If you got here by clicking on the headline above, then well done to you. You can pat yourself on the back for being brave enough to face up to some adversity.
The first step to true personal growth is acknowledging some pretty uncomfortable facts about ourselves and the lives we lead. The hard truths that have somehow gotten lost in the daily tsunami of motivational quotes and self-reinforcing messages.
There is a reason why they are called hard truths. They aren’t pretty or easy to swallow. Acknowledging them may feel like a punch in the gut.
But guess what – that punch in the gut may be just what you need. There’s a reason why many people who have gone on to achieve something truly remarkable in life, have done so after experiencing a setback of some sorts.
So if you want to rise above the crowds and live a truly special life, brace yourself for the hard truths below. Accept them. Internalize them. Most importantly, face up to them.
It is the only way forward.
1. You Are Average
Remember how your parents, teachers, and relatives have all told you that you are special?
It was a harmless lie, perhaps even a useful one. The kind that is intended to make you feel good about yourself and boost your confidence. But unless you are still twelve years old, it has now served its purpose.
Sorry to break it to you, but you are NOT the most beautiful, smart, athletic, caring and funny person in the world. You may well score highly on some of these criteria but show me a person who fits all of them and I’ll show you a unicorn.
You’re welcome to tell me to pound sand. Keep on believing that you are that special person. And act surprised when life hits you in the face – because other people don’t
give a care what you believe in.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, here goes: you won’t get to date the most beautiful guy/girl, have the best job, become Prime Minister, look like one of these guys and have a gazillion followers on Twitter at the same time.
Not going to happen
Be honest with yourself. Acknowledge your weaknesses. Figure out your strengths and weaknesses and play to them.
Use your looks to become a model. Parlay your intelligence into a successful career as a doctor or a lawyer. Put those handyman skills to work to make bank rehabbing real estate. Leverage your sense of humour to become a great salesman – or a politician.
Because the bottom line is that it doesn’t matter that you are average. What matters is focusing on areas where you are not.
2. You Are Lazy
That’s right. Because if you weren’t, you would probably find a way to achieve your goals already. Instead, you are looking for inspiration on the internet.
On a serious note, being lazy isn’t necessarily bad. There is no point in working your hands to the bone if you don’t know what you want and don’t have a clear strategy to get there. And it’s always better to take the fastest path from A to B instead of walking around in circles.
However, the brutal reality of life is that you simply won’t achieve your goals unless you take action. All the research and information in the world won’t help you if you don’t eventually hit the trigger.
To paraphrase an old saying, what’s the point of knowing a million ways to make love if you don’t know any women?
You see, pretty much everyone knows what they have to do. The problem is that most people don’t actually do it.
And if you are taking action, are you really giving it 100% effort? Because not giving it everything you’ve got will haunt you in the future.
That test you didn’t prepare for because you were playing around on your phone. That game you lost because you were hungover. That guy/girl you never approached because you were scared of… what exactly?
Finally, there’s consistency. Have you given up on your NYE resolutions yet? Thought so. So did pretty much everyone else.
Expectations, meet reality.
Going out there and giving things your best shot only works if you do it consistently. If you are only going to do it for two weeks then you might as well keep watching Netflix.
Most people fail in life because they postpone action for too long, then try to do everything at once, get dispirited and give up. Another year goes by and then they try to do it all over again, thinking that having a different year on the calendar will somehow turn a losing strategy into a winning one.
The results will surprise you.
3. You Are Scared
Look around you. Pay attention to the really successful people you know. Then ask yourself this: Are they more capable than you? Are they better looking or more charming? Probably not.
Do they have a bigger head that somehow accommodates a bigger, smarter brain? Didn’t think so.
But they do have
bigger balls more courage. Courage to take a risk. Courage to fail. Courage to get up and try again.
If you want to channel fear in a productive manner, you should fear wasting time. On TV, on social media, on pointless news and the negative people in your life.
You should fear not letting the people in your life know that you love them – because God knows they won’t be around forever.
There’s nothing wrong with being scared. Most of us are. Just don’t let fear box you into living a life you don’t want to live.
4. You Have The Life You Deserve
In life, there are people who get truly unlucky. Experiencing childhood abuse, suffering a serious illness, having to go through war and famine are wild card events that will knock even the strongest person off their course.
If something like this has happened to you, then please accept my condolences. You have a valid reason to say that life has been unfair to you.
As for the other 99.9% of people reading this – you have no excuse. If you are healthy, reasonably intelligent and live in a developed country, you’ve already got all the tools you need to succeed in life. And if that success isn’t forthcoming, the biggest reason for it is that person you see in the mirror.
The quality of your life is a direct by-product of your aspirations, your work ethic and your ability to delay gratification. When you’ve got all the ingredients for a tasty dish, you can only blame the cook if what comes out of the oven is a bunch of dross.
5. You Are Going To Die
Might as well finish it off with a bang. But think it through, and you will realize that while this is the most uncomfortable hard truth of all, it’s also the most liberating one.
Hate to break the bad news to you, but life will go by faster than you think.
One day, you will most certainly regret all the things you haven’t done, all the time you’ve wasted and all the pointless fears that held you back. But it will be too late. It’s not a videogame – you don’t get a chance to go back and do it all over again when you are on your deathbed.
The awesome bit, of course, is that you are not on your deathbed. Instead, you are healthy, smart, energetic – and if you are still reading this, you get to make a decision.
You can face up to all the hard truths above and take action. Or you can spend the rest of your days dreaming of the life you will never get to experience.
The choice is yours.
About Banker On Fire
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Banker On FIRE is a London-based M&A (mergers and acquisitions) investment banker. I am passionate about capital markets, behavioural economics, financial independence, and living the best life possible.
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