Your life is a project…. accumulation

December 26, 2012

I have written how I consider men’s lives to follow three fundamental phases: foundations, accumulation and maintainance. Don’t overthink this it’s just a convenient mental map to be deployed where useful. So let’s consider the second stage which typically begins upon graduating university or beginning an apprenticeship.

Goal: Max out your manly talents of intelligence, creativity, wealth-generation, physical competence

The accumulation phase could equally be described as “setting yourself up for life” or “becoming the best man you can be”. It’ll typically take you the whole of your twenties. Whereas the foundational phase was building the well-rounded basic skills of life taking advantage of the general education granted to children while side-stepping the weakness inherent in kids of not knowing who they are or what direction they wish to go in, the accumulation phase is about specialisation. Society channels you down predetermined tunnels as a kid fixing everyone on more or less the same generic path. Where foundation is Call of Duty (“follow the NPC”) accumulation is Deus Ex (“augument and choose”). I’ll let you in on a little secret right now:

There’s no money and no status to be had from being a generalist. All the upside is in specialisation.

Specialisation, in the future

Specialisation, in the future

1. Choices

What does that mean to you, dear reader? First off you have to carefully marshall your intellectual, physical and emotional resources. Make careful decisions on what skills you seek to acquire.

  • The payoff for any given skill is wildly disproportionate to its difficulty
  • If something is enjoyable, its probably not lucrative. Expect to make tradeoffs
  • Scaleable skillsets are a huge gamble

Consider language learning. It’s a difficult task involving hundred of classroom hours and, to be fluent, living in a country where its spoken as a native. I had university friends doing language degrees and almost exclusively the only ones who got good jobs did a joint honours with another skill. Spanish on its own will help you navigate South America but it won’t add a penny to your salary unless it’s combined with a real money-making skill such as accounting, engineering or law. Speaking of language, they are not all created equal. Japanese takes approximately three times longer to learn than Spanish or French and it’s only useful for one country. Serbian is bloody difficult and only useful in one small country where per capita income is only $11,000 and they all speak English anyway. Why on earth would anyone learn Serbian unless they are fully commited to living there for years on end? It’s just a dumb waste of effort.

Consider the UFC. That’s the biggest-paying promotion for the sport of MMA. There’s only one PPV every six weeks or so which only has six TV fights per show across all weight divisions. So that’s twelve fighters getting TV-level paydays per show making an annual total of TV-paydays about 104 slots. Assuming you are fighting at that level and get offered a slot, it’ll be a minimum of six week’s training with its attendant costs. Probably 20% goes to your manager and gym. Assuming no medical costs or long injury-related layoffs, fight four times a year, and assuming you win every fight (so statistically 75% of fighters won’t manage even this) you are spending 24 weeks in training and getting by on four paydays. Now go look at how much these guys get paid.

Shocking. Truly shocking. And this is at the most lucrative end of the sport. The top guys do fine (well, not compared to £80k per week footballers but fine compared to normal guys) but look past the top 5 names. Most MMA guys are taking <£10,000 a fight. Drop down to the next level of show and its <£1,000. For six week’s work. I make that in two days sitting at my desk. When I have a bad day at the office I don’t get beat up too.

The lesson isn’t that I’m awesome and fighters suck. The lesson is some careers are far better than others despite being considerably easier and considerably less risk. The 437th-best lawyer in London earns considerably more than the 10th-best London MMA fighter and that income is far more stable. My advice is treat the exciting careers as a hobby.

Nicolas Taleb writes well on the risk/reward payoffs of scaleable careers. The general self-improvement advice is choose a business / career where you can scale upwards. Acting, music, software are classically scaleable careers. If you can be Seinfeld (syndicated worldwide), or have Gangnam Style (200+ million youtube views), or write the next Angry Birds then you can rest on your royalties. The problem is survivor bias and winner-takes-all. The very nature of a pyramid business structure is that only one pharoah is buried in it. Freakonmics has a great essay on how the scaleability of the drug dealer business model means almost everyone earns less than minimum wage and sustains themselves on the dream of being the one Mister Big. Don’t gamble your life’s trajectory on being that one guy. If you truly believe you’ll overcome unsurmountable odds buy a lottery ticket. And stay away from battlefields.

Yes, that's me

Yes, that’s me

In summary, choose your career wisely. Don’t be afraid to switch careers before you become too committed. Your risk appetite likely differs to mine but here’s my dream list of career conditions:

  • Based on a real skillset that is difficult to learn (e.g. accounting, medicine, architecture)
  • Most of the population is literally unable to compete (e.g. requires too much abstract thinking, training period is too stressful, entry costs are too high, apprenticeship is difficult to obtain)
  • Nature of the job cannot be adequately offshored or automated because it relies on high-trust thinking, verbal knowledge, quality decision making, and personal contact (e.g. law, computer programming)
  • Stable income stream with a large pool of commoditised jobs (e.g. accounting, contract law, computer programming, consulting)
  • EDIT: I haven’t read this book but it looks like a great resource for choosing a career: “Worthless”

2. Excellence

Once you’ve started on your career your main goal is to become really good at it. Shine your star as bright as you can. Take real passion in excellence for its own sake. Ignore all those office-politics TV shows and books that would convince you advancement is all about who you know. No. Right up until you hit senior management advancement is what you know. Consider pick-up: what is the more successful strategy (i) learn the secret code to bullshit women into your bed or (ii) become the kind of high value man that pretty women want to sleep with? Precisely. When you know full well that every single day you go into the office you are producing high quality work, when every single product you deliver to a customer is best-in-class…. the money will keep rolling in. I’ve read all of Robert Green’s books. He’s right in his 48 Laws of Power and his 33 Strategies of War but these are only effective at the margins. Consider them defensive positioning so that the passive-aggressive office freaks can’t hurt you. Do not willingly engage in such petty power games or you’ll take on the character of your opponents. Never wrestle a pig. You both end up covered in shit but the pig likes it.

An internet forum HB8

An internet forum HB8

At the beginning of your career things are rather nebulous. Your academic record matters but both you and your prospective employer know your basically a know-nothing kid who needs to be trained up on the job. So heading into an interview your vibe, character and potential matter alot. Five years down the line it’s all about genuine markers of geniune skill. Do you have the industry-standard qualification? Do you write the industry-leading program code? How many sales did you bring to your last company? Whatever the metric is, you are on stronger ground having acheived the matric through being excellent at your job than bullshitting your way through with gambits you learned in a self-help book. The business world is not as dumb as you may think.

3. Intelligence

Your twenties are your peak brain-forming years. You can google yourself all the studies showing how artists are most productive in their twenties, how creative thinking is maxed out in those years. By spending your twenties feeding your mind you will become more intelligent. I’m lucky – I spent the whole of my twenties straining and challenging my mind quite naturally by taking a difficult study-intensive job, reading hundreds of books, writing for several publications, learning a foreign language, cerebrally learning martial arts (in addition to the raw physical side), playing intellectually engaging video games etc. I was not simply sitting on my sofa with a bag of Wotsits watching X-Factor. You must find challenge in your twenties. Work is a great place for it but also consider your leisure time. Learn expert systems. Take joy in it, whether it be chess, crossword puzzles or Starcraft. You must read alot, with a good portion of those books being stimulating rather than mere entertainment. Set yourself little projects within your hobbies. Here’s a sample of what I did in my twenties:

  • Learn how global financial and economic flows work. I found five top quality technical blogs to read daily and deepened my knowledge of sectors through reading about 45 books. It took eighteen months.
  • A deep dive into Japanese culture. I studied the language at a school, watched lots of anime with English subtitles, and read English-language translations of major Japanese fiction.
  • Micro-analyse fighting arts. I watched a few hundred MMA and kickboxing shows live, analysing the fights as I watched rather than limit myself to letting in wash over me. I read theory pieces on technique, followed the major magazines, learned what I could from fighter records (and to predict future fights), tried to pick out moves in fights to practice in the gym etc.

Those are my hobbies, don’t feel obliged to mimick them. Notice a common trend is my frame was to identify intriguing questions and then set out to answer them. Even the dryest blogpost on sub-prime ALT-A mortgage servicing fees becomes fascinating when it’s the answer to a question you’ve been asking yourself. That’s how your brain glows.

Accumulation is by its nature a forward-thinking phase with considerable deferred gratification. You’ll take alot of manly pride in building your castle but there’s no getting away from the fact that it’s alot of hard graft. You must be prepared to work hard. There is no shortcut because your brain and body require the hard work in order to reach their potential. Even if somehow inexplicably you were to stumble upon a suitcase full of millions you could not shortcut this process. Sure, you’d be financially set for life but all those other male attributes would wither on the vine.

Done correctly, you will end the accumulation phase towards your early thirties with the following dimensions to your character:

  • Clever as fuck
  • A highly marketable skill set so you need never fear unemployment
  • A huge reservoir of interesting knowledge about the world, it’s culture and history

Congratulations. You are now entering your SMV prime holding four aces.

Becoming closer to this

Becoming closer to this

*NB* – I didn’t touch on physical culture, fashion or other lifestyle areas. I’m assuming you know you should continue working out and learn to dress well. By necessity this post can only touch a few concepts so don’t think this is all there is. And of course don’t get married. I’d also add don’t buy a house or do anything else that ties you long-term to one place and high monthly payments. I’ll discuss that more in the final part…….. and btw, this is my 500th post.


  1. Starting uni in September and these posts are like gold. Thanks, really enjoy reading your stuff

  2. Been following your blog for a while, it’s posts like this that focus on improving yourself. Looking forward to the follow up as well. I’m 27 now, I’ll be 30 when I graduate from a top 10 UK uni (possibly even 5) in Mech Engineering. Unfortunately I spent my early 20s undecided but luckily managed to save some cash, and learnt languages pretty well. I guess the ideas in this post would be the same for me, just a few years later (graduating at 30 instead of 22)…or do you think there is any significant difference? [Nah. Top five uni, MechEng. So long as you knuckle down for a 2:1 or better things look rosy. Men have a long prime. K.]

  3. Your best post yet. Stuff fathers should be teaching their sons.

  4. Very interesting to read you diversifying away from the usual game related posts in the Manosphere to broader life skills. And on that note, I think you nailed it. The twenties isn’t a time to relax. It’s a time to achieve, to push yourself to higher an higher levels and to learn and grow, especially intellectually. Going to go back now and read through this again.

  5. Wish I could have seen this post back in school. Really is making me question what I will do in the next few years. [Best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. Second best time is today. K.]

  6. I’m 23 and feel like I’ve wasted my time. Then again I’m 23. I still have a long way to go, no need for me to despair. [Plenty of time. K.]

  7. Congrats on 500. I agree with everything you say here except for 1 thing: that a fun job isn’t a high earning one. In most cases this is true, but not all. If you decide to become a master in anything you’re passionate about, you can take nearly any ‘fun’ job and make serious money doing it; it’s a matter of scalability and expertise. There are personal trainers (not a scalable job) bringing in 250k USD. There are bartenders breaking 6 figures. Not many of course, but if you’re passionate about what you do and put in the time, you can make it work.

    Also, some jobs are misleading. Doctors & lawyers for example. Yes high income, but also crazy hours and often a decade (or more) spent paying off college loans, not to mention a decade accumulating that knowledge. That’s 20 years before profits start rolling in. If you’re passionate about it, great, but if you’re not there’s no reason to do something you despise. Caveat: even fun jobs have not so fun moments, that’s a given.

  8. In baseball, this post would be an upper-deck home run. You’ve really outdone yourself, K. Love the Nassim Taleb quote too. His thinking on antifragility is real mind-candy, and a powerful heuristic mapping tool.

    One note–you mentioned medicine as a possible scalable career. I’m not so sure about that.-I am about the same age as yourself, and had a very similar trajectory–spent my 20’s studying biology, anatomy, botany, and a host of other science, as well as a Japanese martial art. Spent my early 30’s parlaying that into specialized education and career in medicine. It’s only scalable in the way you describe for those practicing “concierge medicine,” in a completely “off-grid” manner, that is a 100% cash practice, no insurance, no bollocks. It’s not easy when the entire system is rigged towards accepting (lower and lower amounts) insurance reimbursement and/or socialized/goverment fees, whether it’s NHS or Medicare.

    That said, it’s an area where the red pill is your best ally, and those with true focus and determination set their own course. That, truly, is what determines if a man is playing with all aces.

  9. Great stuff; good point on not buying a house. I bought a house after college, just now getting rid of it, almost 7 years later. Once you fall into the comfort rut, its very hard to break out.

    Just read a book called “So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love” that is very much in line with Krauser’s thinking too. Good debunking of the “just follow your passion” meme.

  10. Being 28 years old, i’ve yet to find my true calling, but throughout my 20’s, i have practiced Wing Chun up to instructor level and am now dabbling in Wrestling and Brazilian Ju Jitsu. Practically become an expert at Cuban style Salsa after 2 years of practice and have read countless books on personal development and social dynamics due to discovering Game at age 23.

    My only downside is my career and have yet to find one where i can truly feel happy and content to spend the rest of my life doing having come from an IT degree background and realising that it’s not really for me.

    While this doesn’t bother me as i’m naturally a fast learner so i tend to pick up new skills quickly, what worries me is that i have approximately 1 and a half years before i turn 30 and yet to establish myself in my chosen career.

    I’ve since spent a few years teaching myself Internet Marketing and have tried getting a career in it. My ideal goal really is to master it and have my own internet business that replaces my 9-5 day job by the time i’m 30.

    I’m in two minds at the moment. Whether to embark on my career and progress up the corporate ladder or go my own way and develop my skills further and become a successful entrepreneur.

    My family advises to have a plan A and B. Plan A being my career and Plan B being my entrepreneurial ventures and to spend more time on it and less on my career as my income starts shifting towards my business ventures.

    Will be an interesting few years for sure.

    If any of you have any suggestions about where i should go to get on the right tracks, that would be awesome.

    • Onder,

      I had a similar track to yours except that I went to school for marketing and then got into commercial real estate. Now I work in online marketing for an agency that does campaigns for fortune 500 clients. In between my transition from real estate though I tried to start my own online business without knowing enough about it. As someone who wasted a full year and most of their savings jumping into that game before I was ready I highly recommend getting a job in the field first. It takes up a lot of my time but on top of doing well for my clients and writing for some online publications I work on two sites on the side that are starting to net me a good monthly profit.

      There are lots of entry level jobs in the field and you can learn so much from people who do it everyday. I spent money on courses from bullshit guru’s who try to hold back and or don’t know what actually works.

      Learn from my mistakes and try and find a job in SEO, analytics, technical design or some other related field before you start your own gig.

      • Thanks OConnor. That’s exactly what i’m doing.
        I’ve already done a 6 month internship last year working as an SEO intern for a Foreign Exchange company in the City. Now i’m working on personal projects putting my skills into practice and as part of my portfolio of work to show alongside my CV. Baby steps, but need to knuckle down next year and make some big strides.

  11. Given that you’ve allegedly read so many books, I fail to understand your alarmingly slender grip on grammar..

    “huge reservoir of interesting knowledge about the world, it’s culture and history.”

    Just a suggestion: perhaps it would be a good idea drop the pop psychology and continue with running game? The pseudo theories regarding self-improvement might wash with the fan boys but for those of us that are actually conversant in psychology and sociology, it’s a rather unedifying spectacle.

    Not a hater. Just saying what I see. [I’ll own you on sociology, chump. K.]

    • Exactly my thoughts. The number of incorrect spellings, grammatical errors and plain misuse of words through-out the post is alarmingly high for someone with his supposed level of erudition. [Enjoy your sense of superiority. One of the things I learned knowing academics at university and reading reams of inpenetrable social science is that intellectualism is a buffer. Clinging to an affected intellectual superiority through being pedantic on trappings is just another way of avoiding doing anything with your life. A high-IQ gamma trait, like the Mensa boys. I write very quickly and don’t get paid for it, so I am whimsical. K.]

  12. I am 32 and feel like I’ve wasted my time too. A kind of Houllebecq hero, as in “Whatever” (not the hideous one, however). Actually now I am considering whether should I focus on women – the aspect of life I missed – or on my passions, or studying sth outside humanities finally (did philosophy & history). Read thousands of books, however. Since with the help of quite accidental course at university I got interest in global economy too, I have read zerohedge since two years; yet,
    additionally I got a bit uneasy about the future.

  13. Krauser,

    Agree with above posters these are two killer posts in a row. There are only a few “Rational Scientists” in the Manosphere, and someone has to take the lead in charting to path the “Fully Developed Man”.

    Note: A first attempt was made at this 4 years ago by David DeAngelo in “Become Mr. Right.”

    Watch this “commercial” and make a list all the what we now recognize as GAMMA Ways being advocated in that seminar, starting with “(Your 10 Woman) should be someone who kicks your ass swiftly if you are not on your mission” (Wha?)

    I saw this seminar 3 years ago – but instinctively distrusted the overall plan he lays out, for a reason I couldn’t put my finger on at the time.

    I now know the reason: DeAngelo (real name Eben Pagan) IS REALLY A GAMMA. And he is selling his mistaken Gamma agenda as the way to the Fully Developed “Mr. Right.”

    For example, In this post, Krauser gives a practical advice that (paraphrasing) “rarely is the most money made from doing what is fun”

    Meanwhile, Pagan stresses making money but ONLY if “It is your passion… and it makes the world a better place. Your mission cannot be about money.”

    I remember hearing this, – why can’t my mission be about money? Lol. Of course “making the world a better place” is more standard Gamma boilerplate, progressive liberal agenda.

    There is lots of other stuff about “getting out of your comfort zone constantly” (Meanwhile, Contrast Krauser’s recent posts on “Cocooning”) and “Killing Your Ego” (Contrast Krauser’s more moderate view in his “Your Ego is Your Friend posts)

    So its clear that the Manosphere needs the Alpha /Sigma Path to “Fully Developed Man” – because that has yet to be charted… from strong masculine Alpha/Sigma perspective [I tried watching BMR two years ago because it seemed like the right track. He’s not totally wrong but I think he doesn’t get it. And the material is horribly padded and boring. Never thought of it as gamma but you make an interesting case. Might revisit it. K.]

    • Hi Lucky White, i know your post is directed at Krauser, so apologies in advance for prying.

      Having seen the series myself as well as his ‘Man Transformation’ series. I think what he means by ‘making the world a better place’ is the idea that in order to create wealth, you have to essentially ‘give something of value’.

      Eben comes from an Internet Marketing background and is one of the top 5 highest paid in the business so it makes sense that most of his theories cross over between dating and internet marketing knowledge.

      Essentially, all of life is about fulfilling a need. It’s for this reason why obtaining skills and expertise is important. So it makes sense to develop a skill set that you’re interested in that can also be marketed and sold in return for helping others benefit on your knowledge. Otherwise, it will be very difficult trying to learn a skill that you simply have no interest in as it takes interest to develop the will to become successful.

      Like the old Chinese proverb: “When the student is ready, the teacher will come”

      Krauser’s blog being a perfect example of such a model. If you know how to market your skills, whether it’s marketing yourself at a job interview, marketing yourself when approaching a cute girl or marketing your business and services, you’ll be well on your way to a successful career and life without having to worry about being unemployed.

      As much as we try to convince ourselves that our development is about being better people, there is always an underlying motive that runs on autopilot that we simply don’t have control over. And that is, the need to attract a mate of similar or higher value.

      It’s how life works in the whole grand scheme of things.

  14. I think it’s fair to say that like another poster my age here, I’ve wasted a pretty big chunk of my life doing absolutely nothing of worth. I want to change that; the faster, the better. My starting resources are limited: I’ve only got a bachelor’s degree in cellular biology attached to a bad GPA, a tiny bank account, and my only formal work experience is in retail and foodservice.

    Your advice is golden, but I’m having tremendous difficulty in figuring out what to do with the little I have right now. Where should I seek out specific advice on how to focus my strengths and energy to become a high-income, upwardly mobile earner? [I’m not qualified to speak. I was always top of the class academically so I got into a good graduate job at the first pass. There’s other guys out there who are better equipped to tell you how to hustle onto the right track. K.]

    • Keep working and have some patience. It is an uphill battle. The economy is terrible, and there are plenty of people working shit jobs.

      I’m 28, and had a very poor GPA from a top 10 US University. I got my ass kicked in Biomed Engineering and higher math classes. I ended up with a BA in Econ, but my GPA was shot already. Getting started was tough and my first 2 jobs didn’t pay well nor did they challenge me enough intellectually to allow for much growth. It was also incredibly discouraging working a job that didn’t push me to reach my potential. I was surrounded and managed by the most complacent, underachieving people I’ve ever met. Don’t get caught in that trap, its toxic and they will make you one of them.

      I dug myself out of this hole by doing a few things:

      Getting a CFA (investment/finance designation). This basically proved that I was competent and hardworking enough to get through some fairly difficult exams.

      Scored 98th percentile on the GMAT, and put that right next to my GPA if it was requested. Made me feel like a douchebag, but without a doubt it offset some negative first impressions and got me some interviews. You can score highly on grad school entry exams. You just need to learn the test and study harder than everyone else.

      Networked extensively. The key for me was finding people who either could realize I was smart and they could teach me, or had a similar “unconventional” path. I also learned that plenty of successful men actually enjoy mentoring younger men and appreciate the fact that you had the balls to cold call just them to see if you could pick their brain over morning coffee.

      I know it seems like people only care about your GPA. Understand that with new graduates its the easiest way to filter through 10,000 candidates. However, once you get more than a few years out of school, any good hiring manager will look at what you’ve done since college first, so do your best to keep building your foundation.

      Side note, but I agree with what others have said about medicine in the US. Its not what it once was. The government tells doctors what they’re worth and doesn’t care how much you sacrificed to get through medschool.

  15. Great post. I always find when im stuck on an issue an article you’ve written pops up. Problem i have is where to start career wise, i dont have a degree but my older brother has and he is now applying for the same basic office jobs i am. Truth is if you dont have a specialist idea of what you want to do career wise dont go for a degree its a waste of your time. I know you K cant give me any answers for my skills or what i can do only i can do that, but what advise would you give to a 20 year old looking for the right path and scaleable career to follow? [I don’t necessarily recommend a degree. Blue collar apprenticeships can be lucrative. As can entrepreneurialism if you have a taste for it. K.]

    • Sorry to comment on an old thread, but I would like to give a little advice here. I made the mistake of going to college and getting a worthless English degree. My advice is avoid college. I took a job as an electrician’s helper for 7 dollars an hour in ’05. I now make 6 figures as a journeyman electrician at an industrial facility. Welders, mechanics, millwrights and electricians make more than most office workers with degrees. I have a 6 figure salary plus quarterly bonuses that are usually 2-3k. Blue collar is the way to go, if you can handle it. Screw university. I’m 26, by the way.

  16. I’m just about to turn 21 years old and I’ve spent the past year being a self employed personal trainer in a big box gym paying rent to operate there. Not the best environment to be in. No one told me it would be a sales job for the most part and I left just a few months shy of a year due to money problems. That was the culmuniation of my hustle and freedom porn mindset. Now, having been down that route and thoroughly analyzed the ‘trade’ of personal training compared to that of an engineer, electrician etc. it’s laughable. No one is there to guide you unless you luck out.

    It did however open up my eyes to the whole sales process. Currently I’m thinking about hunting down a job in sales which offers a commision on top of a basic salary and then attempting my hand at the PT role again with experience.

    One thing I’ve never been good at is maths. I did alright in it to my last year in middle school where I was dropped down from the 2nd top set to the bottom set for talking too much. That killed my interest in maths as I was much naturally better at English to begin with. Now it seems like a mountain to climb, almost from scratch. A very worthy investment of my time. It does help put into perspective why my Grandad is the only one of my family who was successful. He owns a big house and has no money worries, currently in his late 80’s. Coincidenatlly an engineer.

    I suppose the current plan would be to search for the sales job to hone my sales skills and help me become better at selling myself/services. Whilst I’m doing that job, start studying maths. Get good enough at maths to get into Uni on a course and have the PT gig on the side during Uni.

    Sounds like a plan, but would appreciate anyone’s input reading this. Thank you Krauser for putting these posts out. As helpful as game posts are, it’s small fish compared to the impact this post and the like have,

  17. “There is no shortcut because your brain and body require the hard work in order to reach their potential.”

    This is an interesting line.

    On the one hand, I’ve come to the conclusion that ” ‘ Degree of Difficulty’ has nothing to do with ‘Money Getting’ ”

    To get rich means to “get money” – no less than that, but no more than that either.

    You seem to agree with this when you say: “The payoff for any given skill is wildly disproportionate to its difficulty.”

    But on the other hand, it seems impossible to have lasting success without: deep, sophisticated understanding of some sustainable system of making money

    So it must be hard work on the right thing – preferably something directly related to “Worldly Success.”

    I can get “excellent” at a hermetically sealed academic discipline that gives me no worldly success – and it will be a waste of time.

    Which leads to a Second Conclusion I’ve come to: Like it or not “Worldly Success” is often due to “Craftiness” – meaning “sharp practices.”

    It is not always the most qualified, or the literally “best” who gets the reward.

    In my experience, the world does not automatically hand you the reward you deserve. You must claim it.

    You can literally have the “highest value” but unless you are also “crafty” enough to present it in the most efficient way possible you will not win.

    You’ve mentioned elsewhere there’s a difference between “Intelligence” and “Craftiness” and you will elaborate down the road, I’m looking forward to that.

    • Whoa! That cut deep like tomahawk through forehead. Both Mozart and Handel were successful, but I guess you could say the latter was more “worldly” so. I think in the Sphere we like to reduce the question of full manliness to mere dollars and cents. It can’t be put down to such simplicity. Money is the result, but not the objective. Every great capitalist cited herein, while acutely aware of the utility of profits, started out and died with fulfilment of a grand remake of the world into his image as the objective. The startling fortunes were the world’s signal of agreement. Bill Gates wanted a personal computer on every desktop in the world. Talk about passion! And here we are, internet marketing guru wannabes operating from “virtually anywhere”, ripping on passion. Laughable! I think the undue pecuniary focus of some commenters is the result of the obfuscation of the direct link between generating an idea filled with passion in your creative mind and convincing others of the utility of your idea in their worldly lives. This link is hidden from view if you’ve gotten habituated to earning your living by getting a paystub sitting on some furniture, and it becomes easy to discount passion. It’s owners and real entrepreneurs for whom this link is not tenuous at all, and who recognize how important a prerequisite passion — Napoleon Hill calls it desire — is for success (and an insurance against burnout when you have to slug through setbacks).

      • You’ve been sold snake oil pablum by the “do what you love and the money will follow” crowd.

        Passion does not lead to money-making in most cases. Because you only make money when you are giving the market what it wants.

        What the market wants and what your “passion” is usually two different things.

        But dont take my word for it: one of the great Alpha Englishmen alive agrees with me:

        “Love of any activity will rarely bring you riches.”

  18. like the post, but have to disagree on learning something difficult because it will pay of. got a masters in architecture with top grades, but that just doesn´t matter paywise in this industry. architects are payed crap all over the world, despite beeing a highly specialised profession and having crazy hours/high stress. so inform youself about the income in your field of interest before comitting to the many years it takes to get a degree etc.

    • have to agree with you here. though im not personally an architect i wanted to study this for a second degree, but everyone person i know who studied architecture, without fail, is out of a job or working shitty internships for 400 euro a month. the world just doesn’t need that many architects. [Every career is subject to long-term supply and demand. It seems architecture is no longer favourable. Look for a job which shares its characteristics without its oversupply of candidates. K.]

  19. I totally disagree on not buying a house. What will you do? Paying rent the rest of your life? Every month you throw money away in the garbage can. Every penny you put in real estate is money you will get back later when you get your retirement; if you live yourself in the house or not. House owners love your advice. [Rent is throwing money away? You don’t understand the basic concept of cost-of-capital. K.]

    • I totally disagree. I cannot think of something that will suck up your capital more than a house will. Ask Bill Gates if he would rather have spent his savings on a house or Microsoft. [Disagree with your early comment. Agree with this one. K.]

  20. I’d be interested to hear your views on the armed forces (of which I am a member). You might say that I broadly followed the very earliest stages of what you set out above: I worked hard at school, got the top grades in all of my exams and am an Oxbridge graduate. My choice of career, however, is not especially lucrative, and outside of generic management skills there is little transferable about my work.

    Whilst I believe in the armed forces as a concept, I have always imagined that a few years down the line I would seek a career change. Is there really no place for ideology as a contributing factor in choice of one’s work? Regardless of whether (in my case) the military makes me more attractive to women, and thus its contribution to my satisfaction with women, surely there is something to be said for ideological or moral satisfaction attained? [Of course. Career isn’t just about money. K.]

  21. Gilgamesh: “Every month you throw money away in the garbage can.”

    It depends where in the credit cycle you buy. Right now, buying is probably a bad idea. Six years down the road when the credit cycle has unwound some more, may be a good time to pick up a real estate bargain that’ll set you right for the next decade or so.

    Krauser, another excellent post. Thanks

  22. Hi, what are the five top quality technical blogs you read? [Mish, Calculated Risk, Naked Capitalism, Zero Hedge, and the now defuncy Financial Ninja. K.]

    • ‘Set yourself little projects within your hobbies. Here’s a sample of what I did in my twenties:
      ■Learn how global financial and economic flows work. I found five top quality technical blogs to read daily and deepened my knowledge of sectors through reading about 45 books. It took eighteen months’

      (Ahem) This is quite an achievement on account of the fact that your twenties were in the years 1995-2005. Zero Hedge started in 2009 and Calculated Risk in 2005. [Good spot. I’m trying not to confuse things because my post is (as written in the Foundations one) idealised to learn from my mistakes. My MMA hit was 2000-2004. Finance was 2007-2009, inspired by trying to understand the mortgage bubble and then the credit crunch. ZH was the last one I added, I used to read Tyler’s comments before he started his own blog. Close enough. K]

  23. I want to elaborate a bit on this more. I’m in mainland Europe by the way. Maybe it’s in the UK bit different.
    Situation: You are today 20y/o and start working and earning money, you have basically 2 options to have a roof above your head:
    1st) you go to bank to borrow money to pay house of 140.000eur now the rate is very low. Each month you pay 600eur to your bank for 20y. After 20y house is yours.
    No mortgage anymore to pay. When you retire after 50y you own a house that’s worth now 630.000eur due to inflation (3%). You lost nothing. You even won 490.000eur!
    2st) You decide to rent a house for the rest of your life. Today 600eur/month, in 20years, due to inflation 1100eur/month. In 50y that is 2700eur/month.
    After 50y you retire. You lost 835.000eur paying rent all your life. Now you have to start paying the resting home.
    [You just showed buying a house is an investment decision which depends on market conditions and the cost of capital. I happen to believe houses are ludicrously overpriced by all standard metrics i.e. median house price divided by median income, median mortgage payment as a % of median monthly takehome etc. What you save on ZIRP you lose on long term capital depreciation plus you have all the risks of ownership and upkeep, and the opportunity costs of not being able to relocate easily. Unless you are lucky enough to be in a country which avoided the housing bubble, this is simply the wrong time. K.]
    >The lesson is some careers are far better than others

    It doesn’t even have to be difficult job. When I was young my dad told me to choose an office-carreer. He told us: people who choose physical jobs are misers in the long end… Fast forward 20y and an independent plumber earns more than a doctor…

    >Never wrestle a pig. You both end up covered in shit but the pig likes it.

    This piece of advice is just PURE GOLD !!! But the guys who actually choose to LIKE the shit are the winners in the long end (politicians…) [Have you seen the average politician’s wife? Or physique? Or working hours? What exactly are these mugs winning in their relentless pursuit of power? They are a uniformly unhappy bunch. ]

    • Have a friend who is an MP, works hellishly long hours and has all sorts of public commitments. Seems to be of the opinion that its full of fakers. Obviously he’s making good money but he’s seeing it now as a good springboard to do other things even though he has a safe seat. Build up a lot of contacts etc.

      He’s not that great with women though, and now insecure about them only going out with him because he’s an MP.

      Ive seen guys in my local area who are builders, got the gift of the gab and do well with women. They maybe ain’t loaded but they are pressing the right triggers. I know which one I’d rather be.

    • My mortgage is 1,400 a month. Housing must be cheap over there. Still a good investment, considering I have 5 acres, a pond, and a huge barn. The mortgage you are talking about is what I spend on beer every month.

    • Krauser, do you think buying a cheap apartment might be a good way to go? I live in NYC the rents here are ridiculous. On 60k/yr renting a small studio in Manhattan would cost half your net income (after taxes). Purchasing one seems to be the better way to go, especially since I’m not all that worried about the “opportunity costs of not being able to relocate easily” since I love New York! Even though the cost of an apartment in Manhattan could buy you an enormous house in many other places… Renting still seems like an objectively shitty situation, what are your thoughts? Thanks in advance…

  24. Great post, though I think your pyramid analysis of business niches may be limiting.

    There are guys who you don’t know, who don’t even have a blog, twitter, don’t have a rep, etc. that are making more money than me selling game ebooks. I know a french PUA making as much as me who no one has ever heard of, and that market is way smaller.

    Also the guys at the top don’t stay at the top for long. You can peck at them until they stumble or cash in. Mystery is a good example.

  25. A really good and interesting post! I’m in my mid-twenties and spend quite a lot of time with reading. I’m also always looking for some good reads..have you read any books that you liked in particular and that you could recommend me? I’m looking for that kind of books that “change your life” like Hesse’s Steppenwolf did it with many in the 1960s and also with me when I was 16 y/o.

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  27. Krauser, in terms of trade-offs in your twenties, did you sacrificed a good amount of time spent socializing with friends and pursuing girlfriends? (opportunity cost of your own accumulation phase) [I went out most Friday nights but rarely got shitfaced. Usually I’d devote the weekends to non-work stuff, unless I had exams coming. I was dating most of my twenties but didn’t see girls more than twice a weeks and usually made them come to me. Don’t be a hermit. I say work hard, not necessarily work long hours. K.]

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  29. Thanks for your blog K!

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  31. Great read, and exactly the mindset I am aiming for when I start my postdoc at a prestigious lab in Chicago early next year. This is the stuff fathers have to teach their sons in highschool

  32. I’m having a hard time grasping how getting into anime and MMA will get you:

    1. Clever as fuck
    2. A highly marketable skill set so you need never fear unemployment
    3. A huge reservoir of interesting knowledge about the world, it’s culture and history

    Is MMA a highly marketable skill? [I think you missed the point. K.]

  33. Seems very good advice to me. I’ve pretty much wasted those years boozing in pubs, getting good at pool, and never concentrated on career or skills that have real value.

  34. Great post, few points:

    This all reminds me of the Pareto principle. The universal law of imbalance. It’s about identifying the 20% of action that you do that bring you the 80% of the return.

    Also on enjoying your job, their are 2 sides to that, the more you enjoyable it is the more likely the competition will be stronger, but their is also a higher chance you will achieve mastery, since you will be more willing to put in the time and effort required. The key to this is often to drill down to why you enjoy that that job and pick a career which will reward you in the same manner but the competition is more manageable. The example that was given to me once was to a actress who loved to be in the lime light. Now being a actress is a terrible job simple because the odds are so against you. There so few good paying jobs, 8 out of 10 good roles are for men and there are 5 times as many women in the career than men, terrible odds. The suggestion to her was to try politics, a lot of the same attention, but the odds would be hugely in her favor. She of course ignored the suggestion, but it still stick with me as the best example of this kind of thinking.

    My 3rd quick thing is I’m not sure law is such a great thing to go into these days. Since it’s been glamorized tons of people have started studying it now the supply of lawyer massively outweighs the demand.

    If I was young enough I probably wouldn’t do a degree at all. I consider my degree one of the least mentally taxing time of my life, I could have learn everything in 1 year if I had applied myself and everything that I got any practical use out of in 1 week.

  35. Krauser,
    Looking back, what is one thing you would tell your 22-24 year old self knowing what you know now? Did you do all your accumulation you wish you could’ve done in your 20’s and feel satisfied? I can surely say I’m in this phase right now and I already do much of what you say because that’s just how I think as well. I’m 23 and know it’s going to take a lot of work. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. Doing easy stuff is boring. [I didn’t push as hard against my limits as I could have. Also, I wasn’t selfish enough. It would’ve been great to take the red pill ten years earlier. I’ll probably go into this in the final part. K.]

  36. *Learn how global financial and economic flows work. I found five top quality technical blogs to read daily and deepened my knowledge of sectors through reading about 45 books. It took eighteen months.*

    Can you link to the blogs? [Staggeringly lazy. No. Fuck off. K.]

    • Sorry, didn’t see the other comment. Here they are, for whoever’s interested: [You’re forgiven. Welcome back. K.]

      Hi, what are the five top quality technical blogs you read? [Mish, Calculated Risk, Naked Capitalism, Zero Hedge, and the now defuncy Financial Ninja. K.]

  37. Great post. As a 26 yo who’s about to get a STEM doctorate, have an intermediate-level ~70 lay count and solid competency in a physical and creative hobby, I think I’m graduating my foundations phase pretty well, and am well-prepared for the accumulation that lies ahead. This post is very timely for me and my rough plan is largely in line with what you write.

    I’m curious, let’s say after sleep, eating and errands you have 14 hours a day =~100 hours a week available. How much of it would you spend on 1) work 2) physical hobbies 3)
    mental hobbies 4) game 5) other socializing 6) downtime/”relaxing” [Fella, if you’ve banged 70 girls by 26 and also have good career potential I think you are doing just fine. As for the mix, its not relevant to me – work is the largest part and I only do that 3-4 months a year, so the numbers are all skewed. K.]

  38. Off-Topic.

    Concerning this tweet of yours: “Does anyone know a school, anywhere in the world, where I can spend a month learning to swordfight like the Three Muskateers?”

    Ask this guy: Richard Cole. If he doesn’t offer exactly this, he most probably knows who does. [thanks fella! K.]

  39. finally a famous pickup artist from Newcastle! I couldn’t believe it when I heard the accent, unreal man! too bad you only game in London. Is there any other famous pua’s in newcastle uk?

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  41. Great post, Krauser. I’m curious, could you list those “five top quality technical blogs” you mentioned?

  42. A probable reply, based on past sentiments:

    [Staggeringly lazy. No. Fuck off. K.]

  43. By the way, I really like how you used HR to illustrate your point. If you haven’t played the original DX, you’d be treating yourself if you got it off of Steam. [Completed all 3 of ’em as they came out. K.]

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  45. Hello Krauser,

    I really liked this article. It presents one with a nice to-do list in their twenties. I wondered though in how far you would argue this guide will take you in the process of becoming an alpha male?

    I feel that in order to be the best one can be you have to become an alpha male. My alpha male role model would be Harvey Specter from Suits and while obviously other people are succesful too I think becoming alpha like Harvey has more benefits than just the carreer succes.

    I’ve read a lot of blogs about what an alpha male is and what game is etc. but I haven’t really seen the topic of actually becoming an alpha male covered in great extent. I feel like I have read all the knowledge but something just has to ‘click’.

    What are your thoughts on this?

    Thanks in advance!

    Keep up the good work!

  46. Pingback: Manosphere: The Importance of Your Twenties (Part 1) | 3rd Millenium Men

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  50. I’m an early 20s guy in Canada, and a lot of things clicked for me while reading both parts of this series.
    Thank you.

  51. Not sure I agree with this… I’d rather live for the moment with a forward awareness. I’m not going to slave away doing this or that so I can be a “better man” and impress the ladies… I’m going to enjoy life, money/power is way overrated in a modern world. No girl has power over me because I do what I want how I want and when I want. I’m starting to think stardusk about his opinion that PUAs are anything but liberated from women when there whole life revolves around them even though I got into pua awhile ago. Verdict yet to be decided but I know I love the beach and hiking and traveling far more then I love hard work and used up women.

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  53. Pingback: The Accumulation Phase / The Value building Phase | This is my experience, in these four walls

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  55. Hey krauser,
    I was wondering if you could create a reading list or give me a few books that would be most beneficial to a young (18 years old) guy.


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