Why Being a Black Sheep is the Only Way to Become a Billionaire

Chris Herd
3 min readFeb 2, 2018


There is one character trait that every successful person I have ever encountered all have.

An immunity to peer pressure

The ability to avoid general consensus that is wrong, or group think that comes to a conclusion which has been misinterpreted and the majority of people are just going a long with to fit in.

The key to succeeding in life is having an unwavering — almost deluded — conviction you’ll be successful

Some people call this a delusion of grandeur, but it only appears to be this in hindsight if you don’t achieve what you set out to. In retrospect, Mark Zuckerbergs assertions that a more connected world could be achieved online, Brian Cheskys belief that Airbnb would exceed the use of hotels and Elon Musks desire to replace fossil fuelled cars with electric aren’t that bold.

The trait they all share is a level of conviction that ordinary humans don’t have or can’t comprehend

They believe in their view of the world to an almost unrealistic extent

They have the ability to listen to the whole world tell them they are wrong, but march on regardless in pursuit of their dreams ignoring the whispering voices or the dissenting screams. They are insusceptible to social pressure.

There is a famous study of this

People were asked as part of a group to identify which que of people was longest. Unbeknown to the majority of the people in the room, the first five people asked to pick which line was longest had been told to chose the second longest que. Following this, the vast majority of the remaining participants were unable to tame their own desire to fit in. Instead of analysing the lines and deciding for themselves they succumbed to the social convention of expectation.

Five people before them had all said the same thing so they are too scared to be contrarian. That’s how the human mind works, it will willingly avoids the potential for conflict or derision by submitting to the convictions of others when they should be more forthright and demanding.

The most successful among us have the ability to ignore the social pressure to comply because they don’t care if they are ostracised — they want to win

The most successful among us are wired differently. They don’t experience this the same as other people. To build innovative and revolutionary products or services you need to be pursuing things that are counter intuitive and often things which at the time appear to be awful ideas.

But they aren’t stubborn

They may believe whole heartedly in the success of an idea but they aren’t stupid.

If the front door won’t open they try the back door

If the back door isn’t open they try the window

If the window isn’t open they smash down the door

They all posses the unwavering conviction that they will overcome any obstacle, but they are flexible in how they achieve it.

They never become to fixated on any one particular path — they have a goal in mind and they take every path to get there

But if those paths are littered with warnings, people mocking them or advice that they will never succeed they don’t let that stop them. That is the critical difference.

No is never a no — it’s only a temporary rejection from one source. There’s a whole world to pursue in pursuit of acceptance and success

You only need one other person to believe your view of the world to begin realising it

But you must possess the capability to show ignorance towards the things that will distract you from your mission



Chris Herd

CEO / Founder / Coach @FirstbaseHQ Empowering people to work in their lives not live at work ✌️✌