Commentary: “12 Things I Stole From People More Successful Than Me”

7 min readApr 14, 2021

I saw this story trending on Medium ( and I thought it was pretty good, except I, being a jaded individual, found a way to criticize everything.

See, I am a firm believer that “success” is a variable that is highly subjective. Is the poor, but content, person less successful than the depressed rich person? My answer is no. It’s better to be happy and content, than anything else.

Anyway, not trying to veer off into the distance of completely unrelated rants, I thought it’d be interesting to dissect these kind of posts to see if I could actually take something from them. Something that I thought was valuable might also be valuable to you, jaded reader.

The article starts with:

“I’m lucky.

Throughout my entire life, I’ve been fortunate enough to have read 100’s of books written by people who are a lot more successful than I am.

People like Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman, billionaire investor Charlie Munger, Founding Father Ben Franklin, NBA legend Kobe Bryant, modern-day Stoic Ryan Holiday, and many more…”

No offense, but does reading about other’s accomplishments lead to anything resembling success?

My guess is that it leads to these kind of blog posts, at least.

1) Pare Down The Number of Decisions You Make Every Day

Every single day, you make thousands of decisions: Should I hit the snooze button or not? What time should I leave for work? Should I exercise today? And if so, what time? The list goes on and on. Some of these decisions are important, but most are trivial.

This is something I’ve read about. Yes, we get tired during the day, and yes, there’s a finite level of patience we have every day. Basically, making your day easier by removing choices leads to more energy to spend elsewhere (i.e looking at dumb medium posts). Will it make you more successful? Probably not, if you’re using your leftover energy looking at /r/PublicFreakouts on Reddit.

2) Tear Up Your To-Do List

Here’s an important piece of advice: Success is never achieved by the person who does the most things every day. Instead, success is always achieved by the person who does what is most important every day.

This is one of those typical life hacks that border the uncomfortable. I bet that doing only the priority SUCCESS tasks and leaving the rest alone means a lot of unwashed laundry and a whole bunch of dumb self-promotional blog posts, that we have deluded ourselves into thinking they are steps to success (such as this one).

3) Turn “Have-To” Into “Get-To”

At one point in my life, I constantly struggled to build new habits. But here’s a simple idea that helped me overcome this: Don’t view your habits as challenges. Instead, view them as opportunities.

Same as number 2, this is one of those things that is supposedly meant to make you better simply because you change the word. Changing the word “have to” to “get to” sounds incredibly corny and would probably make you look like a super weirdo if you said it out loud.

“Today I GET to go to this horrible meeting”

“Today I get to be verbally abused by my significant other” (not based on a true story)

4) Use People’s Favorite Sound (Spoiler: their name)

Do you wish you were more likeable? I mean, who doesn’t? Even people who say they don’t care about being liked by other people still care about being liked.

And they should… You know why? Because being liked by others is extremely important when it comes to both your career success and personal relationships.

This one I wont criticize too much simply because it’s true. People like it when you remember them.
It’s not a genius “successful people hot tip”, it’s just common sense. It’s just that I don’t care enough to remember everyone’s dumb name, and it’s hard to give a shit when those people aren’t even worth anyone’s time.


5) Look At People’s Feet (Read body language)

When you’re having a conversation with someone, how do you know if the other person is engaged in the conversation, disinterested, or just uncomfortable to be there?

Typically, most people will look at the other person’s facial expression to try to get a sense of how that person feels.

Unfortunately, the problem with this strategy is that people are really good at changing their facial expressions in order to mask how they really feel.

OK, I don't particularly care for feet, if they’re pointing northwards, or northeast, away from me, or whatever. Reading physical cues is a normal human thing to do and if you can’t do that, then you need to become more human.

What’s the point of knowing someone seems nice but their elbows say that they think you’re an asshole? Truly counterproductive information.

Now you’re aware that they hate you even though before you thought you were nice. Knowledge is perception, and perception is reality, right? I don’t need to know whether people hate me, or not. I just need to believe they like me.

6) Mise En Place

In the culinary arts, professional chefs have a term they use called “mise en place,” which is French for “put in place.”

Put things in place. If you wanna work out, put your work out shoes and clothes near your bed. If you wanna read more, put a book near where you sit. If you wanna have sex, then…put a condom under your pillow?

Just tidy up. Make things easy to find for you to complete stuff.

7) Don’t Be A Donkey

“A donkey can’t think of the future. If he did, he’d realize he could clearly go first to drink the water, then go eat the hay. So my advice to my 30-year-old self is, don’t be a donkey. You can do everything you want to do. You just need foresight and patience.”

Yeah ok. Simply… plan ahead, like a loooong time ahead. Wanna be the CEO of Microsoft? Set yourself a realistic goal. Try 500 years.

Also donkeys have big dongs. So I guess I’m already not a donkey.

8) Stop Using The Number 7

Whenever you don’t know if you should say no to something, simply rate it on a scale from 1 to 10. However, there’s one condition: You can’t use the number 7.
Why does Tim Ferriss say you’re not allowed to use 7? Because 7 is too safe of a number. 7 doesn’t commit to anything.

This is one of the weirder ones. Some things are a 7/10. I guess this tip is basically saying “simply be more decisive”. Not sure why they have to encapsulate it into this weird, new age, cultish crap about numbers. Just say yes or no, stfu, and be opinionated when it is appropriate.

9) Be A Whiner

Mark Cuban is a huge whiner. But that’s exactly why he’s so successful.

When Mark Cuban was in high school, for example, he whined about not being able to take business classes. So he decided to take classes at the University of Pittsburgh instead.
Mark Cuban says: People who don’t whine are punching bags. They just go about their days, their jobs, their lives, knowing there is nothing they can do to change a darn thing, so why say a word?

This is pretty effing funny. Mark Cuban isn’t successful because he whines. He’s successful because he had the right opportunities and he capitalized on them. All whining gets you is a quick STFU and the hate of everyone around you.

Also there’s value in STFU’ing and living life when required (such as when stability is desired). I dunno. I’d rather be a punching bag for Mike Tyson’s haymakers than become like Mark Cuban.

10) Take Sabbaticals From Your Work

If you ever feel like you’re experiencing creative roadblocks in your work or that you’re feeling burnt out, it’s probably time to take a sabbatical.

This gets a yes from me, but the amount of privilege on this one is astounding. How do you feed your family if you take a sabbatical when you’re feeling uncreative? How many people work 2 jobs to make ends meet? LOL BRO JUST TAKE A SABBATICAL works only on the pretentious twats that read Medium, IMO.

(Solid advice nevertheless).

11) Never Ask For Someone’s ‘Opinion’

If you ever want to ask someone for input about an idea you have, then never ask for their “opinion.” Instead, always ask for their “advice.”

The differential phrasing might seem minor, but in the book “Pre-Suasion” psychology and marketing professor Robert Cialdini says that asking for ‘advice’ can have a significant positive impact in getting other people to provide you feedback as well as getting other people to want to work with you.

This is actually a good one. Asking people for advice is better than opinion, but it might also make you look like a) an ignorant twat or b) fake as hell if they also read this post…

12 Practice What’s It’s Like To Be Poor

For many of us, we constantly worry about not having enough money. We fear what life will look like if we can’t afford the things we think we want and are forced to live on just the bare necessities.

But oftentimes this fear paralyzes us and keeps us from being as happy and successful as we could be.

LMAO what if you’re already poor? Do you simply throw away your blanket made of newspapers?

The main thing is that we should be good with money and only spend when required, IMO. I guess that doesn’t sound quite as nice as it was put by the article.

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In any case, the article was good, despite the pretentiousness that seeped through some of the lines, and the cheesy, stereotypical yuppie voice that came through it. My guess is that I’ll forget all of these, and probably just practice some if I can. The rest are nice to read but… yeah, I’m not sure I can change so many things at once.

In my opinion, the only thing successful people can advise on is:

“Be good at what whatever you do. Don’t suck.”

Life has too many goddamn variables for one to even consider writing recipes or traits that successful people “have in common” when financial success simply hangs on whether GME skyrockets or not…