It appears painfully obvious for me how one can succeed at life now. You reduce random functions/chaos/uncertainty in your life. The caveat is there WILL always be uncertainty in your life but as far as I can tell, as long as you live in a first world country, then you uncertainty can be buffered by emergency savings and insurance.
The biggest source of randomness in my life was social conditioning. I trusted status signals too much – loud confident bold aggressive talkers. I’ve been scammed money, sold jobs and startup dreams, changed my haircut and clothing style… All these decisions based on trusting what’s “cool” or dominant or socially shiny. That’s the world of femininity – looking at what is at the top of the dominance hierarchy to decide who to mate with. But as a guy you can’t be fooled by that. Stop doing things for social reasons, other than socializing itself. Or else you’re going to spend most of your life playing social games – appeasing people, having dinners where nothing of much value is talked about, etc.
Most long term lasting value that can withstand the test of time is created via logic and certainty. You can also make yourself cool with logic – there’s no reason not to wear cool shades and nice clothes. It’s a nice status signal.
I postulate the issue I’ve been having all along is as follows: my mom forced me to submit to her authoritarianism, thus hindering my ability to follow my logical trains of thought. She would override my arguments by ending it with an emotional variant of “(how dare you try to) / (why are you) seriously arguing against me?!”. My dad was hardly present, at least emotionally speaking, and would communicate with either extreme severity (hitting me really hard if I did something wrong) or pretend I’m a baby. I spent most of my childhood and adolescence without a congruent identity, avoiding conflict and being meek, but also narcissistically trying to stir shit up in the social circle. I would attempt to always act and dress in ways to get social validation but this kept backfiring. My university years were spent mostly geeky, autistic, and devoid of female attention, and attracted company of other miserable guys like myself who self-reinforced the idea that we weren’t the cool kids but we were somehow circlejerkingly special because of our intellectual back-hamstering and pessimistic tendencies. I continue to worship coolness (anyone with a cool haircut, a loud voice, nice clothes, and have a girl by their side). The fallacy of coolness is that having it makes life a bit nicer, socially, but doesn’t help you in terms of finances and long term value. My mom still uses emotional blackmailing to get me to stay home as much as possible (without any proper or justified reason) while I continue to seek social validation.
Only today did I really somewhat come full circle to realize that the validation I seemed all along could have been self-fulfilled if I set goals and achieved them using nothing but logic. Throw out the social status portion and I would be good, or at least delineate them. As in, don’t pursue goals or some identity just because you think it would make some arbitrary people like you more.