Dan Peña Has a Surprisingly Wholesome Secret to Success

Man wearing nice suit and watch representing Dan Peña's secret to success
You wouldn't expect it.

Dan Peña is a bastard, but you can learn from him.

He’s a businessman who’s been working as a success coach for the past two decades. They call him the fifty billion dollar man because that’s how much wealth his students have (allegedly) generated over the years.

He says things to his students like, “stop talking to your parents if you want to make money” and that he’s “going to put one foot up your ass, and one foot on your neck.” He would call you a c*nt if you met him.

If you rolled up all the ugly aspects of capitalism and modeled them into a person, you would have something like Dan Peña.

However, I’m not one to throw the baby out with the bathwater. This man obviously knows something about doing well in life, so I looked into what he had to say about success.

What I found was almost touching.

The Rules of Success According to Dan Peña

To give some context, here are some of Dan Peña’s rules for success:

This is all pretty standard hustle advice. But as I looked deeper, I started finding bits of wisdom I didn’t expect. Here is the one that surprised me the most:

“Love yourself first”

Wow. The man who just called me a c*nt is telling me to love myself? He’s giving me the same advice a tenderhearted therapist would give to a person with low self-esteem? That’s beautiful Dan, thank you.

Of course, he isn’t giving that advice to make you feel good. His take on “loving yourself” is to be selfish. Don’t care about the world. Don’t even care about your own family as much as you care about yourself. Alright, let’s toss out that bathwater, now where is the baby?

The full bit is “you can’t love anybody else unless you love yourself first.” My Dad told me the same thing, and he’s far from a ruthless businessman. This isn’t evil advice.

Self Love

If you don’t love yourself, your relationships will suffer. You’ll be needy for other people’s affection because you won’t be able to give yourself affection. Your vibe won’t be one of giving and connecting.

You’ll leech off of other people’s approval to feel good about anything, which is, paradoxically, incredibly selfish.

Loving yourself is the essence of confidence and self-worth. You can learn that lesson from someone who loves to hug you or from a bloodthirsty billionaire.

In the billionaire’s eyes, it’s the key to high performance, but in your friend’s eyes, it’s a fundamental component of being happy.

It must be both then, right? So let’s shoot for that.