Obstacles

“Don’t let life discourage you; everyone who got where they are had to begin where they were.” — Richard L. Evans

There comes a time when a certain number of obstacles get in the way of you getting what you want.

Setbacks.

Failures.

Disappointments.

What you thought would happen, didn’t. Your expectations turned out to be misguided.

What do you do then?

Well, the answer is simple. Rest, if you have to. Don’t quit, but take a short break to think things through. What happened, who did what, and what has to be done to improve the situation.

Don’t spend too much time though. You’ve got to keep moving forward, no matter what. Continue reading

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P.U.S.H.

Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them. – William Shakespeare

It seems to me that it is some people’s inexorable destiny to become great. But to most folks, greatness is simply about being determined enough.

The only way out of a struggle is to hustle.

There’s no other way. No substitute for hard work. No shortcut.

Simply put, you can’t climb the ladder to success with your hands in your pockets.

There’s no elevator. Continue reading

11 Harsh Truths about Success

There are two main reasons why this photograph of Jeff Bezos is interesting.

First of all, today’s richest man is working from headquarters located on the same street as a pawn shop, a heroin-needle exchange, and a “porno parlor.” His office, the badly stained carpet, the desk, made out of a door propped up on two-by-fours, all give the impression of the kind of hopelessness that people often encounter whenever they start something new.

The second thing about this photograph is even more intriguing: When this picture was taken, back in 1999, Jeff Bezos was already worth around 9 billion dollars. Yet he worked from that office, drove around in a Honda, and had a terrible sense of fashion.

Success is not easy. Overnight success is so statistically improbable that we might as well think it doesn’t even exist.

The struggle is real. Just imagine in what kind of conditions Bezos was working when he first started his company, if this was what his office looked like when running what had grown into a 30 billion dollar company.

The same way Elon Musk had to borrow money to pay rent in the early days of SpaceX, all successful people had to deny themselves pleasure and comfort in order to bring their dreams to life.

There’s no way around it, I’m afraid.

And there are certain aspects of success that rarely get talked about. We romanticize success to the point that it feels like a walk in the park. You do what you love, always a smile on your face…

Here are eleven harsh truths about success that no one ever talks about. Continue reading

How good do you want to be?

“How long are you going to wait before you demand the best for yourself?” – Epictetus

One of the sad truths of life is that we often think of ourselves as nouns. Finished products. We try, we fail, and it means we’ll never be able to do it.

We get our hearts broken, and we decide we’ll be forever alone. No one will ever love us. We should just buy some cats and dogs…

Ever thought about the fact that you are born useless? A lump of flesh? You can’t even walk, can’t feed yourself. You’d be dead within a few hours, if left out all by yourself. That’s if you’re somehow lucky enough to even survive that long.

Remember how it felt to learn to walk? To talk? Of course not. But you did learn to do those things, and became quite good. Continue reading

What do you do when all hope is lost?

“Many people seem to think it foolish, even superstitious, to believe that the world could still change for the better. And it is true that in winter it is sometimes so bitingly cold that one is tempted to say, ‘What do I care if there is a summer; its warmth is no help to me now.’ Yes, evil often seems to surpass good. But then, in spite of us, and without our permission, there comes at last an end to the bitter frosts. One morning the wind turns, and there is a thaw. And so I must still have hope.” – Vincent van Gogh

There was a time in life when I had lost all hope. For something so essential to us humans, hope seems to be endless. It is renewed again and again.

How did I lose it all?

It happened fast. Or so it seemed. It happened in such a way that, as everything around me went crumbling down, all I could do was stare blankly. Like watching TV. Like being the observer of your own life. Like being in a car with an unknown driver taking you to a place you never even knew existed.

I had failed in love, in business, and in life in general. I had no friends, no money, and struggled with debilitating health issues. I thought this was the beginning of the end. And I just didn’t feel like going on. Continue reading

Don’t ever, ever ring the bell

“Finally, in SEAL training there is a bell. A brass bell that hangs in the center of the compound for all the students to see. All you have to do to quit is ring the bell.

Ring the bell and you no longer have to wake up at 5 o’clock. Ring the bell and you no longer have to do the freezing cold swims. Ring the bell and you no longer have to do the runs, the obstacle course, the PT — and you no longer have to endure the hardships of training. Just ring the bell.

If you want to change the world don’t ever, ever ring the bell.” – Adm. McRaven

If I were to ask of you to knock at a wall until it turns into a door, what would you do? What would you say to me? What would you think of the situation itself?

Pretty ridiculous, right?

No person in their right mind would ever attempt such a thing. Yet life often provides us with such walls. Granted, we tend to build them ourselves. But sometimes they’re built by those around us. We are constantly being told how the world works, what is our place, and what rules must be obeyed. We are told what can be done, what can’t, what shouldn’t even be attempted.

So, yes, a lot of times in life you get to be in front of a wall, and all that you want is on the other side. And you cannot climb over it, walk around it…

Persist and resist. Continue reading

If you find yourself in a hole…

Sometimes I stumble upon a quote, and I fall in love. I feel compelled to analyze it, to find layer upon layer of meaning.

We are rarely aware of the fact that most bad things that happen to us are a result of our own actions.

We dig our own holes.

Yet, we act like everyone else is to blame. An indifferent Universe, a world ruled to act to our disadvantage. But the truth is that we dig our own holes. We are always responsible. We are always in control of our minds, reactions, words.

As they say, karma is how we respond to what other people do to us.

Continue reading