When you find yourself thinking the words “I hate life” you know that change is long overdue. These 4 simple words signify a deep rooted feeling that has been festering for a long time — perhaps years or at the very least, many months. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. I have endured many years of waking up to a restless soul tormented by the words, “I hate life” rattling through my subconscious.
It’s an impossible way to live. A state of being where happiness cannot live. Thankfully, there is an open door waiting for you. Sometimes we need someone to show us where to look. There is a way out of this mess.
I Hate Life — How Did We Get Here?
I understand the pain of reaching your breaking point in life, when you wake up day after day thinking, “I can’t do this anymore,” knowing that, “I can’t go on this way. Something has to change.” But here you are, trying to find a way out. Searching for some hope to change your life.
Because you’re reading this now I know that you want to know what to do when you hate your life? How do you turn your life around when life falls apart or the life you’ve been living no longer aligns with who you are today? Keep reading please. I’ve lived the story and I know what it takes to turn hating your life to loving your life. It’s very possible if you’re truly ready to make the changes necessary.
The words of Seneca:
“Putting things off is the biggest waste of life: it snatches away each day as it comes, and denies us the present by promising the future. The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow, and loses today. You are arranging what lies in Fortune’s control, and abandoning what lies in yours. What are you looking at? To what goal are you straining? The whole future lies in uncertainty: live immediately.”
My Story | The Short Version
In April of 2012 I lost my job in the video game industry. I was an artist/designer who once loved his career but over a span of about 16 years I changed a lot. This career I once loved became something I hated, but even more worrying for me was the realization that I could no longer do the work anymore. It was a physical sensation that this chapter of my life was over and being laid off alongside about 30 other people was the final slap in the face; the universe was telling me what I already knew deep inside, “It’s over! You can’t continue living this way.”
What followed were several years of agony, pain and misery. Initially I was lost. What was I going to do with my life? How would I make money? I was never the type of person who enjoyed menial work so ‘just getting a job’ wasn’t going to motivate me. Luckily, I had a supportive girlfriend who was willing to give me money and pay the bills until I figured it out. I was lucky. If I didn’t have her to help I’m afraid the trajectory of my life would have been very different. We all need someone to lean on in our darkest moments.
Things weren’t wonderful just because I had money to survive. You see, I’ve never been someone who just wanted to ‘get by’ in life. I didn’t aspire to ‘just survive.’ I wanted to do something with my life. I’m a creative soul who dreamed of doing something meaningful with my life. This chapter of poverty and hopelessness was not what I had in mind. Not even close.
Again, how I was I going to make money. With my career in the rear-view mirror and with a future I could not see, I struggled to find my path again. I was so lost it hurts just thinking about it now. But, I didn’t give up trying to find my way. I kept searching for answers. I was better than my circumstances and I was going to crawl out of this hole even if it killed me…and it almost did.
One day I stumbled upon a podcast named Smart Passive Income by Pat Flynn and I started listening. He spoke about online business and interviewed people who were making a living via their online businesses. It was a revelation to me. It was a world that I wasn’t truly conscious of at the time. I just listened voraciously, all day long. I started listening to other podcasts with a similar focus. These podcasts would be the fuel I needed to power my way out of the mess I was in. Knowledge is power, but more importantly, knowledge is hope for a better life. Hope that there was a way out of the darkness. Up until then I was completely lost but when I heard the inspiring stories of others, I could see the road to a better life.
Once thing you have to keep in mind is that your best ideas brought you here to this point in your life. Your best ideas brought to a town called “I hate my life.” And, if you want a different future you have to introduce new ideas into your thinking. You need to be humble and listen to others who have found a way out as you’re doing now. Put your ego aside and accept that you don’t know what you don’t know. You need ideas that work. Ideas that have been proven and tested. If you had better ideas then you likely wouldn’t be in this mess, so take it from me, the way out is to learn from people who have turned a life of misery and poverty into a life worth living, a life filled with hope.
I’ll speak about my journey more in future articles. I could write a book about them and perhaps one day I will but I just wanted to share a little of my story so you can see that I can relate to how you feel. I’ve been there and it was a difficult place to be in, but this was also the inspiration for me to create this site, Pivot or Die, to help others who are walking down the same dark road that I walked down. Nobody wants to be alone in the darkness so my hope is that I may be able others who are struggling to create the life they know they deserve. Only time will tell if I’m successful or not. Either way, my journey has many shades of gray but I’ll save it for another day.
I Hate My Life. Now What?
None of us are born unhappy and miserable. No child dreams of an unhappy future, filled with disappointment and misery. This isn’t in our DNA. We didn’t start our lives hating it, so how the hell did we get here?
I take a holistic view to solving my life’s problems. I always have. Sometimes you have to step back and try to see yourself objectively. From the outside looking in. As humans, we are emotional creatures and we can’t help but see our lives through the lens of our emotions. We feel our way through life. We follow our instincts and react to our emotional core. If we are angry we are more likely to respond negatively to a friend or stranger. When we are content we are far more likely to be kind to ourselves and to those around us, more willing to help a brother or a sister.
You and I, we’re not so different. Our emotional palette is the same for you and I. Stop thinking that your separate from others.
My point to this is that we enter the world full of life, optimism, curiosity, joy, hope and ambition, but somewhere along the way we get lost. Life forces us down a detour (or two) and takes us further and further away from our true nature. It can happen suddenly, as in an illness or it can happen gradually, over years. Perhaps marrying the wrong person and then feeling stuck in the marriage hoping things will get better, but it never does.
Far too often, we wait too long to take control of our lives, forever waiting for lady luck to step in and change our fate. This never works. It’s up to you to change your life. Please remember that.
What is Your Nature?
As humans we have created an identity for ourselves in which we feel a separation between our species and all other species on the planet. Do you know that you are an animal? What I mean by that is, are you conscious of this fact as you move through your life? Most people don’t consider themselves an animal, it sounds, well, kind of offensive to people. How dare he call me animal. How do you respond to that fact?
This small obvious and intellectual point makes a big difference in how we see ourselves in the world. You see, as an animal you have innate needs. What’s at the core of what you need as a human being? I don’t mean this in a general sense, I mean specifically. What kind of animal are you?
If this seems confusing, don’t worry, it will all make sense by the time you’re finished this article.
Let’s take a look at fish. The diversity of fish on the planet is enormous — over 15,000 species on the planet. Nobody would expect a shark to survive in a lake because that isn’t its natural habitat. A shark belongs in the ocean. It belongs in saltwater with vast amounts of space
Inversely, nobody would expect catfish to survive in the ocean because they’re freshwater fish. Despite the fact that sharks and catfish belong to the same species, they have their own unique traits and habitat that they require in order to thrive.
How about bears? All bears are not the same. The needs of a grizzly bear are radically different than a polar bear. Nobody questions this. We instinctively understand that a polar bear thrives in the extreme environment of the arctic circle, whereas grizzly bears thrive in North America and are primarily found in woodlands, forests, alpine meadows and prairies. Polar bears are carnivores and grizzly bears are omnivores.
So what do fish and bears have to do with anything? Well, we belong to an animal species known as homo sapiens, and although all humans share the same biology as well as behavioral and emotional traits, we are in fact, quite different in many ways, such as temperament, likes and dislikes, our sense of taste, our preferences such as social, political and environmental, our desires, ambitions, sense of self, confidence, belief, etc.. The list goes on and on. The answer to discovering the life you should live can be found in these intangibles.
Our emotional and environmental needs differ between each and every one of us. Our requirements to live a fulfilled life are the result of the experiences that have shaped our lives (our history and our interpretation of it), in addition to our unique DNA, which is also influenced by environmental conditions, known as epigenitics.
When the world breaks you down and you feel the weight of your life suffocating your spirit, it’s a symptom that you are out of alignment with your true nature and the life you are currently living. When you say “I hate my life,” what you are truly saying is that there is a signficant conflict between what I need and what I have. Perhaps it’s only one thing that’s misaligned. For example, perhaps you’re a creative person who has a lot of ideas and you love to express yourself and connect with people. But, for 40 hours a week you find yourself stuck in a cubicle in a corporation where everyone stares at their screen all day with headphones on. Maybe you’re an executive assistant, event planner or elementary school teacher, but you’d rather be writing your novel, painting on canvas or teaching art therapy.
If you hate your career or day job then it’s only a matter of time until you start to hate your life. You can’t separate yourself from the work you do for 40 hours a week and expect to be a contented person. It’s impossible. Sure, many people try to rationalize their lives and convince themselves that the money is good or the work is stable, but their is a cost to denying yourself of your needs. Listen, if you’re a fish you need to find water. Period! If you don’t, you will die. I say that metaphorically speaking. We both know that you won’t actually die, but your spirit will die, and it’s not okay.
You can’t be fulfilled if a large majority of your life is spent misaligned with who you are. Sorry, it’s impossible, so stop lying to yourself.
Whatever you’ve been doing isn’t working. If it was you wouldn’t be reading this now, would you? Of course not, you’d be too busy living your life rather than thinking about how much you hate your life and trying to figure out how to change it.
How to Change Your Life
The first step to changing your life is realizing that things aren’t working and that change is necessary. What brought you here won’t take you to where you need to go so before anything will change you have to accept the fact that something must change. I know it sounds obvious but far too many people like to sit around and wish their life away. Is this you? Do you simply hope for a better life without actively doing anything about it? Are you willing to take action and make tangible changes?
If the answer is “No” then I can’t help you. Nobody can. If this is the case then maybe you haven’t suffered enough yet. It’s amazing how pain and suffering inspires people to change. I know it worked for me. Fortunately, you don’t have to wait until things are unbearable before you start making changes.
Okay, we’ve established you hate your life and that things need to change. It’s taken me a lot of words to establish these two simple points but without context there can be no true understand. Change happens when you have the humility to acknowledge that life isn’t working for us — coupled with the realization that change must take place before the negative feelings about your life can begin to shift. The act of change creates a feeling of hope and possibility in your psyche. It’s subtle at first but over time the momentum will grow as you continue your commitment to change.
If you start to change your behavior and take meaningful action then your hope for the future begins to change. Even if you hate your life today, the act of change enables you to imagine a different future; a better tomorrow that is more aligned with your true nature. The very act of making small changes sets forth in motion a ripple effect of change that scatters forward in time.
Think of it this way. Let’s say you write a novel. You think it’s finished. There it is in front of you, lying on a table. In your mind you see yourself trapped in your circumstances, as thought they are permanent. Your thoughts go over the same story again and again just like the book sitting on the table. Our thoughts become trapped in limited thinking, and we feel as though we’re on a merry-go-round that never stops.
Do you feel this way? I know I did. The repetition of thinking the same limiting thoughts is enough to drive you crazy. It’s an error in thinking that you need to realize is a lie. So stop right now! Your life has endless possibilities. The life you have lived up to this point in time is not an indicator of your future. It’s a choice you make. If you change your behavior, you change your future. You are not limited by the past. Our history is an invaluable source of information that will allow us to inform our future.
Your life isn’t working. You already know that. You know why. Be honest, stop rationalizing your life. Nobody wakes up and thinks, “I hate life” without knowing why. You absolutely know why. You know things have to change.
The ending of your novel, which is the story of your life, will have a brand new ending the moment you begin to rewrite the words. What actions can you take right now to begin the rewrite of your life?
Try this: Take out a pen and paper (no computer) and begin to write down the things about your life that you hate. Start writing without thinking. Do no edit. Just write. Once you’ve written everything in your life you hate then start writing the life you want. What does your ideal life look like? How would you like to spend your day? What type of activities do you want to do?
Ok, but I still hate life. What do I do?
You begin. Right here, right now, you commit to begin again. You commit to change. Despite your fear, anxiety, loneliness and hopelessness, you commit to making meaningful change despite how you feel. This is a critical point that needs to be understood. You feel horrible. I know. You feel stuck. I know. You hate your life. I know. You’re worried. I know. Sometimes you feel like you just want to die. I know. With all of those feelings churning inside of you, it’s imperative that you move forward and carry those feelings as you begin to take action. I promise you, in time, and far quicker than you think, these overwhelming feelings will begin to dissipate. Action dissolves fear and anxiety.
Yes, you’re filled with emotions. So what! Let’s focus on the solution. What can you do right now? Don’t worry about tomorrow. In fact, don’t worry at all. Focus on what you can do in every single moment. You know the life you want. You have goals you want to achieve. What steps can you take in any given moment that will move you toward the life you want to live?
Most people believe that they can think their way through problems. They incorrectly believe that if they think long enough they will eventually resolve their life issues — and this is how people get stuck in the thought-loop. Thinking breeds thinking, which is exactly the opposite of what you need to get unstuck.
Action and movement is the way through to a better life. Analysis is paralysis. Remember that. Thinking without action is paralysis. I’d argue that it’s better to try new things and fail than it is to spend endless amounts of time in the search of the perfect solution. There is no perfect solution. Perfectionism is an excuse that enables inaction and paralysis.
The Way Out is Through Meaningful Action
From 2012 to 2014 I was completely lost. I never knew hopelessness could be so debilitating. I had almost nothing and and I had no idea how to re-imagine my future. I didn’t see a future for myself. It was a time in my life that I will never forget. I woke up day after day wanting to die. Without hope, life is bleak. I wish I had someone to help me through that chapter of my life but I didn’t. I had to figure it out for myself. It was extremely difficult for me. There are no words to fully explain the hell I walked through to be here right now writing these words so I’m not writing this from an intellectual perspective. I’ve lived it and I’m here to tell the tale.
Believe me, as I write, I feel extremely grateful for the life I have now, but I will never forget the challenges I had to endure to get here. Wherever you are in your life, I just need you to know that change is possible if you are committed to pursuing a life worth living.
The only way to change your life is to take meaningful action day after day. If you want to see your friend you have to put one foot in front of the other to meet up with them somewhere. You can’t stand still and expect your friend to magically show up exactly where you’re sitting right now. It’s unreasonable. In this scenario, you accept that you have to take action and start moving toward where you and your friend decided to meet up. You’re life is the same. You have a destination. You know where you belong. Now you have to take steps to move towards that goal.
Yes, change is difficult. So what. Keep moving. Keep taking action. Do the things you need to do despite how you feel. You’re feelings can’t be trusted.
Yes, that’s a fact…
Your Feelings Can’t Be Trusted
We are unable to separate ourselves from our feelings. We experience the world through the lens of our emotional self. Unfortunately, our feelings are the result of our upbringing and societal conditioning. Most people grow up in dysfunctional families which shape our instincts in a manner that we don’t necessarily want to be bound be. Our feelings are not always rational. Have you ever overreacted to someone, or some random trigger, like a loud noise or an authority figure? If so, then you can blame your unconscious conditioning for your irrational behavior. You didn’t choose your reaction, it happened to you. It’s a reflex.
I know you want to believe that everything you do is the result of rational choices that you make, but the truth is we are often slaves to our emotions — yet we always find an angle to justify our behavior. No matter what you do, you have a reason for it that makes you feel better about it. Listen, even murderers justify their behavior, otherwise they wouldn’t commit the crime. It seems we always find a reason (or invent one) to rationalize everything we do. Does that sound rational to you? We’re strange animals indeed.
You may feel that you’re life is over because you recently broke up with someone you love. In the moment, it’s devastating, and you feel that you can’t go on. In our moments of pain we distort our future and cling to irrational conclusions that have nothing to do with reality. Our emotions distort everything, including our ability to make rational decisions.
Luckily, in these moments when we’re drowning in emotion we have the ability to turn to our intellect. You know intellectually what you need to do but your feelings often hijack your rational mind and drag you through despair, leaving you stuck in your feelings. This is another form of paralysis via analysis. Your feelings force you to think the same debilitating thoughts, again and again.
Emotions are healthy, don’t misunderstand me. We all need to feel and experience our full range of emotions. The problem arises when get stuck in repeating those same recordings over and over, unable to move forward.
We Become What We Repeatedly Do
As much as we all want to believe that we are who are out of choice and free will, it’s simply not true. We develop as the result of how we spend our time. In other words, we are shaped by our environment. Who you are is not necessarily a choice. You didn’t choose to be the person you are today.
Let me give you an example from my own life.
As a kid I loved hanging out with my friends and goofing off in front of a camera. We would film ourselves acting out, pretending to be on David Letterman’s talk show. One of us was Letterman, the other the guest. We would act out scenes that we improvised on the spot. We spent two full summer’s filming ourselves pretending to be professional wrestlers. I loved to perform as a kid. It was in my Blood. But something happened along the way to adulthood.
You see, my parents never saw this part of me. They were uneducated and simply were not available to nurture this side of me. I was a kid, I didn’t truly believe that I could be an actor or a filmmaker. I didn’t have the capacity to think about it seriously. It was an innate aspect of who I was but it wasn’t nurtured and eventually that side of me was left behind.
I eventually got my diploma in graphic design and I also took one year of fine arts. Why didn’t I go to school for performance or film? Well, my brother was a graphic designer at the time and so this career pursuit was familiar. I understood it. It was also creative so it seemed like it was the right choice for me at the time — but it was a big mistake.
At the time I liked video games so I thought I’d eventually be able to get a job in the video game industry, which is exactly what happened. In 1996 I landed a job at Electronic Arts and I was ecstatic about it. Guess what? Now, I set myself on a path which involved me sitting at a computer screen day in and day out. Really? I enjoyed performing, making films and improvising with people and now I’m going to sit down all day and stare at a screen?
I wasn’t conscious of what was happening in the beginning but within about 3 years of beginning this career that I initially loved became something I hated. If only I had the capacity to think this decision through before embarking on this long journey, how different things could have been. Unfortunately, I didn’t have someone to help me align my nature with my career.
Back to my initial point: We are what we repeatedly do. The repetition of sitting by myself in a cubicle for about 14 years essentially conditioned me to be more introverted, independent and far less social. I didn’t choose to become a loner but the repetition of this way of life made me into someone that I didn’t want to be. And sadly, it became comfortable. Once you become a certain way, it becomes very difficult to imagine yourself otherwise. In the same way that rocks are shaped by the forces of nature, so are we. We’re not immune to the influences we’re forced to respond to. We are a product of everything we’ve ever experienced.
Fast forward to 2015. I couldn’t shake the feeling that in my youth I was social, free in my body, and a performer at heart. So, what did I do? I took an acting class. I knew that in order for me to reawaken my true nature I had to force myself out of my comfort zone and put myself in an acting class that would force me to be more free and alive. I have to tell you that from day one of acting I felt as though I had returned home.
I absolutely loved how free and open I felt in that space. It was what I should have been doing my whole life, which also made me feel sad because I began to wonder what I could’ve become had I pursued the life of an actor and/or filmmaker. It was a revelation that reignited my passion for film, performance and writing. As of this moment, I continue to take acting classes and I have plans to write and make my own films.
You Know Who You Are…
I believe that you know who your are deep inside. You never forget. It’s always there. Far too often we’re afraid to acknowledge what we really want and rarely do we find the support we need to go after our dreams. I feel that the life you truly want can be found in remembering who you were as a child. What did you love to do when you were young? What came naturally? What were you doing when you experienced the most joy? Please, think about this seriously. Write it down. Journal on this. The seeds of your future can be found in your youth.
Find the times when you felt the most joy and you will find the road to your best life. It’s going to be uncomfortable at first. You’re currently in a rut — a destination you accidentally find yourself in because the random events of life forced you to take a detour down a road you never wanted to go. But, it’s never too late to create a new path back home.
Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. (Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken)
If you no longer relate to your childhood passions then you need to turn your gaze towards what you’re interested in right now. In this very moment what type of activities do you enjoy? Or what are you passionate about? What excites you? What subjects light up your curiosity. You need to pay attention in order to find the direction of your life.
If money was not a hurdle what would you want to do? How would you want to live? Forget about the “how” for the moment. Dare to dream again. When you were a child you didn’t stop yourself every time you had a thought or a desire. You were free to dream and I insist that you do the same now. Stop thinking and imagine your best life. What does it look like? Write it down.
Trust me on this, nothing destroys the joy of a being human more than the limitations we place upon ourselves. I’ve never met a child who, when asked what he wanted to do with her life replied with, “I just want to get by.” Nobody wants to get by. Humans want to thrive, to fulfill their potential, to experience the feeling of being alive, to seek out community and share the experience of life with other humans beings. We want to love and express and explore the full limits of our nature.
“People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances with our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.” (Joseph Campbell)
You may have convinced yourself otherwise but you’re not kidding anyone. Somehow your world got small. You let fear stop you from acting and being yourself in the world, and over time the repetition of hiding has brought you to this place where you walk through life with the the thought, “I hate life.”
Imagine A Life Worth Living
So you hate life. Fine. My question to you is what are you willing to do about? It’s time to take action and escape the monotony of your life. By escape, I don’t mean with alcohol, drugs or mindless activities. The only way to feel contentment is to challenge yourself through actions that bring out your talents — to do things that scare you and take you out of your head and demand that you be completely present.
Anxiety and depression is an epidemic in our society and although I won’t make an attempt to solve the problem in this article, I do have some strong opinions on the subject. Some people have a true chemical imbalance and need professional help but I believe that the more time we spend in our head, thinking and analyzing, without taking action; the more likely we are to be paralyzed by anxiety. Action takes you out of your head and forces you to interact with the world.
Humans belong together in the real world. Our dependence on smartphones, computers and gadgets is a major problem in our culture and a major factor in our disconnection from ourselves and one another. How can you be truly content when the majority of your relationships take place on a screen. How much of your time is spent (wasted) clicking away on the internet, absorbing useless information that only serves to distract you and drain your life away.
I’ll write about this issue down the road, but for now, be aware that there is a cost to everything you do. Distracting yourself endlessly and pissing away your days will never lead to joy, and in fact, will fuel your anxiety, depression and discontent.
The Only Way Out is Through
Why do you hate your life? It’s important to understand the roots of your discontent in order to find a solution. You didn’t choose to be in this place in your life. It wasn’t a choice. Life has forced you to go round and round the same groove and now it’s so deep that you don’t know how to get out of it. The monotony of life has taken away from your natural habitat. Remember my analogy with the fish and bears. Well, you’re essentially a fish out of water or a polar bear who finds itself wandering around Hawaii. You need to make your way home. Where is home? What does your ideal life look like?
In order to change your life you need to determine where you want to go. You wouldn’t take a vacation to Spain without a plan. It’s time to force yourself outside of your comfort zone because if you continue to repeat the same behavior you’ll get more of the same. Essentially, you have to force yourself to act in new ways, and, over time, this will force you to adapt and change to these new circumstances.
For example, if you’re a shy person you have to force yourself to meet new people. So how can you do this? Take a public speaking class. Take an acting class. Take an improv comedy class. Join a co-ed volleyball team. Take a dance class. Do the thing that scares you.
Most people do everything they can to avoid the things that make them uncomfortable but this is the wrong approach. You need to move in the direction of your fear. Every time you turn away from your fear you give them more strength and power over you. This is absolutely critical to understand. When you turn away from the things that make you uncomfortable you, in fact, strengthen the power they have over you. Remember, you are what you repeatedly do. Keep turning away from your fears and you become more fearful, but this also works in reverse.
If you continue to face your fears then you will become less fearful. The beginning of this process is uncomfortable, sorry, there’s no other way around it but your uncomfortable feelings will continue to lessen with each confrontation with your fear. You need to continue to move in the direction of the life you want to live despite your fear. We all have fear. Every time I go to acting class I feel nervous but that doesn’t stop me, and at the end of every class I feel completely invigorated, confident and alive. Over time, this repetition of acting despite my fear will permanently alter my nature, for the better. You become a product of your behavior, which is exactly how you became who you are right now.
Do you notice that I’m being repetitive with my points? It’s because I know that repetition is the best way to change your thoughts and behavior. When you hear something once it rarely sinks in to your psyche but if you hear the same idea said in different ways it will eventually start to register in your subconscious. Your best ideas brought you here so you need new ideas to alter the trajectory of your life.
How Do You Begin?
I’ve covered a lot of ground in this article, and to be honest, It’s been challenging writing this. I realize that I have a lot to say and I can’t squeeze it all into one article, nor is that my intention. I knew it would take time to give shape to Pivot or Die. This is only the beginning of long journey. It will take years for me to make this what I want it to be but I need to start somewhere, and this is where I begin. This article is flawed. I wish it were better, more focused, more concise, but for today, this is a good start.
Starting something new is always difficult. It’s fraught with apprehension and anxiety. Where do I start? What do I want to say? Will anybody care? Will anybody even read this?
Tomorrow I will begin again. Every moment is an opportunity to shape my experience and form it into something that is closer to my intention. It’s an ongoing battle that can never be won. The point is to keep growing and moving forward. Perfectionism will paralyze you, so stop it.
Don’t Worry About Tomorrow, Take Care of Today
I had the idea for this site over a year ago when I was on vacation in Kauai and it’s taken me all of this time to begin. Why? I had to take care of my immediate challenges first — trivial things like, oh, making money. I was broke when I came up with the idea of Pivot or Die. I knew what I wanted it to be but I wasn’t ready to start yet. I had to get my life in order first before I felt like I had any right to give people advice. I wanted to put in practice everything I knew towards rebuilding my own life so I can share my actual experiences and not simply espouse theories on how to change.
Everything I write about is from my own experience. I’ve been through hell and back, again and again and I’m here to tell you about it. We all have our own definition of “hell.” I know it’s subjective but for me it was poverty and losing control of my life. I was lucky because I had someone to keep a roof over my head while I figured it out, but I figured it out. I didn’t stop trying despite my suffering. Yes, I had moments of utter despair — in fact, I had years of gut-wrenching despair. I’ve lived it and I was fully conscious. I had to choose to act from my intellect when my emotions were overwhelming.
When I wanted to jump off a bridge I had to focus on the moment and ask myself, “What can I do right now to move me towards a better tomorrow?” I had to remind myself of the dreams of my youth and believe that I had so much more to do with my life. I had a lot to give. So much I wanted to express and create. I had a life that was unlived and despite the hurt I was feeling I found a way to go on. I found the root of my problem and actively searched for a solution that aligned with my nature.
I was broke. I wanted to live life on my own terms. I wanted to dictate how I spent my own time. I stumbled upon podcasts that talked about people who were making a living with their online businesses. Aha, yes, that can give me the money and freedom that I need. That would allow me to live anywhere in the world and still make money. I could truly achieve freedom if I embarked on this journey. I felt a sense of hope.
Not only would this lifestyle allow me to make money but more importantly it would afford me the opportunity to pursue my creative aspirations, like writing and perhaps I’ll make enough money to fund my own indie films. I think of myself as an artist and a creative soul first and foremost. I started my own business so I could afford the life I want and build a life of stability so I can create exactly what I want to create and not be a slave to any system.
Yes, I’m simplifying the process but once I stumbled upon a viable solution to my actual problem I was able to latch on to my hope and propel myself forward. I immersed myself in the world of online business and learned as much as I could. Suddenly I had something to focus on other than my misery. I was focused on learning. Little by little, day by day I kept my eye on the prize. I knew what I wanted in the long-term but I had to focus on the small victories. I took baby steps. After about 8 months I was making about $1600/month. It was a long way from the money I needed but I was responsible for making every dime. My effort was paying off which fed my hope and increased my confidence.
Focus on what you can do in each moment. What action can you take right now? You can do everything all at once so there’s no point in thinking about it. It’s daunting when you approach your problems at the macro level, but it’s important to keep in mind your long-term vision for your life. Elon Musk had a vision to create an affordable electric car for the masses, but in the beginning of starting Tesla Motors he had to focus on assembling the best group on engineers he could find. The future will take care of itself if you take care of each moment and commit to it completely. You need a compelling future or your motivation will quickly wane.
Currently, I have two online businesses that continue to grow. One of my businesses is Fitaboo, a fitness equipment company. The other on, I’ll keep to myself for the moment. I plan on selling it sometime soon. I’ll keep you updated on when I have something to share.
The Moment Everything Changed For Me
When I was down and out, struggling to get through the day — struggling to find hope in a better tomorrow. When all was lost for me I remember the thought that changed everything. I’ll never forget how hope reached into my soul and lifted me up. It was a moment in which I felt a shift in my consciousness. I went from victim to feeling a sense of control within a few seconds. No, it wasn’t a miracle. I wasn’t suddenly happy and joyous but their was a subtle shift.
I remember feeling that I had more to do in life. I had more to give. I hadn’t realized my potential and this is not how I imagined my life to be. I recall feeling that this is not how my life will end — broke and broken were not my destiny. I was better than this. And so I thought: Whatever I have left inside of me. Whatever talent and strength remains, I will use everything I have to move forward, to get out of this mess. What do I have to lose?
But, the most important thought I felt in that moment was: What can I do with the life I have left? I posed this as a challenge to myself. I was 43 years old at the time, so I wasn’t a young man. But the shift in thinking that changed my trajectory was when I created a challenge for myself to own my life and truly use everything I had to get out of this mess. What can I accomplish with the life that remains? If you had no fear, what could you do with your full attention and focus? Do you understand my point?
It’s up to you to make the decision. You have to seriously commit to fully being yourself in the world, without fear. The fear will kill you. Everyone is afraid of something. We’re all afraid to be rejected, to fail, to look stupid, to be discovered as a phony, to be judged. We’re afraid of so many things. But what I had to do, and what I’m asking you to do, is to move in the direction of your life, of your talents and passions, despite your fear. Fear will always be there, but the difference between those who live a contented life and those who don’t is the very decision to act despite the fear.
I understand that we’re are all different but the one thing we all have in common is our humanity and our emotions. You and I, we’re so different. It’s only the details that differ. You may love math and I love to create stories but at the core of both pursuits is our passion and excitement in learning and discovering something new. You and I, we’re the same. I understand.
I know I’ve covered a lot of ground here in my first post but it’s only the beginning of a long journey. My hope is that I can help get you unstuck and on the road to a better life. This is my motivation for creating ‘Pivot or Die.’ I hope that I can use my pain and experience to help others avoid and/or escape the misery of living a life that doesn’t embrace who you are. My hope is that I can help you navigate your life toward your natural habitat and build a life worth living.
The challenge to you is for you realize that your future is up to you. You can’t change the past. Who cares what happened yesterday. You need to direct your energy toward what you can control. What can you do right now? What can you do today to move your life forward?
And you also need to form a vision for your future? What can you accomplish with the life you have left? Imagine if you could pursue the life you want. Imagine all of those things you’ve thought about your entire life but were afraid to pursue out of fear; why not pursue them now. See what’s inside of you. See what is possible. Run toward life with wild abandon as you did as a child. What do you have to lose? Pride, ego…what is it? What’s keeping you from challenging yourself?
Eventually you will die. You know that intellectually but you have to be conscious of this fact so you’ll stop wasting time. There is no tomorrow. Take care of today and the future will take care of itself.