I’ve discovered the meaning of life.
Or the secret, if you will, to a long happy life.
The reason I share it is because many of you probably think there are “many” meanings or purposes of life, but this one in particular is something that will totally change every aspect of your life.
Here’s what it is:
“The secret of life is to be damaged by life, without becoming a damaged person. How you go about doing that is your daily practice.”
Here’s why it’s so powerful: Almost everything that makes your life difficult or unhappy, is the result of the changing nature of life.
What happens when you don’t get what you want? Unhappy.
What happens when you get what you want? You want something else, right? And on and on the cycle goes, or it comes to the point where once again reality can never fill that hungry pit in your mind and heart. Unhappy.
Life is Not Out To Screw You Over
I get a lot of emails, mostly from people that have been royally fucked over “by” life. Not that life has any agenda or anything, but they are just in really shitty positions in life.
The “big four” spheres of their life are in the gutter: work/finances, relationships, dreams, health.
Sometimes all four of these things are out of whack or totally in the dumps. Many people are at their lowest point in life when they have emailed me. They don’t have enough money, they hate their jobs, their relationship sucks (or just ended), and their health has issues.
As far as I see it, this is the worst position to be in, in life. But here’s where this will help.
Life Will Damage All of Us
Sages have pointed out for thousands of years that “damaged” or “hurt” people are the ones who hurt people.
There’s an old phrase in Psychology that “hurt people, hurt people” – in other words, murders, rapists, and sociopaths very often have had dysfunctional childhoods, have been beaten, abused, raped, and emotionally destroyed – and this was what lead to their unraveling later in life at the expense of someone else.
In other words, it’s well-established in the scientific literature that being damaged by life increases your chances of taking it out on someone else. Of inflicting damage on someone else, or yourself.
Let me give you a few examples now of how life “damaging” or hurting you can negatively affect your own future, and what I suggest the remedy is.
Examples of How it Damages You
Work: Let’s start with work first.
For a pretty good percentage of us, work sucks. It takes up most of our time. It doesn’t pay us enough. And it’s not something we would want to do if we had enough money.
But it can be insidious – it might suck enough that we dream daily about quitting, but it doesn’t suck enough that it makes us take any action.
Over time, we can join the legion of people (I would say 99% of people) that just continue to dream but go nowhere in life. They make enough money, get into a relationship, get married, have kids, and blah blah blah.
What work sometimes does then is it makes us jaded towards life, and in particular, the potential of living a really cool life, or working a job that is your “passion” or something you really enjoy.
That damage can last forever, and can and will be passed on to your friends, family and children. This is the phenomenon we see when parents that never got to “enjoy life” don’t encourage their kids to enjoy their lives. They tell them to chase the highest paying job, become MDs, or go into finance. Many strict, old-school families are this way.
And then after years or decades of their kids following their parent’s advice, they either suck it up, enjoy it, become miserable, or become lost – and then they contact me, and they break the cycle of damage. And more often than not, they are the ones that adopt a more holistic approach to giving advice to their kids.
Dreams: Here are a few tragically common stories about people being damaged in pursuit of their dreams.
Person A. Is never encouraged by parents to pursue dreams, or is told by parents dreams are bullshit. Never does pursue them. Repeats cycle with his or her own children.
Person B. Knows dream but doesn’t pursue it. Gradually grows bitter over the course of life. Passes it on to friends and family.
Person C. Pursues dreams and repeatedly fails. Grows jaded. Dreams are bullshit. Gets entangled in drugs or addictions, or just goes the safe, secure route.
Person D. Achieves dream, but loses “it” due to life circumstances. Depressed.
… Following me? In the pursuit of your dream, you can grow gradually more and more damaged.
Relationships: This is probably most often where people are damaged the worst, where the hurt can carry through a lifetime if it isn’t worked on.
All of us, at some point, have been given the short end of the stick where we give give give 100% to somebody and it isn’t reciprocated, or we give give give and the person cheats on us, or decides they don’t want us anymore.
For most people, this causes a huge amount of internal damage and hurt that lasts years – on average – and depending on how long you were together, sometimes a lifetime of damage.
For some people the result is that they lose faith in relationships or marriage, and for others they are stuck with low self esteem and self worth, and others still say they want to stay single forever – out of fear, not because they have a plan.
The truth is that ANY of these three things can cause extensive damage to us internally.
The point I am trying to make is that if you remain damaged, it will negatively affect your life forever, but you don’t have to let life damage you.
How to Minimize Life’s Damage… And Not Pass on Your Beef With Life
[click to continue…]