Updated: Apr 5, 2018
Do you want meaningful friendships? Do you want to wake up excited like everyday is Christmas? Then keep reading...
So your neighbor just got a sweet new Mercedes. You smile and wave as he invites you over to view the fifteen-way adjustable seats made of virgin-cow-hide hand massaged to perfection by no less than 60 artisans. But, inside you are NOT happy. Your feelings of kinship with your neighbor is at a all time low.
But wait! There is some good news. A small voice in your head recalls that your neighbor's wife has not dropped that 15 pounds of post pregnancy weight and your smile slowly returns. Besides his team just got knocked out of the playoffs, so all is well with the world.
Don't worry, you are not a sick bastard. In fact, you are quite normal. But, you are also engaging in a behavior that will ensure you never have any real friends, that you will spend your life chasing things you don't really want, and that you will almost certainly die miserable and alone (or something close to it).
You are running the wrong damn race.
You are running in a race against your neighbor, your best friend, your co-workers, and fictional characters on TV. They are your age and have so much more. That guy does not even have a college degree and makes 5 times your salary. Your car seat adjustment is broken and you still owe 15,000 on that stupid piece of shit. In fact, when you consider where you are in life as compared to literally ever-person-on-the-planet, you suck!
So you find things to hate about your fellow racers or you point to the differences as justifications. After all, He comes from money. That guy was in the right place at the right time. He cheated his way through life. That guys kids hate him. In doing so, you solidify your position with lies. Lies that will do little to help you achieve your dreams. Worst case scenario, this miss-placed blame will cause you to chase after the dreams of others.
It is time someone told you. You are running your own race. No one person on the planet (past/present/future) was born under the same circumstances as you. You may share some similarities with your neighbor, friends, and co-workers. But, you are unique. And, because ever part of you impacts the other - you are 100% UNIQUE. The only person you can compare yourself to is the person you were yesterday.
For you, the question is not are you winning this one-man race. The right question is, are you even racing at all. Are you moving forward and if so at what speed? Are you dealing with your own shit? Are addicted to stupid stuff? Do you find yourself procrastinating? Do you even know what the hell your finish-line looks like?
Most men have defined their finish-lines (and thus their race) not by what they want. Theirs is a race with no destination. The next-closest opportunity defines their next steps. They have no idea of their progress. Each time a new iPhone comes out or the neighbor gets a new car, their mile markers are pushed out. They come to hate these events and they begin to despise the people who cause them. How can you ever really be friends with someone you are A: minimally hoping does not succeed or B: maximumly hoping they fail. You cannot! That is the definition of a shitty friend.
So to be a good friend and begin to take back your power. You must first define your race as a race of "one". It is you against you. You must spend some time thinking about what your finish line looks like. I suggest running races in 5 year legs. Therefore, define EXACTLY what you want your life to look like in 5 years. Spend several days on this effort. Write at least 3 pages of narrative. The story of your finish line should start with the statement - "I am 47 year old man... " (or what ever your age + 5 years is).
Now that you are committed to running the your own race, don't make the mistake of defining the finish-line from where you are starting. That is stupid. The best races work their way from the finish line backwards (just trust me they do). Imagine what your finish line looks like regardless of your perceived possibility of success. DO NOT WORK YOUR WAY FORWARD FROM WHERE YOU ARE. That would be going easy on yourself!
When you define your race and your finish line based on who you are as a person, on what you wanted when you were five, when you attach enough emotional meaning to it, when it is big enough that it gets you excited about your race - Only then will you begin to reap the benefits.
Benefit 1: You are no longer overwhelmed by choice and opportunity - because you know exactly where you want to go, you can easily recognize the opportunities that will put you on the right path and (perhaps more importantly) the ones that won't.
Benefit 2: You can finally be a good friend and cheer for your neighbors success. You now know that you don't want a Mercedes - you are more of a corvette man.
Benefit 3: Because the description of your finish line is so vivid and exciting, you find yourself wanting to take action every day. You actually look forward to waking up. Because to win a race, you must get faster and faster. You are literally running from who you were and running to who you want to become. In this race, there is NO penalty for crossing the finish line early.
Benefit 4: While the path may change due to various obstacles, the mile makers stay the same. Satisfaction and happiness are achieved as you see each marker whizz past.
"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." - 2 Timothy 4:7
True happiness is progress toward a well defined and exciting goal.
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