Life is not what it’s supposed to be. It’s what it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference. – VIRGINIA SATIR, author
They say life’s a b*tch. Well you should see the look she’s giving me. – FABULOUS, rapper
I used to hate life.
Like … for real.
The date of my carnal demise could not come soon enough as far as I was concerned.
“Earth is a catastrophe. Heaven is an eternal rave. Why in God’s name would any sane person want to be here?”
So went my seemingly logical but totally twisted thinking at the time.
Psychology claims that we are all continually telling ourselves stories about the nature of both our lives and reality. And whether the story be true or not, we live as though it is nothing short of the bible.
If this is the case, and I think it is, “life sucks” was the main theme of the novel in my brain for most of my young adult life.
I woke up every day with a sense of dread, was clinically depressed, hated most people (my self included), resented God for making life so hard, and complained constantly.
And here’s the best part …
I thought I had a positive attitude.
I remember it like it was 18 years ago (which means I’m about to make something up, but it’s based on a true story). I was groaning to a friend of mine about anything horrible I could possibly think of when all of a sudden he stopped me and asked a question with an obvious answer:
Friend: “Preston, do you see the glass as half empty or half full?”
Me: “Half full. Of course.”
Friend: [uncontrollable laughter]
Me: “What’s so funny?”
Friend: “Dude, you have serious issues.”
Me: “I hate you.”
Let this sink deeeeep deep into your dome …
We as homo sapiens are so blind, so fearful, so prideful, and so deluded, that even though I was taking anti-depressants, abusing drugs and alcohol, could barely pull myself out of bed in the morning, cursed every fourth word, complained like I was competing in an Olympic complaining competition, and preferred death over life if given the option, I honestly believed I had a positive attitude.
I am not kidding either. When I answered my friend with “half full” I was deadly serious. That’s what I really thought I thought.
If you were to ask a hundred people, “do you have a positive or negative attitude?” about roughly 80 of them would say they have a positive attitude. Maybe 20 of them actually do if we go by Mr. Pareto who would say that 80% of the world’s positivity is controlled by 20% of the population.
Don’t believe me? Go ask ten of the most miserable people you can think of.
The other 20 would say they are neither positive nor negative. They are realists. Which means of course that they are probably cutters. Check their arms for scars.
Here’s why I hated not only my personal life, but also the very concept of earth and humanity in general:
– I had constant physical pain, and I knew I was not alone. In fact, 100 million Americans (1/3 of us) have chronic pain of some sort.
– I resented the daily grind of work and having to hustle for money constantly.
– Everything that brought me an ounce of pleasure eventually (usually the next morning) brought me three quarts of pain in return. This was far and away my number one biggest bone to pick with life. “Why can’t ecstasy be a health food?” was a thought I regularly thought. And it made me angry just thinking about it.
Everything that kills me makes me feel alive. – RYAN TEDDER
– Nothing was easy. Everything was hard. I thought things should be easier.
– I’m pretty sure the Back Street Boys were popular at the time. This made me furious and was completely unbearable to me.
– My eyes were wide open. I saw the suffering on this planet. Everyone is hurting in some fashion. Some are starving. Some are being tortured. Some are getting slave traded. And some are even working at McDonalds for less than the $15 an hour they deserve. [insert uncontrollable laughter, rolling eyes, and temptation to revert back to my old ways of hating life].
Listen, Fast Food Workers Of Ameri-duh … not only do you not deserve $15 an hour like I pay my accountant who has actual skills, you deserve to be punished just for showing up to work at an establishment that is killing more people than the illicit drug industry. I love you. But shut up.
– The United States government. Period.
– All the rest of the world’s governments. Oppression in general.
Oppression makes a wise man mad. – King Solomon
– MySpace was buggy. It took forever to load Angelina Jolie’s fake page that I thought was really hers. Things that don’t work used to annoy me to a degree I’m pretty sure you don’t even know exists. Now that I think about it, this hasn’t changed very much unfortunately. When my coffee maker doesn’t work like it’s supposed to I feel like destroying universes. I don’t do it though.
Basically I resented reality. There was a way this world worked. I saw it clearly. It sucked. And I hated it. End of story.
I just could not bring myself to accept life for what it was, and it made me miserable. It also made me unproductive. I refused to live life on life’s terrible terms. I was your classic tortured soul.
I’m constantly tortured, and that’s why I say happiness is irrelevant. Happiness is for children and yuppies. – JOHN ZORN, musical genius
Imagine you are competing in the world chess championship if there is one, but you absolutely cannot stand how the knight moves weirder than the other pieces. It is like fingernails on the chalkboard of your soul. Crooked movements irritate the living s-h- -t out of you (it’s not a curse word if you spell it out and especially if one letter is missing). You insist on moving it like a bishop.
What would happen?
I have no idea what would happen. I’ve never played chess in a professional setting or at all. But I’m guessing you probably wouldn’t win.
Well the whole world was a knight moving wrongly to me. And I refused to go along for the crooked ride. It made me noxious. I felt like I was on the Gravitron at the local county fair, and it was being run by some insane carny who wouldn’t let anyone off ever.
“Just 70 years left. Hang tight … “
And now that I think about it, chess had to have been invented by a Nazi feminist. Why on earth does the queen get to destroy absolutely everyone and move basically however the heck she wants, striking fear in the hearts of actual human beings, while the king has to slog around like some glorified, powerless, albeit very tall pawn? I’m surprised men ever agreed to play this game.
Anyway, here’s where this article stops making you feel like killing your self …
I was meeting with my mentor one day exasperating over this, that, and every other thing, and he did something that totally revolutionized my life.
I had just finished asking him the question I had been asking at least one random human at least once a day for as long as I could remember knowing how to ask things:
“Why does everything have to be so hard?”
He very animatedly started shaking his head and swatting his hand back and forth while saying, “Preston, get it out of your head that life is supposed to be easy. Just get it out of your head!”
I sat there staring at him dumbstruck as he continued awkwardly swatting without saying anything.
It’s almost as if he literally swatted that self-limiting perspective right out of my brain. Because from that point on I never hated life again. My resistance to reality transformed into acceptance of what is. It was one of those defining “aha” moments I have come to cherish more than sex itself.
What was is about what he did that produced this immediate and profound change in perspective?
Well, for one thing he has a freakishly wide arm span and large hands that came fairly close to physically striking me so it may have just scared the wussbagishness right out of me. But I don’t really know exactly. It just happened. He swatted – I changed. Boom.
All I knew for sure is something significant had definitely happened because on the way home from his office I Want It That Way came on the radio, and I felt almost zero urge to rip the stereo out of the dash and throw it through my windshield like normal.
I started finding ways to make way more money because that was the only logical solution to the reality of my never-ending need for money.
Facebook magically started allowing people with non-.edu email addresses to make profiles, and it was awesome. I sent Tom at MySpace a message that I was leaving. He didn’t reply, but I didn’t care because I was so peaceful.
Most importantly, I stopped expecting life to be something it simply wasn’t. And that naturally made me happier and more productive. Life was a grind? Fine. I determined to grind it out.
“You’ve gotta learn to love the grind. Because life IS the grind.” – JOHN CALIPARI, University of Kentucky Basketball Coach
Here is the basic conclusion I came to that helped me reframe my life experience:
Reality may seem insane. But it is even more insane to try and fight against it.
Yes, reality sucks to a certain very substantial degree. Everything is uncertain and beyond anyone’s control. You and everyone around you could drop dead at a moment’s notice – literally right this very second. If it hasn’t happened yet, it will some day.
But so what? What are you going to do about it? What sense does it make to get bent out of shape about the nature of life when you’re not in control of it? It is what it is man! You didn’t invent it! It doesn’t accomplish anything to bemoan things you have no power to change. “Wishing things were different” quite possibly ranks #1 on the “Stupidest Wishes In The World” chart. There’s a chart.
“Don’t wish it was easier wish you were better. Don’t wish for less problems wish for more skills. Don’t wish for less challenge wish for more wisdom”– JIM ROHN
Like it or not we are stuck here in a very difficult sometimes downright terrifying world, and there’s no logical sense in fighting or resenting or hiding from it. It doesn’t accomplish anything. Very rationally speaking, you might as well make the best of it. Pouting at reality is the mental equivalent of throwing yourself off the Sears Tower because you’re mad at gravity. Sorta.
Listen. Sometimes you can’t change negative circumstances. But you can always change the way you think about them. And if that way happens to be powerful enough, those circumstances actually do tend to change over time. You should see my life now compared to when my mentor freaked me out with that arm waive gimmick.
Now I am well aware this isn’t for everyone. I’m really only speaking to about 25% of the world with this post. I refer to this segment of society as “The Smart Ones Who Actually Pay Close Attention To What’s Going On, Understand The Insanity Of It All, Feel It Deeply, And Desperately Want To Change It” – otherwise known as the melancholic personalities.
The world changers.
Sanguine, Phlegmatic, and Choleric dominant personalities are not going to be able to relate with any of this even slightly.
Right now the Sanguine is thinking, “What’s wrong with the world? Cheer up, man. I love this place. Hey, anyone see where I put my glasses? They’re kind of a rosy’ish color”.
The phlegmatic is thinking, “Who cares? Can’t we all just get along?”
And the choleric is just probably not even reading this because he’s too busy bossing people around and making things happen.
To see which personality trait(s) you are click here.
So according to this smiley chart I am an angry sad person with a killer unibrow – a choleric/melancholic. So what. No happy-go-lucky person ever changed the world. I’m not here to have fun. I’m here to save people. Lucky for me I’m married to a happy people pleaser so everything I’m lacking is being outsourced to my new better/happier/softer half.
Anyway, just so the choleric, phlegmatic, and sanguines don’t feel like they wasted their time with this article, here’s a cool video:
Let me sum this up for you because I’m starting to feel like this article is going nowhere fast (and I gotta go fast):
Life is not a beach – it is a bee-otch.
Expecting a bee-otch to be a beach is going to get you stung by the bee-otch bee. And you’ll get stung for two reasons:
1. The bee-otch bee does not like the smell of sun tan lotion and misery.
2. Poor people with whack expectations are its biggest pet peeve.
To win at life, you have to see it as it really is.
And it. Is. A. Bee-otch.
One should recognize reality even when one doesn’t like it, indeed, especially when one doesn’t like it – CHARLES MUNGER
But this bee-otch can be beat. You can do it. Simply wake up every day expecting to get stung instead of expecting to get sun. Once the stings stop surprising you and you embrace them with open arms, you’ll grow immune. You will be bigger than the bee. You’ll actually start to look forward to the stings because, little did you know, the bee-otch venom contains a secret sauce that turns into a superpower when combined with FAITH. Each sting makes you smarter and stronger as you learn and grow from each one.
One by one they turn you into a superman.
Life’s a bee-otch, and then you fly.
Talk to me in a comment below. Tell me …
1. What personality type you are.
2. One way you’ve been resisting reality.
3. What you’re going to do differently.