That leads you to a beautiful place you never thought you’d get to.
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This quote made my eyes bleed the first time I saw it:
“You can’t make radical changes in the pattern of your life until you see yourself exactly as you are now. As soon as you do that, changes will flow naturally.”
— Henepola Gunaratana
Your life is following a pattern. A radical change involves breaking that pattern and finding an empowering alternative to the life you’ve become tired of.
Having made multiple radical shifts in my life — leaving behind a business I loved, multiple breakups, a near-miss with cancer, quitting music, beating mental illness — I sat down recently to think about what caused each change.
I Quit Alcohol
I let alcohol mess up my life. I went from a few drinks on a Friday night to drinking in the office during business hours. It went from not being a problem to a huge problem.
The alcohol made me feel better about myself. It took away my nerves and allowed me to talk to women. But those conversations with women were terrible. I was barely present and would begin slurring my words after a few cans. No wonder I was single for so long. Who wants to date a blistering idiot with bad breath?
Quitting alcohol was not easy. I’d go to work functions and people would pre-pour me a drink. When I didn’t want to accept the drink they poured me they’d act as if they had walked from one side of the Sahara desert to the other to get it for me. The guilt would become enormous, fast.
Then after saying no to alcohol for a while, people began to respect me for it. It was if the discipline of drinking water with lemon in it was a personality trait people respected about me — as if they wish they might make the same stand themselves.
By giving up alcohol I began to inspire those I worked with to do the same. When you master discipline in one area of your life it unlocks enormous possibility. That tiny bit of discipline then bled into my exercise routine, and eventually, my writing practice.
See if quitting alcohol for a while produces a radical change in your life.
I Stopped Trying to Be the Loudest Voice in the Room
I was in love with the sound of my own voice. I wanted to dominate the meeting to prove my place in society and drown out the “weak hands.” This weak vs. strong approach to life was ridiculous. Those people I labeled weak were really just quiet people silently changing the world behind closed doors.
Show me the loudest person in the room. They’re the one you should be careful of. They are often so in love with themselves and their career that they will ruin people’s dreams to achieve their own — until they find out there is nothing at the end of the never-shut-up and “always winning” rainbow of broken dreams.
Quiet down. The awesomeness of the world gets louder. You can’t hear the beauty of the world if your voice is always blocking it.
I Decided to Commit to One Woman
I was always trading in the woman I was dating for an upgrade. Not once did I ever think to myself “maybe it’s you, you selfish imbecile.” This silly dating game led me nowhere.
What changed everything was when I decided to commit to one woman, and change myself if things became a disaster. Personal accountability is huge. You are probably the problem with your relationship like I was.
Swiping my life away for an upgrade when things got tough didn’t fix anything.
I Dialled My Ego Right Down
Ryan Holiday’s book “Ego Is The Enemy” was a real unexpected gem. The book taught me just how full of shit I was. I thought I was the center of the universe and everybody must bow down to my version of the world and the rules I set in stone for people to follow.
The more rules I created for other people the more they broke them.
I realized a lot of my unhappiness was because of these ridiculous rules I expected people to follow. You can replace expectations for appreciation. I learned to appreciate what others thought rather than trying to force them to see my view of the world. I appreciated what people did for me instead of expecting them to serve me endless pleasures to fuel my ego.
Your ego can seriously mess you up. It can make you think you’re more important than you are.
Learn to make fun of yourself and see your imperfections if you want to attract interesting people into your life who can help you discover new opportunities.
I Forgave Those Who Wronged Me
There have been people who have stolen from me. There have been people who have slept with my romantic partner while I was still dating them. There have been sour business transactions that left me without any money.
“Stuff” is going to happen. People make mistakes. If you can forgive those who wrong you, then you can move on a helluva lot faster than if you stand in the shower and think about your enemies, instead of relaxing.
Offering second chances will change your life.
I Simplified My Life Right Down
One of my mentors worships the legacy of Steve Jobs. I asked him why. He said: “Steve Jobs made technology simple for idiots like me.”
He would spend hours talking to me about the genius of the iPhone or the simplicity of its operating system. I would tell him Apple is a ripoff and he’d beg me to see simplicity is worth paying for. After years of beating me over the head with his dream of simplicity, I fell for it. I got what he was saying.
Simplicity allows you to get started. It’s easy to make a concept complex but it’s hard to make it simple enough for primary school students to understand.
That’s one of the reasons I write for people whose second language is English, so they can understand some of what the culture I grew up in believes. Understanding the power of simplicity made me radically change my schedule to prioritize: family, friends, writing.
Simplicity is stunning when you learn to appreciate it. Sit down with an Apple product for a day and see if you can see what Steve Jobs saw.
I Invested the Juice I Squeezed out of Life
Life can gift you many pleasures. You can spend them all or reinvest them. I learned later in life to reinvest the profits of my business, writing, and regular job. I created an emergency fund to relieve stress during tough economic times. I invested money in assets that could help me earn passive income.
Most of all, I invested money into developing myself through books, courses, and live events. I used to believe I was a finished work of art. Now I believe I’m an amateur artists’ work that will never be finished.
Short-term pleasures can ruin your life if you’ve got nothing left for the future. Take some of what you make and invest it.
I Created a Clear Divide Between My Side-Hustle and 9–5 Job
The career ladder climbers hate me for this one. (“Why won’t he just work 12 hours a day and get the promotion that could change his life?”)
Setting boundaries between my side-hustle and my normal job allowed me to have different modes. I have learned to be able to switch modes which has given my life more variety.
One moment I can sit quietly in a business meeting and look like I belong with the corporate folk, and the next moment I can transform into a part-time business owner with a navy blue backpack and a Macbook Pro.
The contrast between the two is fun to play with. It’s taught me that we’re all just actors. We can choose to act any role we want. You can act like a corporate employee for life and become an entrepreneur after dark. The more roles you learn to play in life the bigger your realm of possibility becomes.
I Became Proactive Rather than Reactive
I used to wait for stuff to happen. I believed in the lie that some famous person was going to see my work, whisk me off my feet, and make all the hard decisions for me because I was “worthy.”
This way of thinking led me to electronic music. I was always sending my music to record labels and waiting to get lucky. I became impatient and began sending them worse and worse tracks. They eventually stopped wanting to work with me and even hear my pitches.
This is the problem with those who seek Hollywood fame. They spend their whole life waiting to be discovered instead of discovering themselves.
Being proactive is huge. Being proactive is a daily process rather than a once a year New Year’s Resolution that is supposed to change everything, and doesn’t. Put in the legwork. Start small. Begin building something of your own today. Watch that seed of creation turn into a bamboo forest after five years.
I Chose Love, Not Hate
I was full of hate for decades. I thought love was corny. I thought I understood what love was — you love your family, always, and perhaps one romantic partner. This version of love was shallow.
I realized that why I used love with family and romantic partners, I treated everybody else with hate. Love is broader than your inner circle.
How you love strangers says a lot more about you.
If you can learn to spread love and give love, then you can learn a tool that will radically change your life. How?
You will see the world differently with love.
Those who struggle will go from weaklings to fellow human beings. Those who fire you from your job will become people you must forgive. Those who write nasty comments on your social media posts will look like you when you’ve had a bad day. Online networks are full of hate.
Love is invisible online because all you can see is an avatar, not a flesh and blood person just like you. It’s easy to see people as enemies in a computer game rather than family who share your bloodline and descend from the same place as you.
Choosing love over hate is bigger than you. The world is full of hate. People are angry because of an unfortunate natural event that affects every country. You may think the love you can give is too small to do anything. It’s not.
Defeating hate with love is a contagious event that starts with a single person. You get to be that person and not know the ripple effect of your actions.
“The human society is the extension of the individual. Therefore, if we really want a radical change, if we want a better world, we need to change individually.”
— Samael Aun Weor
Imagine where you could take your life if you committed to change. It’s never too late to explore the endless possibilities of your existence.
You aren’t here for long so you may as well give it a shot. The only thing you have to lose is never knowing how great you can be.