“Purgatory” is my own personal nickname for the hometown I’ve been shackled to for so long. In purgatory, there is no good and no bad, just endless, drab waiting.
In my hometown, you wait and wait until you’re old and grey, and then you die, confused and angry.
Here are the 6 lessons I’ve learned in trying to escape this place and live a life of color:
1. Never waste opportunity
Opportunity can be fickle. For some, it never seems to stop coming along. For others, it has to be created. If you want to have an easy life, don’t allow opportunity to slip through your fingers. I don’t care if you’re 15 or 55, there’s no excuse to opt out of an opportunity to create a better life. If you’ve got a good gut feeling about it, go for it.
I’ve been given opportunities quite a few times in my life, and I wasted every last one because I either couldn’t see them for what they were or didn’t take them seriously. Hindsight is 20-20 they say, but I can tell, looking back, that my biggest problem was always my cocky attitude. I never thought opportunities would stop falling into my lap. Silly me.
To not let opportunity pass you by unnoticed, humble yourself enough that you take every possibility seriously. Don’t think that you are above anything or that you deserve better just because it isn’t ideal. Life is never truly ideal; get over it and make a move.
“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls, and looks like work.” – Thomas Edison
2. You never do it alone
This isn’t a world that you can flourish in by isolating yourself. Everything that you could possibly want in this life, you can more easily get by knowing the right people. Everybody says that you should walk the walk instead of talking the talk, but talkers get a lot done too.
Is it your goal to land a job or start a business? Knowing the right people can help you with that immensely. What about excelling at a particular talent or sport? Knowing an expert and getting involved in the right community will set you on your way with that as well.
This rule applies to everything. When it comes to socializing, always seek to expand, never contract. What I mean by this is that you should always be reaching out as much as you can to meet new people and get to know the people already in your life. You’ll be surprised by how things turn out when you do!
3. It’s all about the end result
Forget “The Journey.” You can start enjoying your journey once you start succeeding, but until then you’ve got to stay focused and angry enough to make it happen. Yes, anger is your weapon (see below).
When you start thinking about it as a journey, you lose focus. It becomes a “lifestyle” and not something that you’re starving to move forward in. Maintaining some sense of equilibrium while trying to enact major change is an oxymoron, and you will sabotage yourself if you’re not willing to let yourself get obsessed.
4. Knowing how to use knowledge is more important than knowledge itself
I learned a ton of things in school, but only apply about 10% of it in my day-to-day life. Logically, this makes it all a massive waste of time. I could have just researched into what I wanted to know on the fly; it is the age of information. Even if you were to go on to college or university, there’s always more money to be made from going into business and creating your own income. This applies before or after your schooling. If I were to go back to school though, I would go with an in-demand trade and start getting paid sooner than later.
The exception to this is experience. If you have experience in a money making skill like sales or marketing, you have a real leg up in making money in many many ways.
Having a lot of knowledge isn’t what makes someone a genius. A genius is someone who brings a new perspective to the table, and does things a little differently. They can use knowledge in new and creative ways to create solutions and become a leader in their field.
There is no right answer to how to use knowledge. Once you understand that, you’re one step closer.
5. Suffering doesn’t mean you’re moving forward
Suffering is just the passing of misfortune. Suffer enough, and you can become delusional, and start to think that you’re paying the price for success. You are not. Only taking control of things and improving your situation is moving forward, and this is especially so when you’re in a situation that causes you to suffer.
I’ve been through many difficult situations which caused me to suffer. Eventually, I started thinking that this is just how life is going to be for me, and that I gained something from going though hardship. Well I did, after many difficult years of the same old crap, I finally learned that I can refuse to suffer anymore.
Get in the mindset of refusing to suffer. Sure, do what you gotta do to get where you’re going but never confuse that with pointless suffering. If there’s nothing to gain, you don’t need pain. We all go through some rough patches, but don’t ever let yourself start thinking that it’s just something that you have to put up with forever.
“Better be wise by the misfortune of others than your own” – Aesop
6. Anger is how you save yourself
When the going gets tough, the tough get angry. When all else fails, anger will keep you on your feet and pushing you forward. It is the great useful emotion that gives you the power to do more than you thought you could before.
Anger works because it is a state of strong discontentment. “I’m not happy with how things are going, and I’ll fight to make a change.” With this deep burning to make a change driving you forward, it really becomes possible. A lot of us have been conditioned to not experience strong anger so easily. You have to break this conditioning. Use this exercise: Think about a situation where you were treated particularly unfairly, and allow yourself to experience the spark of anger from this. Focus on this emotion and learn to cultivate it. Repeat this exercise over and over, and soon enough you will have much easier access to your own anger.
Don’t be afraid to unshackle the chains society has placed on your emotions. These limits only serve to hold you back and homogenize your soul. Let your rage show in all it’s burning glory!