The moment you acquire a different outlook on life is one of the most beautiful things you can ever experience.
It was 9 pm on a rainy Sunday night as I was sitting in my office chair, sliding down in boredom. I was working as a tech-support agent at the time and, on that particular day, I was alone in the office and yet to receive a call. I was just browsing the Internet when I stumbled upon a video titled The 21 Golden Rules of Entrepreneurship.
So I clicked on it.
At that point in my life, I believed that to become an entrepreneur you need to be born into wealth or be extremely lucky and that most businessmen were evil in some way. But as I was watching that presentation, it became clear to me that I was wrong. For the first time in my life, I realized that… I could do that. It’s not about being lucky or having money or being deceitful or anything like that.
It’s all about the mindset.
Most people would assume that I’m a writer, not a businessman, and that would be a correct assumption. But that video was exactly what I needed at the right time, as it showed me that one thing I thought was impossible for me to achieve is much more attainable.
And if I was wrong about one thing… maybe I was wrong about other things too?
With that realization, I could vividly feel invisible chains around my mind shatter into a million pieces. Chains I didn’t even know were there were finally lifted. And, for the first time in my life, I felt truly liberated.
DO YOU REALLY CARE ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE?
If there is one word that has played the largest role in my life, it is “overthinking”. Ever since I was a little kid, all the way through my teen years, and even into adulthood, I’ve always analyzed, re-analyzed, and overanalyzed every single instance in my life.
This way of thinking is responsible for me developing a lot of different skills, but it is also responsible for feeling like shit more often than my peers. Whereas others would mostly deal with personal and real-life issues, I would constantly create problems in my head that would plague me for days, months, even years.
And that is a horrible feeling because, no matter what you do, you can never run away from your own mind.
During my first year at college, I’ve experienced so many shitstorms and disappointments that I became literally sick and tired of myself. I didn’t hate myself, but I hated the person I was. I hated that I don’t stand up to people. I hated that I spend time with bad company. I hated that I let various fears control what I will or will not do.
So I slowly started opening my mind and accepting other realities. I started learning more and stepping out of my comfort zone. And that presentation about entrepreneurship was the tipping point that pushed me to fully realize the power of my mindset.
For the following years, I’ve purposely put myself in uncomfortable situations and did things that scare the shit out of me so that I could further strengthen my mindset. As a result, I became a different person on almost every conceivable level.
And people started taking notice.
After multiple friends started suggesting the same things, in 2014 I started this website to help others in the same way. I knew there were a lot of people who were looking for their own tipping point that would push them over the edge and release their chains, and I wanted to be that for them.
But from the start I had one clear vision: I can only help people who want to be helped.
I had no interest in forcing myself onto people because I was aware that it will not work. You can’t help somebody who refuses to accept the help or even refuses to acknowledge that they are in need of help.
I decided that I will write only for a certain group of people: those who want to change but are not sure how. And I wanted to provide my research and experience to help them.
Honestly, I never thought anybody would read my articles. But people did. Then more people did. And, as my website started to grow, I experienced something that pleasantly surprised me, but also terrified me at the same time.
THE GUIDE TO BECOMING AN ASSHOLE
As time went on, people started asking me for advice on serious life issues. They were dealing with serious illnesses, clinical depression, or OCD. They were having suicidal thoughts and wanted my input. They’ve experienced sexual assault and wanted me to help them deal with it.
To be honest, this scared the shit out of me.
I wasn’t a psychologist or psychiatrist. I didn’t have a medical background. I didn’t have in-depth knowledge about any of these things and I wasn’t even sure how I could help them. I was just some guy on the Internet writing about some shit in my life.
But since these people trusted me enough to talk about such personal problems, I gave my full effort to help them as much as I could. I researched their problems in-depth, started regularly learning and taking classes about psychology and mental health, and would often suggest that they talk to a professional.
As I started learning more about the human mind, I started writing better. I would research everything beforehand and add more references to make sure that I provide quality information for my readers.
But this newfound knowledge also had an unforeseen effect: I started preaching.
In real life, people would often open up to me about things that bothered them and how they don’t know what they should do. And, since I knew exactly what course of action would be beneficial for them, I started yamming in their ear about it. I would reference articles and research and tell them all about my experience and everything else that would convince them that I was right. I would push them out of their comfort zone and force them to change the way they said they wanted to.
The more I did this, the more people got annoyed. Consequently, my words had less of an impact and nobody really took my advice. Some ever started to get angry and despise me.
“What the fuck?” — I thought. They talked to me about their problems. They initiated the conversation. They weren’t sure what to do and I just helped them. How am I the bad guy?
And when it comes to strangers, fine. But oftentimes, I couldn’t even get through to my closest friends and that made me feel like shit. I mean, if I am not able to help the people I care the most about in the world, how am I supposed to reach anybody else?
It took me a while to realize this, but the reason why people were becoming so abhorred with me is because I have lost sight of why I started this. I have lost sight of my initial target group:
I can only help people who want to be helped.
It doesn’t matter whether that person is a friend, an acquaintance, or a complete stranger. My goal was never to force myself onto people and tell them how to lead their lives. The willingness to change must be present in some way.
If I had seen the entrepreneurship video a year prior to when I did, it wouldn’t have had an effect on me. In fact, I would most likely actively try to prove the guy in the video wrong. Back then, my outlook was very limited and I wasn’t open to new ideas. I wasn’t ready to accept that my firm beliefs were wrong.
Back then, other people tried to force me in the exact same way and I despised them for it. Now I see they were right, but I wasn’t ready to hear it back then. Everything felt like an attack on my personal beliefs and I would fight tooth and nail to refute anything they might have had to say.
It’s a sad truth that I had to accept. I’m sure you also do the same thing in certain situations. This lack of empathy (the ability to see things from the perspective of others) is behind every fight at the dinner table. Behind every political debate. Behind every argument you have ever had.
A lot of the time, people just want to be heard. They want to vent and talk about their problems. Other times, people are just not ready for what you have to say. You may be right, but they won’t actually hear a word coming out of your mouth. Over time, you will simply need to accept the same truth that I’ve had to re-accept myself:
You simply can’t save everybody.