Starting a career is daunting. Office politics, poor management and unchallenging work are issues that many of us will have to navigate in our jobs.

Ryan Holiday‘s advice to young careerists is cynical and pragmatic.

The point isn’t just to prove that you’re capable, but also that you’re sane. In fact, if you had to pick between the two, being well-adjusted the better one. You can teach people how to do things. You can’t make them normal. In other words, leave your crazy at home.

Have an exit strategy. Know how this all fits into your grand strategy, this is the Start-Up of You. But also have the easily explainable, non-threatening goal that you tell people so you can maneuver in peace. If you’re working at a management company, don’t tell everyone your goal is to be a stand up comedian. The grand strategy is just for you.

Most importantly, remember that you are not special. There were a million other kids on this path before you and there will be another million after. [...] What will set you apart, what is rare, is humility, diligence and self-awareness.

Advice to a Young Man Hoping to Go Somewhere (Or Get Something From Someone Successful)