Archives For Epic Living

Recently I sent an e-mail to Get Busy Living subscribers asking what questions I could answer for them to help them with anything they’re struggling with. I got a bigger response than I expected and got great questions that I know many more people are struggling with.

So I’m going to get to al the questions. Some will be in one article by itself, others will be together, and some I’ll answer privately if I feel that is best.

I left out names to provide anonymity and also made any changes to spelling or grammar if needed.

Today’s question is one that is very common and that’s why I want to answer it first. This is the biggest problem I read about and I know the feeling because I went through this in my life.

How to feel ‘unstuck’ in life? I want to make various changes (job, relationships, own self) but I just don’t know where to even start to begin living the best life I can/could.

This is the most popular question I get so thank you for asking.

My advice is from my own experience. I know what that feeling is like. I know the unhappiness and frustration to feel stuck. I will share what helped me finally get unstuck in life.

I hope you’re at a point where you’re willing to do whatever it takes. That means trying new things. That means getting out of your comfort zone. That means doing things differently. That also means having an open mind to take in advice from different sources then trying it for yourself.

There’s nothing worse than someone thinking they know it all and being stubborn. If they did, then why are they stuck in life or running into the same problem over and over again?

Let me be honest about something. Change is hard. I get it. It’s not comfortable. It’s not easy and that’s why many people never live a fulfilling life. They live an average life full of regret. Because it’s hard, you’re going to want to give up a lot. There will be times when you wonder if it’s all worth the effort. I know I did. After thinking about it, I realized that I would be so upset with myself I didn’t keep trying. I was doing the right things, but not seeing results yet. But I believed in the process and the journey.

To get unstuck in life, you must posses one important belief, motto, attitude, or mindset. Whatever you want to call it. Without this, nothing else I tell you will matter.

You have to take 100% responsibility for everything your life. That means the good and the bad. You have to stop complaining, blaming and pointing fingers. When you feel stuck, you also feel that this isn’t your fault. I know because that’s how I used to be. Nothing was my fault. How could it be when I followed everything I should do in life?

There’s one quote that I read that was a wake up call. I can’t remember who said it but it goes something like this.

If you don’t want the next five years of your life to be like the last five, you can’t keep doing the same old shit.

Do you want the next five years of your life to look like the last five? I know you don’t. Then what you’ve been doing has to change. You have to understand that. You can’t keep pointing the blame at people, feeling sorry for yourself, and spending 6 hours a night watching TV.

What has to change is you and much of your life.

I was 32 at the time when I read that quote. I had felt stuck for the majority of my 20’s. I always thought my 20’s would be a great decade. A time when I would discover my passion, work hard, make lots of money, buy a house and car. In my 30’s, I would get married and start a family.

It didn’t turn out like that. I was stuck in a restaurant job I hated. What was worse was that I had no idea what I wanted to do. I couldn’t quit my job because I had a mortgage, bills, and car payment to take care of. So I was stuck and I hated myself for being in that position with no way out.

So at 32, when I hit my rock bottom driving home from work one night, I wrote a letter to myself and wrote I was willing to do whatever it took because I didn’t want to keep waking up and going to sleep unhappy for the rest of my life.

I wanted to create the life of my dreams.

Of course I didn’t want the next five years of my life to be like the last five. I understood that I couldn’t keep doing what I was doing. I could not be the same person and expect my life to change the way I wanted. Old habits had to go. I had to starting building a new version of myself.

I thought to myself, “What I have been doing has gotten me to my lowest point in life. If I start doing the opposite of everything I have been doing, then I would be at the highest point in my life. Right?”

I know it sounds simple, but it made me understand that I needed a new approach. I wasn’t going to literally do the opposite of everything I was doing, but I understood the idea of having to do new and different things in my life.

If some expert said to jump ten times on one leg every morning while saying “I’m going to have a great day”, I would have tried it. I seriously was open to trying new ways of doing things if that was going to help me.

I knew I had to change a lot about myself if I wanted to get different results.

This was the second big discovery. Before in my 20’s my goal was to be happy. In order for me to feel happy, I wanted to find a new career. When I gave up trying to find a new career, I got interested in making money online.

Money was my key to happiness. That’s all I cared about.

If I could just make money online in anyway that allowed me to quit my job, I would be happy. Everything else would be amazing. I would have more confidence. I would fall in love. I would have more time to take care of myself and be more healthy.

I was so focused on getting the results I wanted (money) because I felt that would make me happy. That approach didn’t work cause I turned 30 years old and was more lost and confused in my life than when I turned 20.

Now I’m going to share what helped me finally change my life. It took me many years of feeling stuck and doing it the wrong way. So I hope my experience can help anyone who’s reading this.

To begin living the best life you can, you have to start with yourself. That is the only thing you can control right now. You can’t control when you’ll get into a new relationship nor can you control when you’ll get a new job.

But you can control what you do and what you think. That’s where I began and so should you.

I saw a TED talk by Shawn Achor. Highly recommend to watch it. Then if you want to learn more read his book called The Happiness Advantage.

I learned that I have to be happy first if I wanted to get the results I wanted in life. If I would have read that in my 20’s, I would have ignored it cause that’s wrong.

As a society, we’ve always been trying to achieve a goal in order to be happy in life. If we could make more money, have a new job, get married, or start a profitable business, then we would be happy.

I had been doing it all backwards. I finally understood that’s why I couldn’t achieve success.

When I say happy, don’t think it’s ignoring your problems and walking around with a smile on your face all day long. It’s about changing how you see the world through your habits, your attitude, your thoughts, and your actions.

The day after I hit my rock bottom and wrote a letter to myself, I began this new chapter in my life with a new mindset. I still had the same horrible job. I still had to go to it. I still hated driving to work and being there for even one minute. That part of my life wasn’t going to be changing any time soon unfortuatnely.

I started reading personal development books again to learn what successful people do.

One thing I started to do was a morning routine. A great book to learn more is The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. I also did a podcast interview with him.

I had never done a morning routine before, but I was willing to try something new. One part of the morning routine was to write in a gratitude journal. I had always read the benefits of a gratitude journal.

Even in my 20’s when I read personal development books thinking that reading books would without action would instantly change my life, I had read that I should be thankful. I thought that was stupid. How can I be thankful? I hated my life. What could I be thankful for? I had nothing that I could think of that I was thankful for. Instead I could go on and on about what I hated and what I wish I had in my life.

Now I was at a point in my life where I was open to trying new things. As you can see, I began doing a lot of things I hadn’t done before. I needed to if I wanted to get different results in my life.

As part of my morning, I would write down ten things I was thankful for. Simple things like having a bed to sleep in, having clean water to drink, having a paycheck even though I didn’t like my job, and being able to walk. We take these things for granted and overlook them and instead focus on what we wish we had in life.

I’ve written an article about starting a gratitude habit.

How this helps is that is starts shifting your mind to look for what’s good in life instead of what’s bad. It’s training your mind to see differently.

Another change I made was my health. I’m not suggesting that you need to completely change what you eat and join a gym. Even moderate activity a few times a week has physical and mental benefits. Something like a walk is all you need or any activity that gets your heart rate up and that you enjoy.

I decided to challenge myself to get healthy.

Since I graduated high school, I had always been up and down in terms of my health. I’d go months being in great shape and eating healthy and then many months eating junk food and not exercising.

In October 2011 when I hit rock bottom, I was in horrible shape. Who’s motivated to exercise and eat healthy when life sucks? I certainly wasn’t. I would eat to feel better. During my lunch break, I would go and get fast food, then come back and take a nap before starting the dinner shift. I would eat dinner often after 9pm when it slowed down. When I came home, I would sit in front of my computer with the TV on. I stay up till 1-2am. I woke up 9-10am and would be on the computer or watching TV until I had to drag myself to work again and repeat my day.

My clothes started feel more tight. I had less energy. I just felt crappy every day. So turning my health around was important to me. I knew what it was like to be physical fit. I felt great. I had more confidence and more energy.

Exercise plays in an important part in creating a more positive mind. A more positive mind allows us to get the results that we want in life because we start to see opportunities and answers that we’re seeking.

I did something crazy though. I signed up for a half marathon despite never running that distance. I knew if my plan was to just go to the gym, I would lose interest. I needed something tangible to work towards. A half marathon was a long distance but doable in my mind. I thought if I could run 13.1 miles without stopping then I would be in great physical shape. I followed a free training program I found online. My first week of running was difficult of course. As the weeks progress, I got stronger and my endurance improved.

I also found the more I did it, the easier it was to do. I was training in October, November and December. The coldest months in Florida. Waking up from my warm bed and going running in the cold mornings did not sound fun.

Once I got momentum going by sticking to my training, it was easy to get out of bed. I didn’t have to think about it. I didn’t come up with excuses why not go run. I actually looked forward to it.

Besides just exercising, I changed what I ate. Six days a week I would eat reasonably. No fried foods, no sweet, smaller portions, not too much processed foods. Even on my lunch break from work when I ate out, I would eat Chipotle often cause it was easy to get something healthy. Every Sunday was my cheat day. That was the day I would indulge in every craving I had. I would eat anything I wanted from morning till night. By the end of the day, I would be so full and look forward to the next day when I wouldn’t be eating so much. Doing that helped me stick with the other six days.

Three months after I began I completed my first half marathon. I remember the feeling when I was done. I had done something I never thought was possible. I felt like I could do anything now. I had so much confidence because I started as a beginner. I lost about 15 pounds in the process and physically and mentally felt great. I ended up doing another half marathon just two months later because it was fun.

My biggest goal in life that would make me happy wasn’t to lose 15 pounds, run a half marathon, have more energy during the day, or feel more confident. It was to make money online so I could quit my job. If you noticed I didn’t mention yet about my plans to do so. The old me would have immediately gone online to research the next money making opportunity. That’s what I did before and that’s why I ended up trying ways that seemed too good to be true. I got sucked into courses where I was promised it was easy to make money. These marketers know exactly what to say and what buttons to push to get us to buy.

All the ways I had tried to make money were not interesting to me. I was just interested in making money as soon as possible. When I tried for a month and saw little or no results, I would give up. I lacked patience. This happened over and over again. Since the ways to make money were not interesting, I had no motivation to keep trying.

I said this time I knew I needed to do things differently if I wanted different results. This is why I didn’t jump into whatever money making opportunity came my way. I knew that strategy hadn’t worked for me. This time I focused on improving myself first.

I had to become the type of person that would get results in life, achieve my goals, and be a successful entrepreneur online.

I changed my habits. I read books. In the car instead of just listening to the radio, I listened to personal development CDs I borrowed from the library. I had a morning routine. I practice gratitude. I sold my Xbox video game system so I wouldn’t waste time playing video games. I watched less TV.

I was online researching ideas. I came across people who were making money online and reading their articles. I began listening to podcasts.

All these changes better prepared me when I decided to start this blog in January 2011 and the same month start development on my first iPhone app called Photo 365. As a person, I was better prepared to handle the rollercoaster ride I was about to embark.

14 month after I had written that letter to myself, I had achieved more than I imagined. I had a thriving blog that people loved. My first app, made $30,000 in the first month thanks to Apple featuring it. I got married. I wrote a short e-book. Here’s a year in review I wrote for 2011 that highlights everything.

It’s all because I stopped doing the same old things and expecting different results. I stopped wanting and hoping for a better life. I took action towards that and I started in the area of my life where I could control first.

So to start to live the best life you can don’t focus first on external goals like finding a job, finding love, or making more money as the key to improving your life and happiness.

Start focusing on what you can control. Start focusing on you. See what you’re feeding your mind. That includes what you read, watch, or listen to on a daily basis. Get out of your comfort zone. Learn new skills or improve existing skills you have.

Take a look at the five people you spend the most time with. Are they the type of people you want to end up like? If not, then you need to distance yourself and find new friends. You can do that through local classes or finding activities through Meetup.com.

Get new habits into your life and get rid of bad ones. Rememeber you have to start doing different things if you want to get different results.

The change you want in your life is up to you. You can’t depend on someone coming into your life to change it. No one is going to do it for you. No one is going to save you. It’s up to you and I’ve shared what helped me.

You can start with your health. That’s something you can control. Find an activity you enjoy doing. I like running cause it’s easy. I don’t need a membership or fancy equipment. If you hate running, don’t run. Just go for a brisk walk. Listen to a podcast while you walk. There’s hundreds of ways to get exercise so find what is best for you.

I’ve given you a lot of advice based on my experience. I don’t want you to leave overwhelmed so I’m going to tell you where you should start if you had to just pick one thing. Start with a morning routine. Work on creating your own morning routine which includes gratitude, reading, mediation, some movement, and alone time. Your morning routine is your time. Don’t check e-mail or social media. That can wait till later in the day.

I wish there was a shortcut to success and happiness. For many years, I wanted it to be easy. I hoped so many times that I would wake up feeling like a new man with unlimited motivation and an idea for a business that I could start. I wanted change to happen quickly because I could not stand the life I had. That made me not have patience and also give up on ways to make money online when I wasn’t seeing success quickly.

What you don’t need are top ten life hacks or five ways you can instantly be happy now.

What you have to imagine is that this moment is the new chapter in your life. Forget about the past. Forget about mistakes and regrets. That’s all in the past and nothing can be done about it. Start focusing on each day you’re living. What can you do today to change just a tiny bit?

Creating the type of life you want isn’t going to happen overnight. It’s not going to happen in a week or even a month, but I guarantee that in the next 12 months you can make huge changes in your life. You can achieve more than you imagined in just 12 months. I can say that confidently because I did.

You have to take 100% responsibility for your life first. The only person that is going to change your life is the one you see in the mirror every day. You have to stop making excuses and blaming everyone and everything around you.

I’ve given you my best advice on how to start. It’s up to you to decide what your next move will be. Will it be going back to your old life, old ways, and ignoring everything you just read? Or are you willing to do whatever it takes, try new things, have an open mind, and take it one day at a time?

That is up to you to decide.

If you keep living in the past and keep beating yourself up over bad decisions, regret, and anger then this letter is for you.

To my friend,

I know life isn’t how you want it to be right now. You feel stuck. Things haven’t changed for the better in a long time. You just want to be happy. You want to move forward with your life.

You wonder why can’t you be happy. Why can’t you have the things that everyone else seems to have in their lives?

I know you feel like a failure, feel worthless, and hopeless about your future.

The reason you feel stuck and are always unhappy is because of this way of thinking all the time.

Thinking of all the things that are wrong in your life just brings more negativity into your mind. You go back into your past memories and dig up everything bad that’s happened to you. You think about how wish you had made different choices. You’re angry at yourself for the choices you made or didn’t make.

You think about all the failures that you’ve had. It seems like your life has been one failure after another. That isn’t true though, but you choose to ignore what you have done well and only focus and amplify what you’ve done wrong.

You think about everything that has gone wrong for you. You remember all those unlucky breaks you had. Nothing lucky has ever happened to you.

You may still not have gotten over a breakup. Your heart still hurts. You still don’t understand what happened. That person was the world to you and that person decided that you didn’t fit anymore into their lives. It’s been years and you still haven’t moved on. That breakup has kept you in the past.

You live in the past and think about the times in your life when you were happy, motivated, and hopeful. You just want to get back to feeling like that, but in your mind you believe that will never be possible.

Bringing back these thoughts and feelings to the present over and over again keeps you stuck in life.

I want to help you to start to move forward in your life so that you can start enjoying life again.

But you’re not going to be able to do that if you constantly live in the past.

If your mind is always filled things that happened years ago, you’re not giving your mind a chance to be filled with what will actually help you have a better future.

Imagine your mind as an empty bowl. You are taking negative thoughts, past memories, regrets, mistakes, and failures and filling up that bowl.

So when you reach into the bowl, what will you pull out? You’re going to be pulling out one of those things.

Every time you go to your mind that’s all you keep pulling out. When you’re alone with your thoughts you keep pulling out one negative thought after another.

If you fill your mind with negativity, you’re going to get negative results. You’re always going to feel crappy.

You’ve got to start replacing it with positivity if you want to change your life.

So that dream job you wish you can have, finding true love, having great friends, or just being happy is not going to happen unless you first let go of your past.

Imagine if you were driving in your dream car. It could be a Ferrari, Mercedes, BMW or whatever dream car you have. You open the door and smell that new car smell. You get in the seat and start the engine. This is going to be your first time driving it and you can’t wait. You’ve been waiting a long time to have your dream car.

You start to drive, but instead of looking forward you stare at your rear view mirror. You can’t look anywhere else but behind you.

If you try to drive while looking at the rear view mirror, how fast will you go? You won’t even move forward because you’re afraid you’ll hit something.

You’re going to be so scared of moving forward because you keep looking back. How will you ever enjoy driving your dream car? You never will.

This is what it’s like to live life by always looking at your rear view mirror.

You will never get anywhere. You will never move. You will never enjoy what lies ahead of you because you are so focused on your past.

So what is it going to take for you to start to let go?

First you have to accept that what happened in the past has happened. You can’t go back and change it. Yes you’ve made bad choices that got you where you are now, but all that thinking you do about it isn’t going to change anything about what has already happened.

You have to stop beating yourself up over bad choices you’ve made. It’s impossible for you to go back and change the past. There is no time machine. You’re constantly wishing and hoping for something that’s never ever going to change. You’re wasting time, energy, and focus on something that does nothing good for you.

What you need to do is learn from it. If you made a bad choice in the past, learn from it and move on. If you are in a similar situation in the future, then you know how to better handle it.

Instead of looking it as a failure, look at what positives you took from it. You have to understand that everyone experiences failures in life. No one gets through life without experiencing something that they hoped would turn out well only for it to turn out not the way they expected.

If you live your life so carefully to avoid any failure, you will live a life full of regret.

So don’t think that you’re the only one that fails. What’s different is how successful and happy people react to failures. First of all they don’t see it as a failure. They just see it as a learning lesson. They see it as a chance to grow.

They see it as feedback. They see what they need to improve on. They see what didn’t work out for them. They get up and try again.

You fall down and you stay down. You cry. You pout. You complain. You blame everyone and everything you can.

While you’re feeling sorry for yourself, life is moving on with or without you.

So if you can’t do anything about the past, what should you do?

The only thing you have control over is what you do right now. Right now you’ve made the decision to read this. After you read this, you make another choice about what you’re going to do.

Your day is made up of a series of choices. At each moment you decide what to do. At every meal you decide what you’re going to eat.

If you’re overweight, who’s fault is that? The food’s fault? Your mom’s fault cause of her cooking? The fast food restaurant’s fault? Nope it’s your fault. The food doesn’t just jump into your mouth. You’re not two years old and being forced to eat something you don’t want.

You’re an adult and you choose what goes into your mouth. If you only have time for fast food, it’s up to you to choose a low calorie option or the number one combo super sized with a large Coke.

When you get home after another miserable day at work and you have four hours left before you go to bed and start your day all over again, what will you choose to do?

You can choose to spend those four hours on the couch with your super sized combo with the TV on while on your phone going through Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat and seeing other people’s fake perfect lives.

You do this for weeks, months, and years. And you wonder why you’re not able to get unstuck in life. You wonder why you have no motivation to do anything. You wonder why you dream of changing careers, finding a new job, or finding love hasn’t happened yet.

It’s because of the choices you make. It’s not your parents, boss, boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, or family’s fault. It’s not the government’s fault or who’s president now. It’s not the companies that you are applying for that aren’t hiring you.

It’s all because of what you’re doing every single day.

So instead of four hours on the couch glued to your phone, you can choose to do something that will actually help you. You can exercise. You can learn a new skill from an online class. You can go to a local meet up on a topic you’re interested in. You can volunteer your time to help others. You can work on a business plan. You can do so many more things than you are doing right now, but you choose not to.

It’s not the big choices that have the biggest impact on your life. It’s the small seemingly unimportant choices that eventually added up.

One night of being a couch potato, eating fast food, and spending four hours on social media isn’t negatively impact your life. However if you’re doing that every night, it will negatively affect your life.

I used to live in the past. That’s why I felt stuck in life. I kept beating myself up for past choices that led me to where I was.

I hated my job. I hated being there for even a minute. It was torture every time I had to work. I had no idea what else I wanted to do with my life.

I thought if I never made that choice to work in the restaurant right out of college, my life would be on a happier different path.

So I would beat myself over that. How did that help me? It didn’t. It just made me feel worse about myself.

Holding on to anger about something from your past only hurts you. What good does that do for you? How does that help you? Think about it. Nothing good ever happens when you keep doing that.

You never beat yourself up then five minutes later feel a huge sense of relief.

I never did. It just made me feel worse about myself.

You have to have closure with your past. That includes past experiences, past mistakes, and past relationships. The only person you’re hurting by holding on to the past is yourself. Everyone is moving on with life, but you’re still stuck in the past.

It’s like running full speed into a wall. Do you think you’ll feel great after you run face first into a wall? No way. It’ll hurt.

As crazy as running full speed into a wall sounds, it’s just as crazy as living in the past every single day, constantly focus on failures and regrets, and expecting all your dreams to come true.

I want you to make peace with your past. You can’t go back and change it. It’s useless. You’re wasting your time and it only makes you feel worse.

When you think of one negative experience, then you think of another one, then another one, then you’re in a bad mood for the rest of the day. How do you think you’ll feel the rest of the day?

That’s what you have been doing every single day. That’s why you feel stuck. That’s why you feel so lazy and unmotivated.

I want you to understand that your past doesn’t determine your future.

If you’ve been living paycheck to paycheck, it doesn’t mean you will for the rest of your life.

Remember it’s up to you to decide that through the choices you make from now on.

If you’re living paycheck to paycheck, but still spending $200 a week on eating out and $100 on alcohol at the bar every weekend, who’s to blame for living paycheck to paycheck?

If you’re buying clothes and shoes every weekend, who’s to blame if you don’t have money?

If you’re lonely, but every night you spend it at home watching TV cause you don’t feel like being social, who’s to blame?

If you’re unhappy, but you keep thinking about how unhappy you are, who’s the blame?

I’ve read interviews with ultra successful people and if we knew them when they were a teenager and young adult, we’d think they’d be in jail as adults or delivering pizzas for the rest of their lives.

They did poorly in school. They hated to study. They got into trouble with the police. They stole. They did drugs.

But you know what? Their past didn’t define them.

They turned their lives around. They became focused on making a better life for themselves. It didn’t happen overnight of course. It took many years, but my point is that what they did in the past didn’t determine how their future would be.

They decided they wanted a better future so they took control of their lives and began making better choices.

That means choosing better people to hang around. I’m sure if they were getting into trouble with the law it was very likely cause they were hanging around other people who were also getting into trouble, they may even need to get a firm as McKoon, Williams, Atchley & Stanley, PLLC, to help them out of trouble.

That also means taking massive action. They didn’t achieve their dreams by sitting on the couch all day.

You need to understand that to make your future better you must focus on the present. What are you going to do today to move yourself closer to where you want to be in life?

The present is the only thing you can control.

You can’t change your past. You can’t predict your future as much as you try. You can only control what you do right now.

You have the power to choose positive thoughts. Think about that. At any moment, you have the power to choose what you think about. Thoughts don’t take over your mind unless you allow it to. If you don’t like a thought that’s entered your mind, you can switch it instantly. Your thoughts don’t have power over you. You have power of them.

When a negative thought enters, let it enter, but don’t give it the power it seeks.

If a thought enters your mind like “My future is hopeless” you then have the power to choose what you will think about next. Will you continue to feed it with more negativity or replace it with something that will help you?

Here’s what you can replace it with.

“What I’ve done in the past doesn’t dictate my future. I will turn my life around. It will take time and work but I’m willing to do whatever it takes. I look forward to it and all the opportunities that will come my way.”

Do you see the difference in the two ways of thinking?

Don’t try and completely stop negative thoughts. Stopping them just makes them stronger. Instead acknowledge them and then replace them with a thought that brings you a positive emotion.

Another way to let go of the past is writing a letter and burning to release the pain and anger you hold. Sometimes the anger you have is inside of you and you just need to find a way to let it go.

Write down whatever has been bothering you. The thoughts, the memories, the people that keep coming into your mind like a broken record. The ones that bring stress, anger, and regret.

Write it on a piece of paper. Let it all out. When you’re done, find a safe place outside away from anything that can catch on fire.

Take the paper and light it on fire. Watch it slowly burn and turn to ash. As you see the smoke go up, let that be all the negative emotion going away. You see it go away.

You can also take that letter instead and tear it up into tiny little pieces.

What worked for me was a simple letter I typed to myself. I called it my manifesto and in it I spoke the truth to myself. I told myself what I needed to hear every single day. I told myself to stop wasting my life. Start taking massive action each and every day. I put this on my wall so I could see it every single day. It was my reminder to do whatever it took.

You have to make peace with your past. There’s no going back now to change anything about it.

You have to take back control of your life. Your life didn’t spiral downward because you were in control of it. It did because you gave control away. That’s why you point fingers and place the blame on others.

When faced with decisions to make, you let someone else decide for you. Or you let them influence what you decide to do.

Then when it doesn’t turn out the way you hoped, you blame them.

All the blame has to be put on you now. That means from now on when something doesn’t go right, you are to blame. That may be tough to handle at first but only when you are in control of your life will you get what you want.

That’s exactly how I’ve gotten what I’ve always wanted which was a way to make money online and freedom to do what I want and when I want. That was my ultimate dream.

Only when I began to take responsibility for my life and everything that happens to me did my life change.

That meant if I wanted to be successful and happy in life it would be up to me.

Change didn’t happen overnight either. I had to take it day to day. I didn’t want the positive changes in my life to be short lived either. I wanted them to be a part of me for the rest of my life.

That’s why it was important to approach it like a marathon and not a sprint. Slow and steady will always outperform working hard infrequently.

In one year from this moment, you will be much better than where you are right now because you took control of your life.

In order to do that though you have to first let go of the past. You must make peace with it so you can focus on the present.

I hope you can begin to do that right now so that you can begin a new chapter in your life and create the type of life you’ve always dreamed of.

I believe in you. I know you have the ability to change. It’s inside of you so I hope this letter is first step towards a happier life.

Your friend,

Benny

 

Five years ago I stood here at the same stand up desk in the exact same place in my office. I opened up my laptop after yet another long and stressful night at work and typed a letter to myself. I called it my manifesto. It was a letter to tell myself basically to stop making excuses, stop wasting my life, and do something about everything I always complained about in my life.

I taped two copies and put one right above my computer on the wall, where it still is, and one on my bathroom mirror, which isn’t there anymore. I knew if I put it in those two places, I would definitely see it every day. I wanted it to be a reminder of how I felt that night and what I told myself.

Five years later a lot in my life has changed:

What I’m most proud of is that I made all of this happen.

I didn’t just wake up one day and got lucky. I decided to take control of my life instead of just hoping it would get better. It hasn’t always been easy. I’ve had ups and downs for sure, but I can look back at these last five years and feel proud.

I needed to stop doing what I did before in order to get different results. I figured I had nothing to lose to try. Life could not get any worse than how it was in my eyes.

Looking back these past five years, I thought about the biggest lessons I’ve taken away that will help you.

Let go of the past

If you’re holding a lot of baggage from your past, you have to find ways to let it go. By holding grudges or constantly thinking back about mistakes you made in the past, you can’t move forward.

What you’re doing is thinking about the past and getting so angry about it that is paralyzes you. You can’t get anything done. You can’t focus on the present. All you can do is think about things that happened in the past.

Don’t beat yourself up if you feel like you’ve wasted the last five or ten years or your life. You can’t get that time back. You can’t go back and do things differently.

What you can absolutely do is learn from your mistakes and your regrets so that you don’t make the same mistakes again moving forward.

It might help if you write a letter to yourself to let go of that anger you’re holding on to. Then after you write it, burn the letter or rip it to shreds. Often times, you hold in everything that’s been bothering you and you have no one to talk to about it. Get it off your chest so that you can start focusing on what you can do every day to create the type of life you want.

I could have been angry with myself for wasting my 20’s and getting nowhere in life. I could have replayed every decision that led me to where I was and wished I could have done it differently.

I decided to not focus on the past because I had for so many years. Doing so felt like a punch in the gut every time. It would leave me weak and in pain. Not helpful when trying to change.

I had to let it go in order to move forward in life.

If you want different results, you have to do different things. 

If you don’t want your future to look like your past, you can’t keep doing the same old s**t. Re-read that to really let it sink in. You can’t keep doing what you have been doing and expect life to miraculously get better.

You can’t keep going to your lousy job, complain to whoever will listen about it, and watch TV four hours every night and expect a new job with a better salary to be waiting for you when you check Facebook for the one hundredth time that day.

I’ll save you time and tell you it’s not going to happen.

You’re not going to attract the man or woman of your dreams by continuously thinking of yourself failure in life and staying at home every weekend and having a pity party for one.

You’re not going to improve your marriage, lose that weight, or start a side business, by doing what you have been doing up until this point.

What you have been doing has gotten you to this exact moment. Is that where want to be? Are you happy about it?

If you want different results, you have to find a different strategy because I can guarantee if you keep doing that, five years from now, you’re going to be the same person in the same situation. The only difference will be your age.

In 2005, I was in a job I hated. In 2010, I was still in a job I hated. Why? Because I kept doing the same thing. I wasn’t taking much action. I spent my nights after work on the computer and watching TV. On my days off, I’d do the same. I rarely went out.

I kept focusing on how much I hated my life. I kept holding the same beliefs in my head like maybe it’s not possible. I kept thinking of the quickest way to make a lot of money. I kept feeling sorry for myself.

That all had to stop!

In 2015, I do work that I choose to do and I’m making more money now than at my job. All because I started doing things differently in my life.

Some of the things I did were start a gratitude journal, filled my mind with clean water, started a morning routine, set goals, and exercise. I didn’t do them just for one day or one week. I did them consistently.

I never did any of those things before. When I began to make them a part of my life, then I started to see serious changes. I was getting results I had never gotten before.

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I don’t understand it when people think it’s too late to make changes in their life and start living their life the way they want.

Is there a rule that I missed that says after we reach a certain age, that we’re stuck with our life the way it is?

Someone who’s 35 might feel like it’s too late while another person is 55 and feel it’s too late. That just proves that it doesn’t matter your age. It’s your perception.

Don’t you think the person who’s 55 will wish they were 35? They’ll wish they could go back 20 years and go after their dreams or change how their life is.

Thinking it’s too late to get a life that you want is one of the biggest myths holding you back in life.

The only time it is too late to do anything is when you’re physically not here anymore. Until then, don’t waste this only chance at life that you have.

If I compared myself to my friends, I was way behind. By the time we turned, 30 they had good jobs, got married, and even had kids. I was lost, confused, lonely, and unhappy.

I’ve always been a late bloomer. I didn’t get married till I was 34. I didn’t achieve my dream of being my own boss till I was 36. I’m 37 and still don’t have kids yet.

Do I wish I was 27 and living the life I am now? Absolutely, but when I was 27 I was still young and naive about life. I didn’t know what I know now.

When I turned 30, reality hit me. I had nothing to show for in life. I was unhappier at 30 than when I was 20. It wasn’t supposed to be like that. Instead of giving up, I made a promise to myself that my 30’s would be the best decade yet. I still have three years till 40, but I’ve done a pretty good job so far.

I could have thought I’m a loser at 30 for not knowing what I want to do in life. I could have continued to feel sorry for myself and wish I could go back and do things differently.

Sure there are some limitation as to when it’s too late to do something. If it requires physical talents like being a world class tennis player or soccer player, then it’s too late. It doesn’t mean I can’t start to learn how to play tennis or soccer. I could still find ways to compete.

If I wanted to learn the guitar and be good enough to perform, I could start to learn now at the age of 37. If I practiced just 30 minutes a day for a year, I would improve so much.

A guy went from a recreational table tennis to being ranked in the top 250 in England after playing every day for a year (see the video). What could you achieve if you did something every single day?

Other than physical limitations, most everything else has no expiration date. Who says you can’t go back to college now and get a degree? Just because your classmates could be old enough to be your child doesn’t mean you can’t go back.

Who says you can’t be an actor at any age? Watch movies and television shows, and you’ll see actors of all ages.

Do you have a book inside of you that you’ve wanted to write? Nobody wonders how old the author is being buying a book. In fact, nowhere inside of the book reveals the author’s age.

Want to start your own business? I read somewhere once that the older you are when you start your business, the better the chance of it succeeding. The reason is because of many more years of work experience. You’ve made mistakes in the past. You’ve had success in other areas. I also think there’s a different mentality. The older you are willing to work harder to make be successful. If you’re young, you think if it doesn’t work, you’ve still got more chances to try again.

Want to make a career change? Why can’t you? You have experience in one career that your next employer would probably appreciate more than a recent college graduate who’s only learned from the book.

If you can’t find the career you want, why not create it? We live in a time when companies empower people to write bestselling books, be a Youtube celebrity, make money selling handmade goods, or even sell t-shirts without any design experience or inventory.

Again it’s the mentality that you’re supposed to have everything in your life figured out by a certain age. Once you choose, you can’t change.

Stop thinking that way.

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Story of success

You have a story. I have a story. Everyone has a story. Some are willing to talk about their story while others are ashamed to let anyone know.

A good story is what makes a movie interesting. A common story is the hero’s journey. It’s starting from humble beginnings and by the end of the movie this hero has risen to greatness. It’s why Luke Skywalker and Harry Potter are such great characters. In a sense, we can relate to them. We want to be like them, minus getting our hand chopped off by Darth Vader, who we didn’t realize was our father.

We want a story that we’re proud about.

I’m not happy with feeling like I wasted much of my 20’s lost and feeling stuck in life. Those were important years that I can’t get back and do again. However, I didn’t want my struggles in my 20’s and even early 30’s to be my story. I didn’t want my story to be of a person who didn’t get busy living.

I have a story now that makes me proud. I overcame being stuck in a job I hated, had no direction in life, and now have created a better version of myself to along with a new career.

My story would be boring and less relatable if I grew up in a mansion, went to an Ivy League school, got a bunch of fancy degrees and found success in every single job I did. Making an app or sell t-shirts online wouldn’t be as interesting because you would see a guy who’s never failed. You would think I’m super smart, and never have to worry about how I’m going to pay the bills while starting an online business since I come from a rich family. You wouldn’t be able to relate at all. You would have stopped reading my blog a long time ago.

Because I was a regular guy, in a situation many of you can relate to, you get more inspiration out of it.

That’s what helped me realize that my dreams were not impossible. I found people online who were doing what I wanted. I could relate to them because they were just regular people with normal lives and because of various circumstances started all over again at the bottom when they began making money online.

Super successful people have also started from rock bottom. I love J.K. Rowling’s story because she wrote Harry Potter after a divorce and was raising a young child. She wrote on an old typewriter in a cafe. She did this after having a normal life and career, but after hitting rock bottom she figured she had nothing to lose so why not do what she really wanted to do. That’s the kind of story I love.

How many people would be in that situation and give up on life? Probably most, but she didn’t.

It’s hard for me to find inspiration from the people who have success because it was handed to them. I can’t relate to them. I’m sure you will agree.

This year I reflected and realized I’m glad I have a story. I didn’t like that life sucked for so long, but I’m proud to show off my scars. Fortunately, others have found my story to be interesting and have been invited on podcasts to talk about it. I want to share that time I fell of the e-scooter while riding through town. It was really fun to use, but not when a car gets in your way and you have to steer off onto the sidewalk and hit a tree. Honestly the e-scooter was the best one anybody can have, it goes super fast and the battery last really long.

But without the struggle early on, my story would be a lot less relatable to you. It’d be a story nobody would want to hear.

The biggest compliment I can get is when someone reads my story and then afterward thinks “If Benny can do it, so can I.” I want you to feel like you can do it.

You can change your life around. You can leave an unfulfilling job. You can find love and happiness.

Your story up to this point may not be what you imagined five years or even one year ago. You had hopes and dreams but things happened, and you are where you are now. Why not start today to create the future that you want? You just agreed you couldn’t have imagined life would be like this. So remove those doubt that you can achieve your goals. Five years from now you could be saying to yourself you would have never imagined life would be like this, but in a positive way.

Five years ago, I couldn’t believe that my life was how it was. I didn’t imagine that after ten years after college, I’d still have no idea what I wanted to do in life.

Five years ago if you told me I would have made six figures online selling t-shirts, I would have thought that would be like winning the lottery. It sounded cool, but doubtful it’d happen to me. Now I can say it has happened, and it feels much more amazing because I remember the years and years I struggled.

If your life isn’t the way you want it to be, you can’t go back in time and change anything. Instead, you can decide that you want to improve your story. Prove to yourself that you can and will achieve your goals and become the a person you’re proud of.

You can use the frustration that comes from being in your current situation as fuel. You can decide you want to prove wrong those who have always doubted you.

I want you to write a story that makes you smile. I want you to finally walk with your head held high.

It’s a story that you can be proud of because despite hitting rock bottom, you found a way to do it.

That’s a story that will be passed down from generation to generation.

me

I’m writing this 37,000 feet in the air en route from New York City to Hong Kong. I’m sitting in business class on Cathay Pacific with my wife next to me. I have so much room to type this. The bed lays down flat. I have a huge TV screen in front of me to keep me busy for the 15 hour flight. I’m so full from all the food. We’ll stay in Hong Kong for two nights then a couple days later we’re going to continue to Taipei, Taiwan and stay for four months.

I didn’t have to think twice about doing this. I didn’t have to ask a boss for permission for time off. I didn’t even pay more than $300 for these business class ticket.

I don’t share this to brag. I’m sharing to show you what is possible when you take 100% responsibility for your life.

All this didn’t happen by accident. I wasn’t handed this on a silver platter. I’m not an overnight success either. What I did was take control of my life and planned it to be this way. Was it easy? Not all the time. Was it worth it? Absolutely.

What was important was a change in how I perceived this dream. Instead of being jealous of other people’s lives, I thought “if they can do it, why not me?” Before I would think it wasn’t fair. Why were they happy and I wasn’t? Complaining to no one in particular never helped. It only dug me deeper into a hole of self pity.

So I changed how I looked at them. I understood that there were other people doing what I wanted to do. That’s why I knew it was possible. There were just regular people too. They weren’t rich. They didn’t have connections or knew exactly what they were going to do in life right out of college. These people early on were people like Pat Flynn and Chris Guillebeau for me. These were ordinary guys who I could relate to and were living their lives doing what they wanted and with much more freedom.

I always knew that I had more to me than what I had done. I know many of you feel the same way because you email me and tell me that.

What was missing was being so determined to make it a reality. I was waiting for a miracle. I was hoping someone would tell me exactly what to do and how to do it. I had this unrealistic imagination that I’d wake up one day with sudden clarity for my future.

After wasting most of my adult life feeling stuck, I wasn’t going to let anything get in my way in late 2010. Not even the pain of being a beginner, self doubt, failures, and impatience.

Over four years since I wrote a letter to myself to wake up and get busy living and I feel proud because I took 100% responsibility for my life and am enjoying the results from it.

Your dreams might be different, and that’s completely fine. What you and I have in common is a desire to enjoy life more. We want to do work that’s fulfilling. We want more excitement. We want more freedom.

I want you to be able to create that.

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