Am I the only one who is struggling to figure out the formula to pause the space and time continuum? I could have sworn I just turned 21 yesterday, but some how I woke up today reminded that I’m 24 by many of my friends and family. I could have played the “ignorance is bliss” card and be whatever age I want, but I just cant seem to get my family to forget the day I was born!
If that was possible, I’d probably choose the age of 16. That was a damn good year. No responsibilities. Basketball 24/7. New DragonBall Z episodes Saturday morning. Stupid mistakes justified by my age. The joy of having our oldest friend get his license so he could drive us to the dollar movies. If that’s not paradise, I don’t know what is.
But to be quite honest, 23 was definitely a life changing year. It didn’t start out as life changing, it actually started off not too great with some business decisions I made. But it ended up being quite the adventure.
There are a few important things I learned during 23 that want to jot down for myself and readers, if any, to remember.
1. “Don’t go through life, grow through life.” – Eric Butterworth
I’m not the man I was a year ago. I’m not the man I was a month ago. And I’m not the man I was yesterday. If I met myself a year ago the old me would wonder “Who the hell is this guy that looks just like me but doesn’t feel like me?”
This past year has had it’s ups and downs. I don’t dare to say I made mistakes or have regrets. I prefer calling them learning experiences. I’ve had many of them, and I don’t wish at all to go back and change them. Each learning experience has enabled me to grow as a person and a leader, which is why I’m thankful of them. Looking back a year later I can confidently say that some those experiences have now allowed me to make much better and more profitable business decisions.
I think of myself as a virus that is constantly mutating with every experience I have. There is no cure for me, and there is no promise that my symptoms will remain the same day to day. If you try to stop me, I’ll grow at an even faster rate. So you have two choices Neo. Either let me be and mind your own business. Or inject yourself with this virus and experience the world from a different point of view.
I’m growing. I’m learning. I’m experiencing life with an open mind and god damn I’m enjoying it.
Never stop growing.
2. “Men [and Women] are not prisoners of Fate, but only prisoners of their own minds.” – Franklin Roosevelt
No, it’s not up to God.
No, these weren’t the cards you were dealt.
No, there is nothing stopping you.
The hardest thing to do is look in the mirror and figure out that your worst enemy is yourself. But the easiest thing to do is blame the other factors around you that you feel are hindering your progress. We sit here and we compare ourselves to others. We use imaginary “what ifs” in our mind that scare us from achieving our dreams. We tell ourselves that we’ll get to it “some day.”
I know. I’ve done it as well. It is scary. It is hard. And we might fail. But we’ll never know if we don’t try. I rather fail knowing I tried, because I hate “what ifs.” I don’t play the “what if” game. I play the “what next” game.
Stop being lazy. Stop making excuses. Stop blaming others. You are in control of your own fate, you choose whether you succeed or fail. When it’s all said and done there is no one to blame and no fingers to point. Realize this and break out of the prison that is worse than Azkaban, your mind.
Nothing is holding you back. Here is your “Get Our of Jail Free” card. Use it and be free.
3. Family. Health. Money.
Cherish the time you have with your family and friends. Take great care of your health. And then worry about money.
I will end with this beautiful lesson:
The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, he said:
Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”