This is one important concept I've learned from Sebastian. It used to be a central message on his "About" page.
I would like to unpack it a bit, though. I hope SM himself will chime in here.
What does it mean to demand to be treated well? What are the ramifications? What does it mandate that YOU do in return?
One obvious example would be Sebastian's going mano-a-mano with Cathay Pacific and coming out at least somewhat victorious.
One example from my own life: there is a chain of grocery stores in Sweden called ICA. I had been going to my local ICA regularly for, oh, 20 years or so. During the last few years or so I started noticing that the staff were being consistently rude/hostile to me. They would be gruff at the check-out and they would do little passive-aggressive things like just plonking the change down instead of handing it to me. They would treat the next customer in line differently: smile and hand the change in hand. Maybe I did something to deserve this. Beats me what it could be, though. I didn't really consider this of great import - after all, I try to be above petty shit like that - until I realized that I could leverage this for personal growth. So I made a decision that I will not shop there anymore. I rather spend an extra hour to go the supermarket, or I pay ridiculous prices at the gas station. Doesn't matter, it's the principle that counts. By so doing I am (hopefully) starting a pattern of ruthlessly culling things from my life that don't serve me, even if it's uncomfortable for me to do so. And I think THAT is a useful habit to develop.
Here is a related concept: speaking your truth, always, is functional self-esteem. You may not FEEL it at the time, but you are DOING it.
A few years back, I was getting complacent. I was a successful entrepreneur, in the top 1% for my age. Whenever I compared myself to people similar to me, it wasn't even close. I worked more, accomplished more, produced more, did more meaningful things, was traveling the world. I read more books, did more writing, was generally healthier and more disciplined, spent my time well. I was the top 1% for my age, and even better than that if you measured me against people from similar backgrounds.
I think it's easy for people who are doing great to get complacent. You look at the general sloth and laziness and complacency of most people, you see that you're achieving greatly, and you feel like you're so far above that. You give yourself a pat on the back. "Ah, yes, I'm doing great!"
I had a shift. I don't remember the exact day, but one day I thought to myself -
"I'm not going to compare myself against people my age any more. I'm going to start comparing myself to the greatest men of all time."
The idea of following your passion has been a concept that has been vastly overused, but still has a lot of value to it. The way that I think it applies best is to what you do with your free time, but has benefits for work and school as well. I think that the things that excite you is basically a way of saying this is what you should be doing right now. For me personally, what excites has changed dramatically over the years. In my work year after high school, I got really into a computer game. I spent months getting really good at it and reached a peak where I was ranked 2nd out of 50,000 people. Then came the time where I was just done with it. I didn’t want to look at it, hear about it, or even think about it. A few months afterwards, I started down the road of learning about finance and investing. I was reading $200 worth of books from Amazon every few weeks. While that is still one of my hobbies, it isn’t nearly as intense as it was at the beginning.
For me, I look at my passion and my excitement as an honest indicator of whether I should be doing what I’m doing or not. I’ve stopped trying to force myself to do, what I “think” I should be doing. One example that comes to mind is book lists. It has been a popular trend to find a book list that you “should” read and slowly work your way through it. While I don’t think this route is bad, I certainly don’t think it is optimal. I personally hate having things I think I should be doing, and have that act as a weight that I carry around on a daily basis. I much prefer to be free of any obligations, that way I feel quick, agile, and better able to focus when I so choose.
I’ve always found time management to be such a breeze when I’m in the midst of an intense learning phase. My mind is constantly figuring out ways that I can spend more time doing and learning about what I love. When I was learning about finance I would wake up in the morning, pull out a investing book and read for an half hour before work. I’d read during my half an hour lunch break. And then I’d spend my evenings either reading or golfing. I felt incredibly productive and absolutely loved what I was doing. On the other hand, there has been many times where I’m reading a book, and I can only get through a few pages before my mind starts to wonder. I take that as a sign that I’m not truly interested in the subject matter.
I think it is silly to become a renaissance man, simply to say that you are. It makes far more sense to live an awesome life that you love and realize that you have become one naturally. Here are some examples of my interests: