It sure is possible not to recognize yourself.
The photo on the left is me blind drunk about to go to a rave party, having made a lot of money the month prior from a startup.
The photo on the right is me eight years later giving an inspiring speech at Etihad Stadium to an audience full of leaders and several people I admire.
Everybody tells me I’ve changed so much.
I think change is for the better.
Before the change:
The person I was on the left spent most of the weekend hanging around the cool kids. They all liked me for my nice BMW, DJ career and carefree attitude.
While I never took drugs, they did. They smoked a drug called ice every weekend.
It destroyed their lives. They became drug addicts. I could have become like them. Luckily I didn’t. I found meaning and changed instead.
It wasn’t easy, but I ended up never talking to any of those friends again.
One year after this photo was taken my startup dream came crashing down.
I walked away from it all and realized that I had a severe mental illness. It was this battle with anxiety that caused me to be a drunk and act like an asshole in the first place. Instead of trying to solve the problem I attempted to cover it up.
Status, cars, money and drugs were what I used to avoid the problem.
After the change:
The person I was on the right (taken earlier this year) eats healthy, rarely drinks, reaches millions of people through regular blog posts, reads lots of books, is wise with money, leads a team of digital marketers for a 900 person listed company, and most of all — have overcome mental illness.
I spent every day since the photo on the left was taken trying to be a better person and figure out how I could help people in the process.
I didn’t come to this realization on my own.
I’m not that smart, unfortunately.
Through the process of reading what the most impactful people on the planet do, I saw a pattern. I’d have to be an idiot to miss it after reading so many books.
- You must learn to deal with fear
- You must have a meaning beyond your own existence
- You must be patient, focused and work on your goals every day
Once I discovered this pattern, I began writing about it every week. I posted articles on my friends Wordpress Blog. No one really paid attention. I didn’t care. I was paying the price of discovering a meaning for my life and that was enough of a reward. Little did I know it was going to change other peoples lives.
Fast forward to when the photo on the right was taken, and I was reaching millions of people every month as a blogger. I never could have thought that I’d write so much and help so many people.
Being vulnerable and seen as a leader in front of so many people, scared the crap out of me. I nearly didn’t get on stage at Etihad Stadium. Then, I remembered the pain of what it was like to be the person on the left. I didn’t want to be that scared person any longer.
The key difference between the person on the left and the person on the right was this:
- The person on the right wasn’t selfish
- The person on the right overcame mental illness through understanding the power of thoughts
- The person on the right didn’t give up
I can’t even recognize the guy on the left anymore. He died many years ago.
It’s possible to become a completely different person. I’m living proof and I’m not special.
Find what is meaningful to you.
Tackle whatever challenge you’ve been avoiding.
Then you’ll change.
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