You are in the top 1%. And you are f*cked.

You are in the top 1%. And you are f*cked.


I like going out. A lot.


I am an ENTJ, which means that extraversion is part of my nature. I like being around people.


That, however, is both a blessing and a curse.


I can go out and think that I have the ability to control my emotional state, but a small misreading of the situation can ruin my whole night.


Even when I reach flow, I need to make sure that I regulate my interactions in order keep myself in that state.


That’s because I can experience the full spectrum of social dynamics in any environment.


The moment I enter a venue, I can tell you who is friendly, who is there to get drunk, who is there for attention seeking purposes and who is kind of interesting to interact with.


That ability forces me to be in a constantly alerted state that can help me be in control of my environment.


But that doesn’t necessarily mean that I succeed every time.


It’s not easy to be in the 1% you know.


The top 1%


Who are the 1%?


The 1% are the people who seriously invest in their personal growth.


The 1% are the people who are acutely aware of the terms social and emotional intelligence and they strive to improve them.


The 1% are the people who are constantly learning and constantly trying to optimize their lives.


The 1% are the people who are not just observers and orbiters. They are able to analyze situations deeply and get to their core.


The 1% is you and I.


But it’s not easy to be in the 1% you know.


You know what happens when you are in the 1%?


Your standards rise.


You are not the same person anymore. You crave for a nice environment. You crave for a quality conversation. You crave for a harmonious interaction. You crave for that almost flawless dj-set. You crave for that aesthetically pleasing view. You crave to leave everything that troubles you behind.


But it’s not easy.


Just because you are ambitious, that doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone else around you is ambitious too.


The average person doesn’t invest in his or her self-development.


The average person has never read philosophy.


The average person likes gossiping.


The average person is constantly seeking validation on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.


The average person won’t respect your relationship.


The average person doesn’t care to foster a great vibe in the venue.


The average person doesn’t have manners.


The average person doesn’t know how to win friends and influence people.


And the worst of all? The average person is everywhere.


Especially when you go out. Imagine you are in a nightclub with 300-400 more people. Do the math. How many people might be close to your level? 3-4? Good luck finding them.


It’s nice to exchange friendly chats with other people who are scattered across the globe over Twitter and forums, but when you go out there in real life? What then?


You are f*cked.


You are like a hopeless entity ready to be swollen by a merciless big black hole.


The only instinct left for you to experience is one and only – survival.


But I am not talking about what the average person considers survival. I am talking about your survival. Your mental survival. The survival of your new and more demanding reality.


How are you going to ensure your mental stability while you try to get the most out of every life scenario?


There is no easy way


As you already know, I am from Greece.


Fortunately, I spent the last 6 years abroad.


Unfortunately, I have to visit Greece often because my family is there and because I want to start a new project, which I want to test there first.


Good luck to me.


There is no better country to take as an example that can epitomize the idea of average.


Average streets, average buildings, average mindsets, average behaviors, average people.

realityReal Athens


All this natural and historical beauty goes to waste because of our average people. And all those great minds that are different, mitigate abroad because they can’t endure this situation.

AthensWhat you see on the Internet


I tell you, average is dangerous. Bukowski explained that beautifully in his exemplary poem, “the genius of the crowd.”

Anyway, every country has its average citizens that complain about many things. The problem is that in Greece everything gets amplified because of the crisis.


It’s so funny. Greeks voted left for the first time in history and still complain about the decisions of the government that issued a referendum to go forward with those decisions. Every day you read the newspaper and the headlines just focus on how difficult life is and how problematic the moves we try to implement are. Greeks consciously reject to see anything bright in all this chaos.


In Vienna (where is my base because it is considered the city with the highest quality of life) the front page of a newspaper will most probably feature news about the immigration crisis, what EU leaders are planning next and how the government wants to invest in startups.


Some of these are also problematic issues but there is a huge difference in the way you approach an issue and how this affects the overall mentality of your citizens.


Now, why do I say all that?


At the moment, I am working on this other project and I have to meet with various Greek entities. From business consultants and investors to government bodies and university professors.


The willpower that I need to muster in order to stay calm and present after each meeting is beyond imagination.


In London, where I used to live, every single employee will do whatever it takes to be polite and satisfy your needs. They know about business. They know about customer service. They know how to win friends and influence people. London is smart. Be like London.


In Greece, you feel that they are doing you a big favor just by spending time with you.


But Andrian, aren’t you the one who is constantly preaching that you shouldn’t complain and stay away from drama? And since you want to do that project in Greece, isn’t that your fault?


I am not complaining for the sake of complaining.


I am complaining to make a point.


The situation in Greece is one of the worst a person can experience, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t experience similar ones everywhere around the world. The tougher the situation, the better you need to prepare yourself and get ready to deal with it.


The road is long and rough.


I am still in the process of optimizing the way I deal with such situations, but for now I have two important tips to give:


1. Take others off the pedestal.


I recently uploaded the following tip:

I sincerely believe that this is the only reason people cannot get over breakups. They have created this idealized version of their partner that was ruined and they want to keep thinking that it is still there. If your partner does something that you don’t like and your relationship is ruined, the best way to get over her is to take her off the pedestal.


She is not that divine entity anymore. She is another person. Not good for you. It’s ok. Get over it. You are better. You deserve better. Move on.


By the way, the same applies to the ladies who read the blog.


He is not that divine entity anymore. He is another person. Not good for you. It’s ok. Get over it. You are better. You deserve better. Move on.


This mentality is incredibly powerful for every area of your life. We usually get disappointed by people because we have high expectations of them. When this idealized image is ruined, we are left hopeless and abandoned.


When this happens, use the partner principle. Take that person off the pedestal and either move on or lower your expectations.


Especially in business, where the right choices are paramount for your success, you need to be ready to move on from person to person until you find the right fit.


2. Think like a stoic. Use your neocortex to control your thoughts.


The average person thinks either instinctually or emotionally.


That’s because according to the triune brain theory, our brain has three distinct brains, which emerged successively in the course of evolution and now co-inhabit the human skull.


The three distinct brains are the reptilian brain, the limbic brain, and the neocortex.


Every sensory stimulus that we experience is translated to a signal that travels from the reptilian brain through the limbic brain until it reaches the neocortex where conscious thinking takes place.


The average person, even when the signal reaches the neocortex, doesn’t really allow his mind to ponder and eventually deal with each situation consciously. The average person allows his unconscious mind to take over and reacts impulsively or emotionally. Don’t be like the average person. Let your mind process the information carefully and avoid the emotional response.


This is one of the most demanding tasks, but also the most effective way to deal with disappointing situations.


You need to be able to become non-reactive when a destructive emotion tries to disrupt your mental state.


And to be honest, there is no easy way around it.


The most effective methods suggested for thousands of years are meditation and stoicism.


Stoicism teaches you the main principles of how to live life as a thriving rational being.


Meditation teaches you to empty your mind on demand.


I meditate 3-4 times a day.


This didn’t come to me organically. It’s something I cultivated with a lot of effort and self-discipline. It’s something I turned into a habit.


If you really want to cultivate self-discipline and adopt healthy habits, try “30 Challenges-30 Days-Zero excuses.” Most people don’t even make it to day 5. If you make it to day 30, email me your results and I will send you a present.


Now it comes to me almost automatically. For instance, whenever I want to take a break from work, instead of reading the news or posting a tweet,1 I meditate for 5 minutes.


It is incredible how much of an impact these 5 minutes can have in the way I hedge my emotional space.


3. (Bonus) Go out alone


Since I started this piece with the example of me going out and sometimes ending up disappointed, I want to give you a very invaluable tip in that respect.


Go out alone.


From December till January, I was in Berlin. In a new city, with no acquaintances to go out with. I couldn’t just stay at home all the time so I went out alone.

me berlin

Needless to say that I had the time of my life. Going out alone is the most rejuvenating experience a person can have. You force yourself to become social and you eventually end up meeting incredibly awesome people.


That was always a challenging area for me but now I do it without second thoughts. From all the times I have gone out alone, I can’t remember a single one that I haven’t had an amazing time.


Going out alone helps me reach flow state faster and once I am in that state almost everybody is willing to hang out with me.


If on the other hand, I have to be with people I know, I somehow feel obliged to stick with them and this creates a form of dependency. If you like the people that’s fine. You end up having even more fun. If the people, however, can’t live up to your standards, that dependency becomes toxic and this, eventually, ruins your night.


So, instead of risking a bad night, go out alone.


The world is waiting for you.


By the way, the way I express myself in this passage derives from a very logical and conscious thinking that takes place in the neocortex. The average person can’t think like that. The average person has irrational fears and these fears are the ones that keep him or her close to other average people and don’t allow them to join the 1%.


Closing remarks


The top 1% are there because they want to, not because they need to.


They say that it’s lonely at the top, but I never thought that I would ever use that phrase to signify the context of this article.


When people talk about the top, they usually refer to success, money, fame, and everything related to the genius of the crowd.


That’s not the top.


The top is when you manage to be in absolute control of every aspect of your life and live it on your own terms.


And there is only one way to get there:


Attempt, fail, optimize, repeat. Attempt, fail, optimize, repeat.


Until you reach that incredibly blissful state.


And don’t forget to be humble and silent along the way.


There is only one reason for that:

Take care.


If you enjoyed this article you will definitely enjoy my “30 Challenges-30 Days-Zero Excuses” e-book. It contains a collection of habits and practices that only the 1% follows. If you want to challenge yourself, this is the best way to do it.


p.s. Don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter to get my articles in your inbox on a weekly basis. It is awe inspiring, free, easy to unsubscribe and some great resources will wait for you once you confirm your subscription.


Andrian Iliopoulos

I am the founder and main contributor at The Quintessential Mind - A unique personal blog that offers a holistic approach to self-development. I am striving to create high-quality content by investing in a reality-based form of self-help, informed by a deep understanding of psychology, philosophy and my own personal experiences and social adventures.