Of all the life lessons I’m about to give you, one stands tall above the rest.
Your life belongs to you.
You can shirk responsibility for it all you want, but the consequences of your decisions will occur either way.
You can tell yourself whatever narrative you want, but your results will be your results.
I’ve come to the point where I feel zero percent need to coerce anyone into doing anything. I just present these life lessons and leave it up to you from there.
I want to help you, but I can’t. I can only show you the doorway.
And sadly, odds are, you won’t.
Why? You’re too caught up in your ego. You’re caught up believing what you prefer to believe rather than what’s useful to believe.
So far, you’re losing the battle with your inner-critic and letting it run your life. In some shape or form, you’re pretending to be something you’re not and it’s eating you from the inside out.
You want to please everyone but yourself, you’re scared to have opinions of your own, you’re scared of rejection, you’re scared to fail, you’re scared to admit what you want and go for it, you’re scared to be vulnerable, you’re scared of other people, you’re damn near scared of everything.
Honesty proceeds courage.
The only way out involves you being brutally honest with yourself and accepting the life lessons as is. No distortions. Take your medicine.
It’s your life, after all. Anyway, here are some of the hard-won lessons I’ve learned in this life so far.Follow the Signs
My marriage failed at almost the exact moment my career took off — one of the most bittersweet moments of my life. We’re both well now — both in the lane we’re supposed to be in.
Sometimes, the universe is trying to tell you something. There are moments in your life, often painful, that put the proverbial fork in the road:
If you’re lucky enough to have moments where life tries to shock you out of apathy or coasting through life, appreciate and act on them.
Having the best and worst period of my life at the same time gave me a guideline for how I’m going to live in the future.
It taught me to:
- Value and nurture my relationships — While pursuing my purpose at the same time instead of making them mutually exclusive. In many ways, I sacrificed that relationship to the altar of success. I’m not judging it, but I need to know that’s what I did.
- Make decisions from a place of strength — A part of me got married in the first place because I thought I was supposed to do it. I will never make a decision based on “supposed to” ever again
- Never settle — I settled for a relationship I knew wasn’t right from the jump. I acted out of fear. Never again. This doesn’t mean I’m going to create unrealistic standards, It simply means that I’m being one hundred percent honest about what I want from this life. If you don’t live this way, you’ll come to resent life, even though you’re the one living below the potential you want
Some people, no matter how hard you try, simply don’t want your help. Some people can’t be saved. They’re so stuck in their mind that trying to change them will only waste your effort and drag you down.
This doesn’t mean you have to abandon people (although, if they’re truly toxic, I would) but it means to simply accept people as they are.
Again, this shapes your decision making. Come from a place of understanding that the people in your life are most likely going to be the way they are, permanently.
As much as I love helping people change, it’s an uphill battle people rarely succeed with.
Instead of feeling selfish about focusing on yourself, realize it’s the only option that makes sense in pragmatic terms.Belief Trumps Everything
I’ve been reading more about two subjects:
- Spiritual growth
- The crazy aspects of science
I’m not going so far as to say your perception literally creates reality, but I’m pretty close. There are many things about this universe we inhabit that we simply don’t understand because we can’t perceive it.
What if everything is truly connected? What if our belief systems have a tangible impact on our reality in a very deep way? I often think about what the mind is capable of. Think of how your mind unlocks itself while dreaming. Or when you take LSD.
What’s the lesson?
Push the limits of reality as far as possible. Chase unattainable enlightenment. Take the attitude you live in a computer simulation and simulate the life you want. Take your mind as far as it’s capable of going.
These days, I’m not just trying to “write” or “become an entrepreneur” or “give talks.” I’m trying to crazy some crazy vibrational energy and laser beam it into your consciousness.
Become open to experience and push yourself to have the experiences you want to have.Outrage = Deep Pain. Be Compassionate
People are hurting.
These days, I’m trying to understand where everybody is coming from. People arrive at their positions in life through a number of circumstances and situations — some their fault and some totally random.
The tribal state of society saddens me. I’m trying to reach people of different tribes and get us to focus on our commonalities:
- We all want love and acceptance
- We all want stability and security
- We want to feel like our life means something
- When we feel we don’t have the above, we go crazy
If you’re caught up in battles over things like politics, if you’re involved in this “culture war” in any capacity, think about why you’re doing it.
You’re in pain.
You’re using other people as scapegoats for some deep inner demons youdon’t want to deal with.
Happy people don’t engage in outrage porn. They don’t. If you do it on any level, ask yourself why? Think about it deeply because you need to escape that mental trap before its too late.
What’s the answer, though?Meaning > Everything Else
Whenever I think about people complaining about their life, I go back toMan’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl.
Frankl was a Jewish psychologist who got sent to a concentration camp during World War II. He saw people die in front of him daily — bodies piled up on top of each other.
He saw people starve, he starved, he watched as people in the camp would fight over the muddied clothes of a dead camp member like vultures seconds after their death.
Not only did he survive, but he thrived, continuing his practice as a psychotherapist and using the lessons from his time to develop logotherapy — which is a fancy term for finding meaning in any situation.
How much time do you focus on the meaning you can create out of your current situation vs complaining about what you don’t have?
Do you live in a concentration camp? No?
Are you starving? No?
Are you destitute? No?
Let me guess. By worldly standards and compared to previous generations, you’re doing just fine. But you refuse to find meaning in your life because you compare yourself to people with more. And you won’t even try to get more. You just complain.
That’s a meaningless way to live. Either choose to ascend to find your meaning or accept the meaning you have right now.
Complaints, bitterness, cynicism, and being jaded will rot your soul from the inside out. I see it happen all the time. Don’t do it.Nobody Knows How to Run Your Life Better Than You Do
From the media to my family and friends to strangers — everyone has an opinion. And about 99 percent of the time, I don’t listen to them.
I take their words to heart, understand where they’re coming from, and honor their belief systems and version of reality, but the vast majority of people have nothing to offer me in terms of what I want to emulate.
You have to learn how to think for yourself. Society will push you every which way if you let it. I can’t tell you exactly how to run your life. I don’t even know you. But here’s what I’ve learned.
Unless the person talking to me has something I want, I don’t consider their opinion worth implementing. I have a few reliable sources I go to for insight, other than that, I treat everything else as noise.
Here’s an experiment for you. For the next week, watch the way you talk. Specifically, watch out for if you parrot out a phrase you’ve heard in the media:
- “There’s a recession coming!”
- “Save the rainforest!”
- “Those kids in cages!”
- “Orange man, bad!”
Meanwhile, there are atrocities going on all over the world that you don’t care about because the media hasn’t taught you to care about them.
It’s not that those phrases aren’t true. But you haven’t critically thought about them. You’re reciting lines someone wrote for you.
If I can have a two-minute conversation and predict the majority of your beliefs and stances, you’re on the wrong track.
You want to become a heterodox thinker.
Being heterodox has nothing to do with your beliefs themselves, but rather how you arrive, or whether or not you even try to arrive at an opinion.It’s Not a Crime to Evolve
Drug dealer. Criminal. Inmate. Who am I describing?
Some thug? No, Malcolm X, actually. If you ended the story of his life at his young adulthood that would be the theme. The same can be said for my early 20’s.
People have the ability to evolve. You have the ability to evolve. Your past doesn’t have to predict your future.
Unfortunately, you live in a world that doesn’t want you to evolve. Society continues to trend toward the habit of finding the one mistake you’ve made in your life and painting a caricature of you with it.
Sad. Again, people do this because they’re in pain. They can’t forgive themselves for allowing their lives to become what they’ve become.
But you. You can forgive yourself. You’ve made mistakes. You have flaws. You know about your evils and transgressions (we all have them). But those don’t have to define you.
Personal growth isn’t about erasing your past. It’s about true acceptance for it. It’s about letting go of it.
Until you let go, fully, you’ll never be able to reinvent yourself. But if you can, the world can open up to you in a way you never imagined.Find True Love and Compassion
As far as my own reinvention process, it’s brought me closer to this emotion, state, way of being — love.
When I write to you in a harsh way, it’s out of love and compassion for you. Many, most people, won’t tell you the truth. I call a spade a spade because it’s the loving thing to do.
When I see all the fighting in our world, I try to love those who are hurting. Even people I disagree with. I try to love humanity as a whole in all it’s fucked up glory.
Love doesn’t mean you want to control. It means the opposite. True love is detachment. When you feel real love, you don’t want to make anyone do anything.
You don’t need anyone to be a certain way. You just share your world with them. If they vibe with it, cool. If not, unfortunate. No blame. No strings. And definitely no co-dependency. Speaking of…Learn How to be Alone
Most people are deathly afraid of being alone. We’re afraid of ourselves. We’re afraid to be alone with ourselves or with our thoughts for too long.
This is why you pick up the phone when you’re bored — fear.
This is why you’d get into a fight on social media — fear and loneliness, you want to collide with someone to feel like you’re alive. There’s still a payoff there, even if it’s negative.
I haven’t mastered it, but I’m practicing trying to be whole and content, just as I am, right now.
It’s funny…when you don’t think you have a void that needs filling, you get what you want. You often get that ‘thing’ you originally thought would fill the void.
When you don’t need people to like you, they like you.
When you don’t need a partner to fulfill you, you find the right one.
Big picture, when you don’t need the world, society, or the people around you to bend to your will and behave the way you want, the universe bends over backward for you.Own Your Ambition and Get Really Good At Something
I’ve let go of any guilt I have over my ambition.
I don’t want fancy things, necessarily. But I do want to push my limits creatively and create companies, which will turn into an income. I value competence over almost anything else.
I posted a status to my personal Facebook account saying I wanted to be a part of the “one percent” and I felt “zero percent” shame over it.
Some people pushed back:
- “There are better ambitions”
- “That’s fine, as long as you’re doing it with good intentions.”
- “Money isn’t everything.”
None of these comments were sincere. Life has taught me that — most sincerity is fake. Those comments reflect their inner belief systems. Instead of interpreting my statement as striving for confidence, they default to greed. Because that’s what jealous people do.
Give me a “greedy” person over the average person in society any day. The average person often has a deep pit of envious evil inside of them. They pretend to be nice, but they’re really just weak.
Yes, there is such a thing as being weak. And you shouldn’t want to be weak.
Becoming strong definitely doesn’t mean making money, having worldly status, or anything like that. Strength simply means admitting what you truly want to pursue in life and focusing on your own competence.
I used to think people had a point about not being ambitious, but now, I see right through them. I see through you.
You know what you really want. Whether or not you do it is on you.Money Matters
Although money isn’t the end all be all in life, it’s really important.
It’s taboo to talk about money, building wealth, taking care of your family and future generations. But, as you can see the theme of this post, “taboo” is often code for “we want to keep you brainwashed, obey us.”
You need more money, period. You need more cash flow and assets with fewer liabilities.
Most people mainly have liabilities: And a few assets:
- Equity — Most people invest all of their money into their home. I’m not going to get into a debate about buying a home, but it’s an illiquid asset that doesn’t produce cash flow
- Most people have meager retirement savings and don’t invest in the stock market at all
Building wealth is simple but difficult to pull off:
- Mailbox money — You need assets that pay you cash: intellectual property, businesses, rental, investments
- Avoid debt traps — Self-explanatory, but this has deep behavioral roots
- Live below your means — F*** keeping up with the Joneses
The bottom line: You need more income. I agree that saving isn’t feasible for most people because they don’t have enough money. Saving money is a terrible way to get wealth. You need to produce more income and all of your income can’t be tied to your time. I have intellectual property, investments, passive income, and from time to time will work as a contractor. I keep the excess and invest it into something with the potential to bear interest. This is the recipe.Accept Reality
How far you’ll go in life is often dependent on the painful truths you’re willing to swallow.
The new book I’m working on, Real-Help, is about getting you to see reality clearly, especially the things you wish weren’t true like:
- The fact that luck impacts success
- The fact that some people don’t deserve to be successful at all and “rent-seek,” siphoning from the system. True, but has nothing to do with you directly. So what?
- Society isn’t designed for your individual success, at all. The opposite
- Not only won’t your political overlords help you. They don’t even care about you. They despise you
- You have been fed a larger amount of propaganda than you probably even realize
- Your brain is designed for you to fail, stay inside your comfort zone, and lie to yourself
I see people all the time suffering from confirmation bias, societal conditioning, and self-inflicted blindness. I want to help people, but as I said earlier, some people don’t want to be unplugged.
See, the thing about taking the “red pill,” is that once you understand the truth, you can’t erase it.
When you see the world for what it is and also understand how much of a role you play in your own success or failure, you’ll either succeed or let your lack of progress gnaw at your soul.
There are benefits to playing by society’s rules. You don’t have the stress of having to think for yourself. You don’t feel the weight of responsibility. Working for the weekend, Netflix, and partying are great escapes. You could just become content to live that way.
It’s your life.
What are you going to do?There’s a Thin Line Between Pleasure and Escapism
I watch T.V. But I often watch it after a full day of working on my purpose from the time I awake until my brain is totally fried. I’m mentally spent and can’t work anymore, so I watch a little T.V.
Behaviors in and of themselves are almost never objectively good or bad. Context matters. I watch T.V. to wind down after I’ve been grinding toward something I love. Many watch T.V. to escape from the grind that is their life — devoid of meaning.
I’ve contemplated giving up drinking altogether. It seems like poison to me. I like being sober and aware because…I like my life.
Granted, I’ll have a drink every once and a while to unwind or hang out with friends. I don’t need to drink, though and I almost never look forwardto it. Many people drink to escape reality.
I could go on and on with endless examples.
There’s a thin line between enjoying life’s pleasures and escapism.
You choose.You Are Your Decisions
Coming full circle. Your life is a mixture of chance events and outcomes based on your decisions. I don’t know the exact ratio. The ratio doesn’t matter.
Because you’re left to deal with the outcomes.
You can choose to disagree with me, say I’m wrong or arrogant, and cast me off as another guru. Fine. Let’s check back with each other in a decade.
You can choose to take my words to heart. I hope you do.
The bottom line here. You’re grown. Act like an adult. A Real one.
Ayodeji is the author of You 2.0 — Stop Feeling Stuck, Reinvent Yourself, and Become a Brand New You. Want a free copy of my first book? Get it here.