Want to know the real reason my writing comes across as authentic?
It’s not because I have a deep need to be or feel authentic. I just say things the way they are because that seems to make the most sense to me out of all available options.
Also, it does neither of us any good for me to bullshit you. I don’t know if these other self-help writers are outright lying or misguided, but you’re not going to “manifest” anything. Little feel-good mantras and affirmations won’t help you. They just won’t.
And it does me no good to BS you because, the way I’m tired, lying just seems like a waste of energy to me. I could make a killing just selling you dreams. And I’m not even opposed to doing that for any ethical reason. It’s just…meh. Why?
I’d rather tell you the truth and tell it often.
You’ll need to hear similar messages over and over again until you finally use the only tool that will help you make a real transformation in your life.
And if I’m being sincerely honest with you, odds are you won’t.
Not only that, you won’t even get close.
Let’s just be honest, 95 percent of people who consume self-improvement don’t do anything with it. It’s a slightly better version of Netflix.
And you’re probably, almost certainly, one of these people.
Things won’t get better on their own. They’ll get worse. See, the more you slide into quiet desperation, the more it compounds in a negative way.
You develop a hardened heart, get stuck in your ways, and find yourself losing years and decades at a time. One day you’ll look up and realize the game is, for all intents and purposes, over because you know you have no gas in the tank and you’re powerless to change anything in your life.
It sounds like I’m being harsh, negative, and mean.
But I’m doing you a favor.
I’m trying to give you the only emotional tool I know to work.
If you want to rise above the masses and live a life most can’t live, you need emotional leverage.
Emotional leverage means you find a way to push your own buttons so hard that you finally wake up and do something with your life. I’ll get to some of my favorite forms of it soon, but the general concept goes something like this.
Until you find a way to create a high enough level of dissatisfaction with your life or create a situation where there are serious consequences for staying the same, you’ll stay stuck.
Often, dissatisfaction with your situation is the greatest catalyst.
You know…I used to hedge a lot in my writing. I’d bounce back and forth between the philosophies of contentment and ambition, detachment and desire, yin and yang BS.
Maybe the answer is different for you. Truly I don’t know. But lately, I’ve come to understand that I’m a human being with needs, desires, and ambitions. Do I feel 100 percent zen, content, and at everlasting peace because I’m doing the things I love, making more money, and having the type of experiences I want? No.
But my situation is objectively much better than the life I had before — struggling to pay my bills, having to do shit I either hated or tolerated to get by and feeling like I was trapped with no freedom.
I mean, seriously, who the fuck wants to live like that?
No one lives like that by choice. No one.
You’re not a Buddhist monk. So why not just drop the charade and admit to yourself that this ain’t it?
Inevitably the peanut gallery pops up when I write articles like these:
“But Ayo! You don’t speak for all of us! I’m happy! Really, I am! I’m not justifying myself to you at all by commenting on a random internet blogger’s post, no! I’m happy! Look at me soooooo happy in your comments section!”
Do your thing Thich Nhat Hanh.
Seriously. I sincerely believe there’s a pocket of society that doesn’t want more and will never have it. That’s fine. I don’t have to live their lives. They do. And we’ll see how that shakes out.
How will your life shake out?
The incessant asking of that question is the first step to emotional leverage.
I have nothing to sell you here at the moment, but I want to talk about the thought process that goes into the concept of “investing in yourself.”
Sure, a lot of internet marketers use it as a ploy to get you to buy stuff, but at its core, investing in yourself usually comes down to emotional leverage.
You invest in yourself because you are just done failing, hesitating, falling short, getting mad at yourself for falling short, and going through an endless tortuous loop of anxiety over it all until you die.
For me, it started with a few cheap online courses and books. Why did I buy them? I was done. I took a look at my life and said, “Nope. Nope. Nah. Hell no. Can’t be me. Won’t be me.”
Then, I took more advanced course on skills like self-publishing, becoming a top blogger, and creating other services based on my writing. Why? Because I was hitting roadblocks. And I decided I was fed up with being a fledgling writer.
I remember the first time I bought what I thought was an expensive course. $750 to learn self-publishing. Let’s just remove the fact that I’ve gotten a 100x return on that. Let’s focus on my mindset at the time. I was dead broke. Couldn’t “afford” the course. But to me…$750 was worth my future.
It was worth not having to look the mother of my child in the eye and tell her she couldn’t buy something for my kid. It was worth not having to end up like my parents, who I love, but who poorly mismanaged their lives and ended up with not all that much to show for it. That money was worth me not having to turn into the things I feared most — a nobody who had to schlepp for scraps the rest of his life. It truly terrified me.
And again, not to be crass, but living this way sucks. Objectively it just does. If you’re living it. You know it. If this sounds harsh to you then stop reading. I can only relay what I know. And for me. It sucked.
So how do you get out?
Here’s my favorite emotional leverage tool of them all.
Get a coach.
Find someone who knows how to do what you want to do, pay them, and listen to what they say.
Again, I have no coaching services to sell you this moment. It’s just a piece of advice that has served me well and I’m sure will serve you well, too.
Is there a possibility of choosing the wrong coach? Getting scammed? Losing your money? Sure. Hasn’t happened to me yet, but sure. Here’s a revolutionary question for you though…so what?
Most of you don’t seem to mind getting scammed by the university system. Why the change of tone now?
You don’t have to put yourself in dire financial straits to pursue a dream. If you simply don’t have the money then you don’t have the money.
But understand that not having money is also a problem. You should be concerned about that. And you should begin to work on that. Drive uber, eat ramen, garage flip, save $50 bucks a month. I don’t know. Whatever it is that you have to do, do it.
Use that money to hire someone to help you.
Smart people find the quickest path to get what they want.
After they bump their head against the wall enough times they say to themselves “Ok. Clearly the strategy I’m using isn’t working. I need to do something differently.”
Michael Jordan had a coach. Not the coach of his basketball team, but a coach to help him improve his body and nutrition (who wrote one of the most amazing self-help books ever by the way). He got tired of getting bounced around by the pistons and Celtics. And he hated losing. He had emotional leverage to alter his strategy.
All the smartest people in the world have those two components:
You can either choose this route or be like most people who have the most ironic combination of traits ever — simultaneous hubris and low-quality life.
It’s your life. I care in that it is my sincere hope that everyone gets what they want in this life. But on a personal level, what you do with your life doesn’t change the course I’m on whatsoever. Take my advice or don’t.
You know, it saddens me to see a society full of people who just can’t seem to get out of their own fucking way. It frustrates me when I can’t get out of my own fucking way, which still happens all the time. I’m such a work in progress it’s ridiculous. But I know that about myself.
Think about that for a little while. Let that energy bubble up to the surface. And do something about it.