Are you full of it?
Are you serious about this self-improvement game, serious about changing your life? Or are you just BSing yourself?
These are important questions to ask because we’re currently in a time where self-improvement is needed the most. It’s been one hell of a year so far. I’m publishing this at the beginning of September. Who knows what society is going to look like even a few weeks from now, let alone months.
I want you to think about how you’ve been handling this rollercoaster of a year. Have you been letting your emotions yo-yo up and down with each news story, tragedy, or circumstance in your life? Or have you taken advantage of this time?
I’m not saying you have to be perfect. You don’t have to be this self-improvement robot who feels no emotions. I was taken aback when everything started to go down. Of course. I’m human. But after a bit of initial shock, I settled back in and focused on building.
I advised my audience to do the same. And I got push back.
“How dare you talk about staying focused right now! You’re being selfish and ignoring all the tragedy around us.”
I saw other self-improvement writers and ‘thought leaders’ buckling, capitulating, talking about how drained and out of sorts they were. You could look at my approach in one of two ways. You could see me as a cold, heartless, and indifferent to the plight of the world.
Or you can just realize that I actually practice what I preach.
Everybody loves to quote Marcus Aurelius and Seneca until it’s time to be stoic. Millions of people have read the book grit, but fail to use it when it matters most.
If self-improvement doesn’t apply when the world spins into chaos, then what exactly is the point of it? You use self-improvement at all times. It’s just like investing. You don’t invest only when the market is going up. You ‘buy the dip’ and invest when everyone else is scared.
Warren Buffet has a saying for this:
“Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.”
Well, everyone is afraid. So be greedy. Now is the time to stay focused and double down. I won’t coddle you, which leads to the main difference between me and other self-help writers.
I’m not going to pretend everything is going to be okay and I’m not here to make you feel good. I’m here to help you change and get what you want no matter what.
If you’re looking for self-care routines or someone telling you to take a break, there are plenty of other writers out there. If you want someone to tell you to just accept yourself no matter what, I’m not the guy for you.
I have a main theme in my messaging — understand how the world works vs the way you think it should work. I want you to be optimistic, not idealistic. This is why I make sure to weave in the dark side of reality with the light.
Yes, on the one hand, the world is a place of abundant opportunity. On the other hand, there are dark elements to human nature, black swan events that can throw your life out of whack, and much of life is marked by tragedy.
You need to figure out how to navigate both. Well, you don’t need to do anything, actually. That’s another theme of my messaging. Nobody is putting a gun to your head and telling you to read my writing. My messaging has been called aggressive, abrasive, and even mean.
I write this way because I want to treat you like the world treats you. Too many people get swindled by these infantilizing messages coming from fake saviors and fall into a pit of learned helplessness. That’s the thing about those good sounding rosy messages. They might make you feel good, but they’re laced with a pile of negative consequences.
Why not just take your medicine upfront and get on with it?
You can make it in 2020 and beyond.
People have been making it throughout centuries of human history. We’ve had plagues before, worse ones. We’ve had wars, depressions, nuclear threats, terrorist attacks, stock market crashes, and each individual human life is punctuated with downfalls.
You can make a decision, not just for the rest of the year, but for the rest of your life. Are you going to be the type of person who learns to roll with the punches or are you going to fold each time a crisis comes?
After this is over, there will be a period of prosperity where everyone forgets about the past. We experienced that period of irrational exuberance after the mortgage lending crisis. People didn’t learn their lesson and got caught with their pants down a full decade later.
Again, I practice what I preach. When this downturn hit, I already had a cash reverse, I had skills, and I had the flexibility to make moves. If you don’t have those things right now, start building.
Now is the time to start that side business so that you have flexibility five to 10 years from now. Now is the time to seriously think about how secure you actually are instead of getting lulled into a false sense of security.
Don’t get caught flat-footed again. Let the pain of this situation be your teacher. Pain is valuable and when used properly can be a beautiful source of inspiration.
The point isn’t to beat yourself up. But overcoming hard times and being resilient after failure makes you tougher like scar tissue is tougher than normal skin.
You can have balance. You can work hard on your purpose and practice self-care. There is a time to stay informed and a time to block out the noise of the world. You can do both. You can care about the state of the world while putting yourself first, too.
So, do it.