“Shallow men believe in luck or in circumstance. Strong men believe in cause and effect.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
Have you ever known someone with “bad luck”? I mean, real shit luck. The kind of person that can find the one dog turd in a park with his shoe? The kind of person that always gets gypped of the prize in the cereal box? The kind of person that never gets the promotion, can’t pay the bills, gets sick all the time, family won’t talk to them, has asshole kids, etc. This person’s perception becomes one of two things:
1) “There’s no point in trying, I just have shitty luck,” which causes the person to never start.
2) “I will try, but nothing is ever going to happen,” which causes the person to never finish.
In the immortal words of BJJ legend Kurt Osiander: “You fucked up a long time ago.”
In most cases, the way a person views his “luck” is a matter of perception. For a really fascinating read on this, check this study out: THE LUCK FACTOR. The summary of which is that there really is no such thing as “luck”. At least not as most people believe. Much of the good and bad luck we encounter is a result of our thoughts and behavior. Most importantly…sometimes shit just happens.
“Good luck” and “bad luck” are just ways to define the results (consequences) of our efforts. In everything you do, results correlate directly with hard work…or being lazy…both still yield a result.
Yes, but did you get a RESULT from your effort? Just because it wasn’t the result you wanted, doesn’t mean it is negative. Did you learn something? Most likely. Was it helpful to you or someone else? Probably.
REMEMBER THIS: Every single huge success story also includes colossal failures. WAY more failures than success. If those people viewed those failures as “bad luck” they would have dismissed the lesson learned. They would never have continued on to greatness. Those people took those “failures” and learned…changed…adapted…grew.
This is true for every goal: lose weight, get stronger, make more money, quit smoking, and any other New Year’s Resolution cliche.
Are you offensive or defensive?
Pro active or reactionary?
Positive or negative?
Lucky or unlucky?
YOU ARE ALL OF THOSE!. You have to be. You are human. You CAN’T be purely “offensive” without being naive, you can’t be purely “pro-active” without ignoring possibilities, you can’t be “positive” all the time without sounding insincere, and you can’t be “lucky” all the time because shit happens.
It is your PERCEPTION of these realities that determine whether you are living your life or being a victim of life. Don’t be life’s whipping boy.
“If you own your luck, you make it your bitch” –Me
OH SHIT, I’M OLD!
Yea, it happens to the best of us. One day you crawl out of bed, your body cracking and groaning, do the slow shuffle into the bathroom and catch a glimpse of…your dad (or mom) in the mirror.
Like an 80’s movie montage your life flashes before your eyes. Where did my body go? Where did my dreams go? How did this happen? Why did this happen? Why is God angry at me? I already covered some of this here: 3 Things That Pussified You After 30
But guess what? Your freak-out is the first step to getting your shit back together.
Think a minute about how you progressed as a human being. For most of us it was a steady motion of moving forward, fucking up, learning, moving forward again. This starts when we are infants learning to walk. It gets more complicated as time goes on: athletics, academics, dating, working, marriage, parenting….then….you get complacent. You quit moving forward, to avoid having to fuck up, to avoid having to learn, to avoid having to move forward. Whether you do it intentionally or unconsciously, it happens. Learn more here: 3 Reasons You Fail & How to Fix It
So you’re done freaking out…now what?
1) Make a list
Choose 5 things you want to change. These can be vague and general: “travel more,” “look better,” “read more,” etc. You really just want to identify some general changes. Do this without creating caveats. A lot of people will think of excuses why they CAN’T do something at almost the same time they think of what they want to do. This is probably what got you stuck in this mess in the first place.
2) Get specific
Break down your general list. If you want to travel, pick one place you really want to go. If you want to look better, pick a body fat percentage, or a clothing item to fit into. You get the point. Once again….no excuses. Just write it down.
Don’t list it by what is feasible. List it by what would make you happiest. STOP MAKING EXCUSES! You’re allowed to be selfish about this. These are YOUR goals and it’s YOUR happiness. One thing (especially women) tend to do is worry about taking care of everyone else’s needs. This is stupid. The greatest thing you can do is set an example of how to live a life of meaning. So do it.
4) Do it…Do it
Guess which one of these on your list you are going to start with? Good guess. Now comes the hard part; You actually have to do something. Monetary restrictions holds back a lot of dreams. I get this. However, I bet you spend money on stupid shit. Do you spend $5.00 a day on your stupid Grande Frappucino Mustachio Carmello Vanilla coffee with extra smug on top? Stop it. BOOM! I just saved you over $1500 a year to put toward your goal. I also probably just solved your dad-bod/mom-bod problem too.
5) Don’t be a stereotype
Yea, mid-life crises have some negative manifestations: cheating on your wife with the check-out girl at Bed, Bath, & Beyond, buying a motorcycle, getting glute implants, etc. are not cool. These are manifestations of a deeper hatred for your shitty life. Honestly though, if number one on your list is: “get glute implants,” maybe you and I should part ways. Oh, and stay the hell out of Bed, Bath, & Beyond!
I’m not going to pretend that I succeed at everything I do; That’s ridiculous. However, I keep getting reminded that I might be doing things right: My job makes me happy. I have a hot wife. My son is not an asshole. I vacation to fun places. I’m in the best shape of my life. And I get to train jiu-jitsu with some of the coolest guys on the planet.
So, I may not be the richest or the most powerful guy on the planet, but I might know a thing or two about success (and consequently failure). So here are some of my observations on why other people can’t seem to get their shit together (and some ideas on how to deal with it).
1) You Fear Success This is very real. Have you found yourself on the verge of success, then things start going wrong? You get easily agitated, you start making dumb decisions, you procrastinate on decisions that lead to success, “other people” are trying to sabotage you. Does this seem to happen over and over again? We are taught that fear is negative, so we tend to ignore it. Then it manifests itself in stupid ways. Then we fail. This is failure loop and you might be in one right now.
2) Your Goal is Wrong Your failure may be irrelevant. You might be choosing the wrong goal. I see this a lot as a personal trainer. People choose goals that are divergent from what they ACTUALLY want. Do you want to lose weight or do you want to feel great in a bikini? Sometimes those are 2 different paths.
3) You Don’t Actually Deserve it You might be failing because you think success is OWED to you. It’s NOT. One of my favorite quotes is, “the harder I work, the luckier I get”. Damn right.
I understand that some people get success they don’t deserve. In England they call them Royals. In America we call them Kardashians. Guess what? You ain’t a Royal OR a Kardashian.
OWN AND CONQUER YOUR FEAR Success is complicated. Failure is not. But it is still just a series of choices that leads to one or the other. Retired MMA Fighter/TV Personality Chael Sonnen has a great quote regarding this:
“They’ll tell you failure is not an option. That is ridiculous. Failure is always an option. Failure is the most readily available option at all times, but it’s a choice. You can choose to fail or you can choose to succeed.”
The first thing you have to do is acknowledge fear. Fear is not weakness. Fear can be a great motivator. Yes, success means more pressure and demands. It puts you in a place to be scrutinized and criticized.
Fuck it. Someone’s gonna succeed, it might as well be you.
Another reason people fear success is because they think it will change their identity. Yea, it probably will. Guess what? That’s the point. It’s still YOU, it’s just a YOU with a better body, or more money, a better job, or whatever your goal is.
SCREW YOUR GOAL…IT’S LAME What is it that you REALLY want. Focus more on your DREAMS. Most people’s goals are related to health or finance. This can cause them to be dictated by other people’s definition of success, which means there are no personal feelings associated with the goal. Saying “I want to lose 20 pounds” doesn’t have the same personal connection as “I want to be able to wear a swimsuit and feel comfortable and confident.” This kind of goal can have a lot more to it than just losing some weight. Once you figure out what it is that you REALLY want, you can focus on the details. Until then, you will continue to chase success and fail.
YOU HAVE TO WORK, NOT JUST SUFFER Have you really worked for it or have you just suffered as a victim for so long that you think you DESERVE it? There is a huge difference. No one OWES you shit. You either go get it or you don’t. Suffering does not equal DOING something. Suffering is something that happens TO you. So quit yer bitchin’ and go make something happen. Some things take a lot of work and a lot of time. Yes, you can fail. You can fail A LOT. But don’t treat yourself like a victim for failing. You failed because you need to learn something you haven’t learned yet. So learn the lesson, blame only yourself, and move upward.
First off, I am not a “writer”. I am just a guy that writes. Hopefully, I write well enough to entertain you…or piss you off…or whatever I’m trying to do that day.