“I’m taking this rap sh*t serious. Till my demise, Jay’s sh*t is like cake mix, watch me rise” – Jay-Z
The Hierarchy Of Alpha
What is The Hierarchy of Alpha? We’re all familiar with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (or if you’re not familiarize yourself right now), which explains the basic path of human growth. We all go from getting our most basic physiological needs met, before moving up the chain and eventually hitting self-actualization.
As a simple example, there’s not much point in considering the finer points of Greek philosophy, while you’re starving on the street without a roof over your head. No, get some food in your belly, income in your bank account and then let your mind wander to more esoteric questions.
Now I have big respect for Maslow and his hierarchy, but I felt it still leaves much to be desired. For example I don’t believes it provides a clear roadmap on a day to day basis in terms of what someone should spend their time on. Analysis paralysis is one of my oldest, dearest friends, and I assuming if you’re reading these words, you probably know exactly what I’m talking about.
How The Alpha Engineer Overcomes Analysis Paralysis
For example when asked what do you want to do with your life? My brain would race in all sorts of directions “oh! I want to travel, live all over the world, date attractive women, have a bank account that’s exploding, make friends with influential business owners, start a blog, start a youtube, start a podcast, start my own business, take cooking classes, dance classes, learn spanish, russian and mandarin, oh and run an iron man across the arctic, easy!”.
The only problem? I never (ever) actually did any of them. Yikes, that’s depressing. Why? Because I had no clarity on direction. I had no hierarchy to follow, which explained what was most important to do first, and what should wait a couple years (or decades).
So I developed the Hierarchy Of The Alpha as a road map for aspiring Alpha Engineers to guide you on your path and determine your priorities. If like me, you know what it means to have financial troubles, that we’ll be starting together right down at the bottom. But hey, as Kanye says “we’re from the bottom so the top the only place to go now”.
The Hierarchy Of Alpha Need 1: Financial
I’m just going to say this: if you can’t pay your bills, if you live in your mom’s basement, if you have no ability to save money, if you blow what little money you do have on UberEats and Netflix, then nothing else matters until you get your financial life in order.
Let me repeat that: Nothing. Else. Matters. Until. You. Get. Your. Financial. Life. In. Order.
Is that clear? “But Arthur!” I hear you scream, “money isn’t everything, money doesn’t buy happiness!”. And you’re absolutely right, money isn’t everything, and just having money alone will not guarantee that you’ll be happy. So what. I heard an expression once that I can’t remember who said, but was something like “Money buys you options”.
If you don’t have money, you don’t have options. If you don’t have money, then you can’t do anything. No matter how “pure” and “well intentioned” your heart is, no matter how “nice” you are and now matter how much “people should only care what’s on the inside”, none of those things matter if your your mom covers your bills and you live in a basement (remember, I’m not here to judge, I’ve absolutely been there too).
Excuse me for a minute, but I have to be the A**hole Alpha and give you some harsh news. If you don’t have your financial life together then here’s an incomplete list of things you can’t do anymore:
Buy video games
Pay for girls on OnlyFans
Pay for Spotify premium
Go out for drinks
Buy expensive meals
Go on dates
Travel to expensive places
I’m being serious here. Having your finances together is one of those leverage skills that then MAKES EVERYTHING ELSE POSSIBLE. If you’re in a tough situation, vow right now that your only goal and objective in life is to get your money handled. So how much money is enough? I breakdown the hierarchy further:
The Hierarchy Of Alpha Financial Need 1a: Cut Expenses
The first step is simply to cut all your unnecessary expenses. Why? Because it’s easy, quick (and fun!), and most importantly because you have 100% control. It’s all well and good to say you should go make more money (and you should!), but it’s often complicated, involving many steps and other people and could potentially take months before you see change. Whereas cutting expenses you can do right now.
Infact, literally right now, stop reading and get out your credit card/bank statements for the past 6 months. Go through item by item. Ask yourself the tough questions, do you REALLY need that t-bone steak and double dose of hookers friday night? Be honest here. If you’re being truthful to yourself you’ll see all sorts of monthly recurring expenses you can get rid of.
Spotify premium? Cancel it. Monthly software subscriptions? Cancel them*. Huge grocery bills? Shrink them. Out of control phone bill? Drop your plan. Buying too many clothes? Stop. Buying too many phones, video games, computers etc? Definitely stop. Oh also – any yearly recurring fees you can drop? Some credit cards have yearly fees, get a free one.
*Exceptions: if you’re legit using a software or service for business purposes and it’s helping you to make more money then fine, you can keep it. But be honest with yourself, is it really growing your business? Or is it possible to find a cheaper or free alternative?
The beautiful thing about cutting expenses is they take effect immediately. And you the next time you get paid you can bask in the glory of keeping so much more of your money.
The Hierarchy Of Alpha Financial Need 1b: Pay All Your Bills – $25k/yr Income
Let’s assume for a minute you’re still living in your mom’s basement (or if you’re not, congrats! Move up to level 1c). Now be honest, do you pay all your own bills? Do you pay your phone? Do you buy your own groceries? Do you handle your business?
Your first objective is to make enough money that you’re paying all your bills (which are tiny after all that work you did to minimize them, right?) and saving up enough money to pay rent. A man doesn’t let his man pay his phone bill or an overdue credit card. You pay your own way and are getting ready to move out.
If right now you’re not making any money, then drop everything until you’re pulling in a minimum of $25k/year. I’m serious, drop EVERYTHING until you’ve got this handled. If you run an online business (or any business really) go ham at it to get the money rolling in.
A great example: I’m writing this blog right now with zero expectation of making any real money for 6-12 months (will update on that later, just remind me) – but now I’m putting in the work. I’m writing the content, I’m putting in the time and I’m making it happen. Nothing else matters in my life right now until I get that sorted. Period.
Get a job at McDonalds if you have to, nothing is below you. Drop your ego.
The Hierarchy Of Alpha Financial Need 1c: Move Out Of Your Mom’s Basement – $50k/yr Income
Now we’re moving up the ladder here. Now you’ve been busting your a** and made your way up to $50k/yr. By no means a high income, you’re at least making enough now that you can pay all your own bills AND move out into your own place. In fact, it might be a tight squeeze but at $50k/year you can probably afford to live in your OWN place without needing roommates, which I highly HIGHLY recommend.
There’s not much more to say here, just keep busting your a**, making that money and moving up in the world. Again, don’t get distracted with parties, and drugs and drinking. This is the time for work, this is the time for action, so just keep it going, you’re getting so close…
The Hierarchy Of Alpha Financial Need 1d: Save 12 Months Expenses – $75k/yr Income
Welcome to the top of the minor leagues. Now at $75k/year you can easily afford your own place and save some money. The goal now is still to keep your expenses as low as possible while you start socking money away in a savings account.
12 months of expenses saved – that’s all that should be on your mind right now. Let’s say your average expenses for the necessities are $3k/mo. That’s about $1500 for rent, $300 for utilities, $200 for food, and $1k spending money. 12x$3k that’s $36k. That’s your goal: $36k in a savings account – how long will that take you?
Now here’s the best part – you’ve made it – you’ve got $75k+/yr rolling in and an entire 12 months of expenses saved (also known as “f*ck you” money) – now imagine how confident you’ll feel?
Interviewing for a job? You don’t need to accept the sh*tty salary they offer. Taking on a new client? Don’t need to be bullied to accept their pitiful low offer because you’ll “get exposure”. Nah, tell them to take a hike. Girl giving you drama? Cool, on to the next one.
You now have the power to walk away from literally any situation that you don’t feel 100%. That’s the power of having your financial life together. Money doesn’t buy happiness, but it lets you walk away from situations that could bring you misery. Money buys options.
The Hierarchy Of Alpha Need 2: Women
“In this country, you gotta make the money first. Then when you get the money, you get the power. Then when you get the power, then you get the women.” – Tony Montana
Alright big man, you’ve got the money sorted. Ideally at this point you’ve diversified too, so you’ve got 2-3 sources of income so even if one suddenly vanishes overnight, you’re still gold.
Now it’s time to start thinking about women, and because you’ve got money rolling in, there’s no need to stress. I’m a strong believer that dating does not need to be expensive, but having that few extra dollars in your pocket so you don’t need to stress about buying her a drink, hiring a pro photographer to boost your photos, or investing in a sharp blazer, makes the whole thing so much easier.
And not to beat this point over the head, but remember, women can read you better than you can read yourself, and if you’re stressed about money, she’s going to feel that. Now to be clear: you do not need to be a gazillionaire – you just need to have enough to cover the basics without stressing.
Now is the time to start dating. The Alpha Engineer loves dating. He loves going out and bring new, sexy, feminine women into his life. The problem with most average men, is they view dating as a “geeze…I guess I have to get it over with”. It’s such a painful process, they muster up enough will power to hit the gym for a few months to look decent, so they can snag a girl and then “forget about dating forever” because they “finally met the one”, and then enthusiastically let themselves go.
What bliss! You found a girlfriend! And she likes you! Now you can relax and enjoy your life forever and ever into the sunrise right? Sorry to burst your bubble, but absolutely not.
Like I said earlier, women know you better than you know yourself, and if she detects that you’ve stopped putting in effort, she’s either going to leave your a**, OR, take advantage of you like you’d never believe. If you’re too lazy to date and meet other women, then she knows you have no options. Welcome to being backed into a corner. Welcome to being a B*tch Engineer.
Women can smell other women on you, and if a woman knows you have no other women in your life, she knows that no matter how much she twists the knife, you’ll do whatever she asks.
But she’s your “sweetie” right, she’d “never do that”, right? As Dirty Harry said…”you feeling lucky…punk?”. Roll the dice my friend. Hopefully you land snake eyes.
So what’s a man to do? The answer is more women. Sorry to sound harsh, but I’ll say it like it is. Women. More women. Then more women. You need women in your life. The Alpha Engineer has an abundance of women in your life.
Think of it like an insurance policy. Women are wonderful and I absolutely f*cking love them. In fact I’d go so far as to say that they’re the only thing that makes life worth living. But, and this is a big BUT, that doesn’t mean you can fall into this state of complacency, where you just expect that women are wonderful all the time, without exception. You can never take their sweet femininity for granted.
Having an abundance of women in your life gives you that insurance policy. If a women ever starts giving you trouble or drama or just generally making your life difficult, you know that you have other women in your life and it’s absolutely not a problem for you just to walk.
You won’t enjoy walking, but you know that you can. You know that you have options and that you don’t have to beg and whimper in the hopes that she’ll put out. And for the record, any time that a woman feels like you might be begging for sex (even if it’s subconscious), then sorry bud, but you may as well put your tool away, because she just got drier than the Sahara.
You know what turns women on? When she smells another woman on you. I know women say they “hate” that you’re seeing other women, and wouldn’t it be great if it was “just us”, but don’t listen to what women say, watch their actions.
So pick your poison – daygame, night game, social circle, online – whatever turns you on, just get it going. Remember when you were starting your business and that level of intense focus you put into it? Yeah take that same approach here. Put in the work, do the reps, meet the women, go on the dates, get it popping. Yeah you’ll stumble, yeah you’ll mess up and say the wrong things, and embarrass yourself a few times. Trust me, we’ve all been there. How does a master become a master? The master has made more mistakes than the beginner has ever made attempts. Drill that into your head.
The Hierarchy Of Alpha Need 3: Health & Fitness
Now we’re humming along here. Money, women, now let’s get fit. Now don’t misunderstand me, I’m saying that you can’t do ANY exercise up until now, what I’m saying is that it shouldn’t be a priority.
Anyone can get down and do 50 pushups or go for a 30 min walk. That’s cool. What I’m saying is until you get money and women handled, health and fitness should not be a major part of your life. No 3 hour gym sessions 4 times a week, no expensive protein powders, no personal trainers, and in fact no gym membership. Here’s what I recommend: if you can do it for free in less than 30 minutes than cool, if not, then wait until you’ve got Need 1 and Need 2 met.
And if you’re reading this far, then I’m guessing you’ve got the above done and you’re ready to hit it. So here’s what I recommend: setup a simple exercise routine you can do anytime, anywhere. I don’t know about you, but I live a pretty nomadic life, and trying to carry heavy exercise equipment, or trying to join gyms everywhere I go, is just complicated and not happening.
So keep it simple – here’s some ideas:
- 100 pushups
- 60 second planks
- 100 bicycle crunches
- 50 squats
- 30 chin ups (if you have a bar)
Keep it simple, plan out some 30 minute exercises you can do 3-5 days a week. Also, let me talk about sprints for a second. Most people do long distance running, and most people are idiots. The problem with long distance running is a) you don’t burn many calories because you kinda go slow and pace yourself, and b) you blow out your knees. Honestly, ever gone for a 10k run, and after your knees just hate you? Yeah, not good, you’re going to live a long life remember? You need your knees.
Long Distance Running Is For Suckers, Start Sprinting
And next time you’re at the beach and the park, watch men has they go running by. Most of them look kind of lost and aimless, just kind of ambling along pretending that they’re running. So here’s something better: do sprints.
Find a 100m track if you can, or just run the distance to the end of the block. Get your engines ready and go all out for about 30ish seconds. Seriously, run as fast as you can. Run so fast you hit that point where your body is just like “nope, that’s as fast as we go!”. After 30 seconds you should be done. Out of breath, panting, light headed, heart racing. Congrats big man, the Alpha Engineer pushes himself until it hurts, and then pushes himself some more.
If you’re on a track, do a walking lap now. Wind down for a bit, catch your breath, stretch, touch your toes. Then sprint it again. I’d recommend 3-5x flat out sprints spaced out with rest and recovery. Congratulations, now you’ve actually pushed your body as hard as you can go, you hit your limit. If you’re doing this right you should a little bit nauseous and possibly taste some blood in your mouth.
The Alpha Engineer is not born an alpha, he builds himself into an alpha through blood sweat and tears.
The Hierarchy Of Alpha Need 4: Investing In Your Lifestyle & Assets
This is where the fruits of your labour start to pay off. You’ve got the money, you’ve got the women, you’ve got your health and longevity, now time to start building your lifestyle. Starting to see how this work? Starting to see how each piece builds off the last?
If you tried to build an awesome lifestyle, but you’re out of shape, have no women in your life, and have no money, it doesn’t matter how much you want to be a travel blogger but you’ll be bored, lonely, oh and not to mention stressed about money (as they say, ask me how I know…).
So know let’s start looking at how to build your lifestyle. What do you want to do? What do you envision for your life? Where do you want to live? What do you want to do? What kind of people do you want in your life?
Get out a pad of paper, get a journal, take some time, ideally give yourself an entire weekend. Write down how you’d like your life to be. What’s your perfect day look like? Perfect week? Perfect month?
Now is the time to start putting the big pieces together in your life and looking at the big picture. You’ve done your time in the trenches and now it’s time to reap what you’ve sown.
The Hierarchy Of Alpha Need 5: Being A Mentor Or Father Figure
Welcome to the Alpha Engineer “retirement”. In truth, and Alpha Engineer never retires. I have zero intention of ever disappearing into retirement. I just love working too much. See this is the beautiful thing about doing something that you love – when you actually enjoy what you do, work isn’t work, it’s a pleasure. Average people who work average jobs, long and dream for their “day of retirement” because finally they can “enjoy themselves”.
If you’re drooling over the thought of one day retiring, then you need to take a serious look at your life and ask the hard questions. Are you genuinely enjoying what you do? If not, get out of it as soon as humanly possible. Also, remember what I said about when you stop dating you let yourself go? The same thing with work, if all you can do is fantasize about one day retiring, then you’ve probably let yourself go (or will let yourself go) in many ways. I hope this article is the wake up call that you desperately need.
As I move into my 60’s, 70’s and 80’s I’ll likely find ways to cut down the hours I work, and do literally only the things that I love doing. But I’ll never 100% retire. And on that note, let’s talk about moving into a mentorship or father figure role.
33% Learning New Skills, 33% Execution, 33% Mentoring Others
That’s my recipe for living a good life in a state of flow. Always learning new skills, always executing those skills, and always mentoring others, you start this beautiful cycle. Life starts to feel “right” when you hit this perfect flow, because it brings all the pieces together.
Side tangent: imagine for a second you spend your whole life learning – you go to school, get a bachelors, get a masters, get that PhD, then do a post doc, another PhD etc etc etc – you’re always learning theory but you never really get to put any of that into practice. You never really get to see the results of your hard work. You just keep learning about what could be.
On the same token, if you only spend your life executing, this leaves you in an extremely limited position. I think of it like my grandfather (no disrespect to him), who graduated from highschool, then spent his life stringing telephone cables. He enjoyed it, and it worked out well for him, BUT we don’t live in that world anymore.
The era of the 50’s where you could just learn a single skill and rightfully expect to have a fruitful 40 year career is long dead and gone. The future economy is going to be changing and evolving so quickly, that if you’re not constantly learning and evolving your skills, you’ll literally be a dinosaur within a week.
Now similarly, if you only spent your whole life teaching and mentoring others, then you lack having your own personal experiences. You live vicariously through your students. Seriously, look at any prof you had in school – how successful and happy were they really?
This is where the pieces come together: 33% learning new skills, 33% execution, 33% mentoring others. Welcome to flow.
So let’s talk about mentoring others. As men we don’t have the physical ability to birth children, so we find other ways to connect and become father figures. One way is through mentorship. Now maybe because I didn’t have an older brother growing up, but I’ve always gravitated towards that mentorship role. I love the idea of being able to help others see their way through life.
A Secret Benefit To Being A Mentor
Here’s something that nobody really talks about, but here’s the harsh truth: we’re all getting older. Whether you’re 32 like me, 19, or 57, we’re all getting older. And as we get older we tend to (naturally) become stuck in our ways. We use the tools that we use, to go to the restaurants we go to, we have the friends that we have. But we become blind to all the new tools, opportunities and even culture of the younger generation.
In becoming a mentor (and with any luck a half decent one), you now have a direct line to a generation younger than you (or two!). Someone to explain to you how sh*t works. As a 30 something, it’s pretty embarrassing trying to figure out how something like TikTok works, but by having a kid that looks up to me, they’d be the resource that I need to stay fresh. This old dog loves learning new tricks.
Enjoy your rise to the top,