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

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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.

Here’s how.

How to Minimize Life’s Damage… And Not Pass on Your Beef With Life

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“I Have No Clue Which Path to Take”

Every day people email me saying, “I have no clue what path to take, which decision to make, which way to go, or what I should do next…. HELP!?”

The truth is that there is one REALLY easy way to figure it out.

Many of you struggle with something financial or job-related in nature, and then there’s meaning/purpose/passion, and then there’s relationships. So how in the hell do you know which path to take, and what to focus on?

Here’s the formula.

maslow's hierarchy

So this is Maslow’s hierarchy, right?

Maslow was a dude ultimately concerned with “potential” and people “reaching their potential” in life.

“What a man can be, he must be” is a famous phrase he mentions in one of his books. And I know many of you are concerned with that very thing: you feel like you have a HUGE, powerful, exciting adventure or mission out there for you… you just can’t figure out how to make it happen. How to make it a reality.

… So how does this help you know which path to take?


Maslow’s hierarchy goes like this: Anytime a human being fulfills the requirement for each stage in the pyramid, he/she naturally craves the next level.

So, generally speaking, starving people in the third world aren’t too concerned about meaning, creativity, and being famous. They just need to eat and survive.

But what happens once they have enough food? Now they go for a career. For advancement. For “security” and financial freedom. They take care of their family.

On and on it goes until that person is living comfortably in the third world wondering about the “ultimate purpose” of his/her life, and climbing the ladder of success and achievement – because that’s simply the next level.

Here’s How to Answer Your Biggest Questions

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Yesterday I heard a quote that changed my life.

It’s one those things that makes you really re-consider what you do day-to-day. It makes you re-evaluate every core assumption you’ve ever had about life. And it’s totally a Milk the Pigeon worthy quote.

Here’s how it goes:

“Beware the barrenness of a busy life.”

- Socrates

Think about it.

Beware. Barrenness. Busy life.

At first it caught me off guard.

Isn’t doing more stuff in life better? I mean, if you only live once (YOLO!!), wouldn’t you want to cram as much stuff into it as possible?

That’s when the revelation hit me.

Ambitious People Die Unfulfilled?

There was a well-known story a while back about Joshua Bell, a world-class violinist playing a multi-million dollar violin in a Washington subway.

It was a social experiment to see how many people would stop by and listen.

… And the results were exactly what you might expect. Very few people stopped, and when they did, it was mostly children dragging their parents.

At the end of the experiment, he made about $150… even though he regularly sold out concert tickets at Carnegie hall for $100 a SEAT.

“Yeah yeah yeah, stop and smell the roses. My mom has been telling me for ten years.”

That’s not what this is about, and not what I’m trying to say.

Doing MORE in Life Is Not How You Die Happy

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Courage fearThere is only one thing you need to get everything you want in life.

The brutal truth is that life is not easy.

Maybe you’re the kind of person sitting in a 9-5 job that pays your bills, but you are bored as hell with your life. You feel like you haven’t created a single memory in the past three years. Nothing has changed at all. It scares the shit out of you. “Am I going to die like this?”

Or maybe you’re the “dream A.D.D.” person. Your focus/passion/dream changes every six months. You burn hot and strong but you fizzle out quickly. Years elapse, or decades, and you almost never make any progress. Five years ago you were no closer than you are now.

Maybe still you’re just in a really shitty place in life. No job. Depressed. Wondering what your great purpose/passion is in life, and you’re struggling to try and “figure it all out.”

Here’s the thing: you only need one thing to solve your problems.

And that one thing is called courage.

Quit your job and find your passion?

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thailand waters

I just got back from 3 weeks in thailand and, as always happens, people back home said to me, “Waaaaaaah how are you so lucky that you get to travel to cool places all the time?”

They usually assume:

A. I’m loaded (I’m not)


B. I’m a full-time nomad (I’m not)

So, honestly, I neither have a lot of money or a lot of free time.

So what’s the secret?

First of all, it’s not luck. Success rarely comes by luck – it usually comes through a deliberately crafted plan. Whether you’re trying to take an international trip once a year, or you’re trying to build a business or build a marriage – there is a carefully crafted process for doing so.

I’ve previously shown just how easy it is to travel the world for cheap.

So the truth is that for many of you (If you earn at least $30k), earning money isn’t the problem… it’s what you’re doing with it once you’ve earned it.

The Method I Use to Put Away Thousands a Year to Travel on a Tiny Dayjob Salary

First of all – I have a day job. And I don’t make a lot. I chose to have a more variable free work schedule because I’m investing 20-30 hours a week building a business.

So for those of you that have a “real” salary – $50 or $60k – this will be a cakewalk.

I use Ramit Sethi’s “personal finance automation” tips.

In fact, I highly recommend you buy his book.

Here’s how the process goes: [click to continue…]