A many years back, I got a tip about cryptocurrency—yeah, the digital gold rush. A few of my buddies were raking in stacks and were all like, “Dude, you gotta get in on this!” The Fear of Missing Out was real, y’all. So what did I do? I jumped in, boots and all, without even knowing how to swim. Bad move, friends. Bad move.

Within a week, the bubble popped. Poof, just like that. My investments tanked, and I was left scratching my head, wondering what the hell went wrong. That’s when it hit me: I was trying to ride a wave that had already peaked. I was late to the game, and instead of surfing smoothly into the sunset, I wiped out—hard. No sunscreen could’ve protected me from that burn.

So, why am I boring you with this story? Because that crypto fiasco taught me valuable lessons that apply to everyone—creatives, entrepreneurs, business pros, and anyone who wants to rock their career like a champ. Three lessons, to be precise, that you must engrave in your minds if you’re looking to navigate the stormy waters of success. We’ll dive into them soon enough, but spoiler alert: chasing trends, getting distracted, and pursuing stuff you don’t care about are your one-way tickets to Flopville. So let’s get this straight: if you’re serious about succeeding, stick with me. I’ve been in the trenches, dug myself out, and now I’m here to share the wisdom of my scars. And no, I don’t charge by the hour. Well, not for this, at least.

Alright, let’s bust some myths. You’ve probably heard stuff like “be everywhere” or “do everything” if you want to succeed. Sound familiar? That’s the kinda gibberish that’ll get you into trouble. It’s time to cut through the noise and get to the real deal. I’ve got 20 years of business experience—ups, downs, spins, and all. I’ve navigated Fortune 500s, bootstrapped startups, and even hawked a few of my own ventures for a nice little payout. So when I dish out advice, you best believe it’s served hot and spicy, with a side of real talk.

Now, I want you to be better than me—heck, I insist on it. So consider this a roadmap, a sort of “Pirates of the Caribbean” treasure map, if you will. Only instead of leading to a chest of gold doubloons and cursed jewelry, it’ll guide you through the complexities, pitfalls, and yeah, the sweet spots of business and creative success. So, are you in? If yes, let’s dive right in and break down these dream-killers, one ugly monster at a time.

Never Chase the Hot Thing

Let’s talk about our first dream-killer: chasing the hot thing. Man, oh man, have I seen this mistake more times than I’ve seen reboots of Spider-Man. Y’all remember the analogy of me crashing and burning in the crypto world? Think of it like surfing. You see this gnarly wave, and it’s already breaking, but you still decide to paddle furiously to catch it. What happens? You wipe out. You didn’t just fall off the wave; you became its lunch.

It’s easy to think that jumping on a trend when it’s hot is the quickest way to success. You might be thinking, “Well, if it worked for Karen, why wouldn’t it work for me?” Here’s the kicker: By the time you recognize a trend as “hot,” chances are it’s already peaked. I’m not saying you can’t make some quick bucks, but will it be sustainable? Hell no. What you need to do is anticipate the wave before it forms.

Let’s talk business lingo for a sec: be proactive, not reactive. Instead of wasting your energy chasing something that’s already had its moment in the sun, use that big brain of yours to predict where the next opportunity will come from. Start by deeply understanding your field, whether it’s graphic design, tech, or artisanal soap-making (hey, no judgments here). Follow the thought leaders, be in the loop with industry news, and for heaven’s sake, network like you’re collecting Pokémon cards. These actions will help you foresee where the market’s going, giving you the vantage point to spot the next big wave while it’s still a ripple.

Let me hit you with another gem: the key is to be a wave maker, not just a wave rider. In any given field, the players who set the trends have a better shot at longevity than those who simply follow them. So if you can’t predict the wave, why not make your own? Let your unique ideas and solutions set the tone for others to follow. That’s how you go from being a one-hit-wonder to a legend.

Don’t get me wrong; it’s not a crime to incorporate trends into your business or art. But if your whole game plan is hitching a ride on someone else’s coattails, prepare for a bumpy ride that might just throw you off track. You need to balance what’s trending with what’s genuinely you, melding both into something that’s both relevant and authentic. Trust me, there’s room in the world for another revolutionary idea, and it could very well be yours.

So, friends, the takeaway is crystal clear: stop being reactive and start being proactive. Anticipate the waves, make your own if you have to, but for the love of all things caffeinated, don’t chase what’s already hot unless you want to get burned.

Never Lose Focus Over Shiny Things

Alright, let’s dive into mistake number two: getting distracted by shiny things. You’ve seen this happen in soccer games, right? A player’s dribbling the ball, thinking about the killer kick he’s gonna make, and then—boom!—he spots a flashing camera, or maybe his crush in the stands, and fumbles.

Now apply that to your professional journey. You’re killing it in your career or your business, but then, oh look—a new social media platform where you can show off your skills! Or maybe it’s a hot new software promising to 10x your productivity. Maybe it’s a new project that seems super exciting but has nothing to do with your actual goals. These distractions are the shiny objects taking your eyes off the ball.

Remember, every industry has its bling—new trends, emerging platforms, tools, you name it. They scream for your attention, promising faster success, more likes, better whatever. But let’s keep it real: Shiny things can be hella deceiving. Sure, they look cool, but do they really align with your objectives? Are they helping you, or just giving you a quick dopamine hit before you crash back to reality?

We’re talking focus here, people. Laser-like focus. If you’re serious about building something that lasts, you need to put on your blinders. You can’t afford to be sidetracked every time a shiny new toy appears in your periphery. That’s not to say you shouldn’t adapt or update your toolbox. But each addition or change needs to serve your long-term goals, not just momentarily dazzle you.

Let me break it down: You need to execute relentlessly. That means focusing on your key objectives and aligning your actions to meet them, even when it’s boring, tough, or downright aggravating. Take a page out of a football player’s playbook: Keep your eye on the ball. Every action should bring you closer to your goals. If it doesn’t, it’s noise, not music. Tune it out.

Let’s pull this into the “real world” of creatives and entrepreneurs. Suppose you’re a freelance graphic designer. Sure, learning 3D animation could be a cool skill to have. But if your core business is built around logo and web design, mastering an unrelated skill might divert valuable time and resources. It’s the same for an aspiring entrepreneur. Could you branch out into a new market? Maybe. But if it’s going to compromise your core business, is it really worth the shine?

So what’s the game plan? Simple. Write down your goals. Stick ‘em up on a wall, a vision board, your bathroom mirror, wherever. And every time a new shiny thing pops up, ask yourself: does this align with my goals? If not, give it the hand and keep your eyes on the prize.

Never Pursue Things You Don’t Care About

Time for the third mistake: never, and I mean never, pursue something you don’t actually give a crap about. “Why?” you might ask, sounding like a toddler questioning their parents. Well, hang tight, because I’m about to drop some truth bombs.

Picture this: You’re a runner, lined up at the starting line, and the only thing on your mind is how you don’t want to be there. You can’t stand running. You’re there because your friend is an avid runner or perhaps because “it’s good for you.” The gun goes off, you start running, and guess what? You’re going to be miserable every step of the way. You’ll stop at every water station, not because you’re thirsty, but because you want to delay the inevitable. You’ll give up or, even worse, you’ll finish the race absolutely hating it. Now swap out that running example with your professional journey, and boom, you get the idea.

Let’s translate that into entrepreneur speak. You dive into a niche because it’s “profitable,” not because it speaks to you. You create products you think will sell, not ones you believe in. The result? A hot pile of mediocrity. You might make a few bucks, but the flame will fizzle out sooner or later.

Passion ignites persistence, my friends. When you genuinely care about what you’re doing, you find ways to overcome obstacles. It’s the difference between hammering a square peg into a round hole and smoothly slotting a round peg into its rightful place. One feels forced; the other, a perfect fit. Which one do you think is gonna help you stand the test of time?

I’m not saying pursue your passion and money will follow. That’s the kind of baloney you find in self-help books written by people who made their money selling, well, self-help books. What I’m saying is, whatever you decide to pour your time into, it should be something you deeply care about, something you can see yourself doing even if the going gets tough. Because let’s face it, the going will get tough.

Care deeply, act purposefully, and you’ll fuel your journey toward whatever you define as success. When you’re interested in what you’re doing, you don’t need external validation. You become your own motivation. The hours you put in don’t feel like a slog; they’re your form of art, your craft.

So, the next time you find yourself eyeing a project or a job or a side-hustle, ask yourself this: “Do I really care?” If the answer is no, or even a tepid “I guess so,” walk away. Trust me; you’ll be doing yourself and the world a favor. Life’s too short for half-assed endeavors.


Alright, friends, time to wrap this bad boy up. Let’s summarize, shall we?

First off, don’t be a trend-chaser. Anticipate the game, don’t be late to the party. It’s like when you try to get in on the “next Bitcoin” only to find out you’re the last one holding the bag when the market tanks. No bueno. Anticipation over desperation, every single time.

Second, focus is your friend. Imagine you’re the striker in the World Cup Final, seconds left on the clock, ball sailing toward you. Would you look away to check if the crowd is watching? Hell no, you wouldn’t. Keep your eye on the damn ball. Life throws glittering distractions at us all day, every day. Your job? Ignore the bling and hit that goal.

Last but not least, give a damn about what you do. Period. If you’re half-hearted about your project, it’s like running a marathon in flip-flops. Sure, you could technically do it, but why torture yourself? Passion is your rocket fuel; make sure your tanks are full.

I want you to question the ‘shoulds’ and the ‘musts’ that society throws at you. You should have a stable job. You must follow the herd. You should play it safe. Tell those ‘shoulds’ and ‘musts’ to go take a hike. What’s safe isn’t always right, and what’s right isn’t always safe.

To those of you daring to navigate the treacherous waters of life, I say this: Be courageous. Question the norms. Defy the stereotypes. Do you, and let the world adjust. Your individuality isn’t a liability; it’s your greatest asset.

About the Author: Geoffrey Byers
Geoffrey is one of the world's foremost Designers. He is also a Serial Entrepreneur, Author, Speaker, and Mad Scientist. Hypothesis-Driven experimentation is his love language.