Entrepreneur and membership expert Stu McLaren shares his knowledge and wisdom so that you can teach yourself anything and go beyond your limits.
I had the privilege of being interviewed by the great Stu McLaren, founder of the Tribe movement and creator of the WishList member website, for my new book in English, “The Way Of The Intelligent Rebel” ! I publish it here for you, with his permission 🙂
How to get The Way Of The Intelligent Rebel :
– On Amazon
– In other places, and to get also an extract, “The Three Vital Principles To Succeed in Life, backed by science”
Join the other intelligent rebels by subscribing to the YT channel and learn how to be free and happy !
(Literal) Text Transcription of the video :
Stu McLaren: Well, hello my friends. It’s me, still here for you and I’ve got a special treat of a person who is joining me today. It is the author of the book “The Way of the Intelligent Rebel”. The subtitle is “Succeed Outside the System, Teach Yourself Anything and Achieve Ultimate Freedom”. It’s the one and only Olivier Roland.
Olivier! How are you my friend?
Olivier Roland: I’m awesome. Thank you Stu for inviting me. My god, what a good energy you have from the start! I love it.
Stu McLaren: Well, listen, I’m excited. This is a meaty book and I know that this book you worked on to trim it down because there was so much you wanted to include in this. This is the English version and I want to kind of unpack this in a multitude of different ways but before we do that, let’s just take a moment and pause and let’s give people a chance to get to know you. Talk to us about where you are… you know, your business and who is it that you serve in your business?
Olivier Roland: Sure. So, I love to say I’m a teacher of freedom. So, I basically teach people how to be free. What does it mean exactly? Through two ways mainly: materially through entrepreneurship, how to be free with a company that is in service of your life instead of your life being in service of your business, which unfortunately is the case for a lot of entrepreneurs and also how to be free in your mind through personal development, how to become a better version of yourself. I started… I dropped out of school at eighteen to start my first company. It was an amazing adventure. After a few years, I was tired of working 60/70 hours a week and for years I looked for a solution. I couldn’t find any and long story short, I managed to create a business on the internet that I now manage in French. I have a 100,000 people who follow me, and I try to inspire them to be freer and have a happier life.
Stu McLaren: Well, I’m super grateful that you joined us here today and people will see when they get a copy of this book that I’m in there. I’m like, I’m right there. I’m right there in the book because I had the honor of being able to read it ahead of time. You and I have known each other for many years now being in a mastermind together. And I have witnessed and watched you hack the system so to speak and we’re going to unpack that. But what I love about the way you think is that you don’t take things on the surface. You first think about what it is that you want to get out of your life and you find a way to achieve it with the least amount of effort, the least amount of money, to give you more time and freedom for the things that you love. So we always hear you talking about the 80/20 rule. We always hear you, you know, distilling things down to the essence of it and finding magical ways.
Even in a conversation the other day, you and I were chatting and you said that you had a residency in all these different countries because one of the things you love to do is travel. And I’m like, “How did you figure this out?” and you’re like, “Well, I just did, yeah!” And this is my point. So, I want to get to the book because the book is, it’s almost like the modern day Tim Ferriss book. You know what I mean? It’s like an updated modern day version of that. So, let’s kind of unpack the book for a moment here. You talk about the Intelligent Rebel. The title of the book is “The Way of the Intelligent Rebel”. So, let’s define what it is that you mean by Intelligent Rebel. What does that mean to you?
Olivier Roland: Yeah, it’s a great question. Basically, an Intelligent Rebel is someone, it can be a student or already a professional in professional life. He can have all the external side of success. He can have like an amazing job, an amazing diploma, an amazing house, an amazing family, etc. But he feels deep down that something is missing, that there is maybe another way for him to blossom, to be the best version of himself or herself. And usually, it has to go through creation. So it can be artistic creation like writing a book, writing a theater piece. It can be the question of an adventure like doing a world tour for 1 year, for example, it can be the question of a business. But basically, the Intelligent Rebel is someone who creates his own adventure through life, who creates his own path. And he feels he doesn’t fit really well in the education system and in the workplace system.
One of the messages of the book is like, it’s totally okay to feel like this and it’s important because especially at the start but it can last for a long time if you don’t realize it, you can feel a bit strange. You can feel like a misfit, like someone who doesn’t really belong in this. And you usually will feel it’s your problem. You will think it’s your problem. And one of the messages of the book is like, it’s not a problem actually, it’s a big strength if you know how to play your cards right. And it’s amazing to create your own adventure in life and I try to give you all the tools and mindset and philosophy and strategies to do that efficiently.
Stu McLaren: Well, I remember this moment for me, Olivier. I was in university. I was going through getting my honors business degree and they were training us essentially to enter into the corporate world. And that’s exactly what happened. I would say 95% of my graduating class went into the corporate world. But I felt like a square peg in a round hole. I didn’t like wearing suits and ties. I didn’t like being chained to a cubicle. I didn’t like being told when I couldn’t and could work and all these kinds of things and I remembered feeling really guilty about that. And I’m feeling like there was something wrong with me because here I was watching all of my peers just excited to go into that world and that was not the world that I wanted to enter. So, this is why I love the idea of the Intelligent Rebel and again, we’re talking to Olivier Roland, the author of the brand new book, “The Way of the Intelligent Rebel, Succeed Outside the System, Teach Yourself Anything and Achieve Ultimate Freedom”.
Okay. So you talked about being able to learn in a different way and I want to ask you about this because you are incredible in terms of the way your mind thinks about learning. But I know that this is something that you’ve been training and teaching yourself over many years. And so I want to talk to you about that like when you talk about hacking the education system and hacking your life style. What are you really talking about here?
Olivier Roland: Well, okay, very large question. But basically, it’s like I start the book with three principles to succeed in life and the three principles are the following: first, the realization that in anything, any field, anything even you are super interested in, there are methods that are more efficient than others. It seems like a very casual to say that, very normal. But a lot of people don’t really realize this because a lot of people, for example, they want to be at least financially independent, to have a job they love or to create a company that they love, they want to have the perfect spouse, they want to have a great sex, great friends, etc. And for any of these, you have methods you can learn that will make you better. It’s important to realize deeply, not just intellectually but like in your gut that it actually exists. And when you really feel this then you use the principle of the good skepticisms.
What is the good skepticisms? When you encounter miracle methods, methods that seem too good to be true, the first reaction usually is like, “Come on, if it will be so easy, people would know it” or “Okay, pfff!!! Again, a scammer will try to get my money!” Well, it’s okay to have this kind of reactions but what you want to do is to use them as a way to do an experiment, because at the end of the day, the only way to really show if something is working or not is to try it for yourself. And obviously, you cannot try everything you need to you need to choose your battles. But it’s important to have this mindset of instead of rejecting things right away, you use these skepticisms to fuel a motivation for you to try things, to be in the field, to experiment in reality. When you adopt this mindset of a scientist, you sometimes encounter things you would have thought would have been impossible but actually, it works, and I’m sure you had this experience.
I had the experience for example, we share a mentor, Jeff Walker, who invented the Product Launch formula. It’s basically one of the most powerful ways to sell online. And a lot of people have been skeptical about this because they think it’s too good to be true. If it will be so good, people will know it. Well, the thing is it’s more complicated than that. Actually, people know that the Product Launch formula works but the people who know that are tiny, tiny, tiny, minority of the population. It’s the tiny minority who would try it. So, it’s important to really try things.
And the third principle is a 20/80 rule. You already spoke about it. It’s like the Pareto rule. It’s like in everything, you can focus on the 20% of the work that brings 80% of the results. And when you combine everything, you’re looking all the time for methods that are more important and more interesting, more relevant than the others. You try them with a good sceptic mindset and then you use a Pareto rule to extract the essence of it to just use 20% that will bring 80% of the revenue so you don’t burn yourself doing them. And that’s what I mean by hacking the system, hacking your life and with these three principles, I really think you can have a niche in about everything.
Stu McLaren: Well, so what I heard from you is that skepticism is a good thing, and to listen to yourself when you’re skeptical number one. Number two, to be open to experiment and to try different experiments to discover for yourself what is true and what is not true. And then number three, always pay attention to the Pareto principle which is 20% of your efforts are going to produce 80% of the results and always trying to distill down, what is that 20%? So give me some examples, Olivier, in terms of how this is played out in your life, perhaps give me some examples of how it may have played out in your personal life and how it may have played out in your business life.
Olivier Roland: Sure. So, as I shared before, I was happy for maybe the first 5 years of my first business but then I was like overwhelmed by the 60-70 hours I was working every week. I looked for solution for years and I couldn’t find any really. It was a big deal for me because I created this company to be free. I wanted to escape the school system, I wanted to be my own boss and I did but I realized, “Hey now, I want more balance between my professional and my personal life!” But this company is my only source of income. I don’t see how I can sell it. I don’t see how I can lower the amount of time I put into it without making the business bad. I couldn’t see… I couldn’t stop the business too because I couldn’t have any employment benefit in France when you are like a CEO. So I was like, “Wow, I created this business to be free and actually, I created my own jail!” Because now, I cannot even stop it if I want or maybe I can but I will not have any source of income which is a big problem, right? So, I looked for years for solution and then I read the book you mentioned Tim Ferriss and it’s like to be an honor that you said that I’m like the modern Tim Ferriss because I read “The 4-hour work week” and it completely blew my mind. And a lot of people read this book and didn’t apply anything and a lot of people read this book and were skeptical.
I was skeptical but I was like, “Okay, wow, how can I be skeptical in the right way? How can I try what Tim Ferriss is offering?” And I decided to try to start an internet business. So I was like, “Okay, how I can put in place an experiment that will not require too much time that I can do while I’m still managing my first company and that will not require a lot of money and resources.” I haven’t read the Lean Startup book at the time but basically, I was doing a Lean startup without realizing it because the Lean startup is about…
Do you hear me? Because I see you are you are frozen right now. I’m not sure if anyone is here. Hello. I’m not sure if we lost Stu or me. Okay. So, let’s see. Okay, it seems I do have internet if you hear me, could you say hello Olivier in the comment to see if it’s Stu or me who is the problem. Okay, so Mary… Okay, it seems… Okay, we lost Stu. You didn’t lose me. So I guess I will continue. I guess I will continue. Hopefully Stu will be able to come back up. So, oh, we definitely lost Stu. Wow. It’s crazy and Stu was like this. Okay. Let me just launch signal so I can see if sending me messages. Hello, folks, by the way, I’m so grateful that Stu is having me. So what I was saying… Yes, so… Yeah so…
I stumbled upon “The 4-hour Workweek” and I was like, “Okay, let’s do an experiment!” And I combined these… Oh Stu is back, hello Stu.
Stu McLaren: Hey, buddy. I apologize.
Olivier Roland: No problem.
Stu McLaren: Thank you for continuing to share but keep going. Keep going!
Olivier Roland: Okay, I don’t know where did it cut because you need also to listen to it, right?
Stu McLaren: The last part that I heard was actually right where you’re picking up was where you were skeptical of “The 4-hour Workweek” but you decided to allocate a small amount of time to experiment and try.
Olivier Roland: Yeah, exactly. I was saying I was doing the lean startup method without I’ve even ever doing it because the Lean Startup Method is about doing an MVP, minimum viable product. You ask yourself, “Okay, I have this brilliant idea. I’m sure it’s a great idea. What is the experiment I can do right now with a minimum amount of time, resources, money so I can really see if it works or not?” So, for me, I combined this motivation from “The 4-hour Workweek” with the idea of creating a blog, it was in 2008. It was great for me because I could write one article a week, maybe two articles a week. It didn’t take me a lot of time and it was a great way to start to create an audience and see if people were interested in what I could share. And I created three blogs and the third one was my successful blog, the one that allow me to become a professional blogger. It was a blog about books…
Oh my god, Stu are you here? Okay. Because sometimes you’re like…
Stu McLaren: I’m here.
Olivier Roland: Okay. So, here is an example, I’m always asking myself, what is the thing I can try right now that will not disturb too much of my life. Basically, I think you have two schools of thought in entrepreneurship. You have people telling you, “Hey, you need to burn your ships.” So, you have only two options, either you win or you die. That’s it! And then you will have the best motivation possible. And I mean, it can work but I don’t think it will work for most people. The second school of thought which is mine is like, yeah, you have to take risks to be an entrepreneur for sure but you don’t have to take inconsiderate risk. You can just take smart risks. You can be smart about it. So, you can just do exactly that. What is an experiment that you can do right now that will not disturb your life too much but will give you confidence if it succeeds to go further and maybe then do a big change in your life?
When I created my first business at nineteen, I don’t even have the basic diploma in France. I mean, it can seem like crazy to do that but I was actually basing myself on an experiment I did because I was so shy when I was young that basically I was a geek, I was very good in computers. I realized with a friend that we were good at repairing people’s computer problems. Instead of burning the ships saying, “Okay, we stop school. We work on the project and then we create the company.” No! We ask ourselves, “Okay, how can we experiment this idea?” And we just bought a small ad in a local newspaper for very cheap like 10 dollars maybe and we got $1000 of sales in 1 month. So, this experiment that was very easy to do gave me the confidence to do what people will think is crazy but it was not so crazy because I knew it was working. I knew people were actually paying me money for the idea I got. I hope it answers your question.
Stu McLaren: Yeah. No, this is great. So, let me… I want to unpack one other element of this because in the book, again, we’re talking to Olivier Roland, the author of the book “The Way of The Intelligent Rebel, Succeed Outside the System, Teach Yourself Anything, and Achieve Ultimate Freedom”. By the way, our audience here is having fun with the fact that I apparently I was getting frozen with a variety of interesting poses.
Olivier Roland: You are like this.
Stu McLaren: Fascinating! You guys are hilarious in the comments. But one of the things that you unpack here is like there’s two, really two parts of the book and this is what I really wanted to emphasize for people. Part one, it’s really all about like learning how to learn differently like learning how to think differently, learning how to ask different types of questions to discover how to achieve the things that you want again with the least amount of effort, the least amount of energy and so forth but with the best possible results. And then the second part about the book is all about how to apply this to building (0:19:24) essentially like a slave to the business and you’re essentially serving the business. And the other way around which is your philosophy which is the business is serving you. And I’m wondering if you can give some examples of how you’ve begun to apply this to your business today? Because I am fortunate in that you and I are in a mastermind. I see the way you think. I see the way you approach and even challenge different people’s ideas in the mastermind and how they’re thinking about rolling certain things out. And for example, I know that there was a decision that you made recently, what is the 20% of it that’s going to produce 80% of the results? And so I’m just wondering if you can just give examples of like how you are applying your thought process as an Intelligent Rebel to your business today.
Olivier Roland: Yeah, great question. The first thing and it’s actually a bit counterintuitive to think like this to have a business that’s in service of your life is, it’s like most people think to have more time in their life, they need to be more productive, they need to put in place systems, they need to recruit people, they need to delegate and… All these things are great but it’s not enough and you shouldn’t start by this. I know it’s a bit strange but hear me out. What happens if you put in place a system, you become more productive, etc. and you gain, let’s say two or three hours a week. If you don’t know how you will use these 3 hours, especially outside of work, by default, you will be in front of your computer most of the time and you will try to…
Stu McLaren: …Do more work!
Olivier Roland: Yes, you will just try to find something to do on your computer even if it’s not needed. You will just try to… like not be bored by doing something. So, the first step is actually to find something outside of work that you are so impatient to do that you want to close your computer as fast as possible to do it. And when you do that, when you have this, you become immediately more efficient because you are so much more motivated to do things in time, to focus on what is really important, to not work for work’s sake, etc. For me, what I found that is really filling the void is traveling. Right, now I’m in Santo Domingo, a Dominican Republic, I’m in the hotel room. By the way, sorry for the strange background but yeah… And when I travel, I want to do one billion things besides working. I want to, of course, explore the place, meet the people, do the activities, and just feel the vibes of the place. And so it makes me very, very efficient. I don’t want to lose time daydreaming in front of my computer watching videos of cats and this kind of stuff. I’m lazer focused. It asks me to be lazer focused. And it’s also a great motivation for me to learn how to be more productive, to delegate, to recruit, etc.
So, try to find something like this and, of course, let’s be careful here, when you start your company, you don’t want to do this, okay. When you start your company, you have your knife between your teeth like this and you just go all in. Alright, I’m talking after the first stage when your company is making good money and it’s good and of course, it depends on your goal. Some people are perfectly happy being super ambitious and it’s fine. But I think everyone should try this exercise for at least 1 month. You have this activity outside of work that you are so excited to do and you will see how it changes your relation to work.
To give you one specific example that I did for years. For years, I mean, we are more or less in the same business. The main difference is I’m in French and you’re in English and of course, we have different approaches but for… I mean, I don’t focus too much on community like you and for years, I didn’t have an event. In our industry, you have to have at least one annual event, right? It’s like a heresy to not have it. It’s like not normal. It’s like, what is going on dude? What is happening to you? And for years, I didn’t have an event because I didn’t want to put all the work needed to organize an event because for me, it was not compatible with my life. I hated the idea of having to be somewhere at a specific time because I was traveling all the time. But I found the 20/80 way of doing an event. What was that? I will, I was like, a typical event is like two or 3 days and it’s like a lot of speakers coming to share great content. But I was like, is it really important that people get more content? Usually, people are overwhelmed with content already. Do they really need this? And I was like, maybe not. So, what is the most interesting thing that people are really taking out from an event? I was like, it’s meeting people, relationships and networking. And I decided to do a half-day event every year for like 8 years and without any content. No content at all. My students were only meeting each other. That’s it. And people loved it. It was so simple to organize. There was nothing to organize. I asked my assistant to just find a place and that we gather and that’s it.
So, that’s just one example. And now I changed. Now I’m, not last year, but I’m organizing a three-day event because I wanted to see what it was like and now I love it. But it’s just one example of the thing you can just think of something that everyone does in your industry and you’re like, what is the essence of it? What really is the 20/80 of this and you just do it and usually it’s perfectly fine.
Stu McLaren: Well, Olivier, I want to recommend… I want to thank you for coming today and I want to recommend everybody go get a copy of the book, “The Way of The Intelligent Rebel, Succeed Outside the System, Teach Yourself Anything, and Achieve Ultimate Freedom”. I know they can go and get it from Amazon or from bookstores. You also have set up a website where they can also get other materials. You want to quickly talk about this.
Olivier Roland: Sure. So, basically, if you go to https://the-way-of-the-intelligent-rebel.com/, you have the link right now on the display, you can grab the three principles that I talk about so you can really deep dive into this. And you will see by the way in the book I not only rely on my own experience and the experience of 100s of entrepreneurs like Stu that I met over the years but also on a lot of scientific studies. There are more than 400 scientific studies references in my book because for me, it’s very important that I share things that not only work for me but for most people. So hopefully you will like it and you will find some interesting tools you can use to be an Intelligent Rebel and create your own adventure in life.
Stu McLaren: Buddy, thank you so much for joining us. Again, go get a copy of the book. It’s awesome. It is jam-packed and as a number of people pointed out in the comments like I’m just going to highlight some, like Alicia said, “I love the sound of this book. I love practicals” and Alicia, it is jam-packed with practicals. That’s the thing that I’ve appreciated about the book is it’s not just theory. It’s like how to take these concepts, these ideas and put them into practice. Above all, and this is what I love about the message of the book, it’s about designing your life that you want first and then building the business to support that life and you know as Olivier doesn’t have kids yet. I’ve got young kids. For anybody who has kids, what I can tell you is that my concept of time changed dramatically the moment I had kids. And I realized how much more valuable my time is because for me, in this season of my life, it’s about investing in those little human beings and spending time with them. Olivier, when you talk about like finding something outside of work that that motivates you, for me, this is it. It’s time with those kids. It’s like creating experiences with those kids and this is why I love the message of the book. It’s about getting clear on what’s important and what inspires you from a life perspective and building the business to serve that purpose. So, thank you for writing it. Thank you for publishing it. People go get a copy of it, “The way of the Intelligent Rebel” by Olivier Roland. You can get it at any bookstore, Amazon or you can just go to the URL that we showcased earlier. Olivier, thank you so much for joining us. Buddy, we appreciate you.
Olivier Roland: Thank you Stu.
Stu McLaren: Take care everyone. Bye bye.
Olivier Roland: Bye.