I think a good 5 years since my last post here.
For a while now, my mind has been nudging me towards posting some sort of update, some sort of summary of the lessons I’ve learned as I turned 30, mainly because I owe this forum and some of the members on here a huge thank you in directly and indirectly turning me into the man I am today. Might not be too illuminating for the people I’m referencing, since they’ve been “walking the path” much longer than me, but maybe could help some people that have been on this journey for a shorter while than I.
Below are what I consider to be the key learnings that have made me a person I genuinely love, surrounded by people I love, working a job I love.
Your number one mission in life should be to constantly strive to be a stronger version of you than you were yesterday. This means physical, mental and emotional strength.
How does one become stronger? By challenging yourself consistently, yet sustainably. Keeping one foot in your comfort zone to keep mental sanity and allow for building up on what you already know, while having one outside of it, since this is the only way we can grow. Breaking yourself down a bit, then giving yourself space to recover. Rinse & repeat. Much like muscle building.
I won’t go into specifics of how I approach this. Everybody has their own way of clearing their mind, of tending to their emotions in a healthy way, and of making their body strong. But if I was to find an overarching theme to all of these activities, it is the voluntary embrace of discomfort without seeing it as a means to an end, but rather a way of living with integrity.
And last but not least to this point - it’s not about reaching a final destination of being “strong enough”. You never will be, since your aspirations will just move higher after each level you clear. But the striving itself is what life is about, and what should be your catalyst for self-love and acceptance. Being on the right path means striving to walk it, not reaching its end destination.
It’s about you, not about women
I started here by trying to lose my virginity since I was unpopular with women. That led to a rabbit hole that I’m sure most of you know. But what was limiting my growth was seeing the approval of women as a final barometer of my value (i.e. strength as viewed by society). Even if I did manage to tell myself “hey I’m just not her type”, what was left in my subconscious was hope that the next one would validate my value.
Being brutally honest, a woman not giving you the time of day usually speaks to the value you have in her eyes. And let’s be real, some of it is objective. There are certain things women in general look for in their partners. And some things (like height) that might be subjective but has a clear macro trend in the female population. And others that are purely subjective.
But the trick I put on my mind was seeing the striving for the approval, rather than the hunt for self-evolution, as the reason I was working on myself. “Let me meditate to be calm so I will be attractive to women”, or “Let me finally hit 20 pull ups so I have a wide back and can compensate for my 5 foot 8 frame”. None of this was too conscious, and there were levels and levels of self-deception there that I thank meditation, psychologists, walks in nature and psycadelics for uncovering.
Elevate yourself because that’s what life is about - constant change that you either react to or die. Become the best version of yourself every day because living below your standards is a waste of your life on this Earth. And it WILL impact how you feel day to day. Trust me, you will know when you’re not living the life you could be living (refer to the post about McDonald’s burger flippers
and what it means to be attractive to women, best thing posted here and a great inspiration).
And be careful that the evolution you need to make is not going harder, but rather being kinder to yourself
Habits will make you or break you
I’ve long had problems with healthy self-talk and self-evaluation, stemming from my father, who was never outwardly satisfied with me and always found things I could do better. Not to dig too deep into this, but it did lead me into a thing I call “my personal KPIs”, which is basically a list of 10 things I either want to or don’t want to do each day, tracked in a Google Sheets file, with binary “yes, this was met” or “no, this wasn’t met” tracking.
Why did I set up the KPIs? Because I needed a way to evaluate myself without the cloud of my childhood upbringing, since I realized that that would lead me to be never satisfied. Which, one might say, is cool for self-growth since it brings maximum effort. But this one person saying this would be wrong, because it’s a recipe for burnout and further self-hate at the effort expended not leading to a rise in the way you see yourself.
And also because I, too often, overcompensated by having lazy weeks/months, where I would do nothing in the spirit of “learning self-acceptance without it being achievement based”, only to come to a place I knew I didn’t want to be in.
Cue self-KPIs. I have a standard of 80%, i.e. an average of me doing/not doing 8 of 10 of the things I want to/don’t want to do on a given day. I know I’m capable of this, and anytime I have a month below that, I’m much more prone to compassionate examination of why it wasn’t the case and adjusting with self-love than internal dialogue that would make my worst enemies blush.
Be careful what you do each day. Smoking weed is relatively harmless (I still do it, call it a vice I can’t quite get rid of). Smoking every day for a year is sure to fuck you up, but it will do so gradually and will sneak the pain up on you. Same goes for frivolous spending, eating shit food, and being on your phone all day.
But the same applies for good habits - they will sneak the pleasure up on you! Meditating once won’t do much. Meditating for a month every day? Well, that is one hell of a difference.
Time flows in one direction
I find that most of the pain I bought myself was trying to compensate for a past I have not yet accepted. Trying to get women because I was unpopular in school. Trying to be fit because I was fat as a kid. And many, many more.
There is no “hack” to seeing when you’re doing this, just being mindful of yourself and choosing to be honest even if it means short-term pain. Most of you reading this, who are struggling with one topic or another that has been recurring for a while now, have not accepted something in your past and are trying to fix it in the present by “undoing it” with something that would cover the past up.
We all make mistakes. We all act in ways that make us ashamed. And I’m certain if it was possible, most of the people on this Earth would change their past significantly. The trick is to reach a point in your journey where you accept the past and how it turned you into the person you are today, despite the shameful/weak/stupid things sprinkled in it.
Surround yourself with the right people
This is a lonely journey, for sure. And in the words (or rather, paraphrase
) of Morpheus, only you can walk through the door you need to walk through. Nobody is doing this FOR you.
But at the same time, surround yourself and putting priority on people living life as you’d want to live it will make it so much easier to walk that path yourself. Whether it’s seeing the habits they work on up close, or getting rid of limiting beliefs such as “making more than XY per month is a fantasy” when you see your close friends making more, this is something I highly recommend being careful with.
Cut out toxic people, you know who they are. Put effort into maintaining relationships with the right people once you save energy on the wrong ones. Appreciate them and show them that gratitude.
If you read all the way here, appreciate it and hope it helps you out.
If you have any specific questions, very happy to answer them, I’ll check back here in a while to reply. If not, wish anybody reading this good health, clarity of mind and the courage to do what is necessary to elevate themselves and those around them. Peace!