She shot up heroin in the lounge room.
My friend’s mother seemed normal until that moment. She went from tame to a raging zombie in a matter of minutes.
On the wall was an Indiana Jones-style whip. She grabbed it down. I thought she was going to whip us with it. We went outside to sit on some off-white foldable chairs.
She began cracking the whip on the concrete.
The whip was millimeters from my face. She was completely out of it as the seconds ticked by. I thought I’d get whipped in the face.
Who knew what she could do.
The devil’s drug was in her veins, coordinating her brain with precision madness. At 16, I thought my life would turn out badly. Things got pretty dark. Hanging around my friend’s heroin mother was a sign of the times.
Multiple reinventions happened after this moment.
From dark to light and back again. Many trips around the sun.
The title of this story from Matthew Kobach reminds us: it’s never too late to reinvent yourself.
We rarely do anything new
Nick Kokonas, the co-founder of the famous restaurant Alinea, says the older you get the fewer new experiences you’re likely to have. When we get one, we want more because it’s so rare.
Getting older also makes us less open to new experiences.
“When in your life do you feel like something’s new? Not often.” This reality drove Nick to help everyday people have new experiences using food.
The solution he found was to help people become more childlike.
To reinvent yourself you need new ideas, people, experiences, places. If you keep doing the same thing repeatedly you’ll get the same results. Einstein called this modern-day insanity.
Start with a tiny new thing. Unlock your inner child.
The foundation of reinvention
Smart people with college degrees rarely reinvent themselves.
They’re often entitled and think they should get given everything they want in this world because they could study and pass an exam. LOL.
IQ doesn’t determine if you’ll reinvent yourself or become successful. Self-discipline is what decides.
Can you keep going when things get hard? Will you?
Discipline is the belief “today sucks but I’ll keep showing up. Not every day will be good, but I only need a win or two to show me the evidence to stay focused on my goal.”
Develop the discipline to keep going no matter how you feel.
The overlooked place to find greatness
Reinvention is a mental game.
My reinvention happened when I started reading self-help books that reprogrammed my brain.
Suddenly my thoughts changed. My dad used to call me a serial pessimist. After studying psychology the pessimism vanished. I started to believe my thoughts shaped my reality.
So I focused on having better thoughts.
“How is this an opportunity?” is a question that drove me.
Learn about the basics of psychology. Learn how to reprogram your brain to work for you. A good book to start with is “Think and Grow Rich.”
Cheesy as hell title but life-changing magic if it’s read.
Learn this skill like your life depends on it
Whenever you try and change you’ll face friction.
Asking for things means you’ll get noes. Family and friends won’t always want you to change because they prefer you to stay at their level.
The skill you need is to build a rejection muscle.
It starts with how you frame rejection, according to writer Alice Lemée. When you hear the first phrase in your head, change it to the second phrase.
“They hate me.” → “Rejection isn’t personal.”
“It’s a closed door.” → “One closed door opens another.”
“They said no.” → “What would I learn if I asked ‘Why not’”?
See what happens?
You’re not getting rejected. You’re getting redirected.
Do the absolute minimum
Reinvention sounds complicated AF.
Grandiose ideas that overwhelm you can easily enter one’s mind. The key is to go small. Most people don’t even do the bare minimum. They don’t read, drink enough water, exercise, or invest their money.
Even if you read for 20 minutes a day or walk for 30 minutes regularly or invest 5% of your income, you’re already beating 99% of people.
When you do the bare minimum it builds the habit. Once you have a habit you can add another one. A stack of habits forms a system.
A system is what leads to your eventual reinvention.
It won’t look like that though. But the one-percenters add up if you keep stacking them.
Light a fire under your ass and learn to love learning
Learning is the only thing the mind never exhausts, never fears, and never regrets — Leonardo Da Vinci
What you currently know won’t get you to where you want to go.
The bridge that takes you from where you are to where you’re going is learning. School messed up learning — it made you think it was boring.
Learning isn’t boring when it’s part of a reinvention and related to what you give a damn about.
Your skill stack determines your income. Money helps buy you more time. It helps you access resources to help move you forward in life.
Jump on platforms like Skillshare and Teachable and start by learning about topics you enjoy. Then move on to topics you may not enjoy, but will help you with your transformation — finance, psychology, storytelling.
Become a badass learning machine.
“Just one more” concept
Life is the same as the tv show The Amazing Race. You’ll rush through from stage to stage until you hit a roadblock.
That’s when most people give up. It’s damn easy and I’ve done it plenty.
Owner of the famous Farnham Street blog, Shane Parrish, taught me the concept of “just one more.”
One more rep.
One more step.
One more minute.
One more revision.
One more practice test.
He argues that the difference between staying stuck in a rut with the average and becoming outstanding is just one more.
I’ve told myself just one more many times.
Like when I couldn’t cure my mental illness and had enough of the decades of mental torture.
Or when my eating disorder would screw up every birthday dinner and make me look weird. All of it led me to say I’ve had enough! I told my boss at work about my mental illness.
That’s the day my reinvention started.
One more attempt. You can always do one more.
You have to believe before anyone else will
No one is going to gift you a reinvention or get you started. Quit looking for a mentor or free help.
Remember this powerful sentence:
When you believe we believe.
If you need validation then you’re screwed. No one will validate what you should do because they’ve got their own Mt Everest list of problems.
It starts with you. Have you had enough yet? Do you really want to change or are you just saying nice words for the fairies in your head?
Back yourself. You’ve got this.
The best motivation there is
May your parents live long enough to witness your success — Aaron Will
This quote makes me all teary-eyed. It gets to me. Every. Damn. Time.
Reinventing yourself isn’t just about you. You need a stronger why than that. If your parents are still alive and you pull this off, they’ll get to see and be incredibly proud.
They’re not here forever.
Why not show them what you can do? Show them that their suffering to raise you isn’t for nothing.
If your parents are no longer alive, do it for your kids, your lover, or your best friend. None of the people in your life are going to live forever.
Your reinvention can help them too.
How? They’ll be inspired to follow your path. You’ll quietly lead them to their own greatness through your example. A strong why is crucial. Look to those you love for the answer.
Reinvent yourself while those you love are still alive. It’s never too late.