People don’t change

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A quick sponsored note before we jump in:

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If this email doesn’t make any sense forgive me. I had orthopedic surgery 5 days ago and I’m still in a fog.

A lot of what I’m learning about business is counterintuitive. It doesn’t make sense. This topic I’m about to touch on is controversial but if you master it you’ll become a better manager, business owner, leader and a happier individual.

If you want to be happy / successful you should accept something as fact:

People don’t change.

Your mindset should be as follows:

Bad customers will not get better. Poor employees will not improve. Unreliable people will not become reliable. Lazy spouses will not become hard workers.

I know what you’re thinking right now. “Wtf Nick. This is such a hopeless and depressing take. Of course people change! We can change. We can improve. We can get wealthy and make our lives better.”

And you’d be right. Of course people can change. And of course my statement that “People don’t change” isn’t entirely true. But your happiness and success SHOULD NOT hang in the balance.

Hear me out:

Here is another fact:

The most frustrated and miserable people in this world spend their energy trying to change other people. To improve other people. To help other people get better. They operate outside of their sphere of control and they spend their time working on things that they, generally speaking, don’t have much relative control over.

And when you fully depend on other people to “succeed” at what you’re trying to do you’re setting yourself up to have a massive gap between reality and your expectations and thus be frustrated as hell. Disappointment is the difference between expectations and reality. If you expect one thing and get another thing that isn’t as good, you’ll be disappointed.

I talk a lot about doing business and living life like a gambler at a poker table. Betting more and doubling down only when the odds are in your favor. Only playing games when the odds are in your favor. Walking around the world thinking in bets. Bad odds, stop playing. Good odds, bet more.

The odds tell us that people don’t change. An employee who makes a bonehead decision that costs you money is more likely to make a second bonehead decision that costs you money.

So as a business owner and as a person who is trying to live a happy life we must accept something as fact:

Most people won’t change and I should stop expecting them to. My efforts to change other people will mostly end in frustration and failure.

I have absolutely no expectations that other people are going to change the way they live life. They won’t get in better shape. They won’t improve at making decisions. They won’t all of the sudden become driven and work harder.

It is my job to adjust my own actions and take care of my own business and life while accepting those things as facts that can’t be changed.

If an employee sucks and they are costing me money, I will fire them. If a friend is playing dramatic head games and stressing me out, they’re no longer a friend. If a girl you’re dating is lazy and insecure, you should break up with them.

Your happiness and success shouldn’t hang in the balance of somebody else changing how they live their lives.

Far too many people get this wrong for two main reasons:

1. All the advice in the self-help world tells you that you CAN and SHOULD change other people. They read books that good leaders turn B players into A players. They think good CEOs are good at training and shaping people into better versions of themselves. GLORY goes to the people who help lift others up and improve their lives.

And part of that is true – your job IS to set them up for success and give them the tools to succeed and grow as an individual. But there is nuance and many take this too far.

2. People who suck at life and work are really good at pointing the fingers at others.

Incompetent people who can’t take care of their own business are really good at blaming other people for their problems. They play victim. There is always an excuse as to why the work sucks or the

So what can you take away from this? Repeat after me:

“I will not let my success and happiness hang in the balance of OTHER PEOPLE changing. I will take ownership over my situation and take my life and business into my own hands. If people continue to fail around me and I continue to lean on them or expect something else, it is MY fault.”

There you go. That’s how you win.

And the good part?

Once you’re successful and happy and your shit is all taken care of, you can then look outwards and start helping other people.

When your success and happiness DOESN’T hang in the balance. You’re already winning. It won’t effect you if this person you’re trying to change lets you down. It won’t take down your business or effect your livelihood.

You can then tackle the challenging work of changing others!


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About Me

I started the Sweaty Startup in December of 2018 because I believe the Shark Tank and Tech Crunch culture is ruining the real spirit of low-risk entrepreneurship.