“I’d rather die enormous than live life dormant” – Jay-Z
1. An Alpha Engineer Gets Stuff Done
The alpha engineer has a plan and gets stuff done. He knows that life is short and there’s no time to waste. Unlike most people, the alpha engineer actually enjoys work, he enjoys being busy.
Most people see work as a thing they “have to do”. Like going to the office and reporting to a boss you can’t stand, most people just accept that that’s “how it is” and better just “get on with it”. Not the alpha engineer tho. He sees work as a path to freedom.
While everyone toils away just to earn barely enough to pay their rent and blow the rest on UberEats, the alpha engineer lives a lean life with minimal expenses, so he can put every cent he earns back into his business. Oh that’s right, the alpha engineer doesn’t have a boss, he is the boss.
The problem with a paycheck, is they stop paying you the second you stop showing up for work, which I got to be honest, puts you in a pretty terrible position to negotiate (do what we say or you’re fired, and instantly your livelihood will evaporate). But rather, the alpha engineer is excited to work because he knows that he’s building his business that he ultimately owns.
The business doesn’t even have to be very complicated, it could be as simple as starting a blog, writing bucket loads of content, and earning ad revenue from the users who visit it (*ahem*…*cough cough*).
The point is that the alpha engineer excitedly jumps out of bed each day, knowing that he’s working to build his financial future, instead of working for someone else’s.
2. An Alpha Engineer Has A Clear Vision And Mission To His Life
This builds off the first point. The alpha engineer is wishy washy about his plans and his life. He took the time to sit down and flesh out in detail what he wants out of life. He knows how he wants to spend his days, how he wants to make money, the kind of women he wants in his life, his health, his fitness, his financial goals.
The alpha engineer doesn’t focus so much on “what he wants to do with his life”, but rather focuses on the skills he wants to master. What skills does he value? Here’s a short list:
- The skill of building a customer base from scratch who are eager to buy from you
- Financial Independence
- Time Management
- Public Speaking
- Presenting Well On Camera
The alpha engineer doesn’t see life as a list of things “to do”, but rather as a list of exciting skills to master. With each new skill mastered, means that every next step is easier to achieve.
How much easier does life get when you don’t need to worry about money? Or when you get so good at networking you can make friends literally anywhere around the world, no matter where you are and no matter how few people you already know there. Now that’s power.
3. An Alpha Engineer Doesn’t Waste His Time, And Has Clear Time Management
Continuing to build off the previous points. The alpha engineer knows that life his short, he needs to get stuff done and he needs to get it done now. He doesn’t waste time mindlessly scrolling social media, or binge watching netflix, excessively partying with friends, or, the insidious nature of distant friends and relatives who just want “to catch up”.
It’s shocking how much time can be wasted just talking with people about meaningless things. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a social person and I love spending time with people. But you also need to be careful and guard your time well. The gift and the curse of building large social networks, means more time spent maintaining all those relationships.
Clear the decks. The alpha engineer has a clean physical desk, a clean computer desktop, and a clean email inbox. He’s not only cleared his inbox, but he’s unsubscribed from every useless email newsletter he’s ever received. Or, more cleverly, he’s set up filters and rules so that any newsletters he might be interested in receiving, go directly to a folder he can peek in later, without them cluttering up his inbox.
The alpha engineer lives by his calendar – he tracks his appointments, as well as blocking up dedicated work time to get stuff done. Just because he works for himself doesn’t mean that 9:17am is time for random YouTube videos – NO – this is time for serious dedicated work.
As Steven Pressfield talks about in the War of Art, if you want success in life, you gotta just show up and do the work. You’ve. Got. To. Do. The. Work.
As he describes in Turning Pro, a professional is someone who gets done what they need to get done, whether they feel like it or not. Tattoo that on your forehead if you start forgetting.
People are always looking for “the answer” to success. Well I’ve got it, you ready?
Do. The. Work.
That’s it. Now let’s move on.
4. An Alpha Engineer Stands Tall
Ah yes physical appearance and non-verbal communication. This is something that absolutely nobody explained to me when I was growing up. I just figured that people “should just you for who you are” and that “it’s what’s on the inside that counts”. What a load of horse bollocks.
If you want respect, you have to project outwardly that you deserve respect. No woman will want to date you if you timidly ask her out. No client will want to work with you if you’re nervous and not sure of yourself. Remember these 3 words: Confidence. Confidence. Confidence.
Standing tall, shoulders back has two beautiful impacts. First, it projects to the world that you’re a man to be reckoned with. You’re confident, you know who you are, and you can handle your own. The 2nd secret benefit is inwardly you feel more confident. See your psychology affects your physiology, but also in reverse your physiology affects your psychology. That’s a fancy way of saying that how you feel affects how you behave, and also, how you behave affects how you feel.
Try it – when you smile, you start feeling happy, when you breathe slowly you start feeling relaxed, when you stand tall you start feeling confident. As Amy Cuddy so eloquently put it – “Fake it till you make it”.
5. An Alpha Engineer Works Out
I have an expression that I invented: Muscles don’t make you a man, but they sure f***ing help.
Here’s the problem – a lot of meatheads hit the gym thinking “if I have big muscles then I’ll be a man and women will like me”. Wrongo. Sorry to burst your bubble but just lifting heavy things in a sweaty room won’t make you a man.
But conversely, to all the pudgy, weak little nerds out there (I’m compassionately speaking to my younger self here), who look down condescendingly at people who go to the gym (again, speaking to my younger self here), because “how could they be so shallow” and “woman want a nice guy” – listen to me very carefully: stop it. Stop it right now.
Muscles don’t make you a man, but they sure f***ing help. Having some biceps and some shoulders going on will make talking to women infinitely easier. Not only will you feel more confident (see note about standing tall), but let’s just be real, women are really fucking turned on by biceps. They just look so big and cosy and safe…you could just cuddle right up in there and feel so teeny tiny…
Don’t overcomplicate this: hit the gym, get your sweat on. Now before I hear all sorts of complaints about how the gym is “expensive” and “only the worst people go there”, calm down, you have my sympathy. That’s why I developed a super simple workout routine I can do from home. You ready? Here it is:
That’s it. Before you try getting all fancy, get your butt down on the ground and start doing 100 pushups per day. It’ll change you life. I promise.
You don’t need to overdo it with the workouts. You don’t need 3 hours a day, 6 days a week. Nah – make sure you do a minimum of 30 minutes a day, 3-4 days per week and you should be good to go. Do more if you can spare it. To make this final point clear: you don’t need to be Arnold Schwarzenegger to attract women, but you need to look like you at least put in some effort.
Side note, here is a not-so-secret secret: most men are lazy af. If you want to be an alpha engineer and stand out from the pack, you don’t need to have insane skills, you just need to be 10% better than average. As long as you’re just a little bit ahead of the other guys a girl has access to, then immediately you stand out as different and better. You don’t need to be the best, just better than the rest. Don’t let perfection stop you from making moves in your life.
6. An Alpha Engineer Has His Financial Life Together
This piece really should go without saying, but I’ll say it, and then I’ll probably say it again and again and again, because it’s really that important: in order to be a man, you need to have your financial life together. And at the bare minimum, that means earning enough money to move out of your mom’s basement and at the very least break even each month paying your bills (I said bare minimum…).
If you live in your mom’s basement, you’re not a man.
If you spend all day playing video games and watching Netflix, you’re not a man.
If you can’t pay your bills each month and need a parent, spouse or friend to support you, you’re not a man.
If you can’t afford to invest in yourself, to buy books and take courses, you’re not a man.
If you waste money on dumb stuff like UberEats and overpriced Starbucks coffee’s, you’re not a man.
Now, please don’t misunderstand me, I’m not here to hate you if your financial life isn’t together right now. Hell, I know all about what it means to have a terrible financial life. I celebrated my 32nd birthday living back in my dad’s basement, and trust me that was not a high point in my life. No, I’m not here to hate if financially you don’t have it together right now, I’m here to hate if you’re lazy and refuse to do anything about it.
If you complain that you don’t have enough money, but waste money on dumb shit, sorry but I have zero sympathy for you. A big wake up call for me was reading Larry Winget’s “You’re Broke Because You Want To Be” – this book woke me up like a punch to the teeth.
If you feel in a financially difficult place right now, that’s cool, let’s get started with some action steps:
- Ruthlessly review your expenses and credit card bills – look back over the last 90 days and ask yourself the difficult questions “do I really need this?”. Be honest with yourself. It’s amazing how much money you can save just by dropping a few monthly recurring bills. And to show you that I eat my own medicine, here’s a few examples of thing I wiped off my monthly credit card bill until I could actually afford them:
- Marketing software (SEMrush, ClickFunnels, Keyword Tools) ~ $140/mo each (Note: as great as these tools are, I learned I could get by just fine with free tools)
- Video recording software (Loom) ~$15/mo (again, can get by on the free version)
- Audible ~$15/mo
- Spotify ~$10/mo
- Groceries ~$480/mo (no, I didn’t stop eating, I just found ways to get my grocery bill closer to $60/mo instead of $120/wk)
- Google One ~$2.79/mo (an example of how extreme I took this – no joke I spent nearly 6 hours clearing out photos and junk from my Google Drive folder to get under the threshold to move back to a free account. Arguably my time could have been better spent doing something like writing an article here, but it was the principle of going through my credit card bill with a fine-tooth comb and eliminating absolutely everything I deemed non-essential or not an essential part of my business operations – that’s how extreme you need to be with yourself).
- Develop new sources of income, preferably doing something you enjoy doing (note: I didn’t say you need to love it, I said you should enjoy it)
- Constantly learn new skills. Take new courses, read new books, fill your brain with new ideas.
- Get over analysis paralysis – I know, we’re engineers, we love getting stuck up in our heads problem solving. Get over it. Pick an idea that’s “good enough” and get working on it. When you take action, yes you’ll make mistakes, but the more mistakes you make the faster you’ll learn, and the faster you’ll find the “real answer”
7. An Alpha Engineer Embraces Rejection
Ah here’s a fun one. As engineers we’re trained to never make mistakes. If we make a small error on a design, human lives could be at risk. It’s too easy to destroy our careers and our reputations by making potentially fatal mistakes.
But here’s another harsh truth: if you want to succeed in life, to really succeed in life, you must embrace failure and rejection. Want to date women? You never will if you fear rejection. Want to make a sale? You never will if you fear rejection. Want to start a business? You never will if you fear rejection. See where I’m going with this?
Here’s the irony: if you fear rejection, then you’ve already rejected yourself. There is no success in life if you fear rejection. The alpha engineer does not fear rejection, but rather just accepts rejection as a natural and normal part of life. Not every woman will like you, many will reject you. That’s okay. Not every prospect will buy from you, many will reject you. That’s okay. Not every business will be successful, many ideas will fail. That’s okay.
The key lesson here isn’t to become some superhuman that never experiences failure or rejection, but rather of de-personalizing it, of observing the reality as it is, that rejection is just a normal part of life. Do you get angry because your bodily functions mean you go to the bathroom several times a day? Of course not, it’s not personal, it’s just part of life. So too with rejection.
Don’t personalize it, just accept that it happens, pick yourself back up and try again. I don’t make many guarantees, but here’s one: your success in life will be directly inversely proportional to your fear of rejection. The more you fear rejection, the more stuck you’ll be, and the less you fear rejection, the more you’ll understand what it means to be an alpha engineer.
8. An Alpha Engineer Cultivates A Deep Voice – The Urban Screamer
This is something that not many people talk about. The alpha engineer cultivates a deep voice. Everyone talks about the importance of body posture, standing up tall (hey, even I did up above), working out, building muscles and even building mental muscles, but nobody ever, ever talks about building strong voice muscles.
Think back – you’ve probably got someone in your life who has this magnificent deep booming voice. How do you feel around them? You probably feel safe, feel relaxed. Maybe even a little jealous and envious – “why did they get so lucky with their deep masculine voice?!” you ask yourself.
Well I’ve got some good news for you just like lifting heavy weights to build your biceps, so to can you do vocal exercises to build your vocal strength. Here’s a technique I developed called “The Urban Screamer”:
- Grab a shirt or a cloth, something you can fit in your mouth. Ball it up and put it in your mouth (be careful, don’t gag on it)
- Take a towel, fold it up lengthwise so it’s several folds thick and you can wrap around your face. You’ve now built up a sound barrier. (oh and leave your nose exposed so you can breathe!)
- Put on some music, as loud as you can without “disturbing the neighbours”
- As the title “The Urban Screamer” suggests, start screaming your face off. Remember to breathe. Scream “F*** YOU, F*** YOU, F*** YOU” as loud as you can, or just generally howl like a wolf. Whatever turns you on. If you’ve got some anger and aggression you want to let out, then let it out.
- The towel, the shirt and the music will drown out more noise than you realise. Don’t believe me? Start recording audio on your phone while you scream and listen back it – does it sound loud? Does it sound like it would disturb anyone? To this day I’ve never had anyone make a comment about it or ask me to “keep it down”.
And there you have it The Urban Screamer. Go slow to start, your vocal cords will need some time to warm up. Maybe do 5 minutes, then take a break, and tomorrow do 5 minutes. Eventually building up to 15 minute sets. A good way to track time is put on a favourite song that’s 4-5 min long, and boom you’re done.
Final thoughts: it’s probable that you’ll temporarily lose your voice (I sure have), don’t do this before an important client meeting. I recommend if possible doing it towards the end of the day, so your voice box can heal and repair itself overnight. Oh, and it’s so sexy when you wake up in the morning and you’ve got that deep baritone voice thing happening. Oh baby. Welcome to the life of the alpha engineer.
9. An Alpha Engineer Reads, And Never Stops Learning
Open a book and read. ‘Nuff said.
The Alpha Engineer is a voracious reader. He is constantly reading new material. The alpha engineer understands that just as important as working his physical muscles, he needs to work his mental muscles.
Without sounding like that pretentious teacher from 10th grade english class – books are tomes of knowledge. They’re gateways to the best thinkers that have ever existed on this earth.
If you’re not learning, then you’re stagnating, and the Alpha Engineer is never stagnating. He reads to expand his mind, to come into contact with new ideas, and to feel excited and hopeful for the future.
But I get it, reading feels like such a bore, right? I mean who wants to waste their time reading BOOKS when they could be playing another round of Call of Duty. I know, because that was me too. To be honest, I never really read anything as a kid, a teen or even my early 20’s. It probably wasn’t until I turned about 25 when I started reading and collecting books. So what changed?
There were a few books that were pivotal for me, a kind of wake up call to be like “oh wait – books are cool!”. First ones that come to mind were Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates, The Way Of The Superior Man by David Deida, and The 48 Laws Of Power by Robert Greene.
But there’s more…can I admit a little secret? I also discovered romance novels written by women. And I got hooked. No specific titles required, they’re all basically the same. Why you ask? I must be some kind of little pussy bitch right? Nah, check this out, this was the realisation that completely altered my view of books: I realised I suddenly had a secret channel direct into the minds of women.
What is a romance novel afterall? It’s women’s deepest darkest fantasies revealed. The kind of stuff they don’t talk about in public. They give direct insight into how women really think, how they behave, what they find attractive, and possibly even more importantly, what they find repulsive. And just like that a lightbulb went off in my head. Suddenly it was like living life on cheat codes. Suddenly everything started to make sense. I understood then why women did or said certain things or why they behaved in what seemed like completely weird and irrational ways. Suddenly it was as if my eyes had been opened.
And from there I developed a profound love for books, as I recognized them as no long random abstract words, but rather deeply profound that could help me to understand life and understand how to connect and communicate with people.
Okay time for another confession: growing up I was a pretty antisocial person. I stuck mostly to myself. I didn’t like people. People confused me. They were weird and behaved in unexpected ways. I liked lego and I liked computers (engineer…surprise, surprise) because they acted in predictable ways – I could control and manipulate them, while people just remanded these elusive mysteries.
Books helped me to understand people. Books also helped me to depersonalize difficult situations. We all tend to personalize when things go wrong “I have the worst parents, my friends are dumb, this town is so boring” blah blah blah – but when you read books, you suddenly realize that virtually every problem you have has been experienced by someone else, and more than that in a weird way we’re all one (don’t worry, we’re not getting all woo-woo here).
What I mean by that is that we live in a world of infinitely repeating patterns. We’d all like to think we so unique, but ultimately we all experience the things – the parent who is overbearing and guilt trips you, the troll online who leaves you nasty comments, the micromanaging boss, the nagging girlfriend – these aren’t personal, we all experience them. Books can help you see the light.
Further to that, if you’re looking for a great booklist to get yourself started, here’s my top business books for 2021.
10. An Alpha Engineer Is Aware That One Day He’ll Die, And Today Is The Day To Make Something Of His Life
Ah yes, and speaking of books, I also highly recommend Bronnie Ware’s The Top 5 Regrets Of The Dying. She outlines her journey from hating her life behind a bankers desk to travelling across Australia in a jeep and eventually becoming a palliative care nurse.
Working in palliative care, suddenly she was responsible for being with the elderly in their last weeks, days and hours on this earth. She found often that most had poor relationships with their family and friends, and she ended up being the only one in their final hours.
In their loneliness and desperation, the people she cared for often started revealing their deepest darkest secrets that they’d never been able to tell anyone. Often what she heard was a series of regrets about all the things they’d wish they’d done differently.
The regrets followed very similar patterns: wishing they’d been better at keeping in contact with friends, wishing they’d worked less, and most importantly: wishing they’d lived a life true to themselves, rather than living according to what others expected of them.
Bombshell dropped. Most people fear death. But death is a beautiful thing. Without death, life would have no meaning. Life is valuable and meaningful because the time is limited, because the time is precious.
Most people live in a constant fear, and a constant denial of death. They refuse to believe they could die, but all they accomplish is burying their heads in the sand from the painful reality. No. Don’t bury your head – accept it. Accept that death is coming, smile, embrace it, let that feeling in.
And then – feel deep down in your bones that life is precious and your time here is precious. You’ll never get time back, and you’ll infinitely regret it if you misspend it. How does it feel now thinking about sitting around all day watching Netflix and playing Fortnite? Seems like a pretty big waste of time now, right?
Bingo. That’s why the Alpha Engineer gets to work with gusto. He feels that kiss of death just behind him. It doesn’t consume him, just pushes him forward. It refuses to let him get comfortable. How can you live a life of comfort when you know death is coming?
The awareness of death is what gives the Alpha Engineer that drive, that gusto, that excitement for life. He knows he has big things to accomplish, and be better get to work today! It also helps in detaching yourself from difficult people. You’ll be less likely to waste your time with time wasting people when you feel life is short and you’ve got better things to do.
11. An Alpha Engineer Knows The Secret To Life: It’s Not About How Many Times You Get Knocked In, It’s About How Many Times You Get Back Up
Let’s think back to what we said earlier, the Alpha Engineer does not fear rejection. In that same vein, he is not afraid of getting knocked down, in fact, he secretly loves it. Because every time he gets knocked down, is another opportunity to get back up again.
And herein lies the secret to life: it’s not about how many times you get knocked down, it’s about how many times you get back up with a smile on your face, and say “thank you sir, may I please have another”.
I want to tell you another personal story, and as you’ve read this far, you’ve definitely earned it. When I was growing up, I was nowhere close to the top of the food chain. Overweight, poorly dressed, weird, awkward, nerdy – I didn’t have many friends and kept mostly to myself. Nobody mentored me, nobody showed me the way, I didn’t have an older brother to guide me, I was lost. I was alone. And I did everything wrong. Everything that you can do wrong, I did it.
But in my mid-twenties, when a number of important people in my life passed away, I suddenly understood how short life was, and I vowed to myself that even though I started on the bottom of the social food chain, I refused to die there.
I decided that I would do what it took to figure “it out”. Whatever classes I had to take, whatever books I had to read, whatever awkward approaches with strangers I had to make, whatever embarrassing things that my old highschool friends my laugh at me for doing, I vowed that I would do it to understand life. I vowed that no matter how many times I got knocked down in shear embarrassment, I would get back up, and look life dead in the eyes and say “Fuck you. You’ll never keep me down.”
Long live the Alpha Engineer.