In the past thirty years, life has taught me lessons no textbook ever could.
I’ve stumbled, fallen, and got back up, each time learning something valuable.
These are the kinds of lessons that only the experiences in life can teach.
Back in high school, I thought I had it all figured out.
But, man, was I wrong.
It wasn’t until my daughter was born that my perspective started to shift.
That change helped me realize life was more than just about me.
And it’s been a journey.
These lessons I’m sharing come from life’s unexpected and toughest moments.
If you’ve ever felt lost or questioned what you’re doing with your life, they might resonate with you.
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
In the last post, Against All Odds: The Journey to Writing Your Own Story, I shared my path from landscaping to e-commerce, and eventually to creating Writing Your Own Story.
That journey’s full of personal struggles and challenges, but it’s where I learned a very crucial lesson.
That crucial lesson was this - If I wanted to break free from the ‘traditional’ path and find what I truly love, then I had to do something different.
Things had to change, or else I’d just continue being stuck in the same cycle.
I had to become the uncommon amongst the common.
And it’s true.
To find and succeed in something I was passionate about, I couldn’t just follow everyone else.
I had to take risks and do things differently.
So, I changed things up.
While everyone else was listening to music at work, I listened to podcasts and audiobooks.
Instead of going out, I was taking courses and learning something new.
That was the start, and it gradually built up from there.
But there was something I wasn’t prepared for when I did this.
I wasn’t ready for how people would react.
Everyone around me couldn’t understand what I was trying to do.
To them, it seemed crazy and like some joke.
These were the people whose opinions I valued and cared about most.
And facing skepticism from them was the toughest part.
What I’ve realized is that when you break away from the ‘normal’ path, not everyone will get it.
They’re used to the traditional way of doing things.
So, when you talk about a path they’ve never considered or even heard about, it’s hard for them to wrap their heads around it.
All you can do is stay confident in your journey and not let their doubts get to you.
Because this is the time you find out who’s truly there for you.
“Man must cease attributing his problems to his environment, and learn again to exercise his will — his personal responsibility.”
— Albert Schweitzer
Growing up, we all count on others and rely on them because we’re unable to do it ourselves.
But there comes a point when this shifts.
Suddenly, it’s on us to figure out life on our terms.
I’ll be honest, it took me a while to catch on to this one.
Don’t get me wrong, I thought I was in control and managing my life just fine.
But looking back, I was so far off track.
It amazes me how blind we can be sometimes.
During this time, I was always quick to blame everyone else for the problems I faced and the situations I ended up in.
It was never my fault.
I would blame anyone or anything I could — my parents, my job, "the system."
Eventually, I started to notice that every time I pointed the blame somewhere else, I was missing a chance to fix my own mistakes.
The truth was I was the problem.
I was screwing up.
Facing that fact wasn’t easy and it didn’t magically make everything better either.
But it did start changing how I was approaching my problems.
I started catching myself whenever I wasn’t taking responsibility.
The only way that happens is if you’re aware of it, to begin with.
If you think life is just happening to you, think again.
It took me a while to realize that the power to change my situation was always in my hands.
And once I did, my life started to shift in ways I could’ve never imagined.
“Life is a matter of choices, and every choice you make makes you.”
— John C. Maxwell
In my life, I’ve made choices that led to consequences that I’m still dealing with today.
It’s a truth I’ve come to accept.
We’re constantly bombarded with choices.
Some are so routine we don’t even notice we’re making them like what shirt to wear or where to get gas.
But each choice, no matter how small we think they are, adds up and shapes where we’re headed.
I’ve had my fair share of tough times.
And it was in these challenging times that I started to realize I had a choice.
In life, while some things are beyond our control, we still have the power to choose.
That’s always up to us.
I used to feel like I was trapped in situations, with no way out.
But the truth is, I was just avoiding the hard choices.
I was choosing to ignore the ones that required change, effort, or facing my fears.
Realizing that I always have a choice, no matter the situation, changed everything for me.
It’s about looking beyond the easy out and finding the paths that might be tougher but lead to better places.
So, remember, no matter the situation, you always have a choice.
It might not be easy or the one you want, but it’s there.
The power lies in recognizing these choices and having the courage to make the right ones.
After more than 30 years of life’s ups and downs, here’s what I’ve come to understand.
Life is about stepping up, making choices, and embracing the responsibility that comes with them.
It’s not always easy, but it’s incredibly empowering.
You have more control over your life than you might realize.
Don’t just drift along like I did.
Be different, carve out your own path, and take charge of your journey.
This is what changed everything for me.
We’re all writing our own stories, with every choice and every challenge we face.
Keep it honest, make it count, and make your story one you’re proud to tell.
If you’ve made it this far, thanks so much for reading. And, if you found value in this article, it would mean the world to me if you shared it with others!
What's your take and what do you think about this? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
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