7 brutal truths to accept right now

If you want to accelerate your growth and your self-reliability, you need to make a few mindset adjustments immediately. Let's dive in.

In 2015, I ruined my mental, physical, and relationship health chasing the promise that spending all of my time working on one startup idea would eventually be worth it.

It wasn’t.

In fact, it was traumatizing.

I took the money I had earned from our acquisition and retreated into Silicon Valley to work on someone else’s vision for the next 5 years.

I became an employee.

I may have started this journey with the confidence to build my own business, but along the way, I lost that confidence and started to believe that I didn’t have what it took.

After all, who was I kidding?

  • I didn’t come from a wealthy family

  • I didn’t have a college degree

  • I didn’t grow up in a big tech city

  • I was a father of 4 who couldn’t afford risks

At that point in my story, I almost became a victim of my disadvantages and gave up on creating my own freedom.

It wasn’t until I accepted a few incredibly hard truths that I was able to take the next step towards that path.

I’m going to share those truths with you.

7 brutal truths to accept as quickly as possible

My goal is not to make you feel badly, as harsh as these may sound.

Instead, I want you to think about each of these truths and challenge yourself with the question: “What would I change in my life if I believed this?”

Open your ears, quiet your voice, and let’s change some habits.

1. You need to spend more time getting in the reps.

Ira Glass gave the best speech on this topic for beginners.

He was speaking specifically about creative people, but his advice applies to anyone trying to improve any skill: you have to get in the reps.

Repetition is the only way you’re going to improve.

Not through reading, planning or watching YouTube.

The only way you’re actually going to improve any skill is through trying and failing over and over again.

The longer you wait to try, the longer you’ll wait to improve.

Stop waiting for that perfect window of opportunity.

If you haven’t started trying, you’re already late.

Get moving.

2. You are squandering this opportunity.

It’s 2023, and here are the facts:

In the 400,000 year history of Homo sapiens, never has it been this easy to build a sustainable business from your bedroom.

And not just any business, but the kind of business that gives you the freedom to spend more time on the things you enjoy doing.

And you’re wasting this opportunity.

Some people are successful because they were at the right place at the right time. They were lucky.

But others fail because they were at the right place at the right time, and did absolutely nothing with it.

That’s where you are right now.

It’s up to you to decide to do something with the luck you were given on this timeline of human history.

3. You don’t know social media as well as you think you do.

I rarely meet people who don’t have a strong opinion about at least one social media platform.

“Facebook is dead, no one uses it anymore.”

“Instagram Reels is just copying TikTok, they’re not going to last.”

“LinkedIn is cringe and only used by corporate boomers.”

I follow up by asking them how often they use those platforms, which is usually met with:

“Oh, I barely use it.”


As someone who is creating on almost every mainstream platform, I have this exchange with people often.

And not just consumers.

I hear this from successful entrepreneurs, popular creators, and otherwise really intelligent people.

And they’re always wrong about their predictions and perceptions of the platform they’re criticizing.

If you read my Welcome e-mail, you’re aware of how many times I’ve seen these mainstream critics proven wrong.

The truth is algorithms change, trends shift, and platform cultures evolve.

If you’re not participating on these platforms, then you have no idea what you’re talking about.

The only way to learn if a platform is right for you is to try it out for at least 30 days. And even then, if you decide it’s not, you can’t rule it out forever.

It will always change.

4. If you are cynical, you will rely on someone else forever.

Being skeptical is healthy. But here’s the problem:

Most cynics think they are just being skeptical.

So how can you tell if you’re being skeptical or cynical?

This is actually easy to figure out:

Skepticism without a willingness to try the thing you are being skeptical of is simply cynicism.

“Cynicism masquerades as wisdom, but it is the farthest thing from it. Because cynics don’t learn anything. Because cynicism is a self-imposed blindness, a rejection of the world because we are afraid it will hurt us or disappoint us.”

Stephen Colbert

Dismissing ideas, trends, and opportunities as not being worthy without having any experience with them is the quiet killer of ambition.

It will keep you laboring for wages for the rest of your life.

Cynics are like addicts. Nothing will change until they are consciously ready to put in the work.

If you find yourself cynical, I urge you to mature that point of view as fast as possible.

It will ruin your life.

5. You spend too much time asking for the answers.

Asking for help is good.

In fact, in the information age, you’d be foolish not to look for answers from people who are already where you want to be.

This is why I run the Solo Build Support Q&A at the end of each newsletter.

But for many of you, the information age has created an over-reliance on knowledge-gathering.

What should be a supplemental activity to doing the real work of trying and failing ends up becoming the primary activity.

Instead of helping you achieve your goal, it turns into a form of productive procrastination.

When you find yourself overanalyzing for information, pause.

Instead, ask yourself this question:

Who is You version 1.0, and who is You version 2.0, and what actual steps do you need to take to complete the upgrade?

Create that list and then wrap-up your planning.

It’s time to install your next version.

6. You are working way too hard for what you get in return.

Mark Zuckerberg has time to:

  • Raise 2 daughters

  • Run Facebook, Instagram, Metaverse, Threads, his charity foundation

  • Win Gold and Silver medals in Jui-Jitsu

And he has the same 24 hours as you do.

“But he has other people working for him.”

Yes - and those other people are you.

I left the corporate rat race over a year ago. When I was leading a design team, I worked 50+ hours a week for a $158k salary and some options.

I was burnt out and spent Saturdays with my kids.

Now I create my own ideas, work 30-40 hours a week, and spend time with my family every day.

Stop working harder on things that have a ceiling. Put in the work required, work smarter, and start identifying the efforts that will drive the most value in your life.

Next week, I’m going to show you how to do this with my Decision Matrix, which drives all of my priorities as a solo founder.

7. No one is coming to save you.

Your personal growth is your responsibility.

Your decisions on what to focus on are your responsibility.

Not your employer's, not your government’s, and not the market's.

Act in your best self-interest and take accountability for where you invest your time, money, attention and energy.

You can choose to focus on the really awful hand you were dealt in life. You can also choose to focus on the few fortunate cards in your hand.

Either way, no one is coming to save you.

You might as well start helping yourself.

This week’s Solo Build Support Q&A

Each week, I answer questions from our subscribers in a recorded video.

Reply to this e-mail with your question to be featured in an upcoming Solo Build Support Q&A video.

See you in next week’s issue 🫡

I send weekly e-mails sharing my tips and strategies for building products and audiences. For full time solo builders and side-hustle dreamers.

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