5 Things I Wish I Knew 10 Years Ago
Today is my 29th Birthday, and as I enter into the last year of my 20‘s I have been in deep reflection of what a massive journey it has been to get to the place I am now. Mentally, physically, spiritually, the person I am today has changed massively for the better; a bulk of that change being within the last 4 years. And I’ll tell you what, though I am grateful for every hardship I faced because it prompted me to find and actually use all the tools at my disposal to get better, I can’t help but wonder what my life would be like now had I had these same tools 10 years ago. Which is why I have chosen to share what I have learned with you in the hopes that you use this knowledge to find great success in your own life.
1. Life Gives Great Tests
When hardships are thrown your way, that isn’t God unjustly punishing you. It is God testing whether or not you are ready for your next phase in life. Every test you “fail” (or don’t show progress in) will be repeated until you are finally ready to move forward in progress. Some of the main study points for these tests include but are not limited to:
• How do you react to hardships? Do you sit in your negative emotions playing the blame game? Or do you problem solve to move forward?
• Do you take responsibility for your part in things? Hindsight is 20/20 and there are always ways you could have handled situations better, but are you able to release your pride enough to see it?
• Do you give yourself and others grace? People make mistakes. Are you able to forgive so that you can release the weight resentment brings and move forward with your life?
• Can you distinguish whether a situation is toxic, or if it’s you creating the toxicity? Sometimes YOU ARE the problem, but can you put your justifications and excuses aside long enough to see it?
Which leads us right into:
2. You Are Not A Victim Unless You Choose to Be
If you keep ending up in the same situation over and over again there is only one common denominator… YOU. Everyone has trauma to some extent, so don’t think others can’t tell if you are throwing your own pity party. They can and it is a huge turn off. One of the quickest ways to lose quality friends and stunt your life growth is playing the victim, ESPECIALLY around people who have squashed their own victimhood. People who have conquered their own trauma and refocused it into something better are the people you want to be around to inspire your own success. But if you are too busy being absorbed by your own hardships to release the mindset of “victim” you will lose the people actually capable of helping you and you will eventually lose sight of where you want to go. You’ll end up spending your life wasting your potential. How do I know this? Because not only have I watched it happen, but had I not woken up one morning and made the CHOICE to change my own life, that is the very future I would have faced. Stuck in the same patterns of unhealthy thinking, living, and manic depression. I was the problem so I was the one who needed to change.
3. You Get to Create Your Own Identity
Just to be clear, this does not mean pretending to be someone you are not. This is the major downfall of social media: You only see what others want you to see. So when you see your friend with that 9-5 job wearing a fancy watch and expensive clothes you think it means he is killing it in life, living it up, and happy. When in reality he is living rent free in his parents basement which is the only reason he could afford those things, hates his job and dreams of something different. But because of “clout” chasing, he’s stuck. DO NOT fall into that trap! Creating your own identity means building your life the way you want it to be and TRULY becoming the person you want to become! Not just on social media. If you want to be strong yet kind, there are books you can read and learn how to cultivate that within yourself. If you want to build a successful business there are people you can surround yourself with who have already done it and can teach you everything it takes to get there. The more skills you acquire, the more valuable you become. And this includes people skills! Personality is not permanent. I am living, breathing proof of that. If I can change from “victim” to victor, I have no doubt in my mind you can do it to. But it isn’t my doubt that is holding you back. It’s your own. And doubt will creep back in along the journey, the key is persistence and choice to continue to change especially when it is most difficult.
4. Don’t Worry About Others Opinions: Good or Bad
If you spend your life worrying about other people’s opinions and whether they will approve or disapprove of your decisions, you will spend your life in limbo, constantly struck by anxiety over things you never will even try to accomplish. Life is a leap of faith. If you want something, if YOU feel it is your purpose in life (so long as that purpose is helpful and not harmful to yourself or others), then the only opinion that matters is yours. You have the power to not allow others to project their own fears of risk onto you. You want to write that book? Do it. You want to open that business? Do it! Big risks get big tests, but those tests are only there to make sure you are ready for the responsibility your successes will take. Because big risks also mean big rewards if you push through to the end, “no matter what, until.”
Very few people have supported all of the decisions I have made for my life (I can count them on one hand). The only difference between me and you is that I didn’t let my naysayers stop me. And you have that power too! This also goes for the positive affirmations. If you continue forward only because of the praises you are getting, what happens if the praises stop? DOUBT creeps back in. He has a funny way of doing that. Doubt will feed on any insecurity you have and if your only source of confidence is external, the minute the going gets tough it will be so much easier to quit. There is a beautiful parable called ”This Too Shall Pass” that teaches us the power of impermanence. Nothing in life, whether good or bad, is permanent. I would rather be in a perpetual emotional evenness than ride the waves of impermanent emotional fluctuations. So when something good happens, great! I enjoy it, but I do not let it sway me. And when something bad happens, ok! I work through it and I do not let it sway me. Put a time limit on your highest of high and lowest of low emotions. Start with a time frame that is reasonable (Maybe for you that is 24 hours), then over time widdle it down to as little time as humanly possible. I started at 24 hours and I now fluctuate between 2 minutes and 2 hours depending on the intensity of the good or bad event. Then I put my nose down and get back to work on building my life the way I want it.
5. You Know Nothing John Snow
There is only one thing I know for a fact in this life: No matter how much I “know” I still know nothing. This outlook allows me to be a great student of life. It allows me to write like this to you without fear of embarrassment of being “wrong.” Because “wrong” is relative and life is a journey. My path has lead me to these belief systems now and in 5 years these belief systems will likely evolve to something different, but that’s how it should be! If I were to look back on these 5 things in 5 years without new or additional perspectives, THAT would be embarrassing to me. I would rather form a belief system and evolve that belief system the more experiences I have, books I read, and people I meet than stay stagnant in one place for the rest of my life just to try to prove myself in this exact moment to be emphatically correct. We don’t have to prove ourselves or our beliefs to ANYONE in this life. Why? Because someone else doesn’t need to believe what we are saying so long as WE believe what we are saying. And if you learn new information that changes your beliefs for the better, fantastic! But if you close your thoughts off to the world thinking you are right and everyone else is wrong you will only stunt your own growth. So be open, be humble, and grow a thirst for learning life. It’s so much more beautiful and different than learning in the structured format of school. There are so many other things I could share with you, but I will have to save those for another day. Happy May 14th, may this day find you blessed.