Words are a powerful thing; they can hurt us, heal us, portray the beauty of the world, or present the horrors of our existence. It’s been said that “the pen is mightier than the sword”, while Douglas MacArthur exclaimed that “whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword obviously never encountered automatic weapons”.
Without further philosophical indulgence, we can all agree that words themselves are a powerful tool. I use almost nothing but words on this website to influence people, help them change their way of thinking and, consequently, change their behavior.
And the reason my articles are relevant and can be applied to a variety of situations, despite not being personally tailored for them, is due to the way that I express myself.
WEAK WORDS FOR THE WEAK MIND
Few months ago I’ve gotten an email from a reader asking me to stop using profanity in my articles, saying he is highly interested in the topics, but that he ends up “saying” the words in his head while reading and that makes him feel bad.
I used to loathe profanity and I agree that its abuse is definitely not a good thing. But using swear words to emphasize and familiarize certain aspects of discussion is something I definitely stand for.
Not to hijack my own topic, I’ll leave this theme for another article. Still, it serves as a great example for the point I’m trying to make:
My advice is not nice.
Most of the time people come to me with a certain problem, they are basically looking for justification. They say they want to change, then simply list reasons why they can’t. They want me to hold them tight, tell them everything is going to be okay, and that everybody loves them. However, I tell them something different:
I am not here to help you in your self-loathing. I am not here to tell you it’s all going to be okay and feed you a shake of sunshines and rainbows you can shove up your ass to make you feel better.
If you come to me asking for help in changing yourself, that’s exactly what I’m going to do.
What I won’t do, however, is indulge in your bottomless pity and self-loathing. I will call you out on your bullshit and tell you the harsh truth. I won’t tell you what you want to hear, I’ll tell you what you need to hear.
You want to change? Here’s how to do it. Step number one – stop what you’re doing right now. If you really want to change, stop finding a reason why you can’t, and start figuring out how you can. Change your perception.
Right about now, about half of you are calling me an asshole, a bully, or just a prick who gets off on verbal abuse. But far from it good people. I was in your shoes, and I know what needs to be done – and I can prove it.
GO HARD OR GO HOME
Cognitive dissonance is mental discomfort experienced when your actions contradict your beliefs. For example, if you want to be a confident individual, but most of the time act like a shy coward, you will feel badly because of it and it’s going to weigh on your mind.
According to the self-justification theory, when that happens, most people will try to justify that kind of behavior and deny any negative feedback. In other words, instead of acknowledging you are responsible for your actions, you will keep making up reasons why you “can’t” stop acting weak and shy, despite believing that you want to be confident.
And whenever someone comes to me saying they have a hard time changing their mindset, 9/10 times this is exactly the case.
A friend of mine has been coming to me with thoughts of depression, saying how everything is hopeless and useless. He listed some reasons and statements as to why he believes so, and I easily debunked and deconstructed his arguments.
He replied with “yes, you are correct” and then continued to list more reasons why he, allegedly, isn’t able to change. Despite knowing I’m right, and despite knowing what he needs to do in order to rid himself of these poisonous thoughts, he kept on listing reasons, and I kept on debunking them.
After a few exchanges like this, I told him that he needs to stop and accept reality for what it is. Stop trying so hard to find new reasons why you can’t change, and start focusing on how you can. And that’s exactly what he did.
If my replies were formed in a way that reflected his current state of mind, and if I tiptoed around the solution, acted all kind and warmhearted, he never would’ve heard the message.
He didn’t need advice – he needed a wake-up call.
Everybody else kept telling him the world is beautiful and that birds are chirping; but from his perspective, world didn’t seem that way because he didn’t want to see it that way.
I decided to take a megaphone and shout point-blank in his ear that he needs to wake the fuck up, because the only way the world will seem better is if you allow yourself to see it that way. And soon enough, he heard the message.
I’ve had so many people come to me with various problems, ranging from fear of approaching women to serious thoughts of committing suicide. Lately, I’ve been getting more and more of latter.
Most will treat them like people with disabilities; they don’t see them as regular people with a problem, but these fragile little beings that don’t belong in our society and need to be handled with extreme care. And when you treat them as such, they feel like outcasts, and that simply strengthens their suicidal thoughts.
Listen, I don’t pretend to me a medical expert. I don’t deny the severity of clinical depression or suicidal thoughts, and I don’t believe all your problems can be solved by wishing happy thoughts.
You want to feel better? I can help you, even if that means admitting something is out of my range and suggesting you seek professional assistance. But it won’t be by giving you false hopes and helping you put on your rose-colored glasses.
I’m going to have a heart to heart with you, speak to you like a person, not a patient or some social outcast. But you come to me with a problem, I’ll go Mel Gibson on your ass:
Do you really wanna jump?
KEEP IT REAL
Let’s step back into the light; extreme examples above were only to show you that harsh advice is universal. Of course, you shouldn’t expect to reach everybody the same way, but know that in most cases, people just want you to feed into their bullshit. Don’t!
You say you want to change, but all your actions prove the opposite. Back in the day, I was terrified of approaching women, but determined to improve. I would go out, week after week, with likeminded people who would help me avoid what I needed to do.
It’s not that I was actually scared of approaching, and that I needed to stop thinking so much about it and just do it; it was that the moment was wrong, every girl had a dealbreaking issue, the lighting wasn’t right, or the fucking universe wasn’t in perfect alignment. It’s the same type of reasoning Dom Mazzetti applies to skipping leg day.
Then I met a guy who called me out on my bullshit. I was like “yea it’s not that I don’t want to, it’s just this or that” and he would just stare me dead in my eyes and tell me, point blank, that I’m full of shit.
And I couldn’t get mad at him because I knew he was right. His words slapped me in the face, put me in the spotlight, and demanded to show what I’ve got. Do I really want to change or am I just all talk?
Change is hard. Change takes time. Changing your way of thinking may be the hardest thing you will ever have to do. And the kicker is, you already know what needs to be done. Most of the time, it’s obvious.
But you keep making excuses and prolonging the inevitable, while at the same time feeling bad about it, because even your own brain knows you’re full of shit.
I was in your shoes. I am not just talking out of my ass and speculating. I know exactly how hard it is. I’ve been through it. But that’s why I know you can do it.
And that’s exactly what I’m going to tell you.
Stop making excuses and start making plans. Stop lying to yourself, because we all know you’re not that good at it. For fuck’s sake, stop getting in your own way!
As morally handicapped as he may have been, Jordan Belfort was right when he said that “the only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullshit story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve it.”
So fuck you. You won’t get any false hopes from me. You step into my ring and I will make you face your fears, step out of your comfort zone, and become the person you want to be through hard work and dedication.
The choice is yours – all you have to do is ask. But…are you ready for the response?