Sugarcoated advice that panders the reader is a disaster.
You can’t learn from fence-sitters who seek to be accepted, rather than truth-tellers who seek to make you think.
Tough love advice got me out of a dark place. I returned to that dark place recently when tragedy struck. These nuggets of wisdom helped me and they can help you rethink your life, too.
Life is fair from birth
By age 30, you should come to the realization that the world owes you nothing — The Art of Purpose
Throughout my life I’ve met many people who think life isn’t fair. They complain about how the world should be. They believe they should have more opportunities, more money, or better status positions.
This way of thinking nukes your optimism.
The world owes you nothing. No politician is sitting in their office right now trying to make the world fair for you. What if the world is already fair? What if you could make the world fair by taking harsh realities and turning them into motivation? You can.
What holds us back becomes fuel to write wrongs. That level of motivation will make you unstoppable.
You’re not lazy, you’re purposeless
The word “purpose” is XXX rated.
Instagram yogi gurus peddle the word like snake oil. Purpose isn’t so spiritual and complicated, though.
Purpose is simply a reason beyond your selfish desires to wake up in the morning. I know mothers who don’t own a billion-dollar unicorn startup or don’t write Martin Luther King speeches for breakfast that have loads of purpose: their baby.
The reason you want a purpose for your life, according to Holocaust survivor Victor Frankl, is “When a person can’t find a deep sense of meaning, they distract themselves with pleasure.”
You don’t want to become a pleasure junkie.
People like me who’ve worked in tech know the purposeless life all too well. Software engineer Luke Metro helps us get the answer.
Tech jobs struggle to provide meaning. That’s why tech workers burn out and can’t work out why, even when they’re earning 6-figure salaries.
We’re starving for meaning. We’re dying to feel like our lives matter.
Spend stupid amounts of time working out why you need to wake up tomorrow morning.
Success is the willingness to feel vulnerable
Many things in life make you feel vulnerable and like you want to curl up into a ball:
- Saying no
- Presenting a new idea
- The prospect of marriage
- Having kids
- Accepting failure
- Starting a new project
- Getting a new job
- Challenging leaders
- Telling it how it is on social media
If you can’t lean into these vulnerable situations, you live life at a massively lower level. You avoid discomfort. Eventually you no longer feel like yourself anymore. It doesn’t make sense.
Things that make you feel vulnerable help you grow. Growth is evidence that you’re trying in life. Effort equals rewards over the long term.
The risk when you’re vulnerable is you’ll be exposed, attacked, or harmed. The risk when you avoid vulnerability is you’ll become an invisible human.
It’s better to be seen for who you are than to be sheltered by who you could have been. Regrets suck.
“Listen to your heart” is stupid advice
When your gut tells you to drop everything to go all-in on learning and building, listen to it.
— Dan Koe
In the last year I listened to my gut instead. It told me to drop everything and go all-in on writing. I had zero plan. But I listened.
The first few months were brutal. The temptation to be a lazy bum was enormous. Yet I found a way. My gut was right. I want to write for the rest of my life. It’s powerful when that level of conviction takes over. You won’t get the gift, though, if you don’t act on your gut feelings.
What has your gut been telling you to do for a lifetime?
Go start on it. Make the first call. Send the first email. Publish the first post. Make the first product. Write the first line of code.
Pay the price of entry
Most of us walk around trying to avoid loss — particularly when it comes to money. This is the wrong approach.
You want to lose some money. Losses mean you invested.
“No investment = no commitment” according to finance expert Mark Bovair.
This year I lost thousands of dollars trying to build a website. I paid the price of entry. Now I’m on the path to a great website. The quality of the outcome wouldn’t have been as high if I didn’t suffer the hard losses.
Losses are free motivation.
Spend money to make money. See losses as the price of entry.
Your only competitor in life until death
A fellow content creator saw me as a competitor. They became pissed when I launched a course on writing. They wanted to be the only person on the internet with a writing course.
“How dare they!”
*Hits block button until eternity*
The whole situation took me by surprise. I’ve had online education in my blood since 2004. LOL. It took me years to understand that collaborating with others doesn’t create competitors. Nope. It creates more luck. The market for opportunities is huge.
We get lucky when we work together.
The gladiator game of winners and losers is stupid. Winning is a team sport. Similar interests tell you who could be on your team — not who to turn into fake enemies you create voodoo dolls for and poke in the chest at midnight with pins.
New game: compete with who you were a year ago.
The path to an unstoppable life
The life you want is built on habits. There’s no way around it. What you do consistently will determine who you become in 5 years. What I’ve realized is the hard part isn’t habits. No.
The hard part is habit maintenance.
When tragedy or bullsh*t strikes the temptation to give up your best habits for a day, week, month, or year is tempting.
The days you don’t want to do your habits are the days you must. The trick isn’t to become a navy seal and develop a mind like a fortress. All you have to do is show up for 15 minutes and reinforce the habit on a bad day.
Habits maintain the belief of who you seek to become.
99% of people waste their free time. It quietly ruins their life.
Successful people use their free time to get ahead. That’s their secret — Brian Feroldi
It’s hard to admit. We piss our time up against the wall. We waste our most precious resource. We lie to ourselves about how much time we have.
You don’t want to hear it but you need to measure where your time goes. Keep track. As the cliche goes, what gets measured gets managed. The importance of free time is why the side hustle movement has become so big.
If you want to improve your life you’ve got to find time. The time is found before and after work, on holidays, on weekends, on lunch breaks, and during drainer presentations your boss puts on.
Cheat on your boss. Cheat on your job. Cheat on your friends once in a while.
Use free time to change your life. It’s the smartest way.