If you want a better life, you should strive to be in the top one percent of something, perhaps anything really. By being in the top one percent of something, it shows that you’ve achieved mastery. When you achieve mastery, you gain confidence that will help you be successful in many other endeavors.
You know those people who seem to apologize for everything, even just for being? They are this way because they lack self-esteem. For safety, they join a herd. Sadly, they are sometimes cruel to others because they don’t love themselves. Be unapologetically fierce about pursuing your dreams!
Find something you enjoy doing and don’t give up until you become one of the very best. Spend decades practicing if you have to. Build your X-Factor before you need to. If the direction is correct, sooner or later you will get there.
Top One Percent Money Is Just One Thing
Most of us like money because it’s an easy way to keep score. If we make over $500,000 a year and have a net worth of over $11,000,000 by age 60, we’re in the top one percent for income and net worth. Hooray!
But money is a pretty meaningless measure after you’ve got all your needs taken care of. Further, a rich person is no more special than someone who has less.
After a certain point, the more money you have, the more I question your goodness. In San Francisco, there are people worth hundreds of millions and even billions of dollars, yet they continue to hoard more money than they could ever spend in their lifetime while over 100,000 people are homeless.
But this post isn’t about how we should tell other people how to spend their money. This post is about trying to be the best in at least one thing to have a better life. The pride you will feel being great at something is priceless.
Be The One Percent In Something, ANYTHING
In high school, I tried my best to be in the top one percent academically, but failed miserably. I only got a 3.3 / 4.0 GPA freshman year because I goofed off too much.
By the time I got my act together sophomore year, it was too late. I would have had to get a 4.0 GPA for the next three years to average a 3.825 GPA. Instead, I ended up with a ~3.6 GPA, which put me outside of the top 15%, let alone 1%.
It’s scary to know your whole life can be determined by how well you do academically as a 14-year-old. That one C grade on your history final exam might be the difference between getting an interview at some prestigious college that may lead to a position at some highly coveted company or being “stuck” cleaning toilets for $250,000+ a year.
Thank goodness our lives aren’t always dictated by freshman year! What I realize more now that I’m older is there are many things we can do beyond academics to give ourselves the best chance at living the greatest life possible.
We know that if you are in the top one percent of something, people will naturally gravitate towards you. With a lot more opportunities, you’ll have a higher chance of achieving your dreams. Not everybody can be an academic genius, but everybody can be an expert in SOMETHING.
Examples Of Where To Be In The Top One Percent
Here are some examples beyond academics where you could possibly be in the top one percent. Remember, it can take 10 years to master anything, so please be patient.
The great thing about fitness is that way more people can become top one percent fit versus becoming top one percent good looking. You know that if you only drink water, eat celery for breakfast, a chicken breast for lunch, carrots for dinner, lift weights two hours a day, and run one hour a day you are going to be ripped!
As a fitness one percenter, you can parlay your physique into a business. You’ll likely always be courted and have more opportunities than you deserve.
People will more likely believe anything you say in regards to exercise and health even though you might be hurting inside. Maintain an ideal body weight, especially during a pandemic. All the studies have shown that people who are overweight or obese have a more difficult time combatting the coronavirus.
2) Music, Art, And Writing
Who doesn’t love listening to a beautiful voice or listening to a maestro pluck his guitar? Music is what has brought people together since the beginning of time. One reader, Charlie is a concert pianist and was able to create a new version of my lullaby, Cutie Baby overnight! And great art has brought our walls and galleries to life for centuries.
With enough hours of daily practice polishing your skills, you can turn a musical or artistic passion into a rewarding career that delights and impresses audiences of all sizes.
When I started my book-writing journey in early 2020 with Portfolio Penguin, I was just pleased to have gotten a book deal. However, the more time I spent writing Buy This, Not That, the more I decided to make it the best personal finance book ever published.
In the end, Buy This, Not That became a Wall Street Journal Bestseller in 2022 because I worked my ass off writing, editing, and marketing the book. I figured, if I’m going to go through all this trouble to write a book, I might as well get it to the top one percent of nonfiction business books!
In a sea of incumbent authors, I was the only new author to break the list. Further, I’m the only author with black hair. Pretty neat! Only about 0.1% of traditionally publishes books make it on the Wall Street Journal bestseller list or other national bestseller lists.
We worship top athletes because they amaze us and give us something to cheer for. There’s no more patriotic a feeling than seeing your country compete and win during the Olympic Games.
Who doesn’t admire the captain of the football team or want to get to know the star soccer player? Who doesn’t want to date the captain of the tennis team? Sports is a part of Americana.
To win, you might strategically want to downplay your skills. If you can convince someone you’re not very good, you might get your opponent to let their guard down. This is where you can pounce!
At the same time, don’t feel like you have to pressure your kids into sports at a young age. There is a disconnect as I have met many parents who are not athletes, yet they still do very well in her career.
There are certain people who make you drop everything to listen to what they have to say. They know how to intermingle humor, story telling, quick wit, and charisma to make you feel more strongly than you did before the speaking began.
You can develop your personality by improving your communication skills. Join a Toastmasters group to practice speaking. Spend years writing in a journal to master email communication. The great communicator will go farther than the smartest mind any day.
Great orators who also know how to write catchy emails and listens with empathy go far in life.
5) Kindness And Empathy
Kindness is underrated. To be kind, all you have to do is always put someone else before yourself. Yet, so many of us don’t have the patience to give a rat’s ass about anybody else but ourselves.
OK, being a one percenter in kindness is hard to measure, but everybody knows someone who they will immediately think of as the kindest person they know. For me, that person is my wife.
See: To Become Naturally Nicer, Get Richer
I’ve come across so many people who are excellent at what they do beyond their day jobs. For example, a friend of mine sings in a popular SF rock band a couple times a month, another is a top seller on e-bay, several more are top niche bloggers, and another is a well rated music teacher.
Don’t let your day job define you, especially if you don’t love it. Work on something outside of work that you are truly passionate about. Here are 20 side hustles you can do right now.
If you never quit, how can you lose? Perseverance, or grit, as some people call it, is an admirable trait because you see people who are less talented succeed over those who are more talented. Starting anything is easy. Sticking with something for the long haul through all the bumps in the road takes perseverance.
The guy who grinds away from 10pm – 1am and then wakes up by 6am to grind some more before going to work is going to make something happen. The secret to your success is 10-years of unwavering commitment to your craft.
The great thing about investing is that you don’t need a degree in investing to become a great investor. You also don’t need to be a certain type of person. All that matters is beating your benchmark and your peers.
If you are a top one percent investor, you will not only accumulate wealth faster, you could parlay your acumen into running a massive fund to earn even more money. You’ll also never need to work for anybody again.
We’ve all got to eat at least one time a day. If you can make amazing food, you will attract anybody and everybody to your home every single time. If you can attract people with your food, you can build amazing relationships. Cultures are built around the joy of food and company.
There’s no more important a job than being a good parent once you have a child. But being a good parent takes a crazy amount of patience, kindness, sacrifice, and encouragement. If your’e not careful, you’ll miss your chance at instilling in your son or daughter those things you wish your parents had instilled in you.
Since anybody who is a parent will love their child more than anything else in the world, if you’re deemed a great parent, you’ll gain much respect from others who are trying to do the same.
There are companies who have a bias for hiring and promoting “family oriented employees” because they are seen as more stable. There are academic institutions who may look more favorably upon parents who both show up for orientation instead of just one.
Although parenting is subjective, one thing that is not subjective is the amount of time you spend with your child with each day. The average amount of time parents spending with their children is low. So, at least, try to beat the average.
I’ve come up with 10 things that are worthy of being the best at. What are some other things you can think of?
The 1% Category That’s Most Helpful
With little talent elsewhere, I decided to focus on tennis. Tennis helped me make some friends and get into college as a teenager. After getting bumped up to 5.0 in 2015 and winning my club’s tournament in 2016, I’ve noticed a little bit more love and recognition.
The wonderful thing about sports is that the outcome on the playing field can’t be influenced by race, religion, income or politics. When you are on the tennis court, all that matters is keeping a fuzzy yellow ball in play. If I didn’t play tennis, I’d focus on another sport.
Thankfully, in 2022, I finally was able to self-rate down to a 4.5. My club’s 4.5 team ended up winning the 2022 San Francisco league championship as a result. We were homegrown members. Go underdogs! Meanwhile, the 5.0 team, full of ringer recruits, lost in the finals.
Just the other day, a highly connected VC e-mailed me to hit. Maybe he’ll open up his next blockbuster fund with what little I have? Or maybe he’ll introduce me to a larger firm in the online media world that might establish a business partnership with Financial Samurai one day. Who knows.
Respect From Other Parents
Whenever I run into a parent of a middle schooler nowadays, they seem a little bit nicer because I’m a tennis coach at a high school they’d like their children to attend.
When you’ve got to compete beyond money to improve your child’s chances of entry (since so many folks have money in SF), it’s important to build relationships with people who can vouch for you. There’s a real thing called “getting blackballed” where just one thumbs down from anyone ruins your chances or your child’s chances of gaining admission.
Everything I do now is geared towards helping my children find opportunity and happiness. My thought process before doing anything was: will this lead to more freedom, wealth, or happiness? Now my thought process before doing anything is: will this have some positive impact on my son’s future?
By helping others and being involved in the community thanks to tennis, perhaps others will be more willing to help my little one when the time comes. Having a minimum level of status matters for not getting excluded by society.
Be A One Percenter In Anything
I urge all of you to find something where you can be a one percenter. And if you are a one percenter, don’t be greedy with your talents! There are top 0.1 percenters at my club who only hit with each other because they’re not interested in hitting with anybody of lesser ability. As a result, they don’t maximize their potential.
Be proud of your talent. Don’t let the world’s most bitter people keep you from leveraging what you have. It doesn’t matter what you choose to be good at because the world is big enough and connected enough.
If you get to the top of anything, others will want to help you out if you just give them some of your time. If you work hard at being the top one percent in multiple things, dare I say the world is your dragon roll.
Related posts on the top one percent:
Who Are The Top One Percent Income Earners
Emotional Intelligence: The Key To An Easier Life
Overcoming The Trough Of Sorrow: Defeating That Emptiness Inside
Readers, what is something where you are a one percenter? What is one or two things you’re working on to become a one percenter? How has been great at something helped make your life better?
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I’m in the top 1% in fitness. I’m 6-3 at 225 and 12% body fat. Please reconsider your fitness advice for being “ripped”. Eating such a small amount of food as you suggest will actually put the body into starvation mode and cause you to lose muscle. Most people who want to be ripped are actually eating 2500-3200 calories per day and need at least 1g protein per lb body weight.
The best thing about this being top 1% in fitness also makes you the top 1% best looking, which means you get loads of girls and actually succeed more in your career and get treated better by everyone.
I read your post on one-per-centers with great interest. I have a question related to your table of constant income with various rates of withdrawal over time.
In most retirement recommendations withdrawals are similar percentages, like 4%-6% at ages 60 to 80, but they are interpreted as portions of the liquid investments, not of the net worth like in your case. I have 40% of my net worth in the two items of real estate and 60% liquid. Your recommendation to count out of total net worth, seems attractive, but a bit more optimistic than the typical one. Would you please comment?
Joey Graziano says
Thanks for the post! This advice is astute! College or even high school diplomas weren’t common in the part of the country where I grew up. At 12 years old, I learned the value of being the 1% when the desire to buy a Sony PlayStation pushed me to start mowing yards for my local neighbors. After I purchased my electronic toy, I quickly learned how this country rewards someone who works their butt off and owes up to their word ie good customer service.
I quickly learned that if I embrace and am competent at the tough jobs, I will prosper. To this day as an IT professional, I have thrived taking on the tough jobs with a good attitude and excellent customer service. I do my best to exceed expectations through manners and going above and beyond to serve. So far so good.
From the book Coolidge, by Amity Shlaes;
“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination are omnipotent.”
Interesting post, and I’ve been contemplating my own special skills. I am more of a generalist, but I seem to have two hidden intangible talents that most people cannot really notice until they watch me work my magic:
1. Connecting People with the Right People: I am well networked in my field, my city and my profession. I love helping others and I have connected many people who would otherwise not meet to create great business partnerships, friendships and organizations.
2. Peacekeeper: I am also well known as the peace keeper of my friend groups and workmates. Everyone comes to me for advice and a calm place to find refuge from the craziness around them.
Not sure that I am the 1% in the world in this are, but even so, I do not exactly fit with the above categories you provided. Personally I love this part of who I am, but financially, not sure how I can leverage this to create my own side hustle or increase my net worth. I am always open to suggestions.
Congratulations on your tennis rating and becoming a tennis coach. I still enjoy playing at 58. I’m old school and still use the one-handed backhand. In my opinion the one-handed backhand is the most beautiful shot when done properly. So I know it is not taught anymore at the junior level. However, it gives me great pleasure to see Federer, Wawrinka, Thiem, as well as some younger players incorporating the shot into their game. I hate to see it die. What is your take?
Financial Samurai says
I love the one hander. Way more versatile given you can slice and drop shop much more easily. It’s not going to die. You’ve got Sharapolov, Dimitrov, and a bunch of other folks using a one-hander.
Definitely agree with parenting!! Since my 18 month old was born, all I think about is how much I want to guide him through all the hurdles he’s going to face. Avoid the mistakes I made, try to be the best he can be at whatever hobby, career, or interest he’s into, and enjoy life.
Me and my wife just started in parenting journey and want to achieve be a one percent parent.