In all likelihood, you have no idea what you want to do with your life. And so you’re looking for or taking advice from those with your best interests at heart. But do they know what those interests are? Not likely. Do I? Most definitely. Not. Only you do, and the sooner you start listening to you—the better.
In the name of a good life, it's time to embrace your individuality and put your needs ahead of others opinions. One of the great things about adulthood is, you're no longer a lemming unless you choose to be.
This is the stuff they don't teach in the classroom. And that's a problem, because, with spastics like Trump pre-occupied measuring the size of his cock with North Koreas very own lunatic, King Kong Dong—the number of those falling victim to stress related diseases continues to soar.
Trust me when I tell you, there’s a lot of shit you can avoid that you don’t want to endure. And while it's conceivable you’re more mature than I — wisdom is on my side — so perk up while I share six things I didn’t do that I should have, and irrespective of how different our personalities may be—you probably should too.
1. LISTEN TO YOUR GUT
A free spirit at heart, I tried my best to conform in spite of my gut begging me not to go down the traditional path which terrorized my mind and shattered my belief and confidence. Once I had my degree — after much resistance and procrastination — I found myself in an office doing a job that was in no way suited to my personality, and I was paralyzed to do anything about it for years.
Besides the fact, a Unicorn would have put the shits up me back then—there are two forces at play which ensure this way of living is in no way unique, and I have a theory as to why it can be so devastating.
THE FORCE OF PARENTS:
Like most, I wanted to make my parents proud, and I craved societies definition of success: wealth. In the world of influence, the law of reciprocation states that by doing good for others, they are more likely to do good for you in return. It's natural for a child to do whatever they believe will make their parents proud because nobody gives more than a parent to a child. Therefore, a little nudge can be met with incredible force.
I’m not picking on parents. However, within this lies a catastrophe because parents only want their children to be happy — but unfortunately — most have no idea what that is. So they go by what their parents taught them and how their peers are parenting. They too are human, and they too get pulled into the "Keeping up with the Kardashians" disease. And everybody suffers. Yes, my parents suffered from my poor decisions, and yes, many of those decisions were made to make them proud.
THE FORCE OF EDUCATION:
Education is linear. Life is not. Many leave education loaded with self-doubt, and clueless as to what they might be good at.
Let’s assume you just received a degree in business. What was the journey to get there? A year or two on the tit, potty training, and another year fine-tuning the sphincter before entering education? That leaves approximately 18 years in a classroom, and most are none the wiser as to what they might be good at and what they want to do. One could argue many are worse off because, unless you’re Elon Musk, the dream of joining Buzz Lightyear to infinity and beyond has been well and truly squashed. That’s more special than Trump, but not entirely fair. I knew what I didn’t want to do, but I did it anyway.
It is so crazy that it's considered a rebellious act by many if someone walks away from a career which causes them nothing but misery to pursue one they might actually like because the assumption is they’re giving up stability. This is what you’re up against, kids. So the mentality is to put up with the crap even if it costs you your mind. What kind of warped fucked-up shit is that?
Forget the people pleasing and do what’s right for you. Not what’s right for others.
I took a gap year after University, but looking back I would have gone before. I no longer understand the rush. When we rush, we make mistakes, and when you’re 18 (or 22), contrary to popular belief, time is very much on your side. And when you know what you want to do—you have all the time in the world. The problem with time is that most of us waste it. Travel can teach much of what formal education leaves out as it ignites imagination and creativity.
By removing yourself from the bubble you grew up in where options may seem limited—and interacting with others from all over the globe—your options become limitless. At the very least, you’ll grant yourself time to decide what you might want to do before embarking on a long and expensive journey of what you don’t want to do before one day waking up pissed off and depressed with the epiphany that all was a waste of time. Do that, and you’ll have to start again. Or worse—accept it.
Life is crazy beautiful when you experience it!
3. GET A MENTOR
I’d probably be still snowboarding in the Alps but let's keep it somewhat conservative. Now that I'm chasing a career that excites me, I’d seek out a mentor because I sure as fuck wouldn't know what I'm doing. Someone I admire who is successful in the arena in which I want to play. To give it some context: one of my dreams was to open a menswear store because back then in Ireland, most were shit. I’d then turn it into a chain and become stinking rich with a yacht in the Caribbean, a chalet in the Alps, and a wife for every day of the week. Just kidding, that last part sounds like a nightmare. But you get it, dream big even if you’re going to fall short.
In Dublin, the cream of the crop tailor goes by the name of Louis Copeland. Louis would be numero uno on my hit list, and I wouldn’t stop annoying him until he gave me a job. And whenever he came to his senses, I’d be the best employee he’s ever had. After five years of consuming Louis’ wisdom, I’d be ready to go out on my own. And because my concept was different, I’d be able to convince my good ol’ pal to partner with me, or at least give me money for a slice of the pie. That or four years University? Fuck University*.
*Remember, this is an opinion. I’m not saying to write off University. A University degree is essential for many envious careers. It just so happens that University taught me jack, and life taught me all I know.
4. FACE YOUR FEAR
Many will take you back to our pre-historic days and argue fear is a good thing—will keep you safe from jungle cats, etc. No, it fucking won’t—back in the Game of Thrones days, they knew how to fight. What are we going to do? Snap a selfie? That’s an aside. To a degree, some fear is healthy, but generally speaking, just like panic, fear is a motherfucker. At least when allowed to manifest.
I allowed fear to dictate my life and that shit spread like the Ebola virus. While it might not be fun, you’ve got to learn to rise above it because it’s always going to be there guiding you towards the life you want and making excuses as to why you’re not pursuing it.
It requires action. Belief and confidence are a result of tackling fear. The longer it’s left to manifest, the more crippling it will be. So the sooner you decide to fuck fear, the better. The objective is not to become fearless—that’s not possible—it’s about fearing less.
There’s a course or coach or teacher or friend out there to help you form healthy relationships with your fears. So do something to tackle any fear you agonize over. I'm not suggesting you embark on a decade or lifetime of self-help. I’m suggesting you do this shit now, so you don’t have to.
5. SEEK OUT REJECTION AND FAILURE
A continuum from the previous point: two of our biggest fears are rejection and failure. Therefore, it makes sense that the more comfortable you become with both, the greater your prospects will be. By getting out there, and being open to rejection and failure, you’ll desensitize yourself from the associated fear so when an opportunity presents itself—you’ll pursue it with vigor instead of looking back with regret.
Have some fun with this, make a game of it with a friend, and learn to laugh along the way.
6. FOCUS ON YOUR STRENGTHS
Weakness doesn’t matter if you work off your strengths. Everybody says Conor McGregor’s weakness is his wrestling but does this affect him? No. Because he knocks his opponents out with his fist. Society has tunnel vision for your weakness, and your insecurities fuel more than a few industries. You’ll waste a lifetime trying to be good at things you suck at when you could excel focussing on that which you gravitate towards, or are already good at.
Imagine I started writing 15 years ago? Fuck you—I’d be sensational! Find what you're good at, and do that.
This is your life. You’ve only got one so get out there and live it. For you. Not for others. If you live yours in pursuit of accolades from others, sooner or later you’ll find yourself in some deep shit.
It's not about the destination—it’s about the journey. Don’t take a beating from society to the point where you hate yourself, believe you’re worthless and continue to punish yourself because your mind has been fine tuned to fuck you. I know the pressure of life has already taken its toll on many of your peers, and maybe you too. Change is always possible but it’s your life, so it’s your responsibility.
There are some crazy beliefs out there. You can't be happy all the time. Sometimes life’s just shit, and that’s ok. This is a journey of emotions: the shit ones will disappear if you accept them, and the more you fixate and stress over the positive ones—the less you’ll experience them.
Embrace your individuality, work with your strengths, trust your gut, surround yourself with good people, tell the pricks 'fuck off', and laugh as much as possible.
There are many many paths to success. Nobody has the answer but you, and nobody can define success for you. If you feel alive, you’re succeeding. If not, you’re dying. So get out there and fucking live!