I hesitate to talk about absolute truths, tell people what to do, or define success.
I’m just a guy who likes to write about life. I definitely don’t have all the answers, nor do I think you need to be told what to do.
Here’s what I do know.
We’re all struggling to become better versions of ourselves. We all have dreams we either fantasize about, start and stop at attempting, or deliberately work toward.
I also know the majority of people never come close to the life they want to live or doing what they’re truly capable of.
Most never do it because it isn’t easy. I’m not saying it isn’t easy in a you’re-too-lazy-to-do-it condescending type of way.
It’s actually hard to live up to your deep seated standards through your actions on a daily basis.
We all have our b.s. and our baggage.
So what do you do to fix it? How do you change?
People who change, find success by their definition, and live their versions of great lives tend to ground themselves in reality.
They see the world as it is then navigate from that perspective. They’re dreamers, but they also take their rose colored glasses off long enough to see what they need to do and how they need to act.
I can’t say anything is irrefutably true — that’s impossible — but these four core ideas seem to ring true in almost everyone’s lives.
Understanding these truths, accepting them, and moving forward might increase your chances at catching the elusive “S word.”
Nobody Gives a Damn About You
When you start a new journey or find a new passion, it’s human nature to feel like everyone around you should be as excited about it as you are.
They’re definitely not.
Nobody cares if you’re writing a book.
Nobody cares if you’re starting a new business.
Nobody cares about your revolutionary idea.
Humans are self-interested to a fault. If you can create something that adds value to their lives or moves them closer to those dreams, then they’ll care.
But the quickest way to disappointment, heartache, and permanent failure is to expect them to care and get blind sided when they don’t.
You don’t care about my writing— unless I write something that inspires, entertains, or educates you.
Even then, you’ll be onto the next thing as soon as you finish reading this piece (or you won’t even finish it).
That’s the way of the world. I’m not waiting for my moment to “arrive,” and get showered with mountains of praise for my genius. You shouldn’t either.
Getting people to care, become a member of your tribe, and holding their attention for the long term takes a high level of diligence and persistence.
The people you look up to now had to repeatedly shout their message before they were heard.
Everything is Your Fault
If you run a team and your employees are under performing, there’s a 99.9 percent chance it’s due to your lack of leadership.
My fifth grade English teacher , Mrs. Majarick, was a total pushover.
Being the class clown, I took advantage of her weakness every chance I could get. I’d talk out of turn, talk back, and disrupt the class.
My Math teacher, Mrs. Urbanak , didn’t play that s***.
When you walked into her class you showed her respect and didn’t speak unless spoken to.
I was the same disruptive kid at heart, but I knew better than to mess with her.
That’s one of many examples where the way you behave and present yourself affects the people around you and your circumstances.
For the most part, the things that happen in your life have something to do with you.
Of course I don’t mean literally everything is your fault. Certain circumstances are out of your control.
You didn’t pick your parents, the socio-economic class you were born into, the way you were raised, the laws that govern where you live, your natural intelligence level, ect.
The list could go on forever.
You do, however, control the level of responsibility you take for your life after you realize where you’re at.
If you started behind in the race of life, you have to run faster.
If you have less access to certain resources, you have to be more resourceful.
Actually, you don’t have to do anything. You could do nothing. Or complain. Or wish things were different.
It’s your life.
I don’t know how satisfied you are with it, but I do know you’re the only person capable of changing it in a profound way.
A book, a course, or a mentor can’t do it for you.
Eventually you have to take the information and inspiration you consume and use it.
If you don’t, your life will simply stay the same or drift in a direction without any exertion toward trying to guide it.
That’s the truth.
You Can Change
I had a warrant out for my arrest after skipping my probation meeting.
I skipped my probation meeting because I was doing hallucinogenic drugs and forgot about my meeting.
I was doing hallucinogenic drugs because I literally did not want to deal with reality.
That was years back.
Now, I wake up before 6 a.m. to write every day, publish books, give talks, exercise, spend precious time with my beautiful family, learn, and try to improve every day.
I know what it’s like to be hopeless, desperate, broke, lazy, and depressed.
I hit rock bottom and found a way out of it. When inspiration didn’t work, desperation did the trick.
My story isn’t unique.
I’ve observed and read about countless people who turned their lives around.
As humans we all have the amazing ability to adapt, adjust, and change.
Change drove our growth from singled celled organisms to smart phone wielding internet surfers.
It’s how we continue to advance toward a (hopefully) better world.
You can change.
I don’t know if you will, but I know it’s more than possible.
You Are Going to Die
Whenever I feel lazy, I think about dying.
Like, what if the day I spent lazily watching Netflix was my last day on earth?
What if I’m told I have a terminal illness and have to look back on my life wondering if I spent it well?
On the Shortness of Life — an adaptation of Seneca’s writing — speaks about the way we use our time:
“People are frugal in guarding their personal property; but as soon as it comes to squandering time they are most wasteful of the one thing in which it is right to be stingy.”
We waste our time because deep down, we all feel invincible.
We don’t think death is lurking around the corner.
No one ever thinks today will be their last day on earth, and their usually right.
Key word: usually.
It’s impossible to live every day of your life like it’s your last, stay in the present moment, and spend every minute of your time well.
But death is an important reminder that time is fleeting, and regardless of what your dreams are, you have a limited time to fulfill them.
I used to think I had to command people to follow their dreams.
Now, my only goal is to help you question your life and think about what will happen if you do or don’t change.
Only you know the answers to what will make you happy. Only you can truly make the moves necessary to get you there.
Just know, you might have less time to figure that out than you think.
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Originally published at medium.com