The Real Prize is You

When I was younger, if I asked a girl for her phone number and she turned me down, I would be crushed. It would take me days and sometimes weeks to put my ego back together again and regain confidence.

Eventually, I came to understand the power of self-validation, of not looking to someone outside of yourself to confer value on your identity. I learned that nothing is cooler, nothing is smoother, nothing is more debonair than being a person who sees their own potential as the ultimate prize to be pursued.

If you like someone, let them know. But never let your sense of dignity depend on their response. There’s no single person on the planet whose affection or approval is sweeter than the taste of self-knowledge, self-confidence, & self-respect.

Knowing who you are when you walk into a room is far more important than mastering any techniques on how to work the room.

You need people you can talk to

Whatever you’re going through, you need people you can talk to.

Your struggles are not everyone’s business, but that doesn’t mean that they need to be suppressed or kept secret. Whether you’re dealing with something serious or even something that seems small, you need allies who can challenge you to think about your experiences from different perspectives.

I can only wonder how many scandals, meltdowns, and unnecessarily dramatic episodes are the result of a failure to open up about embarrassing or “silly” thoughts/feelings that eventually manifest in a harmful or horrific way.

This Wouldn’t Be You, Would It?

Having a dream is a lot like having an imaginary friend:

Your friends are constantly worried about how crazy you’re gonna look, but they don’t know how to tell you. So they tell you anyway without going through the trouble of being very tactful about it. Your family has to function as the unofficial PR team burdened with the uncomfortable task of explaining your idiosyncratic behavior while answering difficult questions about your odd little choices.You’re always talking about how much you love something (something that no one else can see) while everyone just nervously hopes you grow out of your phase before it’s too late.

And then it happens:

you give in to the pressure to be ‘normal” and you trade in your opportunity for an unconventional life to enjoy the luxurious privilege of not having to explain why you’re so weird. Everyone feels safe around you again since you’re no longer being the rogue/rebel trope in their otherwise neat and tidy narrative. And you get to be called “mature” and “rational” because you finally pierced through the silly illusion that little ole *you* was ever capable of perceiving realities that no one else could see.

Not me. Not ever. I choose to be who I truly am. I choose to break the mold.

Yes, I believe in self-help

I believe in self-help because I see no benefits in refusing to believe that I can make positive differences, however slight, in my own life.

I believe in self-help because I wasn’t aware that the mere existence of frauds, scam-artists, and false gurus constituted a legitimate excuse for ignoring (or refusing to look for) material that is life-changing, empirically supported, and philosophically respectable.

I believe in self-help because I didn’t know it was cool to be unmotivated, uninspired, and unmoved by the possibilities of life.

I believe in self-help because I don’t reject ideas on the basis of what section of the bookstore they’re located in.

I believe in self-help because no one ever taught me that the process of developing my potential was inconsistent with the practice of loving myself right now.

I believe in self-help because I’ve met people who think they know everything they need to know and I’m not interested in being anything like them.

I believe in self-help because all other forms of help are rooted in my willingness to help my self.

My Advice is “You.”

Whenever people ask me for advice, my second priority is to offer them a bit of perspective that may assist them with their particular issue.

My first priority is to use my position of influence as an opportunity to help them develop a deeper trust in their own internal compass, in their own capacity for sound judgment, in their own ability to glean insight from exploring,  engaging, and experimenting with life for themselves.

Of all the pieces of advice I have ever received, there’s one that consistently remains at the top of my list: you are more capable of figuring out what’s right for you than anyone else.

Maintain Perspective

100 years from now, the people who misunderstand you will be dead.

The same will be true of your impact on society if you spend more time paying attention to the peanut gallery than on doing the work you’re called to do.

Maintain perspective. Your legacy depends on it.

Taking Charge of My Narrative

“My Lyft driver made me late today. Stupid LA traffic held me up today. This morning sucks.” That’s the habitual victim narrative running through my head right now.

I choose to see through it.

I choose to write a different script.

I choose a better inner monologue.

I choose to deal with my inconveniences from a place of power.

I will navigate my creative challenges by exercising my right to be stronger than that which tempts me to play small. 

“Good morning, my little annoyances! I believe you are all here to show me the way to mastery, correct? Well then, let us proceed. I am eager to learn.”