Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” – Mark Twain
That’s a great quote to tell yourself right before you do something that you might end up regretting.
Like getting ass naked and running down a relatively well-trafficked street.
Or, like voluntarily sharing a laundry list of your weird quirks and insecurities on the Internet for everyone to read.
Come to think of it, I guess there’s really not too much of a difference between those two things, and I’ve already done the first one, so fuck it.
This Is Me, Unfiltered
Throughout most of my life, I always tried my best to be the good, well-behaved kid that didn’t get into trouble.
I tried my best to avoid disagreements and to keep my opinions to myself.
No matter where I was, or what I was doing, I always wanted everyone to like me. Even if I didn’t like them.
And when someone didn’t like me, it made me angry.
“Why don’t they like me? I didn’t even do ANYTHING to them. What’s WRONG with them?”
I’ve wasted so much mental energy replaying scenarios in my head, going over every single minor detail, worrying about what kind of an impression I made on people.
But within the last couple years, I’ve learned, and finally begun to internalize, a very important lesson: it’s impossible to please everyone.
It’s IMPOSSIBLE to please everyone. The sooner you accept that, the better off you’ll be. – Tweet This
Instead of trying to please everyone, we should focus on pleasing the RIGHT people—the people who share the same interests and motivations as us; the people who understand and relate to us; the people who support and inspire us.
The way you do that is by being more open, honest, and self-expressive. First with ourselves, and then with others.
This means that you have to be able to answer some questions for yourself, like…
- What sorts of things are you actually interested in?
- What sorts of things actually motivate you?
- What sorts of things do you struggle with, time and time again?
- Who do you genuinely enjoy spending time with?
- Who are the people that inspire you?
Once you know the honest answers to these questions, then it’s simply about putting yourself out there.
Stop putting up a front.
Be more self-expressive and allow people to see you for who you really are—give them the chance to connect with you.
This blog has been the perfect medium for me to do just that. Because of this blog, I’ve had the opportunity to connect with so many awesome, smart and ambitious people who share my obsession with self-improvement.
Two years ago, I was scared to talk about self-improvement to anyone I knew. People hear “self-improvement” and they instantly roll their eyes. It isn’t “cool” to talk about self-improvement.
And I get it. A lot of the motivational, self-improvement stuff out there today is really fucking annoying.
“Just be yourself! Because you’re a unique, special snowflake that deserves nothing but the best! And as long as you’re smiling, everything is going to be okay!”
That shit doesn’t help anyone.
But, despite all the crap that’s out there, there’s also some REALLY GOOD stuff out there.
Getting into self-improvement has changed my life in just about every single way. In a very good way. And I continue to learn and grow and improve every single day. Not to say that I don’t constantly run into set backs along the way. I do. And I still struggle with a lot of the things that I write about on this blog. In fact, that’s a big part of the reason WHY I write about the things I write about—to help me hold myself more accountable.
But, it’s a never-ending work in progress. I might have a bad day, or a bad week, but no matter what, I keep on chugging along.
And I’ve finally reached the point where I don’t care if people think I’m weird for writing about self-improvement. It’s become a big part of my life and a big part of my identity.
That being said, it’s not my entire identity. It’s still just one aspect of my life.
I’m Not A “Self-Improvement Guru”
While the Internet is great in that it allows us to connect with anyone anywhere in the world at any moment, it is not so great in that it makes it all too easy to carve out just one aspect of our life and say “This is who I am.”
We’ve all heard of the “social media effect”—an obsession with making our lives look perfect on social media by presenting an idealistic version of ourselves.
In blogging, a similar problem arises. However, the problem isn’t necessarily that we’re trying to portray our ideal selves (though, that can still come into play), but instead, writers often put themselves into little boxes trying to fit the persona that their audience wants them to be. Or, that they think their audience wants them to be.
For example, having a self-improvement blog, I see all these other self-improvement blogs out there, and I often feel obligated to write only about certain topics and in a certain way. Many times I end up scrapping parts of my writing that aren’t “on topic.”
But, I’m more than a niche. I’m not a “self-improvement guru” (God, I hate that term).
I’m not that one-dimensional. No one is.
And even though my writing voice has improved significantly since I first started this blog, I still feel that there’s a part of me that I’ve never fully expressed here.
There’s likely a couple reasons behind that. Corbett Barr of Fizzle.co wrote an amazing post (which inspired me to write this one) explaining that there are two factors which keep us from fully self-expressing ourselves. I was going to try paraphrasing, but he’s a much better writer than I am so I decided it’s best left in his own words:
I think he hit the nail on the head.
Sure, part of the problem may stem from a lack of courage to be vulnerable enough to open up, but the other part of the problem is that it’s just not easy to fully, and accurately, express yourself in writing. I have a hard enough time doing it in-person, let alone in writing.
But, like Corbett says, it’s a learned skill. All it takes is practice. Lots and lots of practice.
Over the last few years, I’ve become more and more open about what I like and what I don’t like (still figuring some of these things out along the way), and by doing so, I’ve connected with so many amazing people that I never would have connected with otherwise.
But, I want to continue to push myself. I don’t want to come across with a watered-down personality. I want to be fully self-expressed (to the best of my ability), so that I can create deeper, more meaningful connections with the people I’m meant to connect with. I don’t want to waste anyone’s time by leading them on to believe I’m someone I’m not.
So, today I’m going to share some things with you that you may or may not know about me. Some of these things I’ve only ever shared with a few people in my life, but hopefully you’ll know more about the real me after reading this.
Here we go…
- I’m 22 years old, but ever since I was a kid, I’ve always been told that I acted older than I am. I’m the youngest of three, so I attribute it to that.
- My parents are both immigrants from Guatemala (the tiny country below Mexico). I know, I look super white, but I’m not. My Dad’s side does have Italian heritage, but it’s a couple generations back and no one in my family knows how to speak Italian. I do know how to speak Spanish—not very good, but enough to get by.
- I graduated from the University of Southern California (USC) in May 2015, with a degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering. I applied to USC sort of on a whim, but I never thought I would actually end up going to school there since it’s known for being so expensive. There was no way my parents could afford it, so it seemed out of the question. But, I unexpectedly ended up getting a half tuition scholarship and a few more smaller scholarships, so I accepted it.
- I have a lot of debt. Despite the scholarships, I still had to take out a lot of money in student loans. It didn’t concern me before because I always assumed I would end up rich one day, but now that I’m finally starting to pay them off I realize how absurd the cost of higher education is in the US.
- I used to want to be a millionaire, but I’m not really motivated by money anymore. My biggest motivation is to do something meaningful, to have the freedom to live on my own terms (money comes into play here, but it’s more of a means to an end, rather than an end in and of itself), and to inspire others to do the same.
- I used to have a strange obsession with donuts. In 7th grade, we had a group project which required us to create an imaginary country and battle the other groups’ countries. My team made Donut Island. We ended up winning and I got so excited that I jumped up on the table in the middle of the classroom and started waving our donut flag like a mad man, until the teacher yelled at me to get down.
- I played soccer for most of my life. I started playing when I was 5 and played competitively up to and throughout high school. In college I played in intramural leagues until my sophomore year when I tore my lateral meniscus. Haven’t really played since then. I miss it a lot.
- I skateboarded for most of my life. I also started skateboarding when I was 5. I would skate with my older brother (who’s 7 years older than me) and his friends. Makes me laugh to think about a 6 year old skating with a bunch of teenagers. But I stopped skating in middle school, and then started longboardnig in high school, which was a ton of fun. Unfortunately, I also had to stop doing that after I tore my meniscus.
- I don’t watch sports. As much as I keep telling myself that I should (mainly for social reasons), I have very little interest in doing so.
- I don’t play video games. Again, one of those things that I sometimes wish I did, just because so many people are into it, but I just don’t have any interest in doing so.
- I barely watch any TV. With a few exceptions.
- I love movies. My favorite genre is psychological thrillers (Inception, Shutter Island, Black Swan, Fight Club, to name a few), or comedies.
- I have a really bad nervous habit of twisting / pulling out my hair. It’s hard to describe, but if I don’t stop I’m going to end up having giant bald spots on my head. It’s embarrassing to talk about. I’ve never been a finger-nail biter, but I imagine it’s a similar type of habit.
- I’m in a very transitional period in my life right now. Two months ago, I broke up with my girlfriend, and last month, I quit my job. Both situations ended the best way they possibly could, and they were very eye-opening experiences that helped me learn A LOT about myself.
- I was in a fraternity in college. It was a crazy experience. I had a ton of fun and I’m glad I did it because it really helped me get out of my comfort zone. But, it’s really not my scene and by my senior year I was pretty much over it.
- My freshman year at USC, I got caught breaking into the aquatic center and jumping off the high-dive at 2 AM. This was the same night (shortly after) that I went streaking. I may or may not have been slightly intoxicated.
- I like to drink. I did a lot of it in college, but I’ve slowed down a lot now. I can’t handle the hangovers anymore. I love having a beer or two and getting a nice buzz while having a good conversation, but I rarely get drunk these days.
- I was raised Catholic, and both of my parents are very religious, but I don’t associate with religion anymore. Unfortunately, this has strained my relationship with my parents a bit, but it’s slowly getting better.
- I’ve had chronic back pain for over a year now. It’s WAY better than it used to be, but I still have some minor pain almost every day. I’ve sort of just become used to it.
- I’m a sociable introvert. Meaning I’m an introvert, and I love spending time alone, but I also love going out and meeting new people. I just need to take a break and recharge my batteries after a long day of socializing.
- Writing is still really hard for me. I love to write, and people have always told me that I’m good at it, but it’s never come easy to me. Each post still takes me forever to write, and I’m always afraid that my posts aren’t good enough. But, I hit publish anyway.
- I hate drama.
- I compare myself to others way too much. Whenever I see someone else my age, or younger, doing something amazing, I get jealous. I know I shouldn’t, but I do.
- I wish I was smarter. I don’t think I’m that smart. I know so many people that are so much smarter than me. The truth is, I work hard, but I just try not to show it. For some reason, it’s not “cool” to show how hard you work. Which is STUPID. I want to change that.
- I was depressed in high school. I was never diagnosed with depression because I never went to a psychiatrist or anything, but I had some very dark times when I was trying to figure out what the point of everything was. I never really talk about it, but this is probably why I’m so into self-improvement today. Because I never want to be like that again.
- I don’t know if I’m a good person. I like to think I am, but everything is so relative. I’ve always found it difficult to know where to draw the line between looking out for yourself and being selfish. Sometimes I feel like I’m being selfish, but other times I feel like I’m not selfish enough.
- I might be the worst singer in the world. I’m incredibly jealous of anyone who can sing well. Maybe one day I’ll take a vocal class or something.
- I had a near death experience in Guatemala with my sister when I was 10. We were canoeing in a massive river called Rio Dulce, when suddenly the current picked up. We got pulled down the river, our canoe started sinking, and we ended up having to swim a couple hundred meters to the shore. I’m not the best swimmer and I was freaking out, but luckily my sister is a great swimmer. So, I clung onto the canoe while she swam us to shore. She saved my life.
- After graduating from USC, I went on a three week backpacking trip across Europe. It was one of the best experiences of my life. One of my biggest goals in the next 10 years is to become financially location independent and spend a couple years living in different countries.
- I hate my hair. It’s super dry and frizzy. I wish I had silky smooth hair like my brother. (Maybe this is why I subconsciously pull it out…).
- I love my life and I’m confident I’ll be successful. Despite a less than perfect past and my many shortcomings and insecurities, I believe that as long as I continue on the path that I’m on and just keep working hard, it’ll all pay off. I’m still figuring things out (and I’m starting to believe that it’ll always be that way), but I’m not too concerned about the future. I’ve been trying to be more present lately, so I’m just taking life one day at a time.
Alright, I think I’ve confessed enough for now.
If I’ve offended you, or you just think I’m weird as hell now, thanks for reading anyway. I hope you find the right people for you elsewhere.
But, if you’ve identified with any of my strange quirks and insecurities, you should probably subscribe to my newsletter (just enter your email in the “Join My Newsletter” box below). It’s free and you’ll get updates sent straight to your inbox whenever I publish new articles, plus I’ll occasionally send you exclusive content not found on the blog.
Either way, at the very least, I hope this post has encouraged you to start expressing yourself more fully (both online and in real-life).
Writing this post felt great. You should really give it a try.
I’d love to hear a weird/fun/random fact about you—just leave it in the comments below!