One of the emotionally trying moments in my life was when I turned thirty. While there was an excitement at leaving the teenage years behind when hitting twenty, the idea of saying goodbye to the twenties was pretty nauseating. I think it’s likely because, at the “old” age of thirty I hadn’t accomplished my life’s goals (like 99.9% of all thirty year olds).
However, as I look back, the problem itself was even more fundamental than simply “not reaching goals.” Although it probably would’ve caused more emotional distress at the time, what I didn’t even realize then was that my life was even more adrift than I thought.
I didn’t even really have any goals, other than vague ones like I wanted to write someday. I never looked at myself in the mirror and asked myself: where is your life going?
I was working a job that I enjoyed (teaching) and had quite a talent for. However, I was at a religious school that seemed to thrive on negativity. While I enjoyed the students (and they loved me as a teacher), it wasn’t a fulfilling job. Although I didn’t really want to stay there, I surely had developed an alternative plan. At least something, right? Nope.
I disliked my working environment, knew I didn’t fit into the stifling culture, felt no passion for my subject matter, yet I had no drive to do anything about it. I was coasting, not only at work, but also in life. And, my life was far from fulfilled. Each day was simply “blah.”
It wasn’t until I was let go from that teaching job that my life underwent a radical change. As I faced joblessness, I “woke up” to a few important realities about the world and myself. Here’s what I determined:
-I didn’t want to work my entire life for someone else, retire, then die
-A career shouldn’t take precedence over family, friends, and other relationships
-Religion, government, or any other institution isn’t going to save me
-A man who is compliant and agreeable and risk averse is no man at all
-My number one focus can’t be other people; it must be me
Of course, simply having those “a-ha” type moments means nothing. However, I was determined to take these realizations and change my reality. I had to go beyond complaining and make real and lasting change in my life. Lots of guys get convicted, have some fire in their guts, then settle into everyday mediocrity a few weeks later.
It’s been nearly three years, but I’m still going strong in changing my life. While my newfound realizations were mostly negative (because at my job I saw what I didn’t want to continue to be), I re-formulated them into positive goals. I’d never really had concrete goals before, so I guess that was a realization too. Here’s what I realized:
-I would start my own business and work my ass off to achieve it, being patient, building it the right way, and never giving up. I’d fight like hell for my ideas.
-I would put people, especially those loyal to me, first.
-I wasn’t going to “go with the flow” ideologically or institutionally. Bishops, bosses, politicians, etc. weren’t going to tell me how to live my life.
-I would stop being the “nice guy” and man up. Being agreeable had gotten me absolutely nothing but hardship. I would pursue my latent alpha male tendencies that I’d let institutions (especially religious ones) suppress for many years.
-I would make choices that benefited me, with an eye to how my success could in turn benefit others.
Three years later, I’m still pursuing these goals and, quite successfully, I might add (although it’s a process). These insights led me to study the research to be more popular and excellent. Essentially, they led to the creation of this website and the writing of my recent book.
But, most important, life is so much better. While everyone has down days, my new mentality has allowed me to enjoy life on a much greater level. I look forward to waking up and I have more energy than I imagined was possible. Every person I meet and every new event I seek is an opportunity, not a burden.
Where is your life going? Better yet, where is your life now? Are you happy? Are you coasting? You might be just comfortable enough to not care, but do you really have happiness?
If you don’t, it’s not too late to be happy and find your own way in life. I waited until I was thirty-two. But, better late than never. Check out our posts here and our book for insights that have helped me find more success, popularity, and happiness. Let your life be changed.