Last week I turned 23.
Instead of going out and getting drunk, I decided to do something different this year.
It was a surprisingly hard decision to make. Not because I wanted to go out, but because I felt like I had to go out. It’s what everyone else does on their birthdays, and it’s what I’ve done every other year for probably the last 5 years or so on my birthday.
But I just didn’t feel like it this year.
I didn’t want to go out and then have to deal with feeling like shit the next day. As of late, the short-term fun of getting drunk just isn’t worth the hangover.
So I asked myself, what do I actually want to do? If there were no expectations and I could spend the day doing anything I wanted to do, what would I do?
Finally, I decided all I really wanted to do was go on a hike. So that’s what I did. I went on a 6 mile hike with my family. And it was one of the best birthdays I’ve ever had.
On that snapchat game: @sganddini
If there were no expectations and you could spend the day doing anything you wanted to do, what would you do? Not just on your birthday, but EVERYDAY?
I feel like I’ve spent most of my life trying to conform to what the people around me expected of me. To fit myself into a mold that I just didn’t fit in. To follow the rules and not question the rules.
But lately, I’ve been questioning. A lot. So far, it’s been extremely liberating.
It can be scary to take the road less traveled. But to me, what’s more scary is the thought of blindly following the herd and spending the rest of my life wondering, “what if?”
I don’t want to live a normal life, with a normal job, in a normal house. I don’t want to be normal. Normal scares the shit out of me.
If that’s what you want, then fine. Good for you. But if it’s not what you want, then STOP. You don’t have to do what everyone else does.
Life is too short to not live the life YOU want to live.
It Doesn’t Have To Be A Big Scary Decision
I’ve written about this before, but I can’t emphasize it enough.
To live the life you want to live, you don’t have to decide what your “one true passion” is right now. You don’t have to know what you want to do for the rest of your life right now. And you certainly don’t have to do anything as drastic as quitting your job right now.
All you have to do is start taking small steps.
In my last post, I talked about how I didn’t quit my job out of the blue. It was the culmination of everything that has happened in my life over the last five years, which has consisted of many, many small steps.
For me, it all started when I went to college and saw the opportunity for a fresh start. My main focus at the time was to become more social, but in the process of working on my social skills I realized that I had an extremely negative mindset. And the day I became aware of the fact that I was not the voice inside my head, my world flipped upside down.
So, that was the very first step: self-awareness. You can’t make any changes in your life without realizing there’s a need for a change in the first place.
It was only after gaining this newfound sense of self-awareness that I was then able to start doing things like taking cold showers, talking to strangers, putting myself in different environments, and writing about all of these experiences here on this blog.
By constantly forcing myself out of my comfort zone and learning to act in spite of fear (instead of out of fear), my self-confidence skyrocketed and I started to realize that I was capable of a lot more than I thought.
You take enough cold showers, talk to enough strangers, and force yourself to do enough things that make you uncomfortable, and you literally start to believe that you can do anything.
The confidence that you build from doing little things, no matter how small or stupid they may seem, is tremendously transferrable to all other areas of your life.
The more you do, the more you realize you’re capable of, and eventually, your entire view of the world changes. Instead of thinking that you have to be crazy to go after your dreams, you start to think that it’s crazy not to.
I remember hearing this quote from Steve Jobs a long time ago, but it wan’t until recently that it really struck a chord with me:
Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.“
I don’t care anymore if people think I’m crazy for quitting my first-job out of college after just 6 months in order to be a full-time blogger. I’ve finally learned that it’s impossible to please everyone, no matter how hard you try, so I’m instead I’m focused on pleasing the RIGHT people.
I know what my goal is and I am committed to doing whatever it takes to achieve it. If I piss of a few people in the process, so be it. I’m more than willing to do so if that’s what it takes to change the world.
I haven’t quite “made it” yet, but I’ve come a long way from where I was 5 years ago, and it feels fucking great to know that I’m living MY life. I want you to feel that way too.
You can’t change your life overnight, but you can start taking small steps in the right direction as soon as you’re ready to. And once you get the ball rolling, your life will start to change.
If you’re tired of living the life someone else wants for you, if you feel like you’re not living a life true to yourself, or if you’re simply not happy with your life for any reason at all, I beg you to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.
Stop Being Selfish
Not too long ago, I felt trapped.
I felt trapped in both a relationship and a job that I didn’t want to be in.
On paper, and to everyone around me, my life looked great. I had just graduated from a prestigious university, I had a well-paying job, and I had a hot girlfriend. What more could a man ask for?
But I wasn’t happy.
It took me a long time to figure it out, but eventually I realized that the reason why I wasn’t happy and the reason why I ended up in these situations in the first place was all because I hadn’t been true to myself. I had been pretending to be someone that I wasn’t.
One of my favorite quotes by Gandhi says: “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
At the time, there was a huge misalignment in my life between my thoughts, my words, and my actions. And as a result, I was hurting not only myself, but also all parties involved. Which made me realize…
You can’t be your BEST self when you’re not being your TRUE self. And this hurts everyone. – Tweet This
Some people might think that going after your dreams and wanting more than a normal life is selfish. That you should just be appreciative of what you have and be more “realistic.”
But I’d argue that not going after what you really want is selfish, because as long as you’re not being true to yourself, you can never be your best self, and this hurts everyone.
On the other hand, being true to yourself benefits everyone. If you’re currently working a job you don’t enjoy, for example, and you’re still crushing it, imagine how much you could accomplish if you were doing something you loved. Imagine how much of a bigger impact you could make in the world.
I know saying “be true to yourself” sounds cliche, but there’s a reason why cliche’s are cliches.
And this cliche should be taken extra seriously for a particularly compelling reason.
The Single Biggest Regret Of The Dying
Assuming our goal is to live a happy and successful life without regret, who better to ask for advice on how to do so than those who have already been through it all?
Bronnie Ware was an Australian nurse who spent eight years caring for patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives. She recorded their dying thoughts, epiphanies, and regrets in a blog which she ended up turning into a book called The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.
In this article from the Guardian, it states that the most common regret of the dying, as witnessed by Ware, was the following:
I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
Let thank sink in for a moment…
When I first read it, it gave me the chills. But it also reinforced all the decisions I’ve been making recently.
Not knowing what the future may bring is scary. But the thought of lying on my deathbed and looking back on my life with regret is the SCARIEST thing in the world.
Which is why, no matter how hard it may be, I am committed to staying true to my path and letting no one (including that voice inside my head) tell me what I can and cannot do.
I hope you’ll join me. Not just for your own sake, but for the sake of the world.
Remember, the biggest risk isn’t that you try something and nothing works out. It’s that you wake up in 5, 10, 20 years from now–or even worse, that you’re lying on your deathbed–and wish you had done something.
Start With This
If you’re ready to start living a life true to yourself, I want you to do two things today.
- Start questioning more. Whatever you have to do today, don’t just go through the motions. Take the time to stop and think about what you’re doing. Ask yourself, are you doing what you really want to be doing, or are you doing what you feel you have to do?
- What’s one little thing you’ve been wanting to do, but haven’t because you’re afraid of what people will think of you? Leave a comment below, and then GO DO IT.
Interested in being 1 of the 15 pilot members for early access to my 30 day “Create Your Passion” course? Details here.