Your entire life is your fault. If you don’t like your life right now, it’s your fault. You are at the root cause of every single issue of your life.
None of the above statements is true, but you should act as if they are true. And if you had a snap reaction to those statements, think about why.
It’s hard to look at your life and see it as a product of your choices, even if it’s the most useful lens to use. Who would choose to live below their potential? Who’d chose to have a job they hated or tolerated? Who’d choose to lack the confidence, ambition, and discipline it takes to succeed?
I’m not your prototypical ‘pull yourself up by the bootstraps’ guy. I get it. While the decisions you make do dictate your circumstances, your hand gets forced often.
I like to use phrases like ‘nobody put a gun to your head and told you to work at McDonald’s’ but if you really need the money and that’s the only job you can get at the moment, you might as well have that gun to your head.
But it doesn’t have to be this way forever. On a long enough time-scale, you do have yourself to blame if you never make any progress from your starting point.
Regardless of your current position, it’s on you to decide what to focus on next. What you focus on becomes your reality.
And you’d be surprised at just how much you can change your life by choosing to focus on the upside and making a plan for a better future regardless of what’s going on in your life right now.
About a decade ago, there was a young man with a dream, a damn near impossible dream. At the time, he was living in Ireland with basically no money to his name, preparing for a career that wasn’t for the weak of heart, to say the least.
Remaining poor in the beginning stages of his new career, a budding professional mixed martial arts fight, this young man had a burning conviction that his life wouldn’t stay this way forever.
Still, times were tough, so tough that he had to collect a $235 welfare check right before his first professional UFC bout. He won the fight, his confidence grew, and he set his mind on a giant goal.
He wanted to become the world champion and much more:
Conor McGregor might seem like an odd choice to talk about in a personal development post, but this brash, rude, and downright crazy individual is an excellent example of the power of focusing on what you want, having a burning desire to get it, and then taking the steps necessary to pull it off.
If you watch some of his early interviews before he was famous, before he was the world champion, and before he fought the mega-fight with Floyd Mayweather that made him the majority of his $120 million net worth, you’ll see him talk about his future goals.
When you look into his eyes, you’ll notice how deadly serious he is about the things he says. Words have power. They express what you choose to focus on.
An aside about the mega-fight no one ever thought would happen. It kind of happens because the two of them kept speaking it into existence.
If you’re constantly speaking about positive things (and doing everything in your power to back them up0, you’re going to attract positive outcomes. If you’re always talking about what you won’t have, what you can’t get, and how you can’t overcome the obstacles in your life, you’ll attract failure into your life.
Manifestation and the law of attraction are real, but they don’t work until you have the level of seriousness to meet the Universe’s standards. Putting a vision board on your wall isn’t going to cut it. You can speak things into existence, but the secret behind the secret is that you’d better be damn serious. You assert your firmly held convictions so aggressively the universe has to bend to your will.
There came a point in my life where I knew I was going to make a full-time living as a writer. I knew it in my bones. Failure was out of the question. For those years I had to put in to make it happen, I always chose to put my focus in the right direction.
The law of attraction isn’t some supernatural phenomenon. It’s simple. If you prime your brain to see opportunities, it’ll find them. If you prime your brain to see failure, you’ll find it. Your brain has a selective focus mechanism. Positive thinking tweaks your selective focus in the right direction.
Perfect analogy: when you buy a new car, all of a sudden you see other people driving that same car all around town. What changed? Nothing more than your focus.
This explains the predicament many people in society, sadly, find themselves in. They’re primed to believe the sky is falling. So their brain will filter out positivity and opportunities. Some people in society, who are programmed for outrage and helplessness, genuinely can’t conceive that upward mobility exists. Opportunity, for all intents and purposes, doesn’t exist.
Many people do still have a chance. They’re on the fence, in the middle, not overly outraged but not overly optimistic either. Or maybe they are optimistic, but just haven’t put all the pieces together.
You fall into this camp somewhere because you’re reading this. Focus on the upside the world has to offer, brainwash yourself into seeing these opportunities, and get serious enough so you’ll do the work.
Read examples of normal people finding a way to make a great living online, check out examples of people who changed their lives by learning a new skill, search for enough positive stories to annoy you because you’re not doing anything about your situation.
You want to reach this level of optimistic annoyance where you see so much success that it bothers you. Makes you put your foot down and really speak that shit into existence.
Then there can come a day where you say, “You know what, screw it. I’m doing this.”
Then, you put in the work and focus on this next technique to take your life to the next level.
Once you decide you’re going to build a new life, you’ll start to see opportunities pop up everywhere. I remember when I first started writing, I saw a girl publish her post on a popular website. I published a post on that same site a week later by trusting my gut and going for it.
Then, I repeated the process over and over again, looking for popular blogs and throwing my hat in the ring. If I saw an online training, I’d buy it. I’d tell myself that I’d be the one to finish the course and become a top blogger even though few did.
One day, I saw this woman mention her article going viral on this website called Medium. I joined Medium shortly after and it paved the way to the full-time living I make now.
Maybe I got lucky, but I also focused. Whenever I saw something promising, I jumped on it right away. I doubled, tripled, and quadrupled down on this process until I got what I wanted.
You never know which opportunity will be the one to change your life. Starting saying yes to things, everything. If you don’t have what you want yet, you’re not really in the position to say no.
Every day, think to yourself, “There are opportunities out there and it’s my job to find them.”
You start to focus on the upside the world has to offer and the BS you see around you stops bothering you. I’ve never had a better year professionally than 2020, while everyone keeps telling me we’re on the path to ruin.
Hell, maybe we are, but I’d rather be winning in my last moments when the apocalypse comes than cowering in the corner.
Focus. 2020 doesn’t have to be a wash. You can still take the second half of the year and make amazing gains.
Deep down, you know I’m right. You can tell yourself all the stories about how the world is out to get you, but your perception shapes that narrative.
Just take all the cliches in self-help and apply them to your life. It’s really that simple. Believe in yourself, focus on what you can control, don’t complain, write down your goals, make a decision, slug it out inch by inch until it works.
You’ll come to find that it’s not that hard to be successful at all. It’s time-consuming. You’ll have to win a psychological battle, sure. But if you get to the other side of the work like I have, you’ll kick yourself for ever having doubt in the first place.