- September 21, 2020
Some self-improvement writers will try to paint a ‘one size fits all’ picture to describe how the world works. They’ll tell you that, no matter what, regardless of circumstances, you will be successful if you do ‘x.’
Well, that’s not how the world works at all, which is one of the reasons why I guarantee absolutely nothing. The best I can do is provide suggestions based on patterns that have repeated themselves over and over again.
I can confidently assert that if you follow these patterns over a long enough period of time, your odds of getting what you want are quite high, but you’re never going to reach that point if you’re unable to deal with reality.
What do I mean by this?
Until you’re able to have an accurate map of the world, you’re not going to be able to properly navigate your life. By accurate, I don’t mean you don’t have a perfect and objective view of reality — that’s impossible. When I say accurate, I mean you have a sense of the world that is guided by enough logic for you to overcome your emotions.
You distort your view of reality for emotional reasons. You have to tell yourself a story to cope with your day to day existence.
What are some of the stories you’re telling yourself about the way the world works and what realities are you denying? There are a bunch of little stories and narratives you tell yourself. Some paint an inaccurate picture of reality to help you cope with your insecurities. And some give you a false sense of superiority.
A few examples off the top of my head:
- Based on a lack of talent, you might have to work harder than others to reach the same level of success. That’s a hard pill to swallow, but useful if you do it. Eric ‘the hip hop preacher’ talks about the fact that it took him 12 years to finish college because of learning issues, but he did it. And he owns a 7 figure business. Just took him longer.
- You want the world at large and other people not to make snap judgments of you based on stereotypes and immutable characteristics. But they will. Me personally? I don’t adopt a victim narrative just because some people don’t like the color of my skin.
- You think you’re a uniquely good person who is deserving of success. Everyone thinks this.
- You have some sense of wanting the world to be fair. Some suffer from this utopian thinking more than others. You must understand that complete fairness and equality is impossible. There is no law you can pass to achieve it because the wants, needs, skills, and cultural preferences of individuals and groups vary too much for everyone to be equally satisfied. Best get on with your life.
- Physically attractive people tend to have easier lives and get treated better. You can tell yourself a story that it shouldn’t be this way and that you should be accepted no matter what, but it won’t happen.
- You tell yourself that successful people are ‘lucky’And you’re partially right. Some people get successful by blind luck and ride that wave all the way to the top. This is called ‘survivorship bias.’
- Speaking of the unjustifiably uber-rich. Some people tell themselves a story that their lives would somehow be different if these people weren’t so wealthy. Maybe. But also maybe their wealth has nothing to do with you being able to build a true life of abundance flexibility and purpose.
I could write 100 of these. The point? If your story isn’t helping you get what you want, change it.
The main story I try to change in people’s minds is the one I mentioned at the beginning. Remove this idea from your head that there is some fairy tale answer to getting what you want.
Remove the idea from your head that I can save you without your participation in the process. I can only give you guidance. Even if I do personally mentor and coach you, you still have to do the work yourself.
I can’t sit there over your shoulder and watch you build every little facet of your dream. There will be many hours of isolation where you’ll be building and plotting your ‘evil plan’ while the globe continues to spin.
And to be successful, you’ll have to have that combination of hard work and using the right narrative in your mind. The ultimate narrative is the one where you’re the hero who overcomes the obstacles regardless of what they are.
I’m not trying to convince you that you don’t have unfair obstacles and circumstances in your life. I’m certain you do. But, so does everyone else. If you’re being truly honest with yourself, you’d admit that you’re nowhere near close to exhausting your effort and resources toward your goal.
You know you could do better. So, do it. How?
Again, I can’t force you. But just understand that you’re wasting your life away telling yourself this BS story just to cope. And coping works very well for a long period of time until it doesn’t.
It stops working when you look up and realize you’ve wasted years, decades, or the vast majority of your life. It stops working when you truly understand the gap between what you could’ve done and what you ended up doing.
Life isn’t all about success and achievement, but a pretty good chunk of it is. Just like I’m not going to tell you that you’ll be successful no matter what, I’m not going to pretend things will end up okay if you do nothing.
You have a serious choice to make about your own life every single day. Your results will be your results. No matter how much you rationalize, no matter what image you project to the outside world, no matter how much you try to distort reality, deep down, you’ll know.
You can’t run from yourself forever. So stop, and run in the other direction.
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