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DAN KOE

ALEX MATHERS

TAYLIN SIMMONDS

Founder, KorteX
3.5M followers

medium.com top writer
120K followers

BRAND CONSULTANT
79K followers

★★★★★

★★★★★

★★★★★

★★★★★

"If you want practical strategies to maximize your own well-being, then create a profitable internet business around your passions, interests and curiosities – Goldfield is your guy."

DAN KOE

when i was 11 i took a life-changing letter home from school.

my dad took a look and said, “okay. take your pick.”

i didn’t have to think about it—i immediately shouted “DRUMS!”

the letter was offering instrumental lessons at my school. i saw drums as the exact opposite of the classroom where i was told to shut up 50 times per day.

it was the perfect rebellion.

“in drum lessons i’ll be able to make as much noise as i want!” i thought, “in drum lessons i’ll be FREE!”

in my first lesson the teacher, Mr. Woodburn, introduced himself briefly then put a book on the stand.

“what’s that?” i asked.

“it’s the music you’re going to learn,” he replied.

“what band is it?” i asked.

“it’s not a band.” he replied.

“what singer is it?” i asked.

“it’s not a singer.” he replied.

“huh?” i scratched my head.

“this is your grade 1 exam book.”

“exams? …what?”

Mr. Woodburn started explaining how music exams worked as i became more and more confused.

“can we play the drums now?” i interrupted.

this is pretty much how our relationship went over the 6 years we knew one another.

Mr. Woodburn was a quiet man who appeared to want a quiet life. most of his students took the first exam, then took the second exam, then took the third if they made that far…

but every time he tried to make me put my head in the book i felt cheated. i’d come to drum lessons to escape the drudgery of the classroom, but Mr. Woodburn insisted on making a drum lesson as boring as math or science. so i insisted back.

every Monday i’d arrive at my lesson, whip out my sticks and tell Mr. Woodburn which Metallica tune i’d been learning.

“can i show you?” i’d ask.

“yes,” he’d say, attempting the world record for least enthusiastic confirmation.

i’d play.

i’d finish.

then Mr. Woodburn would put the book on the stand.

i’d protest.

i don’t know why it was that i rebelled while other kids kept quiet. i just remember loving music and feeling deeply confused as to why every grownup in my life was determined to stop me doing the things i wanted to do.

over the following 20 years i compromised where i had to, but the flame of rebellion never went out.

i was determined to be master of my own destiny.

it was hard.

i watched hundreds of peers play by society’s rules, earn the money, get the mortgage, start the family and make their dads proud.

i remained a starving artist, freelancing as a drummer and teaching on the side.

i never took a single exam on drums, yet i taught over 1000 drummers how to play. some of them went on to play professionally themselves.

this year i entered the creator economy and took my freedom to the next level.

now i design every moment of my life, answer to no-one, and earn more money than anyone who ever tried to tell me how to live.

but what was it that kept me chasing freedom?

could i have done it sooner?

can you replicate my success even if you weren’t born a rebel?

yes, you can.

and i’m going to tell you how.

but first i need to tell you why it’s necessary to break free in the first place…

1 in 2 people will develop a mental health disorder in their lifetime¹​

i’m not talking about a spell of depression or a bout of insomnia here.

i’m talking diagnosable disorder.

the world is facing a mental health pandemic.

but how did we get here?

we got here by millennia of unexamined parenting and teaching.

if a parent or teacher ever gave you the “because i said so” then you know what i’m talking about.

but that’s not malicious. (if anything it’s just lazy.)

still, mainstream parenting and teaching strategies are hideously outdated.

in other words: the world has changed faster than most people’s ideas have.

but where does this leave you?

self doubt

since before you were making memories your parents were telling you “good boy” when you did x and “bad boy” when you did y.

some might say this is a necessary evil but that’s a cop-out.

there’s a crucial distinction between telling a child they are bad and telling them their behaviour is bad.

these days people tend to know a bit more about how the mind works but as recently as 20 years ago it was pretty much “parent how your parents parented and hope for the best”.

pre-internet, people just had way less examples to follow for everything. it’s difficult to imagine now.

so no shade on parents—i actually think most of them are heroes. but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t point out where they could’ve done better.

so back to infant you who’s:

🔹 picking your nose

🔹 putting anything you can find in your mouth

🔹 innocently playing with your genitals

and the grownups are telling you you’re bad for it.

this is the beginning of crippling self doubt which, if unaddressed, will follow you like a dark cloud the rest of your life.

i know you’ve felt it:

🔹 second-guessing what you say

🔹 second-guessing what you do

🔹 second-guessing what you think

🔹 second-guessing what you feel

“should i?”

“shouldn’t i?”

“what if?”

of course this only got worse in school where more adults piled on more opinions of how you should be.

you were told again and again that you yourself were bad for doing things that were completely natural. this is bad fucking news all round.

but it doesn’t stop there…

people pleasing

so, having been brainwashed into doubting everything about yourself, you figured you’d better try harder to be acceptable.

so you suppressed your nature, put on a psychological mask and did what you guessed would be acceptable to people. (and/or avoided doing what you guessed would be unacceptable to people.)

the problem with this is that you’re putting the other 7,999,999,999 opinions on how you should live your life above the only one that matters: yours.

of course you’re helpless against this as a child. but it doesn’t stop at childhood.

and it only leads to one place: averageness.

how could it lead anywhere else?

if you do what most people do, you’ll end up where most people are.

and where most people are isn’t pretty…

the world happiness report listed worldwide happiness at an average of 5.5/10.​²​

so how do you crawl out of this trap?

one thing’s for sure, you’d need to get creative.

but wait, there’s a problem with that too…

stifled creativity

i spent 20 years visiting secondary (high) schools in the UK to give drumming lessons.

i watched already-struggling music departments receive cut after cut to their funding.

the same was happening with visual arts departments.

the same was happening with drama departments.

the same was happening with dance departments.

creativity is the only reason we’ve come this far as a species and yet it’s underfunded in schools.

why?

because it’s hard to measure.

literacy, numeracy and the sciences, by contrast, are the domain of single right answers (which makes them easy to measure).

this is what Alan Watts was pointing at when he said “schools are run for the convenience of the staff.”

the sinister result of all this is that we have a nation of adults who are creatively stifled. and this is directly related to that 5.5/10 average happiness score.

you were born to be creative. you may not think so, but all you need do is watch an infant playing to see how magnificently creative the human mind is in its natural state.

but this natural power was obscured bit by bit. every time you were told to line up, shut up and sit down your creativity was suppressed.

well, i hope you’ve had enough of all that because i’m about to bust your inner artist out of its cage.

the conditions have never been more perfect for a creative revolution.

are you with me?

good.

now we need to talk about…

locus of control

when something bad happens, how do you respond?

if your reaction is to blame other people, the government, society, you’re operating on an external locus of control. (“locus” just means “place where something is situated.”)

now, i know i just spent half this post ranting about how school fucks us up but bear with me…

if your reaction to something bad happening is to think “what could i have done differently,” or “what could i do differently next time,” congratulations: you’re operating on an internal locus of control.

external locus of control is victim mindset.

internal locus of control is self-reliance.

here’s how this looks regarding the disservice schooling did us all:

with external locus of control you’d take no responsibility for your self doubt, people pleasing and stifled creativity. you’d believe that’s just how you are and there’s nothing you can do to change.

with internal locus of control you instead say “it’s not my fault but it is my responsibility. maybe i started this life dependent and impressionable, but i’m not anymore. i’m taking matters into my own hands and doing whatever it takes to rediscover my natural confidence and originality.”

another way to think of this is to imagine being dealt a hand of cards. some cards are good; some are bad. but it’s always up to you how you play them.

a rebel hero

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was arrested for criticizing Joseph Stalin in private letters.

he was then imprisoned in the infamous Soviet labour camps or “gulags”, where conditions were inhumane to say the least.

Solzhenitsyn survived. and following his release he published a book he’d written in secret (which would have been enormously difficult and severely punishable.)

but this wasn’t any book. it was a novel based on his experiences in the gulag. publishing this thing could’ve landed him right back inside.

he later published a non-fictitious title about life in the gulag, The Gulag Archipelago, which even more directly exposed the conditions inside and won him a nobel prize for literature.

most people would crumble under such severe circumstances.

Solzhenitsyn managed not only to stay sane but to continue to actively rebel against the regime he criticized.

that’s one self-reliant dude.

a rebel mentor

fortunately we don’t have things anywhere near as bad as Solzhenitsyn did.

while his story is inspiring, it’s also useful to take some cues from folks who are operating in our own circumstances.

good news: the great bell of freedom is being rung loudly by ordinary individuals right here on the internet inside the *creator economy.

the creator economy is what i’m writing to you from.

it’s what enabled me to quit working at 36 and start doing what i really care about.

and i do have a mentor in this. his name is Dan Koe.

Dan, like me, always knew the prescribed path through life wasn’t for him.

the difference between us is that while i went on a 20-year tangent into music, Dan was cracking business. and boy, did he—he earned $3.3 million in the past calendar year.

but here’s the cool part: he did it in his own way.

Dan saw how the internet was enabling a totally new kind of business.

he saw that he could simply:

🔹improve himself

🔹document his journey

🔹teach other people what he learned

🔹earn money in proportion to the value he transmitted

the scale of the internet meant all he had to do was be himself, which would attract like minds. and it did.

he’s now helped 1000’s of people, including myself, to move into the creator economy and make their own deeply personal contributions to humanity.

none of this would’ve been possible for Dan if he’d not figured out an internal locus of control.

so you know what’s coming…

how to take back control of your life (in 3 weeks)

this is all pretty simple so i’m gonna blaze through it.

the lion’s share of this will be on you (see what i did there?)

week 1: blame tracking

keep a running journal of all the times you blame someone or something else for what happens to you.

don’t try to fix or change anything at this stage, just write down every instance of blaming you commit.

doing this for a week will show you a lot.

this isn’t about whether or not the things that happen to you are actually someone else’s fault.

they may well be, but we’re not interested in that.

imagine you’re watching your life as a movie and noting every time the main character blames someone or something else for something, e.g:

🔹 blamed my mother for passing on her short temper

🔹 blamed the city council for having 2 lots of roadworks on in the same neighbourhood and making me late to work

🔹 blamed my kids for leaving a lego out for me to step on

again, this isn’t about whether or not someone else is actually to blame.

week 2: cause & effect journal

now you’re going to take everything you wrote last week and examine it through the lens of cause and effect. e.g:

🔹 what caused your mother’s short temper? snd what caused that? (perhaps your mother’s mother had a short temper too and that was because she raised 6 children on her own.)

🔹 what caused the city council to have 2 lots of roadworks on in the same neighbourhood? (you might have to do some digging to find out, but just considering the question will help you realize there probably was a reason—no council actually wants their roads congested.)

🔹 what caused your kids to leave a lego out? (depending on their age, they might not even be capable of thinking about the consequences of their actions.)

see how considering things in this way begins to soften the blaming?

everything that happens has a cause.

examining those causes helps you to zoom out and appreciate the grand unfolding pattern of life without being so bought into it.

week 3: responsibility journal

finally, it’s time to shift that locus of control to internal. e.g:

🔹 what can you do about your impatience? (i recommend mindfulness.)

🔹 what can you do to make sure you get to work on time regardless of surprises? (i recommend leaving early. i know this might seem hard but there’s almost always a way. make your packed lunch the night before, tighten up your sleep schedule etc.)

🔹 what can you do to compensate for your kids being kids? (buy them a play pen and train them to keep their toys inside, engage them in a tidy-up routine before bed or just use mindfulness to be aware of where you’re placing your feet.)

i know some of this might read as unreasonable.

i know the 9-5 is a grind. and if you’re a parent you’re already a hero in my eyes.

BUT this stuff being difficult doesn’t change the fact that keeping an internal locus of control is to your advantage.

because here’s the harsh truth: if you keep that external locus of control none of this stuff will ever change.

do you see how taking responsibility for this stuff—even though it’s not your fault—is the only way to make positive change? the only way to freedom?

i hope so.

bonus: post your results and tag me in

accountability is super helpful in this kind of thing.

and the internet is perfect for it.

so as you move through the 3 steps above, feel free to post your process and results on social media and tag me @itsdangoldfield.

i’d love to see how you’re getting on and maybe share your wins with my audience.

stay strong.

you got this.

with love from my desk,
dg 💙

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