Look this whole post is going to come across as if I am speaking from a position of authority. I am well aware that I am far from an authority. At 22 years of age I have just entered ‘the real world’ so-to-say and have very limited life experience. What I do have experience in though is mind-set and willpower. More importantly changing ones attitudes and the reforming negatives into positives.
Not to get into a motivational spiel but –
Our challenges are not our own, everyone goes through their own trials. You get through your struggles to show others that they too can overcome their own.
TL;DR – Pathetic personal sob story followed by lifestyle changes and book recommendations for Mindset and Willpower. Just over 2k words approx. 5min read.
Now those of you who know me personally will know that in general I am a pretty self-degrading, nihilistic guy. Always thinking about the worst case scenario with dark humour about suffering and the futility of life.
You will also know the extremely high value I place on willpower and the ability to forge the world around you to your whim – a conquerors mindset so to say. You may know about the (albeit pitiful and pathetic) struggles that I have gone through and obstacles I have faced.
For those who don’t know me personally, this next section is going to get pretty heavy.
When I was young a ‘normal’ person felt so different to me. I was completely disconnected from the idea of a ‘normal’ life as I’m sure many of you reading can relate.
A normal family – a normal relationship – normal people in general seemed to be a different creature entirely.
I am so grateful to have had ‘normal friends’ and successful families around me. To learn family bonds and values of fathers through osmosis. There are many who do not have that privilege.
I identified as not ‘normal’. Something about my life was different from all of the other kids. I identified as poor (even though being in a first world country I was far from it). I had this ingrained deep thought that I would never be normal. – But that bred this burning drive and passion to better myself whatever it took.
I don’t want to harp on about the melancholy of my early life and my ‘daddy issues’.
However I still find myself thinking “I don’t belong here” when I am in insane situations. To look back I am so grateful for where my life has gone as I contemplate where I could’ve been with my father.
It is a destructive mindset to have, to think you are unworthy. I will be the first person to tell you that it is hard to overcome. I struggle with it to this day. I just know now how to reform it. To use is as fuel. As an opportunity.
To this day I still pinch myself to see if this life I am living is real. To think of the alternatives that could’ve very easily been my life. The state of mind I am in for the present has never been better.
This whole ‘mind-set’ talk while it may seem esoteric & self-development like. Targeted at older people stuck in their ways.
I am telling you now how valuable mind-set and the way that I think and frame things is for myself. I know it hold value for other young people too.
If only I had the mindset I do now back when I was 15. Crazy thing is that was only 7 years ago.
From the age of 5 till 20 I felt nothing.
Now I wasn’t diagnosed or on meds for clinical depression or anything. Don’t take this as symptoms or medical advice.
Looking back it is scary the way I viewed things. I didn’t feel sadness at funerals. I rarely felt happiness although I put on quite the façade for everyone. I was indifferent to anyone’s feelings. I was numb to emotion. Something had triggered in my youth to kill all emotional ties to things. I guess the amygdala in my brain had wired itself to avoid the pain of anything and everything.
There’s a beauty in the bleeding that is to be human.
At the time I had nothing but contempt for people and their tears. I thought ‘At least you feel something’. To not remember what crying felt like was to be more machine than man.
When people suffering from depression tell you that they see the world in black and white I can completely relate to that. There was no colour. No emotion.
Looking back now being brutally honest I was being a waste of oxygen. A drama queen.
If I could just go back in time and beat up my younger self. Now I am grateful for all of my experiences. I welcome obstacles now. I believe that if it doesn’t challenge you it won’t change you.
I was fed up with feeling ‘sorry for myself’ and not being ‘in control’ of my own life. That is no way to live. After all I write this blog in my quest to live my life on my terms – free and strong like the wolf.
I had three things on my side. 1. A mind that wanted changing 2. A dogged determination 3. The internet.
So I started using the time I would spend watching Netflix all day, playing games and sometimes even going into uni. To learn. To teach myself how to mould my mind-set.
‘I can said one man. I can’t said the other. They were both correct.’ – Mindset is key
HERE’S SOME REAL TALK.
If you aren’t ready for it stop reading now.
There are no quick fixes in life.
You can choose to get up every day and live every day the same. Years will pass nothing will change if your mind doesn’t.
Implement small mindset changes and before you know it 6 months will have gone by… You will feel like a completely different beast.
Everything comes with a price. That price being giving up on your old self one piece at a time. Disciplining your mind. Forging your world around you.
Of course it’s hard… Look around you. How many people do you see with an indomitable will? Living life on their terms. There is a price to pay.
Not everyone is willing to pay that price. The question is ARE YOU?
I am paying it right now and I plan to pay it for the rest of my life. To be stagnant and stop evolving is it die in contempt. I don’t want to experience that again and I know that you don’t either.
You have to sacrifice to win. Odin gave his Eye for knowledge and wisdom. Tyr gave his hand for Courage and honour. Jesus his life for Humanity. Nikola Telsa lived a life of celibacy. What would you sacrifice for willpower?
STRATEGIES – to change your mindset and forge willpower
Throughout University (now this is a horrendous generalisation) a victim narrative is preached. You should feel sorry for yourself and for others, the world owes you this – the world owes you that.
The highest currency is how much of a pathetic victim you are to your circumstances. This is exactly the opposite of what you need.
Don’t be a victim, don’t be negative you won’t do anything positive with that mindset.
Social media, the internet, films and books give you multitudes of examples of people who against all odds have overcome their obstacles and are now crushing life. They have transformed to be beyond successful.
Take inspiration from real, tangible examples in your life.
My father is no role model, frankly he has been a shining example of what not to do with life.
What I can take from his example though is his dogged will power and the fact that his will to live is always stronger than his ability to die.
For building willpower you will hear all the cliché examples of: Go to the gym, be active, get more sleep, take cold showers, or the classic ‘just think positively bro’.
I could elaborate on all of those strategies (and may do in future) however they are overplayed. Every guru and their dog talks about their importance.
Frankly you either do them or you know you should but are too lazy.
But do you know what’s easier than doing all of the above?
Sitting on your ass… and reading.
Two books that can elaborate on forging mindset and will power more eloquently than I ever could are Ryan Holiday’s – ‘The Obstacle is the Way’ and Mike Cernovich’s ‘Gorilla Mindset’. These two books significantly impacted my life and my mindset and I consider them a must read for everyone.
Below are brief summaries from what I personally got from these books.
Gorilla Mindset – Mike Cernovich
Gorilla Mindset is promoted with the slogan ‘How to dominate and unleash the animal inside you to live a life of health, wealth, and freedom”.
Bold claims however Mike is a bold guy.
I read this last year a few months after Mike released it. I am not going to claim ‘OMG this changed my life forever’ or any crazy claims like so, however Mike’s book significantly changed the way I ‘frame’ myself. (Note: Frame and mindfulness are the big ideas from the book).
Mike details a slice of his life story and his ‘rise’. Though we have had our own paths through life I can relate with much of his childhood and appreciate the struggles we all face in this life.
As I stated before most of my life I’ve largely been nihilistic. In Gorilla Mindset you are given practical steps on how to ‘talk to yourself’. How to reframe your mindset from negative to positive and how to ground yourself so that you control your nerves.
Since reading the book I am almost never anxious anymore.
When I do get nervous or anxious I now know practical steps to take to ground myself and reframe my mindset.
To sum up what I got from the book:
Mindfulness is key to staying grounded in life. Bad moods can be stopped in their tracks by reframing your language.
Social status is slavery, be who you want to be and don’t give a fuck about what others think.
Reject the slavery mindset. Live for yourself. Fight for what you believe in.
Do whatever it is you want to do. The only one stopping you IS YOU.
You don’t need permission from anyone to live life on your terms.
Obstacle is the Way – Ryan holiday
The whole premise of this great book is based on the Marcus Aurelius quote ‘The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.’
It revolves around the theme of stoicism and the fact of life that we DON’T control everything that happens to us but that we DO control how we respond to those situations.
That when you operate with this in mind problems, setbacks and obstacles are turned into opportunities to better yourself.
It is a philosophy for resilience and mental fortitude.
It is a philosophy for self-made individuals
The entire book takes this ancient philosophy and applies it to the modern world.
Ryan tells the stories of great men and women of history and how they overcame obstacles to get to where they were. He applies this philosophy and shows it through the many examples in history.
Without spoiling his excellent writing the book centers around 3 core elements to an outlook on life.
- Perception – how you perceive the world and the problems that you directly face?
- Action – how will you take action to overcome your obstacle?
- Will – the acceptance of fate and the will to be able to push through ordeals. Willpower.
This is a book that if everyone read, I would be so bold as to say that there would be no more #firstworldproblems
This is because it runs contradictory to the modern doctrine of ‘you are a victim and we need to reduce adversity and obstacles’ and instead raises the option of using adversity to better oneself, to take advantage of the opportunity given and rise above.
Ryan Holiday has recently released his latest book ‘Ego is the Enemy’ I still need to read this but have just acquired for my archives of optimal wisdom and glory.
So friends I leave you with some more cliché #inspo
You can’t control everything but you can control your mind.
P.S. I know the self-improvement genre gets a bad rap and to a degree a lot of it is common sense and practical knowledge you should’ve been taught by your parents/life experience. However these two books have had a massive impact on how I look at my life and what I can achieve. I would never tell anyone to do things that I would not do myself. I cannot recommend them enough.
P.P.S this whole post may sound like a sales letter but I do not earn a dime for promoting these books.
P.P.P.S For more required reading to learn about willpower and some science behind how our minds work read (or listen to for you audio book kings) ‘Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength by Roy Baumeister & John Tierney.