Let’s face it. There are a lot of stupid people running around. Just look to your right and left and you’re bound to see them. Chances are some idiot is also staring back at you from a mirror as well. The bad news about idiots is that they tend to embrace self-destructive behavior. The good news is that Cameron Danalis claims idiocy can be avoided or at least contained. Better yet, he laid out the reasons for this burgeoning idiocracy and how everyone can tame their inner dope. The author of Everyone’s An Idiot in fact spoke to WellWell recently about how to break this stupid, self-destructive cycle.
How is everyone an idiot? What are these common idiotic choices and actions that people make?
Growing up throughout my life, you know, high school and reaching college and into a young adult type age, I would observe my peers. There were people around me from all different sorts of friend groups, sports and school, and just people from all different backgrounds. I noticed the one unifying trait everybody had in common was to be fairly self-destructive in their own choices and behaviors.
A lot of this self-destruction comes from the mindset of what people think will make them happy and then focus on the wrong things. How important is the mindset towards having a legitimately happy and successful life?
I think it is the be-all, end-all. I think it’s the one and only thing that truly determines your level of happiness. I actually was just skimming through the book and there’s this quote from Abe Lincoln. I think it goes something like, “People are only as happy as they make their minds up to be.”
And when did you first come across this quote and how much has it meant to you?
It’s something I’ve always kind of thought in the back of my head since I was a teenager because even back then, people are just like, “Oh, this sucks. I can’t wait to leave here. I can’t wait to do this and that, get out of here. I hate my parents, I hate everything.” And why? You know life isn’t that bad.
You also note that it’s important to live in the present. How crucial is it to avoid falling into the trap of being caught up in either the past or the future?
It’s always good to acknowledge the past and be aware of it, learn from it. It’s always good to have a plan and a strategy for the future, but none of those things really matter if you can’t enjoy the present here and now. It’s a balance you need to have. You need to be able to appreciate life, the earth, just being alive in general. Otherwise, what’s the point of all the other things?
Do you think that people miss out on a lot of the benefits of personal and professional victories by being too caught up in what came before and after them?
Yes, absolutely. Some people, while in the midst of when they should be celebrating, they’re either already thinking about the next thing or they’re trying to remember how they got there. That’s all good. But there are times to work, times to struggle and times to celebrate.
You also note throughout the book the importance of making the best of any situation rather than sitting around waiting for something to happen; to try and make something happen. How crucial has this been to you throughout your life?
I wouldn’t be anywhere near where I am in life; not physically, mentally, financially, without doing that. So, there’s a couple of examples. When I was trying to start my real estate career, there was this man I knew who I thought could be a great mentor because he was a wealth of information. I had to introduce myself, I had to ask for his phone number and this was when I was shy and uncomfortable with this kind of thing. But had I not done it, I would never have spoken to him. And he ended up being a huge source, a wealth of knowledge, help and support.
A lot of this advice sounds so clear and almost obvious. Don’t be an idiot, just live in the moment, enjoy your life. Why is it that a vast majority of people still fall into these holes?
Well, number one, because hindsight is obviously perfectly clear all the time. It’s harder to recognize the patterns of things while you’re in the middle of them. I think everyone knows what to do. Everyone knows, for example, cigarettes are bad for you but people make a conscious choice to smoke them anyway. Everybody knows you know, not to drink and drive but some people do it anyway. Everybody knows what to do, it’s just a matter of actually carrying out the actions. So, I don’t think it’s a lack of knowledge, I think it’s just a personal choice people make to choose the short-term pleasure over the long-term gain.
What is the best advice you would give to avoid these traps? Is it just simply practicing being aware of what you’re doing, trying to be present and make better decisions or is there more to it than that?
Yes, somewhat that but to sum it up in a single word: why? You know, pay attention. Ask yourself why you’re doing these things. What are you doing? Why are you doing it? What purpose is it serving? You got to ask those questions. You’ve got to live with intention. You must be intentional in your actions. Otherwise, what are you? You’re a culmination of your actions.
You also refer to yourself as a life strategist rather than a life coach. What is the distinction to you?
There’s a million and one of those Instagram life coaches, and they look like they have everything figured out and they give you the stereotypical, looks good on a nice background. But at its core, it’s kind of weak. It’s kind of meaningless words like “Wake up every day and try your best and you’ll get there one day.” Hollow is a good word for that. I sit down and I actually listen to people. I hear their stories, what they want, what they do, and actually help create a detailed plan to help people in their lives. It’s not just a lot of hollow metaphors and anecdotes. I personalize and create a plan that is reasonable and achievable in both shorter and longer periods of time.
About Cameron Danalis
Cameron Danalis is an international CEO, world traveler, serial real-estate investor and with the release of Everyone’s An Idiot, a published author. He has leveraged his experience, travels, successes and failures to gain a clearer understanding of why we succeed and fail and, in the process, how to enjoy life more. He now advises people on how they can realize their own successes.