smart you want to be.
In fact, you can always spot her — spot her from a mile away, the smartest person in the bar — or, if not quite from a mile, nonetheless from very far.
She doesn’t necessarily think of herself as smart.
Still, her brain is carefully crafted — self-crafted and stylized — like a work of art.
Her eyes are alert and bright and lively. They twinkle.
She’s relaxed and polite, with a well-modulated voice that speaks to you in the appropriate tone.
Her smile glows like expensive stone.
You do not quickly forget that smile.
She walks purposefully, and yet not aggressively, or with an overbearing style.
She has a sense of humor.
You can see that she knows there’s a kind of dignity in loneliness. She doesn’t go out of the way to seek friends or groups or any kind of crowd.
In general she prefers quiet to loud.
She gives and receives compliments gracefully, can be strong and assertive, quick to stick up for herself, but she can also speak of her shortcomings and accomplishments with an equal ease which you envy.
When communication or clarification is called for, she’s never dismissive or inexplicably silent — never, of course, in any way aggressive or violent.
What’s her trick?
What’s the secret?
The secret is this:
First, develop a total disregard for where you think your abilities end.
Aim beyond what you believe you’re capable of.
Do things you think you’re not able to do.
Nothing is impossible, in this regard. The will to believe is the most important ingredient in becoming what you want.
The discipline to follow through is next. It is also the most difficult.
Why most difficult?
Because it requires hour-after-hour, day-after-day practice.
It requires diligence.
Second — unless you’re in a technical discipline like medicine or mechanical engineering — drop out of college immediately.
College stunts the mind.
It’s a breeding ground of mindlessness and unoriginality and an exercise in non-thought. It’s a snake-infested swamp of dogma — and, like all dogma, it will corrupt you and scar your soul irreparably.
College is conformity.
The cost of conformity is colossal.
Individuality, on the other hand, is a prerequisite of genius. It requires you not be docile.
Genius is the cultivation of your living potential.
The deeper your cultivation, the deeper your genius.
Cultivate, therefore, a durable purpose around which you can construct your life.
Passion is largely willed: the more you do something, the deeper your understanding of it grows, so that after time your passion for that thing develops and spreads like a gorgeous soft surge of water-ripples.
Whatsoever thy hand findest to do, do it with all thy might.
Third, be observant.
Attention is the seat of human will: the fundamental choice we face, all day, everyday, is the choice to pay attention or not.
What, after all, does it mean to be smart?
It means to self-stylize your brain, like a work of art.
It means to observe the universe around you, as well as the one within: to introspect, as thoughtful people do.
It means to be intelligent, like you.
Intelligence is your mental capacity to deal with a wide range of thoughts and ideas.
That’s why it never mattered to you when you were voted least likely to succeed — why it never fazed you when they called you a misfit, a malcontent, alienate, disaffiliate, deviant, recalcitrant. And it’s why your natural-born predilections and proclivities and predispositions are and always have been irrelevant: because intelligence is an acquired skill.
It must be developed by each person’s own desire and activated by each person’s will.
It must be habituated and automated by each person’s own mind.
Which is why it’s quite rare and beautiful, and rather difficult to find.
This, incidentally, is true for both children and adults: the cultivation of intelligence requires effort — or, to put the same point in a slightly different way: thinking is an act of choice.
Thought requires work.
Whereas to be stoopid is relatively simple: all you have to do, in essence, is do nothing. If you do nothing, stoopid will naturally occur.
Being smart, however, requires a different sort of action.
It’s not passive.
On the contrary, thinking is an entirely active process the undertaking of which is, when you consider it at all, massive.
She’s intelligent, yes, but in a highly unorthodox way (they say) hard to pinpoint why: bookish but not book-smart, introspective, certainly, and everything she does — yes, everything — she does with all her heart.
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