Better Man in brief …
You have to work at becoming somebody.
One way to become a somebody is to become an expert.
Maintain your hidden agenda and stay in touch with contacts.
“SEEING THINGS FROM THE GROUND FLOOR UP LETS YOU SEE WHAT IT TAKES TO DISTINGUISH YOURSELF FROM THE CAFONES AROUND YOU.”
Let’s face it: even if you’re not some egocentric freak, you want to be a star. Even if it’s for a fleeting moment, a few times a year, or every time you get rejected in the queue for some fancy club with overpriced mojitos, you have, at one point, wanted to be more than Joe Nobody. You want to be Joe Somebody, or actually Mr. Joe Somebody.
We are obsessed with being recognised, being given our dues, and, most importantly, being respected. When I was young, I quickly learned that my immigrant Italian accent wasn’t getting me the service I needed at times (at least, not at that stage of my life). So whenever I needed any kind of special treatment at a hotel or restaurant where they didn’t know how much weight I carried, I’d always call ahead and tell them I was making plans for Dr. Bellini (sounds respectable, don’t it?).
Yeah sure, it was a cop-out, but at the time I wanted to be accepted by “mainstream” society, especially in places where guys who serviced you wore finocchio bow ties. As you get older, these things matter less. Or at least it seems that way to me because now I don’t need to do much to be a “somebody.”
This generation of kids wants everything yesterday. Nobody has patience anymore. It’s no longer just about instant gratification; it’s about instant gratification that someone else works for on your behalf. You can almost never amount to anything in life or appreciate what it is to be a somebody unless you start off as a nobody .
So what if you start at the bottom of the food chain? Seeing things from the ground floor up lets you see what it takes to distinguish yourself from the cafones around you. Don’t kid yourself into thinking you can be a success overnight (remember, it takes 10 years to be an overnight success).
Let me further illustrate this point by telling you about my nephew Vinnie. Vinnie is a fine boy but he has no understanding of the word “patience” or having a good work ethic. He tells me all the time: “Uncle, I want the big house with three garages, I want the Mercedes, I want the expensive wines…” That’s when I pull him by the ears and tell him: “Vinnie, outside of these trust-fund idiots, do you see who typically has these things, these fancy cars and large homes? It’s fat old f*cks, not young turks. What makes you so special that you can skip steps?” He doesn’t realise that there are ways to go from nobody to somebody and that it takes time.
“IT’S NOT ENOUGH TO BE AN AUTHORITY ON SOMETHING — YOU HAVE TO BE THE AUTHORITY TO GET RECOGNIZED.”
The concept is easy, boys. All these guys with fancy things — guess what? It took them a while to get them. First they started with the small house that they paid off and turned into a down payment on a bigger house, which they paid off again to get the big house with the fancy marble walkway. Ever notice the gray hair and potbelly on guys with mansions or in exotic sports cars? Lesson here is, don’t expect at 29 what everyone before you got at 59. Capisce? Good. Now on to some practical advice.
9 ways to go from nobody to somebody
There is never one single thing you do that can transform your importance instantly. Even if you are elected Prime Minister, you get there by climbing the ropes, following the code and being different levels of a somebody first. Unlike in the movies, no kid is just going to get plucked from Ntcheu and win the general election because he promises voters he’s going to “keep it real.” So here are several pointers:
1- Get money
Buy your way into being important. The more money you have, the more people want to lick your arse and the more crap you get for free. Go figure. There is nothing like walking into a place and saying: “I need to spend a lot of money” to get you noticed. But this is fleeting importance, and having cash isn’t enough to make you a permanent somebody.
2- Have street cred
In my line of work, once you are made or even if you are associated with a Family, you are a somebody. Having a reputation on the street helps, how you go about it is a whole other article.
3- Make a big move
There is nothing like a big move to get you noticed. Whether it’s a big heist, a large merger or an important speech, you can climb up the significance ladder pretty quickly by doing something that will be archived in the history books (whether it’s the ones that get stored in a library or in the Feds’ private collection of mug shots).
4- Be an expert
Everyone always needs the opinion of other people. Even I can admit when derivative pricing models theory is above my head. I have to call a schmuck who can tell me what the hell that is. But when I call, I want to call the best because I know the best knows what he is doing and how he can help me before I even open my mouth. It’s not enough to be an authority on something — you have to be the authority to get recognised. So instead of being satisfied as a regular lawyer, accountant, computer geek, whatever, be the best in your field. Have some trait that is exclusive to you and don’t be a generic idiot like most people
5- Take risks
This is hit and miss, but in life, certain risks pay off. There are too many examples of things you can do, so I’m not going to waste my time listing them, but just remember that very rarely do guys like Harry “The Boring Office Clerk” make it big.
6- Have a spiel
You want to get noticed? You want to stand out from the crowd? Have some unique “thing” people remember you by. It could be a unique look (none of that earring or dyed-hair crap, though), a unique way of talking, a smirk, a gesture, whatever. Have something that makes you different, an original spiel that’s your calling card. The point is to be quirky, be eccentric, have a presence, but don’t look like a fool.
7- Have a lady with significance
It’s amazing what having the right woman on your arm can do for you. Have some cursing, low-rate hillbilly at your side who looks like she just stepped off a zombie movie set and you’ll get one kind of reaction. Have a classy, sophisticated, cultured woman whose self-confidence makes your own back straighten up (I bet you all just straightened your backs), and you will win by association. After all, the latter kind of lady is in high demand; if she is with you, then it means you got something, kid, that others don’t.
8- Talk to people
Being connected doesn’t hurt. The more people you know, the more people you have conversations with, the more you can open doors for yourself or others. Don’t be a Rolodex whore who collects business cards like a bum collects tin cans, but be someone who talks to people with a hidden agenda and stays in touch. A rainmaker of sorts. Be the guy who gets things done. Be Joe, the guy who knows this guy or that guy. That sort of thing.
9- Have power
This is the most obvious way to become a somebody . But accumulating power isn’t straightforward. Having a position that inherently has power attached to it is the easiest way to go. Being the CEO of a company, a big-shot consultant, a mayor of a major town, a college dean, the boss of a Family, a bank manager, whatever, all of that helps. But you already have to be a somebody to get to those positions. So place yourself in positions where you can wield power and influence, and the rest will inevitably follow.
hang out with power
There are other things you can do, but they are all gimmicks that have a fleeting effect. For example, being the leader of some posse can make you feel important, but if your “crew” is full of rejects from the X Factor, how does that help you?
It all comes down to doing a combination of the nine things I mentioned before. Some are more effective than others, some bring immediate results, some are part of a long-term plan.
In the end, being a somebody isn’t all it’s cracked up to be (people always want a piece of you, and you become a bigger target for your enemies), but it doesn’t suck. Especially when you don’t have to pretend you’re some neurosurgeon anymore.