I've met many people who have suffered horrific trauma, and there's one thing I've found that's tremendously important:
no matter what, you must not see yourself as a victim.
If you see yourself as a victim, you will become a victim. Being a victim isn't just a state of affairs, but it's an identity. It's a way of interfacing with others around you. If you focus on your weakness, you will cultivate your weakness. You will move away from healing, forgiveness, and working on your own resiliency. This is not to take away the right of victims to justice, only to emphasize that ruminating on how you have been wronged is not a fruitful endeavour. If anything, it's destructive. It allows your trauma to overtake your life, and become its sole focus, closing you off from the possibilities of joy that lie beyond the corner.
Life breaks everyone, doesn't it?
The trick, then, is to avoid staying broken.
Whether by yourself, or with the help of others, do your best to put yourself back together again.
I'd probably get this as a tattoo, if it wasn't already a fucking Anderson Silva documentary.
I was thinking about someone I had lost recently, several years ago, remembering how difficult that experience had been, struggling to make it day to day, every morning, rolling out of bed being a struggle, and I realized that I hadn't felt that pain in many months.
The world seems like it's come to end, yet day by day, a little fragment of your brokenness seals around another one, day by day, your centre of emotional gravity shifts back towards equanimity, and one day you wake up, and you notice the simple beauty of a tree swaying under the light of the sun, I mean, you really notice it, and in that moment, you're happy, and you go back to thinking about how to burn it all down - the joie de vivre has returned.
A very close friend of mine is an extremely negative person.
We've been through a lot together, but he constantly criticizes me, in a way that breaches the level of taking the piss out of your friends and into something more unhealthy: a rank criticism that actively undermines my self concept and the goals I'm trying to accomplish.
Sometimes, we're connected to a person for a long period of time, and we lose perspective on how they influence us in our day to day lives.
As time and circumstance have taken us apart, recently, when I met up with him, I realized what a toxic influence he'd been in my life.
"Negative energy" isn't a new-age euphemism that lacks any form of substance. It's simply a term that describes people around you who find fault in almost everything, seeing the worst in everyone and sucking in positivity like a vortex of shit.
Cut these people out of your life. They're worse than useless.
haven't worked on my new draft since March, basically, and I've been worried: am I going to drop off? AM I going to become one of those motherfuckers who doesn't finish what he starts? who just fucking quits before the race has been run?
i listened to some music today, and thought of my characters. i'm too busy to work on the draft very much right now, but i realized that i'll find that time in the near future.
art isn't optional. it wants to come out.
it's for the soul.
After being Facebook free for the last three years, I finally reactivated because I wanted to keep in better touch with my family abroad (everyone in my extended family lives in Europe and Asia).
I was browsing a friend's profile who I haven't seen in two years. He's since become a professional model, hangs out in exclusive looking clubs with extremely good looking, cool artist type people, and suddenly I remember why I'd deleted this damn thing in the first place.
Envy is an emotion that doesn't do anything useful. It's a poison tree, one that you have to remove by the roots before it grows.
Years ago, I watched a title fight between Georges St. Pierre and Josh Koscheck. Koscheck, a decorated NCAA wrestler, was expected to have an advantage in the takedown department, whereas St. Pierre was generally considered to be the better striker. Ostensibly, it was a matchup between two fighters with advantages in symmetrical aspects of the game.
Except it didn't go down that way.
St. Pierre, a man who never competed in the sport of wrestling (at any level), completely shut down Koscheck's wrestling game, and soon into the fight, fractured his orbital bone with a powerful jab. Koscheck's eye swelled up like a moist balloon, and he definitively lost a decision.
It occurred to me watching this that St. Pierre was better than Koscheck in every possible aspect of the game. He was simply better than him in every way possible.
And yet, what do you if you're Koscheck? Just roll over and die?
It's true that life involves competition like this, albeit massively scaled up, and typically less directly than a cage match between two opponents. But at the same time, it's equally true that it's a waste of time to ruminate on this, or even to give it much weight. It's not Koscheck's fault that St. Pierre is the more physically and skillfully gifted fighter. Koscheck did his best, but in his work, and maximized his potential. That's more than can be said for most people.
Mental comparisons through envy create a threat to your ego. The solution is lose the battle immediately, and avoid wasting time fighting it in the first place.
When I feel envious of another person, I simply shortcut to a simple script:
Then I move on, and never think about it again.
When I compare myself to other people my age, and look at those of them who've achieved incredible success, there's one thing that they all have in common:
the will to win.
Will is something that you don't hear people talk about often anymore. It's a term that makes you think of something like the great depression or gladiatorial matches in ancient Rome, but it's really not something hyperbolic at all. I'm convinced that a person's will is the salient factor that truly separates high performers (in any domain, really) from those who are merely above average.
Will is the thing that causes the earth to shape itself under the direction of mankind, and not the other around.
When I look at the people in my life who've founded startups, who've made records, who've achieved an incredible physique, who've done anything that's really worth talking about - it's true that all these people had some degree of innate talent, but what really stands out, though, is that they were willing to do whatever it took to be successful.
My friend who went from a scrawny, out of shape kid (and now deadlifts 400 pounds for over ten reps) works out for four hours a day. He counts his macronutrients. His stretching routine takes an hour, and he does it twice a day.
This kind of intensity isn't the product of a system, or some secret technique. It's about wanting it so badly that no amount of work becomes too much.
My friend who founded a startup in his mid-twenties and made it onto the top 30 under 30 list works essentially non-stop, but to him, it's not really work, it's his life's work (there is a difference).
What most impresses me, though, are people who had very little talent but still achieved their goals despite an inborn disadvantage. I've had the pleasure of meeting two such men, and despite seemingly overwhelming advantages, they made their dreams happen by persevering through thousands of failures that would have broken lesser men.
Find a way, or make one.
people I admire
Bret Easton Ellis