Bashing self-help is all the rage these days.
In 2018 (and beyond) it’s cool to be the nonchalant type who doesn’t care about goals, sees competition as inherently evil, thinks self-help is a charlatan’s game and mocks people who want to improve.
Let’s just call a spade a spade. They’re full of it.
They won’t admit it out loud, but deep down they’re insecure and would try to reach their goals if they weren’t afraid to fail. Maybe I’m projecting, but maybe I’m right.
Forget about everyone else, let’s talk about you.
You want to be a master of the universe, don’t you? You want to see just how much juice you can squeeze out of this life.
Why not own it?
Let other people bicker about trivialities and stay crabs in a barrel.
You get one life. If you want to become a master of the universe, not only should you do it, but you should feel zero shame about it.
From now on, I’m only writing for the people who want the message. I don’t care about the opinions of people who aren’t trying to construct reality as they see fit. I don’t have even have the slightest feeling of wanting to convince the skeptics anymore.
There’s a large group of us who want to experience life at its fullest, explore our creativity to its deepest depths, and shape the world around us by our beliefs and actions.
To do that, you’ll want to reshape the way you think, unlearn and relearn your belief systems, and begin to play your own game instead of the one society wants you to play.
Let’s talk about how to do just that.
“Your personal experiences make up maybe 0.00000001% of what’s happened in the world but maybe 80% of how you think the world works.” – Morgan Housel
We all believe in the idea of reality. We think we lived in a fixed environment with rules to be followed. Of course, there’s some truth to the idea of a concrete reality — you don’t jump off a bridge because the concept of gravity is quite reliable.
But what about everything else?
Outside of the natural laws of physics, reality is pretty much whatever you think it is.
The extent to which our perceptions shape reality is more deeply embedded than most of us realize. Like, deep, deep. You’ve constructed a set of rules for how the world works based off of “0.00000001%” of possible experiences. And, for most of your life, you’ve lived by these arbitrary rules.
Have you ever stopped to ask yourself why you accepted these “terms of agreement”?
Probably not. Most of us “check the box” because the “fine print” – the other 99.9999999% of possible belief systems and rules for life we could follow — is too hard to sift through.
If you want to master your mind and master your reality, it will happen through that process of exploring that extremely large set of possibilities most people never bother to explore.
“We’re here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise, why else even be here?” Steve Jobs
Far be it for me to tell you what your dreams should be. I can only speak on what I think you want and try to give you the tools to achieve it. From what I’ve observed, most people want to make an impact. The impact doesn’t have to be worldwide, but we want to feel like our life means something.
What gets in the way?
Our inaccurate perceptions get in the way. The fact that we spend most of our lives trapped in petty annoyances get in the way. We spend too much time playing a rigged game — the game society gave us.
If you want to become a master of the universe, someone who can reconstruct reality to fit their highest aims in life, you’re going to have to have the opposite attitude you’re accustomed to having.
You’re going to have to master the way you think. You’ll often feel like you don’t belong because everything you experience in daily life will contradict the way you think.
Why go through all of this? Why focus on self-improvement at all?
That’s a good question.
My answer? You don’t have to. You can stop reading this and go about your life. I’m not the type to convince, just suggest and open some mental doors for you.
If you’re still here, let’s walk through those doors and talk about the realizations you’re going to need to make and the attitude you need to have to live your version of an extraordinary life.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness
That most frightens us.” – Marriange Williamson
You want to know why playing it cool and coy in the face of your dreams is so en vogue?
The alternative frightens the hell out of us.
You’re a dreamer, but you have this internal monologue running through your head all the time. You know yourself well, including all of your deepest fears and insecurities. Why should you be the one to be “powerful beyond measure”?
Williamson goes on to say:
“We ask ourselves
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be? “
I love the attitude that comes across in this poem.
Like, hold up, where in the book of life does it say you are virtuous for not getting the most out of the talents and skills gifted to you? Why don’t you let your light shine as brightly as possible?
You’ve been conditioned to feel guilty for your ambition. Don’t be. Own it.
You’ve been afraid to become the best version of yourself. Stop. You can be.
Why is becoming brilliant frightening? Because when you have everything in front of you for the taking, you’re balancing on the fine line of ultimate success and abject failure that proves you were never meant to “leap” in the first place.
That fear is worth facing. And, odds are, your goals are worth pursuing regardless of the outcome because of the person you become in the process.
If the effort needed to become the best version of yourself wasn’t enough to have on your plate, you also have to deal with this truth…
The world constantly tries to knock you off balance.
The “resistance,” the inner critic, or whatever moniker you want to give it, seeks to throw a monkey wrench in your plans on a daily basis.
I’ve learned to anticipate it. I’ve just accepted up front that life isn’t going to be fair to me. I decided to pay the price of admission a long time ago.
See, the world trying to throw you off isn’t the problem. It’s the fact you don’t see it coming. Health scares, marital problems, office politics, daily self-doubt, financial woes, the myriad of circumstances that come with being human are all set to come for you at any time.
There is a way to develop a healthy sense of, for lack of a better world, paranoia, and give yourself the mental tools to deal with it all.
Marcus Aurelius put it better than I can:
“Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.”
Develop your “weapons of reason.” Do something to keep yourself grounded — read, meditate, journal, it doesn’t matter.
Most others not only expect good things to happen…but to happen without turbulence. Not you. See the world for what it is – a chaotic mess you have to navigate with grace.
I can’t tell you how many times I feel like correcting the world around me and the people in it. I see something on the news that upsets me and I’m ready to stand on my soapbox. The people in my immediate environment could all use an attitude adjustment.
If only everyone around me acted exactly the way I wanted them to, life would be great. If only my circumstances suited me perfectly, life would be great. Not only is this attitude not useful, but it also takes away from my mission.
You have a mission, or two, or three. You’re either on the mission or don’t know what it is yet.
Either way, your need to control the world around you takes you further away from your mission.
I tend to do my best work when I come to this realization. I snap out of my funk and realize all of the energy I’ve spent in vain could’ve been used to make my own life better. Then I get back to work.
You could spend your time trying to coerce the universe into getting what you want. That’s what most people (including myself at times) do.
Or, you could spend your time chipping away at your highest aims in life and let the will of the universe become desperate to make you happy. People who chip away at their goals attract success like a magnet because the work itself is the aim, not the goal.
The more you direct yourself to your purpose(s), the less time you’ll spend focusing on the petty aspects of life you have no control over anyway.
Nobody cares about your goals and dreams.
In fact, nobody else believes in them. Hell, at times, you’ll barely believe in them.
Here’s what’s going to happen when you start the path to self-improvement. You’ll get excited. You’ll want to become an evangelist and tell everyone how their lives can be improved. Maybe you’ll share some of your ambitions and ideas with them.
Their reaction will feel like a cold splash of water.
You’ll soon come to realize the world isn’t waiting for you to make your big achievement.
What do you after that? You keep working. You build whatever you’re building in silence. When people ask you to go out for drinks, you politely decline and stay home to work.
When people ask you, “How’s that thing going?” in a tone that sounds more dubious than curious, you’ll tell them “great,” and cut the conversation before the point where they start giving unsolicited advice.
You let the world keep spinning while you focus on winning. Not for anyone else, but for you. That’s the key part.
In the beginning, you may be driven by a chip on your shoulder or the need for external validation. Those feelings won’t sustain you long enough to finish building your empire. You’ll need to develop a sense of internal validation — you’re working hard simply because you want to work hard and see what’s possible.
Then, when you do win, people will come to congratulate you. They’ll tell you how lucky you are. How they always knew you’d make it.
You could be tempted to respond that your success had nothing to do with luck at all and get on your soapbox about how nobody believed in you.
Just politely accept the praise and continue to the next mission.
Shouldn’t I, shouldn’t you just be happy with what you have?
Why have these big goals and ambitions? It seems selfish.
Wouldn’t it be better to search for contentment?
But that’s not what I’m doing.
I want to become the best in the world at what I do. I want to leave my mark even if, in the long long long run, it doesn’t really matter.
I wake up every morning and try to do the same thing–take over the world.
And I want you to join me.