10 Hard Truths in Life You Need to Hear
The world is an interesting place – one full of opportunities and adventures, yet also riddled with terrible decisions, fear, doubt, and distractions that keep us from becoming the best men we can be. Sometimes it takes a hard truth to snap us out of our funk and get us back on track. These hard truths can be difficult to digest, but necessary to keep you from wearing those jeans you cut into shorts. Seriously, throw those things away.
The impetus for a hard truth is never born from malice; rather, it’s delivered to guide you back toward your goal of being the best version of yourself. If someone is spouting off hard truths at you and it feels like he’s being a dick, he probably is. If, however, he’s telling you things you don’t want to hear but you’re inspired by it, congratulations! You just received a heaping scoop of hard truth.
Here are ten hard truths in life you need to hear… Take a listen and let me know what you think in the comments below. [Subscribe Here]
1. You Cannot Control Other People – It is none of your business how trees grow, how the sun rises and sets, or which way the wind blows. You’d feel pretty silly arguing with nature, right? Yet many feel completely justified telling people (both those they know, and those they don’t) what he or she should and shouldn’t do with their lives. The reality is that people and nature are going to carry on with or without your input. What purpose does it serve to spin your wheels trying to change everyone and everything around you?
The greatest thing you can do for yourself is to let go of the things you cannot change – that includes the people in your life that you wish were better or different. You can’t stand it when people try to change you, so stop tying to change others. When you get out of other people’s business, you’ll be able to focus more on your own. And really, isn’t that what you should be paying attention to in the first place?
2. Someone Will Always Have More – That’s right, somebody will always have more, be more, or do more than you. Get over it. There are 7 billion people on the planet. It was more than bound to happen. One of my favorite quotes is from Ralph Waldo Emerson:
“There is a time in every man’s education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion…”
You don’t want to ever give up the man you were born to be so you can be someone else. Emerson had it right: envy is ignorance and imitation is suicide. Emulate those you find successful, but never let go of your roots. Accept that someone will always have more.
The silver lining to this hard truth is that your desires are unique in what they will bring you. For example, someone else may have more money, but you have more time to spend doing what you enjoy. Maybe that wealthy socialite you envy hates what he does for a living, or is stretched so thin for time, he envies you!
3. You Are Going to Fail – No kidding, it happens. Life is about experience and the lessons that come out of each one. You’re going to totally bomb certain activities and skills once or twice. In some things you may excel, while others you might struggle or fail miserably. Understand the key point to remember through all of this: you failed, but you are not a failure. There’s actually an art to succeeding through failure, and I’ve already written about it. How convenient, right?
4. Some People Will Love You… Others Will Not – You cannot please everyone. Read that one again. If you set out to please everyone you come in contact with, you’re going to find your life is much, much harder than you could ever have imagined. Expectations are frivolously high at times, and there truly isn’t anything you can do to satisfy everyone all the time. If someone doesn’t love you, it doesn’t mean you’re a terrible person or unlovable; it means that person doesn’t love you. That 1 of 7,000,000,000 people on Earth doesn’t love you. That’s billion, my friend. In the popularity contest we call life, you’re still a contender for the best guy to play you in your made-for-TV movie.
5. You Are the Captain of Your Own Ship – This is one of my favorites. With technology advancing exponentially these days, the tendency to rely on external resources is ever increasing… but misguided. The tools and/or people you rely on to fix your problems and make your life better are only as good as the work your put into them. Here’s a better (and more nautical) example:
The GPS on your ship is only as good as the information you provide. If you tell it to find land, but you really meant Fiji, it will simply find the closest land around. You can’t be upset when you arrive at a rock in the middle of the ocean because you didn’t provide accurate information. You have to man up and take the wheel. Make the tough decisions, plot out the course, and sail off into the horizon under your own conviction.
6. Nobody Thinks About You as Often as You Do – Or as harshly. We are our biggest, most unforgiving critics. We’re also blessed with a comically detailed memory that allows us to bring up regrets and mistakes we feel we made from years ago. When you hesitate before taking action because you worry what others might think, remember it won’t make a lick of difference to them by the following week – maybe even the following day! We all make up stories about how we think other people see us.
If you really want to see how critical you are of yourself, write down the names of some of your friends and coworkers and how you think they view you on one sheet of paper. On a second sheet, write those same names, but actually ask them how they see you. Compare those answers and see just how judgmental you are to yourself. I’m willing to bet you’re tougher on you than you expected.
7. Your Life is a One-Day-at-a-Time Endeavor – This is a hard truth because we all seem to plan, plan, plan for the future and worry, worry, worry about the past. You cannot do anything about the opportunity you feel you missed 10 years ago. Let it go. Likewise, planning obsessively for the future is equally as paralyzing. You have today to make choices and experience those triumphs, mistakes, successes, and failures. You can reflect on the past to extract a lesson or two, but regretting and worrying is a heinous waste of your time and potential. If you plan to have one amazing day at a time, you’ll get much more out of life.
8. Yes, Sometimes it Really is You – This one is hard to take for some people. Let’s be honest here, some of us keep getting into situations and relationships where bad or unpleasant things happen, and we blame everything and everyone else. Please take a seat for this next sentence. “It’s not me, it’s you – Let’s not be friends.” The truth is, patterns don’t lie. If you have a history of attracting these men/women/animals/dead-end jobs/bad-luck, it’s your history and your problem. Before jumping into the blame-game, take a look at your pattern. I’ll bet if you change something you’re doing, feeling, or attracting, you’ll change everything else, but you have to own that it’s your responsibility to change. Remember number five? You’re in charge.
9. You Will Have to Fire Certain People in Your Life – Think about your close circle of friends for a moment. Are they the same as they were when you were just turning old enough to drink? Probably not. As you go about your life, discovering and learning about what you really want, you’ll take some risks and have some big ideas. There will always be someone that will take the wind from your sails and make you feel like your idea is stupid or worthless. If that person is in your circle, you need to fire him or her. The only way create any form of sustainable, fulfilling success is to cut out the negative voices around you. There’s a time and place for critical thinking and shooting down ideas, but I’m not talking about that. I’m referring to your circle of friends or family and how they aren’t doing you any favors by constantly dumping on everything you create. Fire those that don’t share the same vision, and hire those that do. You can still be friends, but he or she is no longer privy to the big ideas and adventures anymore.
10. You Have to Work Your Ass to Get What You Want – If you want things to happen, you have to take some action. You are at choice 100% of the time. Nobody wants you to succeed like you do, and nobody is going to care if you don’t make it happen. Life will go on, the seasons will change, and the world will keep going without you. Wishing, hoping, intending, or praying for great things is a nice emotional action but won’t get you what you want. Again, we turn to the Lottery example. You can lay awake and dream about winning the lotto, praying every night for it, and hoping you’re the next multimillionaire, but if you never buy a ticket you don’t stand a chance.
There are a lot of difficult pieces to this great puzzle of life, but the silver lining is in the canvas you create when all the pieces fit together. When you take a deep breath, take responsibility, and take life by the horns, you actively participate in shaping the life you want. So man up and do it.
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