The obvious issue with self-help is this: its ultimate goal is to reach a point where you no longer need it.
Think about it: The whole goal of personal growth is to build yourself to be the person you’ve always wanted. The whole point of pursuing happiness is to reach a point where happiness no longer has to be pursued.
Destiny is not what happens to you, but how you react to what happens to you.
There’s this story about Winston Churchill who, after the Japanese bombed Hong Kong and Singapore, forcing Great Britain to declare war, he signed off with the following words, “I have the honour to be, with high consideration, Sir, Your obedient servant.”
For most of my twenties, there were so many things I didn’t want to be true about myself, yet I somehow thought them to be facts.
I believed I was quite unlovable, which was my excuse for not trying to be worthy of love in any way. I believed I’d always struggle financially, so I made no serious effort to earn more, to save more, or to build multiple streams of income.
I believed that life was harsh, that people didn’t like me for being skinny, kind of ugly, and not nearly as charming as everyone else, so I lived in a state of perpetual fear — I somehow expected the world to decide that I wasn’t worthy of living on this planet anymore and send me off to spend the rest of my life on the dark side of the moon or something.
We fall in love with fairytales because they promise us, “happily ever after.”
One of the most toxic mindsets that we can fall in love with is that of desiring completion. This fantasy that, once we reach the top of the mountain, our lives are going to be perfect.
As I am often too fond of quoting, life is pain. And anyone who tells you differently is trying to sell you something. And make no mistake, some folks make quite a bit of money by selling you this idea, by making you waste your time waiting for the weekend, for a vacation, for retirement, or for heaven.
There is no completion. There is no top of the mountain.
Nine years ago, just as my father declared bankruptcy, I went through a sort of mid-mid-life crisis; the kind you often have to fight against when you’re twenty-something and lost.
Nothing made sense. I struggled with depression and feelings of insecurity. I was a bunch of good intentions held back by a set of limiting self-beliefs, anxieties, addictions, all stitched together with a lot of hope.
I was so desperate for a way out of hell that I couldn’t see the fact that hell was something I had built for myself, hell was something I was carrying with me wherever I went.
During these years, as I slowly descended into darkness, I’d often stumble upon quotes that I’d deeply resonate with. They’d offer a bit of comfort, a bit of clarity, and I’d ponder and ponder about them.
The ones I never forgot about are the ones that defined my mindset and allowed me to escape the hell of my existence.
Here are five quotes that defined my mindset and allowed me to fight for my dreams.
During the Roman Republic, the river Rubicon acted as a sort of frontier line between the Roman province of Cisalpine Gaul to the northeast and Italy proper, controlled directly by Rome, to the south.
In 49 BC, perhaps on January 10, Julius Caesar led a single legion, Legio XIII Gemina, south over the Rubicon from Cisalpine Gaul to Italy to make his way to Rome. In doing so, he deliberately broke the law limiting his imperium, his authority to control his army.
As he led his army across the Rubicon river into Central Italy, Julius Caesar is credited to having said the following words, “Alea iacta est”.
“The die has been cast.”
The phrase “crossing the Rubicon” has since been used to describe an individual who commits to a risky or revolutionary course of action, similar to the modern phrase “passing the point of no return”.
The most common boundary that many of us struggle to cross in life is the one that lies between who we are and who we’d like to become.
It’s generally intimidating because of the work it takes to get to the other side. Is it worth the time, the energy, the pain, the commitment? Are you even capable of crossing the distance between the two? What is going to happen in-between, as you suffer in order to reshape yourself into someone you’re proud of?
These are all valid questions. The answer is not the resounding “yes” that people often hope, because we often forget that there’s no going back. The plethora of inspirational quotes and self-help advice neglects this part.
And this is why our subconscious mind tries to sabotage us. There’s no going back.
If Caesar had failed, if he had been defeated, him crossing the Rubicon would have been seen as an ignorant act of defiance in the face of obvious limitations.
“John crossed the Rubicon, and look at him now.”
I find that the answer lies in what we expect to find on the other side of the river.
There seems to be so much stress and worries and errands and just so much noise that we must all endure and overcome these days. There’s so much information and entertainment and social media and news, and all that begs for a bit of space inside our minds.
And thus we sometimes cannot find the calm that we so desperately need…
So, how do you declutter your mind?
How do you get rid of excess information or take a moment to find peace and tranquility in this ocean of chaose we call day-to-day livin?
The mind is complex and confusing, the essence of who we are as humans. It is often covered in old hurts and traumas, and layered in so many levels of consciousness it feels impossible to sort through it all.
Most of the times, even to our own selves, we don’t make much sense.
So how do we begin decluttering? It’s actually not difficult, if you give it a little thought: simplifying is, by definition, easy.
You can declutter your mind with simple actions, little things that can make a big difference, especially when used in combination.