Truth be told, there are a ton of good advice quotes. That’s why I’ve written several posts about quotes over the years. I love how much wisdom they pack into a few sentences. Some quotes are so good that they burrow their way into your soul. Some of them will actually help you change.
Many people scoff at collecting quotes and using them as sources of inspiration. Clearly, I’m not one of those people. In this game of motivation, use whatever you need to live the life you want to live.
“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” Rumi
There’s nothing you can personally do to solve climate change, the economy, geopolitics, or civil rights. Of course, you can help, but your individual effort isn’t going to move the needle. Especially when it’s mostly just you posting about these issues on social media or arguing with people about them.
You know this. We all know it. So why is there a widespread urge to virtue-signal and talk about all of our ideas to make the world better? Simple. It’s easy. The problems are so complex that we can put effort into them and not feel bad that our effort doesn’t change them.
When we focus on changing ourselves, we get to see the results of our efforts right in front of us. That’s hard. Changing ourselves is hard because we want to find places to hide. What better place to hide than the entire world?
You have much bigger concerns than what’s going on in the world my friend. There’s a ton that needs to be fixed right at home. How’s your health? How are your relationships? Are you treating others well?
Do you have the resources to take care of yourself, let alone contribute to others? How well are you personally living up to the values you hold dear? Do you live the same virtuous life you portray when no one’s watching?
Not here to judge. These are questions I ask myself. I literally can’t write about or give advice on things I don’t do myself. So I’m always refining myself first before I share with you.
“Most things will be okay eventually, but not everything will be. Sometimes you’ll put up a good fight and lose. Sometimes you’ll hold on really hard and realize there is no choice but to let go. Acceptance is a small, quiet room.” – Cheryl Strayed
This rarely gets talked about in the self-help world. Your biggest fear isn’t that you’ll fail. Your biggest fear is that you’ll try as hard as you possibly can and put everything on the line, yet still fail. This does happen.
Survivorship bias explains the unfairness of the world. It means that you only see the winners, but don’t see all the people who were equally talented and hardworking who tried the same strategies and failed. Meritocracy is a myth. There are too many variables including dumb luck.
Sometimes you’re not cut out for certain routes and you weren’t as good as you thought you were. You can have faith in yourself that doesn’t lead to success. You can have faith in other people who can let you down. There’s no such thing as certainty or absolute safety.
So, the answer is acceptance. Don’t aim to live a perfect life. You will have high highs and low lows. When things are going well, enjoy them. When you go through rough patches, setbacks, heartbreak, tragedy, sit in those feelings instead of trying to fight them.
Acceptance doesn’t mean you’re okay with everything that happens. It means that you’ve accepted what’s happened without trying to run from it.
‘The unconscious doesn’t care about happiness, or sadness, or gifts, or bullets. It has one single goal, protect the ego, protect status quo. Do not change and you will not die.” – The Last Psychiatrist
One of the main themes of the blog run by TLP is that you’ll do almost anything to avoid change, no matter how bad you feel your life is. I used to view people through the lens that they wanted to change, but couldn’t. Instead, I see it in reverse now. They don’t want to change at all.
I’m reminded of another quote from Jennifer Melfi, Tony’s psychiatrist in the sopranos:
“We crave familiarity, even if it’s bad for us.”
Instead of thinking that you want to change your life, consider all of the ways you derive a perverse satisfaction in staying the same. Again, it’s your little cocoon of rationalizations you get to hide in.
You like not having what you really want because you get to claim you’re ‘down to earth.’ You want to stay in that crappy relationship because you don’t feel like you deserve real and healthy love. For some, it comes to the point where they wear their maladies as badges of honor. So quick to slap labels on ourselves to absolve responsibility.
Change is scary because it disrupts your ego. If you want to stand any chance of fighting against your ego and changing, you have to understand just how self-centered you are. Self-centeredness doesn’t just mean arrogance and bravado. Being timid and hesitant are self-centered ego-based traits too. You won’t change because you care about the concept of ‘you’ way too much. I’m not providing an easy answer. Just diagnosing the problem.
“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome.” – Brene Brown
Most people think of vulnerability as over-sharing your feels and just talking about all the problems in your life. Nope. Again, that’s easy to do.
Real vulnerability means you expose yourself to pain. It’s living the equivalent of standing straight with your shoulders back. It’s realizing that diving into a situation boldly and confidently will hurt more if you fail, but it’s better to do it that way than half-ass it to protect your little ego.
That damn ego again.
Some of the most amazing states of being have nasty downsides. To be in love, you have to risk heartbreak. To build strong friendships and bonds, you have to risk betrayal. If you want massive success, you have to risk public embarrassment, rejection, and failure. If you want to be authentic, you have to speak words people might hate you for, even try to ruin your life for.
No risk. No courage.
Lately, I’ve been focused on avoiding trying to predict the future at all. My life has had so many twists and turns at this point that it’s pointless to try to predict the exact outcomes. I can focus on being brave, being myself, putting it all out there, and giving it all I got. If I do that, I’ll be good with whatever happens.
“None of it is real. Money is digits on a screen. You are a person in a meat suit. What you see in nature is only 40% of what is actually there. People are placed in your life as a reflection of your own consciousness. Loosen up. Live life and have fun doing it.” — Logan Fitz
I’ve found that taking things too seriously makes it harder to get them. Take money. Some people work super hard over it, stress about it, and let it dominate their minds, yet they never make all that much of it. There are others who take money less seriously who make tons of it with a lot less work.
They make more money because they take more risks because they take money less seriously. They try seemingly impractical ideas to make money because why the hell not? The latter people aren’t better people than the former. They just look at things differently.
Some people are more confident than others. Again, they take themselves less seriously. They’re not as preoccupied with what others think of them because they understand that they don’t have to take the impressions of others to heart.
The less seriously you take reality itself, the more you’re able to manipulate it. People who are too practical, pragmatic, and realistic are almost always stifled. They’re tight. The universe doesn’t like tightness. It likes openness.
You have to put in a ton of work to succeed, sure, but there is something to be said about having a desire for what you want and just asking for it sincerely. You can’t ask sincerely if you take life too seriously, though. Unless you look at life as a game, it’s hard to make these outlandish requests and expect they’ll happen.
So, look at life more like a game. You’re not going to be here all that long anyway. Why so serious?
“Life is a journey, not a destination.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
I make ten times the amount of money as I did a few short years ago. It has alleviated my money problems, but the money didn’t fix my life. Actually, I just want more of it. Millions of people have read my work over the years. The number of views I get in a month were numbers I used to dream about. Now they barely register a blip on the radar.
I’ve achieved most of the goals I had when I was younger. I wanted to be an author. Check. I wanted to quit my job. Check. I wanted recognition for my talent and intelligence. Check. This might lead you to think that I’ve come to the conclusion that achievement is hollow and purposeless. Nope.
Achievement is a spiritual exercise you need to go through. As Naval Ravikant says “Win the game so you no longer have to play the game.” Scratching the itches helps you achieve a more enlightened state.
It’s hard to be broke and not care about money. Easier to realize money isn’t everything once you’re rich. It’s hard to realize recognition doesn’t matter when you feel undervalued. Easier to figure that out once you get it. It’s hard to understand that achievement itself doesn’t change you until you do it and realize it simply gave you permission to feel differently.
Meditate in a room and claim contentment if you want, but I suggest you go on a journey. One that involves both the spiritual and material elements of the world. Getting what you want doesn’t make you whole. But you do grow along the way. And you learn that growth was the entire point in the first place. Like The Alchemist, the adventure inevitably brings you right back home.