What Master Influencers Do Differently



When I was in the ninth grade, I picked up this book from my dad’s office library. The title read “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. I was super excited!

I had always dreamt of being one of those master influencers and speakers whom thousands of people listened to and sought advice from. Therefore I was naturally attracted to the book and ended up finishing it in a few days!

I thought I had discovered a great secret which very few people knew about!

You see I was pretty dumb back then (Sometimes I still am!). I forgot to notice the part on the front cover where it said ‘More than 15 million copies sold!’. It was a good thing I didn’t notice it. If I had, then I’d have assumed that more than half the world knew about influence and there was no great secret to it!


So happily I set off putting the little tips mentioned in the book to use. I started to smile more, say thank you more and listen genuinely to people. The surprising part was it worked! I became more persuasive and assertive and before I knew it my confidence in my ability to influence peaked!

Later when I looked back, I realized though the book had sold so many copies, not even 10% of the people who had bought the book ever put it to use. They never bothered acting on all the golden advice given in the book! Had they tried even a little, it could have helped them become better influencers in life!

Most of the advice in the book is still pretty sound. But in today’s world, it takes more than just being nice and saying thank you to become a master influencer. These things might make you more likeable and get you more friends, but if you seek to influence people, you will have to learn from the best and start following them.

Whether you want to become a better Manager, Blogger or an Effective Leader in your field, you need to learn and master the art of influence. And who better to teach you influence than some of the most powerful influencers in the world!

What Master-Influencers Do Differently

After having studied the actions of many master influencers – old and new, I can say with a great degree of confidence that they all have some common characteristics which you and I can learn from. So what do they do differently which gives them the power to influence people around them?

Use The Power of Communication

The one thing which all influencers do with extreme efficiency is communication. If you wish to stand out from the pack and become a master at exerting influence, you need to understand the different forms of communication.

1. Verbal and Written Communication

Nadella Satya

The written and the spoken word. As an influencer you will have to choose words carefully when communicating to your target audience. Because once the words are written or spoken there is no way you can take them back.

Imagine an average manner of trying to communicate his vision to the team

“Team , we should achieve $xx million in the next 2 years and develop a product which will make us no 1 in the market!”

Motivating?  Maybe.  Powerful?  Not nearly enough.  Memorable? Hardly!

Now look at how Steve Jobs communicated his vision

“We are here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise why else even be here?”

JObs Vision

Simple. Powerful. Profound.

Master Influencers understand this principle and put it to use. They choose their words carefully and ensure they carry maximum impact and benefit their audience. You too can follow their lead. Thinking for a few seconds before speaking/writing can produce wonderful results.

2. Non- Verbal and Para-Verbal Communication


Non-Verbal communication constitutes a very important part of communication. In fact only 7 – 8% of your communication is verbal. Almost a majority of it is made up of things like your body language, posture and poise.

Para-Verbal communication is a lesser known and relatively ignored form of communication which the masters employ to their use. Para- verbal refers to how you put across your message. Sometimes the same words if conveyed with the right tone, pitch and cadence can have a deadly effect. Master Influencers also learn to use silence to communicate their intent.

So next time when you wish to communicate, keep these elements in the back of your mind. With gradual practice you will definitely be able to become a better communicator and an influencer.

Listen with Empathy

President-Bill-ClintonAll of us love to talk don’t we? But what about listening?

When was the last time you gave undivided attention to someone speaking to you?

Bill Clinton was the most charismatic person in any room not because he was a great speaker. It was because he was a listener who could make you feel as if you were the only person in the room! When he listened, he actually cared and made sure you understood that. This one quality alone made even his enemies admire him.

Listening is said to be a fast disappearing trait nowadays where all of us seem happy to be in our own worlds all the time. All it takes is to mute your internal noise and bring all your attention to the person in front of you. It’s not hard as you think! Next time when someone talks to you, try listening not just with your ears but your entire being and watch the magic unfold!

Are Not Afraid to Ask for Help 


Many people make the mistake of assuming that in order to influence, you always need to be in a position of power or superiority in a situation. And because of this convoluted thought process, they stay smug and aloof when it comes to asking for help.

Master-Influencers do the exact opposite.

Influence happens in equal measure when you are not afraid to ask for help and do so fearlessly. Because it tells the people around you that you are not someone who is arrogant and cocky but a level-headed individual who wants to learn from the people around.

Moreover this keeps your ego in check and teaches you how to harness the talent and skills of people around you! This in effect will make you a better leader and an influencer.

Over to You

Whether consciously or not, we are all trying to be Master Influencers in our own little worlds. But the trick is to realize that influence is not rocket science. And as long as influence is not used as a selfish tool for power but rather as a means to benefit those around you, you will thrive. 

Before I forget, I am planning to send a special Ebook to my subscribers next week. It contains some of the best advice from this amazing book you’ve never heard of. If you like what’s written here, I seriously suggest becoming a subscriber now!

So what are the other ways Master Influencers set themselves apart? Would love to know your thoughts…


What Stops Me From Achieving Goals?

Listen to this.

‘From the minute I set my goals, I have worked very hard. I did all the things which I felt would bring me closer to my goals. I have stuck them in a prominent place where I remind myself of them every day! But the more I keep pushing myself and trying to reach them, the more they seem elusive. What stops me from achieving my goals?’

‘What am I doing wrong??’

If you are someone who can relate to this, trust me you are not alone. These questions have haunted me too! I used to wonder what it was that I was doing wrong and after a long time, it struck me.  I almost always knew what I needed to do to achieve my goals. The problem was in the way I approached the process of achieving them.

In most of my failed goals, these were the traits which stood out.

Stress, Fatigue, Impulsive Action, Laziness, Impatience

What is common among these traits? They all represent extremes. This is the ugly truth about most of our goals. Either we are in too much of a hurry to achieve them. Or we try so hard that they cause burnout and we give up on them. Both of these extremes rarely yield results.

Watch out for these danger signs before you begin to chase your goals.

Instant Gratification

Instant Gratification
Photo by Sam Davis(Flickr)

“Setting a goal is not the main thing. It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and staying with that plan…”

Tom Landry

It is human nature to want things here and now. Especially in today’s age where internet is flooded with messages such as ‘Lose Weight in 15 days’, ‘Become a millionaire in a month’, it is hard to remain focused and persist with our action plan.

The reality is, anything worth achieving takes time and consistent effort. Most successful people treat their life as a marathon which consists of maintaining a long and steady rhythm in effort combined with a laser-like focus.

Your goals should reinforce your purpose and motivate you to go through the grind. If you start finding that instead of pushing you forward, they are compelling you to seek instant results and making you lose focus, it’s time to take a long hard look about whether they’re worth it.


Burnout Girl
PC: Helga Weber

“Great Work is not ordinarily done in busyness”

Elizabeth Skoglund

This is one of the extremes which you should be very careful about. Often people set over-arching goals which require them to stretch their limits all the time. As human beings, we are capable of achieving whatever we set our minds to. But this doesn’t mean we push ourselves so hard that we break.

When you try to achieve too many goals at once, the process will overwhelm you. Very soon, before you realize you will start getting frustrated with the lack of results. This often leads to becoming wary of your own efforts and the beginning of procrastination.

The end result? You will lose trust in the power of goals and become content with a complacent existence which may end up making you mediocre.

A better way is to plan goals in such a way that they remain aligned to your overall purpose in life. And smart people always set a limited number of goals which allow them to manage their energy levels without suffering burnout. Learn from them and remember the 80-20 rule. Focus 80% of your energy on the 20% of goals which will make a difference in your life!

Rewarding Yourself Too Early / Never Rewarding Yourself

Pc: WinnieFredxoxo

“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony”

Thomas Merton

For some of you, there will be an over-enthusiastic fellow waiting inside of you who will pounce at each small milestone and tempt you saying ‘Go on! You have already achieved this much! Go and celebrate! In fact celebrate double!!’

We all know how this usually ends. The celebration becomes a party and the party results in a bad hangover. By this time, all the momentum that had been built in you slowly dissipates bringing you to square one. Very few people recover from this temporary high and begin their uphill battle. Most just give up.

The opposite is equally true, if not more dangerous. Unless your goals have milestones where you stop and unwind, it will be very difficult to sustain the enthusiasm and keep going. Whenever you get the feeling you have been at it too long, give yourself a well-deserved break and swing back into action.

Remember the secret which will help you avoid both these extremes is balance.

Seeking Approval of Others

Pc: Daniela Vladimirova

“People striving for approval from others become phony”

Ichiro Suzuki

This behaviour is seen when you become obsessed with getting recognized by others for your goals. Or even worse, you start setting goals to please others and gain their approval.

It’s natural for us as social creatures to want to be recognized and accepted. Achievement and recognition are the pillars which drive all the successful people. But there is a subtle difference here.

The moment you let your goals be defined by other people’s standards, you begin to suffer. Because no matter how hard you try, others will always have their own opinion of how you ought to be doing things and what you need to be chasing in life.

An important component of achieving goals is the amount of control on your actions. As long as you are able to define your own standards and live upto them, you will succeed. But the moment you fall into the trap of pleasing others and begin to change your goals, you will be writing your own downfall.


Fear on dice

“Fear stifles our thinking and actions. It creates indecisiveness that results in stagnation. I have known talented people who procrastinate indefinitely rather than risk failure. Lost opportunities cause erosion of confidence, and the downward spiral begins”

Charles Stanley

Perhaps the biggest reason why goals fail is fear. It is also easy to succumb to your fears and convince yourself that you are not good enough or that you will try next year.

The funny thing about fear is it grows stronger every moment you allow it to live. It thrives on inaction and doubt and makes you begin to doubt your own potential.

Don’t fall for it.

If you have set goals which are ambitious, allow them to take you to paths unexplored. Remind yourself that the very reason you set such audacious goals is because you wanted to conquer fear and move past your limitations.

Don’t let your failure in the past or dread of the future prevent you from taking action. Take inspiration from the steady ant which marches carrying food weighing thousand times its weight. Observe how it moves with absolute focus and overcoming all obstacles to reach its destination.

Such an attitude of calm mindfulness and continuous determination will definitely make your goals a reality.

Over to You

I hope that this advice helps you in beating some of those obstacles which stop you from achieving your goals. Remember the acronym SMART of goal setting? It’s popular because it works! So keep your goals Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time Bound.

Doing that and avoiding the extremes mentioned here will ensure you achieve almost all of your goals!


Are You Ready to be Hired in 2015?

Are you happy with your current role? Or are you searching for a new job?

No matter what your current state, you must have often wondered if you are equipped with the right qualities to get you hired. As the year begins with a bang, the scenario for potential job-seekers is rapidly changing. And your ability to remain relevant to these changing times will determine whether you are ready to be hired or not.

So what are these traits which will make you ready?

Re-inventing Yourself

PC: Hartwig HKD

Think of your personal goals for a second. What is that one habit or behaviour you hate about yourself? From how many months, no wait, years have you been wanting to change it?

Yeah it’s hard. All of us know that we need to change and only then some good things will happen to us. Yet, we don’t. We always seem to want to change but never get around to it.

Why? Because it’s the comfort of the habit which we have accustomed ourselves into.

The professional world is no different. If you have kept following your old ways and patterns, you will end up getting similar jobs and projects.

As industries move from being tightly coupled clusters to closely networked tribes, organizations are increasingly looking for people who can re-invent themselves. Organizations don’t need fossils who are comfortable with their old style habits of working and approach to life.  In order to remain relevant, the need to adapt to the world around is an absolute must.

In order to jump to the next level, you need to change that one thing you know is holding you back. Speed will be a key driver in the years to come and your ability to constantly innovate and mould yourself into who you wish to become will determine your chances of breaking into better jobs.

And how do you do that? By taking the first step. By keeping your new objectives where you can see them. By joining or talking to a like-minded group of people who will create the environment for you to take action.

PsychologyToday wrote a brilliant post about the questions you need to ask in order to drive the change you seek

Does your goal match your values? – The ‘why’ to enable you to seek change

Does it conflict with other priorities in your life? – To prevent contradictory and self-conflicting goals

Can you gain satisfaction from each step? - To measure the inner compass which seeks fulfillment

Is achieving it within your control? - To frame realistic outcomes defined through specific actions which are within your control

I have found these questions to be quite pertinent and helpful when making a decision to change or move forward in a new direction. Both personally and professionally.

I hope they help you in making those changes and re-inventing yourself!

Social Media Presence

Social Media Presence
PC: Khalid Albaih

I have talked about the importance of social media presence as a necessity for leaders who wish to lead the future generation in my ebook. The days where you applied for jobs and waited to be recruited are long gone.

Nowadays, the people who get the jobs they want are the ones who have the courage to go and network with the people who can help them.

In the next few years, your ability to define your brand and clearly state what you can do to add value will make or break your chances.

Many people consider using social media as self-advertising and fake. There might be a few people who might even be doing this. But the majority of people who excel at showcasing their work and strengths on social media have a definite leverage on those who don’t. Make full use of the advantage social media gives to you for building your brand.

Embrace Diversity

PC: Richard Foster

Your ability to get hired will also depend on how well you are able to work with teams which are different from you. Most organizations today stress the need for a global outlook from its employees to tackle this increasing diversity. Forbes says that organizations will move towards increasing their cultural intelligence and this can only happen when they embrace diversity.

As Rohini Anand, Chief Diversity Officer at Sodexo put it, “Diversity is much more than just a multicultural issue.  Diversity is about embracing many different types of people, who stand for different things and represent different cultures, generations, ideas, and thinking”  

IBM VP Ron Glover concurs. “Innovation is about looking at complex problems and bringing new views to the table.  Diversity has allowed IBM to be innovative and successful for 100 years and to work across lines of differences in 172 countries, amongst 427,000 employees.”

Are you ready to shed your model of the world and to embrace the emerging diversity?

Entrepreneurial Mindset

Reinventing Yourself
PC: Ryan Hide (Flickr)

It might seem as if everyone wants to be an entrepreneur. You also might have dreamt of starting your own venture and being wildly successful. In fact, there is nothing wrong in desiring to strike out on your own and becoming your own boss.

But it is not a path meant for everyone. Most of the times, for an entrepreneur to become successful, the right combination of internal drive and external circumstances play an important role. And not everyone wants that kind of risk in their lives!

In the coming days, organizations will prefer people who have the spirit of entrepreneurship within them. This is an important quality which has been cultivated through deliberate action by many successful executives. By thinking like entrepreneurs within organizations they become intrapreneurs.

These intrapreneurs are often the superstars you hear about. They are the leader who grow quickly through the ranks and also inspire people around them to push boundaries. And organizations will want more of them!

So what is needed to develop this entrepreneurial mindset?

Take Ownership – Become accountable for whatever projects you take up. Act with the firmness of a person who has invested a personal stake in the project. You will become much more focused and effective.

Have a Vision – Setup a personal vision which tells you where you wish to be in 20 years. Remember this requires commitment and perseverance. Take up projects which enable you to move closer to your vision. This thinking will help you streamline your activities and increase your productivity.

Use Networking to Build Your Business – You already know this. In fact, the knowledge that networking helps is known to all of us. What is missing is the drive to take action in this regard.

Keith Ferrazzi in his book ‘Never Eat Alone’ says “A network functions precisely because there’s recognition of mutual need. There’s an implicit understanding that investing time and energy in building personal relationships with the right people will pay dividends. The majority of “one percenters” are in that top stratum because they understand this dynamic—because, in fact, they themselves used the power of their network of contacts and friends to arrive at their present station.” 

Look for New Markets for an Existing Product – Businesses often become stuck in their old way of thinking. That is why they need people who can think outside traditional boundaries like sector, speciality and industry. Opportunities always open up to those who look for them. Learn to look out for markets which are untapped and ignored by the competition.

Once you start practicing these behaviours, you will quickly gain the momentum and agility of an entrepreneur and start making inroads into much beneficial projects.

Expert View

Even top HR heads across sectors agree that these traits will determine your readiness to be hired. Abhijit Bhaduri,Chief Learning Officer of Wipro says “2015 will be the year of agile innovation, learning and careers. Speed will be the single largest determinant of success, and businesses will have to deal with increasing levels of complexity in the race to grab market share. Such business environments demand people who have deep expertise and who can continue to learn by listening to early signals.”

So what are you waiting for? Get cracking and start working on your skills today!


Confessions of a Restless Soul: How I Became Good at Writing (And Eventually began Blogging)


I have a confession to make.

Contrary to what many may think, I wasn’t good at writing! In fact, as a kid, I usually got scolded for scribbling illegibly in my answer booklets at school. I was a lazy, arrogant and ignorant boy who usually lived in his head most of the time.

I am sure many of you remember the TV series House M.D. I remember watching an episode where one dialogue left an incredible impact on me.

House: “Are you going to base your life on who you got stuck in a room with?

Eve: “I’m going to base this moment on whom I’m stuck in a room with. That’s what life is. It’s a series of rooms, and who we get stuck in those rooms with adds up to what our lives are.” (emphasis is mine)

It made me think of all the people I got stuck with in various rooms. The diverse circumstances and places where I met them. How every interaction played a role in shaping my life. Today, I remembered the dialogue again.

A series of rooms are also the reason why I became a Blogger. And how I started my writing journey. I felt I had to share it with you. This is the story of how a 12 year-old fool fell in love with writing and eventually started using it to take him places.

It was the year 2000. While the whole world was talking about the dot-com bubble, I was grumbling about having to go to piano classes. Those were the days when almost every middle-class Indian parent made sure their kids attended camps, sports coaching or music classes of one form or another during the summer break.

 My dad was no exception. He had grown tired of me blowing his hard-earned money by spending time online (Remember the crazily expensive VSNL dial-up connections?). His company had an Officer’s Club where they had a summer camp arranged. Just to use up the remaining funds, they had called some dude to teach piano to all the employees’ kids.

 Dad asked me to make a decision. Either I attend the summer camp and weekend piano sessions. Or become a watchman guarding the apartments we lived in. So off I went to become the next Mozart!

The classes were held twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It was obvious to any ant, mosquito and human sitting in those piano classes that I had no talent for the instrument.  I usually ended up talking to the other sods and distracted them by telling them made-up stories about ghosts and scary places near their homes.  The piano teacher decided that I wasn’t worth his time, given the money he was being paid. So he decided to get rid of me and asked me to come that Saturday for some extra lessons. He told me I could leave home early if I wanted to.

I didn’t waste a second and ran home thinking I would bunk the weekend class and cover it up with a lie later. And just like a bad horror movie, my dad had arrived earlier than his usual time and was happily drinking tea. You can guess what happened later. I blurted out that we had all been left early and had an extra class on the weekend. He was obviously delighted at not having to deal with me on the weekend and made sure that I woke up on time that Saturday.

As I made my way to the Club, I noticed that there was a festive air. There were kids whom I’d never seen before, playing and jumping and falling like stupid kids usually do. The club was wrapped in cheap craft paper of various colors and there were parents anxiously guiding their little ones into different rooms.

“Bastard!” , I muttered to myself. The piano teacher had lied to me. He knew I stayed far from the club and had to walk 30 minutes to reach it. This was his cheap revenge. I was fuming. I said a mental goodbye to the club and started walking back.

“Oye, you’re Apasangi’s son right? Where are you going?”

I turned to see a friend of my dad standing there smiling at me. This day was going from bad to worse.

“Yes Uncle” I innocently replied, smiled and explained how I had arrived thinking there was some class and was heading back

“No problem, no problem!! Good you are here! We have special competitions arranged for all kids. I am sure there are some for your age group too. You will participate, no?”

This was the definition of a rhetorical question. If I had not said a Yes, then I would have to listen to my dad’s sermon later as to why I wasn’t going to be of any use to this planet or it’s citizens. So I resigned to my fate and went along with him as he made me sit next to an older girl who was busy writing something on a sheet of paper.

Great! I’m stuck in a room full of boring people’, I thought to myself.

“You ready for the essay competition? You must be in the 10-14 category right?” she asked.

I just stared. She was kind of good looking. I decided to say something awesomely intelligent

“Humm I grunted. I don’t know how that sound came out. I was pretty sure I had atleast 3 sentences planned as a reply.

 “Why don’t you give it a shot? For the 10-14 age group they have an essay writing topic too. Topics are put up outside. The winner gets a special prize! Go!” she smiled sweetly and went back to her writing.

I quietly went and saw a bunch of kids jostling each other to note down some topics. Since I was twice their height (only thing I was born with), I could see them easily.

The Board read:


A Bearded guy announced “Please go and be seated in Room B. The competition will start in 5 minutes!”

The entire crowd started moving towards a Room located in the interior part. I followed them to see what would happen. We were all asked to sit on the floor. I was given two blank sheets and a writing pad.

“Please write legibly. Extra points for using relevant examples” the bearded guy said. He looked at his watch.

“OK, it is 10:57 now. You have 3 minutes more before starting!” he shouted.

It was then I realized that most of the others in the room had prepared for this. Their eyes were half closed as if in a trance. They were bloody memorizing what to write. They had mugged up their essays and come to vomit it out. It was a no-brainer that most of them had been told beforehand what the topics were.

I suddenly became very angry. I don’t remember what triggered this anger. Was it the unfair competition? The piano master? Or the bearded guy’s face? I honestly can’t recollect. The only thing I remember now is being stuck in a room full of people I didn’t want to and a competition I hardly knew existed.

“Begin!”  the bearded man said and clapped.

I looked around as people around me were dumping text from their head to the paper in furious speeds. One girl was sweating and trying to wipe it off her nose with her hanky while writing non-stop.

All that anger made me focus. I thought about what I could write. The obvious choice was Pollution. It was easy, predictable and I had to only look around to find a relevant example as there was a lot of trash lying in the room. Also, I had written essays on pollution for the last three years.  (I don’t know how many of you know this. But Indian kids are made to write essays on Pollution from the age of 9 to 14. The other common thing being the life of B.R. Ambedkar :D)

But most people around me seemed to be writing about this. The guy sitting next to me had written half a page and was drawing some clouds. Guess he didn’t know what ‘essay’ meant. The next best option was writing about my career. At that time, I always imagined I would become a Private Detective. It felt stupid trying to convince a few grown-ups how I would do this. Especially when I had no clue myself. (Detective, Clue – Get it? He he….  Not funny? :( Anyways)

10 minutes remaining!” the beardy bellowed. He seemed to be enjoying this.

My sheet was still blank. So I started. Wrote the topic title ‘My Role Model’.

 And then it happened.

With hardly any pause, my mind started to produce words faster than I could write. I realized I’d started writing about Mahatma Gandhi and three important events which made him transform into the messenger of peace and non-violence. I wrote how his thoughts and actions inspired the country to achieve freedom. How his life made me decide to devote myself in whatever way possible to the service of others. And how this attitude would help bring peace to the world.

“Last One Minute!” the final warning was announced.

There was some space left under the Topic Title. I filled in “An Eye for an Eye makes the whole World Blind – M.K. Gandhi”

I swear to God. All I remember after that was handing the sheet over, eating some lunch and heading home as if in a daze. There was a wonderful sense of fulfillment and happiness I had never felt before in my life.

It never occurred to me to ask about the essay competition later. Writing itself seemed to be so wonderful that nothing else was needed as a reward for doing it. So a couple of weeks rolled on and I went back to being the random inhabitant of earth. It was a Thursday evening as Dad came home from his work with a huge smile on his face.

“Do you know what your son has done?” he asked Mom.

Mom gave me an ugly look and asked “What did he do now?”

“He has got the first place in Essay Competition. One of the judges works in my department and she was praising your son’s writing skills!”

He was damn happy. He came, thumped my back and said “Good! Keep it up!” and went to tell the news to my Grandmother and my baby sister. They were all ecstatic. It was an awesome day indeed.

And that’s how my writing journey began.

As I grew up, I started writing in every essay and literary competitions possible. I became part of College editorial boards, literary committees and debate clubs. I spent time in rooms and rooms of like-minded souls who loved writing and talking about Books, reading and writing. Before I knew it, I was getting by in my Management course just because of my ability to confuse the Profs with my mastery of the language.

My brush with Blogging began while I was pursuing Engineering. I did it occasionally (nikshepd.blogspot.in) and stopped after I got my first job. But as they say, your true passion calls out to you from even the netherworld at times. And I have realized writing through the medium of a Blog is what keeps me going.

So here I am. Writing this post and talking to you through it. This is what gives me peace of mind and true fulfilment. And I assure you it will only get better with time. I’ll try my best to add value to your lives but I hope you’ll forgive me if at times, my writing falls short of the ideal.

Be aware of the fact that the people you end up getting stuck with in rooms matter. Next time it happens, make sure you keep your eyes and ears open. For you never know when life will make you stumble upon your true purpose in life!

I hope your calling finds you soon. Keep Looking.


Lessons from the Dark Arts – Part II : The Hustler

This is Part -II of a two part series. See here for Part-I 

Mad MenSource: Turquoise Branding


The Hustler

“Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle”

- Abraham Lincoln

The Hustler
The Hustler

There is a reason why legendary Hustlers are so successful. Few know and recognize their true nature. They would rather be known as Entrepreneurs, Moguls, Billionaires and Creative Geniuses. Because the word ‘Hustler’ has come to have too many negative connotations, they stay away from using that title for themselves. But they are all masters in the art of hustling.

These Master Hustlers were not born with this mindset. Most of them had to go through terrible circumstances which forced them to adapt. Not doing so would have led to their extinction. The will to survive can be a powerful force in transforming individuals. They used this force to navigate their way to power, money and freedom.

Which begs the question. What exactly is hustling?

Lesson 2: Fearlessness – The Key to Power

You are a Hustler when you stop accepting other people’s definition of how you should lead your life. You are not afraid of claiming your place in the world without waiting for it to be handed down to you. You are always on the move, looking at unconventional angles and methods to push yourself to the limits. Suffice to say, you’re a hustler when you are Supremely Confident and Fearless.

50 Cent
50 Cent

Those of you who have read The 50th Law will know the importance of conquering fear. This trait enabled the transformation of Curtis Jackson (a.k.a. 50 Cent) from a ghetto street kid selling drugs to legendary Rapper and Businessman extraordinaire.

But fear being such a primal emotion is difficult to conquer. So how does one become fearless? The answer lies in having a killer instinct and going for the jugular. This instinct is the art of knowing the time and place to attack . This is what gives rise to fearlessness. And you need to start following these steps to be on your way as a fearless hustler.

a) Tap into the Power of Realism

 The world we live in takes great pleasure in masking its true intent. Everyone tries to conceal information to gain that extra edge. You need to recognize this and stare this farce in the eye. Once you become aware that most things are not what they seem and the real opportunities reveal themselves once you uncover the facade, you will gain tremendous strength in dealing with situations.

Consider the example of Jay Z.  Winner of 14 Grammy awards and having a net worth over $450 million, Jay Z has had a monster of a career sniffing out trends which were grade-A bullshit.  Back in 2009, the hottest trend in Hip-Hop was auto-tune. This basically meant using a device to alter pitch in vocals and instruments to produce perfectly tuned songs. A lot of rappers were making tons of money using this technique and it looked as if the hip-hop industry had their new style of working.

Jay Z
Jay Z

 Jay Z, who was a master hustler throughout his life, smelled this rat a mile away. The trend reeked of a fad which could not sustain itself. Because it had no originality, it made everyone else sound the same. So after careful contemplation, he decided to go for the kill. When the auto-tune frenzy was at its peak, he launched his big single – D.O.A (Death of Autotune).

 It was original, noisy and off-pitch. The crowds loved it. D.O.A won the Grammy for Best Solo Rap Performance. The Autotune died a quiet death. Jay Z says in Decoded, “You cannot fake a trend that is not you. It might work for a second, but it’s a house of sand”

b) Take what you want

This lesson has been infinitely doled out to the masses. Yet they never get it. Hard work, sincerity and patience can only get you so much. If you truly want to make it big, you need to start taking matters into your own hand.

 Most people love playing victims. They are happy blaming the world for their failures. What they don’t understand is that majority of people are working for their own self-interest. No one will go out of their way to help you get what you want. A Hustler uses this to his advantage.

 By making sure he knows exactly what people want, he lets others know he is ready to help them achieve their goals. He uses this greed to create opportunities which help him take what he wants. This is not a form of treachery. On the contrary, this skill is highly sought after and appreciated. And the ones who become masters at taking what they want are rewarded beyond their wildest dreams.


Presenting Bill Clinton Ladies and Gentlemen. Yes the rock-star People’s President. Perhaps one of the most charismatic man to ever grace a Presidency. He discovered early on that people had an amazing love for themselves. Imagine, if someone you met a year ago comes to a party. He is able to recount details of not just your name, but an obscure hobby that you had mentioned offhand. What would be your reaction? Wouldn’t you absolutely fall in love and be in total awe of him?

Clinton used this by mastering a system which helped him connect with people on an intimate level. He had a habit of making cue cards of important contacts and their habits, hobbies and other little details which helped him dazzle them. He was hustling all the time, making use of his talents to charm people and trusting him to be their leader. And the rest, as they say is history.

c) Intense Curiosity

Some of the most successful hustlers owe their success to a burning curiosity. Unless you have a hunger to know and understand what needs to be done in order to succeed, you will never make it. Intense curiosity is not just mere information gathering. It needs action. You need to hustle and find ways of gaining information which is normally not accessible by everyone. And the need to access such information helps you conquer your fears and go for the unconventional methods.

50-Cent-Suit jayz-suit2

50 Cent and Jay Z went from Drug Dealers to Rap artists to Music Moguls to Entrepreneurs. This happened mainly because they learned to harness the power of curiosity. Everytime people told them their limits had been reached, they probed. They refused to believe that they had to accept someone else’s definition of how to live.

Realize one thing. You are here on this planet for a limited time. You can either let yourself be ruled by dogmas or You can conquer fear through action and hustle your way to success. Hustlers are not people who will wait till the conditions are right for action. Rather they start acting and manifest opportunities to bulldoze their way through life.

Ready to Hustle? Let me know how it goes.