“Someone once told me the definition of hell; on your last day on earth, the person you could have become will meet the person you became.”
The sad thing?
From a purely statistical perspective, you’re probably going to end up becoming this person.
It’s not that you’ll a bad life, but you’ll just fall so well short of your potential that it will create a personal hell for you. Maybe you’re living in this hell right now.
See, if you could just forget about your potential altogether and just go about your life without ever having to think about what could’ve been, you’d be fine. And for the most part, you are fine. The tragedy of quiet desperation is the fact that it’s not tragic at all.
You have a nice job, freedom for two days of the week, two weeks vacation, Netflix, IPAs, craft fairs, barbecues — a proverbial groundhog day, week, month, and year running over and over again on a loop until you die.
If you can accept that life and be truly content with it, do it. Seriously. It looks god awful to me, and I suspect it does deep down for many, but if you can bring yourself to be okay with it, more power to you.
What does your life look like a year, five years, or ten years from now if you keep doing whatever it is you’re doing right now. Picture it. Vividly.
Do you like what you see?
If not, maybe you ought to try and change your life. If only it were that easy, right?
Make no mistake about it, you have many obstacles in your way. You look at the future you want to have, but it’s hard to see yourself pulling it off because of those obstacles.
What if I told you that you only have one obstacle to overcome? What if I told you that solving one problem in your life would lead to your ability to solve every problem in your life?
You probably know what I’m going to say next, but embrace this simple concept deeply and use it if you want to stand a chance at making any of your dreams come true.
The problem is…you.
You just can’t get out of your own way. You’re your own worst enemy. So am I. We all are. I get it. Getting in your own way is so frustrating and annoying. Too much to bear. So you have to use rationalizations to alleviate your frustration.
I love studying rationalizations – both in myself in others. We’re all so full of shit. We create these elaborate piles of shit, too. Tahj Ma Hal levels of shit rationalizations. It’s comical. Here’s the thing about rationalizations. They’re simultaneously totally true and totally false at the same time.
They’re false in that most rationalizations can’t be objective views of the word because other people with similar circumstances think differently, e.g., some people grow up poor and use as motivation to become successful and some see it as a death sentence to their future.
They’re true in that whatever you believe to be true is…true. Aside from the laws of physics, you dictate reality with your thoughts. “But what about people in truly dire straights?” They get the double whammy — the physical circumstances are so bad it bleeds into the psyche. The poverty cycle is quite psychological.
Anyway, most people aren’t extremely poor. Maybe they’re working or middle class. Those life circumstances come with harmful mindsets of their own, too. Even though there’s more than enough evidence of upward mobility in society, especially thanks to the internet, many working and middle-class people are in this spell, this trance where they think upward mobility is impossible.
The more you invest in reality being a certain way, the more you fight to keep your reality, regardless of whether or not you like it. Think about how crazy that is. Most people would rather have a worldview that produces negative outcomes than simply changing their worldview.
You do this. I do this. Why? Because we’re humans. It’s okay. Don’t beat yourself up over it. It is what it is.
You’re wired more to need to make sense of the world than you are to self-actualized. Just knowing that is half the battle.
But what do you do next?
You have to decide whether or not you want to maintain your ego or live the type of life you deserve.
I don’t know you, but I’m guessing you’re probably a good person. You’re probably pretty smart too. You have ambition, even if you’ve buried it, and you deserve to have more than you have right now. Not toys, money, status, but the peace of mind that comes from pursuing your purpose and the freedom to live your life as you see fit.
Don’t you think you deserve that? Gotta find some humility, my friend.
What does lowering your ego require you to do?
Ego. Ego. Your god damned ego.
Do you know who I think the most egotistical people are? The people who act pious and pretend like they don’t want to be successful. Maybe we all don’t want Yachts and mansions sure, but to say with a straight face that you’re happy to live a life where you don’t have all that much control over it, is a lie.
You’re scared. And you’re self-centered.
Self-centered because you think other people care, or the universe cares — nobody cares what you’re doing all that much. Self-centered because you’re living below your potential, thus robbing the world of what you could’ve provided.
You’re self-centered because you care too much about your feelings. If you’re so zen and content, why are you holding yourself back out of fear?
It’s not so much you’re missing out on the worldly success. You’re missing out on the person you can become in the process of trying to be successful.
Get out of your own way, lower your ego, and try.
Why is following through so difficult?
You love to mentally masturbate to the idea of your future self. I know I do. I love fantasizing about what I could be, what I could do, the projects I could start. I have many goals that still scare me, goals I’m getting in my own way of, and I just stroke my own, erm, ego to the thought of being able to pull it off.
The vision feels real. It’s a nice escape from reality. But I understand I can’t live in Potentialville forever. I have to see if I can actually make these visions real. And the scary part? I might not be able to.
You’re not worried about wasting time.
You’re worried that you’re going to put everything you have into a better future and still fail anyway. I won’t lie to you. That is a possibility.
But it’s only a possibility in micro short-term goals. In the macro, you almost certainly will end up relatively successful at something.
But not unless you get over yourself enough to try.
You know what I do sometimes? I talk to myself, “Ayo, you’re full of shit right now buddy. You’re lying to yourself. Stop…lying to yourself. Oh? You’re just going to let your little feelings get in the way?”
That’s the conversation you need to have with yourself.
Are you really going to let something as trivial as feelings of being butthurt get in the way of a better life?
Feelings are palpable, but guess what? You can create positive palpable feelings, too. You’ll experience them once you start doing the work. That high you get from overcoming your fear is irreplaceable.
It feels good.
You’re going to be an emotionally driven creature for the rest of your life.
Just use the right emotions.