Don’t you hate those lessons you keep coming across and still haven’t learned from? What’s strange about these lessons is that often a one-time exposure to them is not enough.
They are difficult lessons to learn which you need to be stabbed in the heart by multiple times to understand, learn from, and eventually implement.
These are lessons that I’ve ignored myself and that I stupidly dismissed as not important. Not all of them were common like you’d expect as you are about to see for yourself.
1. When you fall on your ass, it is good
This one takes some time to grasp. Falling on our ass is a metaphor for huge struggles. Struggles like watching someone die, breaking up with someone you love, losing your job and saying goodbye to your best friend forever.
These struggles cause you to fall on your ass. It’s easy to dismiss them as bad luck or completely useless situations designed to mess up your life. What good can come from them?
If you have been there enough times and tried to see an alternative answer, eventually, you will see that falling on your ass is good.
When everything is messed up and life seems meaningless, and even cruel, that’s the environment you need to create a massive change. The changes that transform your life for the better don’t come wrapped up in a comfortable doona and a soft cushion for a pillow.
If you can fall down enough times and see the good from it, you’ll find a way to get back up and be stronger for it.
From the pain, comes enormous growth.
2. What you get comes down to what you help others get
Social media and the internet has made us selfish.
We want to have people acknowledge the freaking awesomeness of our existence and have our piping hot meal delivered in 3.5 seconds to the comfort of our own home. This is the ugliness of modern-day privilege.
With privilege comes entitlement and the rejection to help others get what they want. We become so focused on ourselves and our ridiculous goals that we never dare help another person.
Wrapped up in all of this selfishness is a meaningless pursuit in life that becomes boring and debilitating if lived long enough.
Feeling fulfilled and living a life of meaning comes down to how hard you are willing to be selfless and help others win.
If you can help others win, you can find a way to discover value in your own existence that will burry the ‘likes,’ Lambo’s and designer clothes in the cemetery of broken dreams and useless pursuits.
3. The answer is in what you did last night
I listened to a lady the other day describe her dream to be a scriptwriter. The dream was one she wanted for a very long time and she was getting on in life feeling like it would never happen.
Accidentally and rather impulsively, I asked her what she did last night. She wasn’t sure if I was joking. I asked her to list the activities one by one.
In the list of activities the night before, there was nothing to do with scriptwriting. It may have just been an off night. We played the same game for the two weeks prior — the same outcome. Nowhere in her daily activities was scriptwriting found.
She was looking to me for advice but the truth is the answer was lying in her daily activities.
If you have a dream to be or do something, it better be found in the activities you’ve done in the last twenty-four hours. Otherwise, all you are doing is cheating yourself and looking for answers in places where you won’t find them.
4. You want the good life too soon
A lot of people are living this lie without realizing it.
My own impatience killed my dream of being a musician and it was because of this lesson. We want to live the good life far too soon. We think it will take months or a year. The reality is that achieving a big goal or reaching your ideal life is probably going to take at least five years, or a decade or maybe even a lifetime.
The good life is that way because it takes a long time to get there. You won’t feel that you have reached the good life if you get it easily. What makes the good life feel so good is when you’ve had to experience all the struggles and thoughts of giving up to get there.
No goal that comes easy feels good. You should want the goal to be hard and maybe even impossible.
5. The workload is double what you think it is
Spend time looking at the routines of your heroes or idols.
You’re going to be shocked. Whatever fictitious amount of time you think you need to be spending on your goal, you’re probably way off. A few hours after work is nice but the level you are dreaming about is well beyond that in reality.
I remember reading about Kobe Bryant and thinking that if you trained every day, you might have a chance at playing in the NBA and achieving some of his milestones.
As you start to read about his life, you pretty quickly realize that Kobe has done what he’s done in basketball because he has a huge workload.
He wakes up really early and has done more workouts by 9 am than most of us would do in a month. Tim Ferriss is the same. He’s written many good books and it looks from the outside like he writes in his spare time. Each book seems to be written over a couple of jam-packed months. That is a lie too.
Those who know Tim best will tell you that he’s obsessed with writing and regularly goes off the grid to faraway places in upstate New York where the forest is thick and there is an abundance of mountains, to write.
The same has been true in my career. People email me all the time thinking that a simple question like “Where should I publish my work?” is the answer to why they’re not where they want to be as a writer/blogger.
These questions are just a success hacking distraction that has nothing to do with the problem.
I started out writing two articles a week, then four, then eight and about two weeks ago, I wrote twenty articles in one week. That same week also had some of the biggest results I’ve been able to achieve to as a writer. Coincidence? No freaking way.
From the outside, it looks as though mastery in your area of interest is straightforward and can be done in 30 minutes a day. This is the lie of self-help and the goals you care about have a much more rigorous workload than the fantasies in your mind are telling you is the case.
Double your workload. If that doesn’t work, keep increasing your workload until you start to see a positive shift in your results.
6. Your gut rarely makes a mistake
What shapes our lives are the decisions that we make, right or wrong.
When making a decision, we get a gut feeling about which is the right answer. Learning to pay attention to these gut feelings will make a huge difference. Like me, if you look back on all the decisions that you now no were the wrong ones, you’ll see that your gut was right and you ignored it.
If a decision feels wrong when you first need to make it, this is a clear sign of what you need to do. Even if it’s hard, following your gut is crucial.
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