Desperate, and a historical problem with identity


The One Minute Millionaire is a 2002 book written by Mark Victor Hansen and Robert Allen that explains how you might be able to make one million dollars in thirty days. The process is explained by way of a story about a woman who has just lost her husband. She is in her thirties, with two children, a meagre income, and in-laws that threaten to declare her incompetent and take away her children. She makes an agreement with them that if she succeeds in making one million dollars in one month, they will leave her alone. If she fails, she loses her children. Her desperation is exactly what she needs to shock her into action – more specifically, to approach a woman she has identified as a successful entrepreneur and ask her for advice.

For me, desperation was never enough to achieve any kind of success with any of the ways I have tried to make money since 2006. Or, as I thought on many occasions, perhaps I wasn’t desperate enough. I have always had a roof over my head, and I have no children looking at me with hunger in their eyes.

That I was, however, desperate to make money was beyond doubt. This proved to be problematic for several reasons:

1. I didn’t have money to use as seed capital.

2. I was aware of my desperation, and this awareness further undermined my self-esteem.

3. I therefore never had enough confidence to approach other people in order to ask them to work with me. I was afraid they would see me for what I was: a desperate man who needed their help.

4. If you are desperate, you don’t have time for something that will only start bringing in money in six months or a year’s time; you need money immediately.

5. Because you can’t commit to a long-term project or business you tend to jump from one idea to another.

6. Lack of seed capital, lack of confidence and reduced self-esteem, and jumping from one project to another are all factors that reduce probability of success. Your almost inevitable lack of success after three months, six months, two years, three years … make you even more desperate.


I also have a history of issues with identity. In my writing I made capital from it, but it cannot be denied that I still struggle with it. Of course I know who I am … but where? when? with whom?

If I had decided early in 2006 I AM WEBSITES – the business of creating a website for other people or creating websites to sell, the desperation would still have had an effect but I would have overcome it quicker. If I had decided I AM SHORT REPORTS, desperation would also have had an effect, but it would eventually have faded. If I had to decide I AM SPORTSBETTING, it would still have taken me two or three years to become successful, but I wouldn’t have wasted time with anything else. The same can be said about Forex trading or sports trading or freelance writing or social media marketing for other people.

The problem was not only that I was desperate for cash, I also had no idea about “who” I wanted to be. As usual, I wanted to do everything, because everything looked good.

This is still a problem every time I am confronted with more than one option.

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To be able to function and make a claim for a place in the sun we need to initially discover and eventually decide who we are and who we want to be, and then focus on being this person. If we change identity every second month – “My name is not John anymore, it’s now Tienzin, and I don’t eat hamburgers anymore because I’m now a vegetarian” – we will struggle to make a success of whatever it is we want to do.