Your problems are not unique.

Think about a time when things didnt go your way… when you did everything you could… but it just didnt work out. Maybe its not a once off, maybe it happens all the time. Maybe somedays, it feels like the universe is kicking you in the ass!

I used to feel like that all the time, no matter what I did, no matter what I tried… it just never worked out.

I wasnt attractive enough for that girl to like me.
I wasnt rich enough to afford an overseas holiday.
I wasnt enough of a kiss ass to get that promotion.
Im just an ugly fuckin’ loser, so I may as well just be an ugly fuckin’ loser.

Surprise, surprise… McCain Superfries… self fulfilling prophecy. The inside of my head was a toxic wasteland of negativity based on what I perceived to be happening around me. We live in an age where everything is hyperconnected, where everyones¬†insta-perfect lives are on display for everyone to see. Where the pretty people seem to be having the most fun, whilst us trolls are left to do the actual work. They group together to conspire against us trolls… to mock and ridicule us because we are not as perfect as them.

This is a pretty juvenile way of looking at things. When you’re a teenager, everything is happening right now. If things arent perfect right now, your life is over! As with most things however, as you get older you realise that shit happens, assholes cause it.

If you’re having issues, chances are someone else has had the same issue. Thats not to say your problems arent your own, you need to own that shit, but if you were to ask 100 random people if they feel attractive enough, do they earn enough money, are they happy with their life… chances are a huge percentage of them would say “Oh HELL NO!!!”

Say you happen across a magical wish granting genie who does a reverse Shrek on you, so you’re rich, hot and given everything that would make you happy… Im guessing you’ll be asking “Whats next?”.. As a species, we are conditioned to never be happy with what we have, we focus on what we dont have… so you have a brand new Ferrari… in a few years its not so new… you have a trillion Insta Followers and get firehosed with products and promo opportunities… that trip to the tropical paradise will feel more like work than a holiday.

You see a trend here, todays solutions are really just the start of tomorrows problems.

So ask yourself, which problems are you willing to put up with? What problems are you willing to endure to feel like you’re living life.

If we’re being honest… one of my problems was my commitment to the Emergency Services. I’ve been doing in the service for nearly 20 years (15 years in the current service). I’ve been with my now wife for 11 years now. It was my thing. I was all in and I was lovin’ it. I was out all the time, I was somebody in the unit…

Then we moved, bought a house in a different area so I had to move units. Where I ended up, was not a good experience for me. I might address that in a future blog post. Long story short, I was nobody, I was over eager too early and I had some issues with certain things. Like a true idiot, my ego convinced me I could fix these problems.

Two issues:

  1. These problems didnt want to be fixed.
  2. I went about it the wrong way.

I was pissed off, I was upset, I was annoyed… and it showed. I was slowly starting to hate the service because everywhere I turned it felt like I was wasting my time. I would bitch to anyone who would listen (and sometimes still do)… but only to make sure people are aware I was actively against the toxic environment.

The follow on effects was that my personality changed… I was bitter and cynical. I was always looking at how fucked up the entire situation was. The problems I was having was systematic of the service as a whole, not just in one specific location. Other people having an awesome experience would often shout me down and I think I started to get a bit of a reputation. I wanted to change the entire service so that changes would be required in a specific area.

In all honesty, it was like David and Goliath, where Goliath completely fuckin’ owned David in a nanosecond.

On the home front, this caused issues because I was not a good person to be around. I would pick fights or start arguments cos I was always in a bad mood and one thing lead to another.

In my mind, I knew if I just persisted, I would finally triumph. People would see my logic and reasoning and finally I would get my justification. My wife, initially supportive, basically washed her hands of it. She was sick of hearing it. She was sick of the bitching. She was sick of the drama. I couldnt even talk about it. If I did, she would just shut me down and tell me she didnt care.

Throw in some other stuff happening, and as a team we made the decision to do something about it. I used to think short of moving to a new place and making a new start there was nothing I could do.

So we decided to move to a new place and make a new start.

This didnt come without problems… finding money, dealing with banks, being perpetually broke, dealing with builders, making time to do the inspections, having the “discussions” (arguments) about what we want to do in the new house, finding more money to pay for the upgrades to fixtures and features.

It was frustrating as fuck, but I loved it. I knew I had an out from a shitty situation, I had something positive to look forward to and my wife was happy I was being more positive.

Of course, no good deed goes unpunished and work started to suck, but I nipped that mofo in the butt really quickly too. Also another blog post for another time.

The point Im trying to illustrate, and the one Mark Manson says, is to concentrate on the problems that you are happy to put up with. Deal with the problems you can actually do something about. Problems that speak to your character, to what you believe in, to what matters most.

Life is pain…

For the longest time, I always dreamed of a painless existence… you know, where things just worked, nothing was a stress, I had a core group of friends who I’d see every all the time and we’d have wacky adventures and experiences. You know, that TV land fantasy of life where no problem, no matter how insurmountable was always solved to completion within 30 minutes and had no real lasting consequences. Everyone basically went back to normal.

Of course, this is not how the real world works… life is not painless. Every minute of every day is fraught with decisions to be made, things to do and places to be.

Think about it… do you reckon the characters on Friends could afford that apartment on their wages? Do you think Barney Stinson wouldn’t have been slapped with a ton of sexual harassment / rape accusations? Do you think your Mum cooks what is essentially a continental breakfast every morning, just for you to have a piece of toast, a sip of coffee as you run out the door?

That life would be exhausting.

Sure when you’re young you would think its awesome… you have your crew, your squad, your wolfpack, your bro’s, your ho’s… but something you learn as you get older…

The destination is irrelevant, its the journey you take to get there.

I mean, sure who doesn’t want the six figure salary, corner office and cool job title straight out of school? Who doesn’t want the cool car that everyone is envious of? Who doesn’t want the large house which can stage the parties to end all parties, filled with supermodels and celebrities…

Sounds like a pretty pain free existence if you have all that doesn’t it? I mean… your life is PERFECT!!!

Well from the outside looking in, it might seem that way…

ducks swimming

You know that saying that when you see a duck on a pond, he looks so graceful just gliding along… but underneath his webbed feet are going crazy just trying to keep himself afloat.

To earn that six figures, you have to work over 70 hours a week, in that corner office that feels like a prison cell, because you are the Manager of Outbound Customer Relations (you know… a Call Centre Manager)… which means you dont really spend much time in that super awesome house and you’re too tired to party, even though your partner, who quit their job to become a social media influencer wants to drag you out to some third rate dive bar that someone higher up on the totem pole described as “totes awesome”.

This is what is meant by “Life is Pain”.

Ask yourself honestly what you want from life? I mean HONESTLY… not just money, looks, and success… actually think about it, what is your definition of success?

Then ask yourself what you are willing to endure in order to achieve it.

You wanna rock some six pack abs? Hit the gym… its not gonna happen overnight… its gonna take time, dedication and a willingness to accept the pain of having to endure all that.

After listening to Mark Manson’s book… as I was driving between my old house and our new house… I thought to myself… what is it that I actually want? I mean, sure I would love nothing more than to just have this cruisy existence where everything just falls into place and good things happen… but not in the real world and definitely not to me.

So I thought about it…¬†I want to be a top notch rescue operator. I used to wanna lead the team of rescue operators, but I realised I’d be happy to just be on the team. This was my thing, at work, at home, everywhere… I wanted to be the guy in charge. I was skilled, I was competent, I was able, I was good at it… but no one wanted to recognise it. So now, Im happy to just be on the team rather than gunning to be in charge of it.

Whats it gonna take for me to do this?

  • Have to get my fitness up. I want to pass the Arduous Pack Test.
  • Have to dedicate time to training in rescue skills.
  • Have to work on my communication skills. (Im as subtle as a sledgehammer sometimes).
  • Have to work on trusting other peoples skills more readily.
  • Have to get my Heavy Rigid Truck license (only need medium but hey.. go for the top).

I have to fit all of this around my normal day job, as well as something else that is incredibly¬† important to me… Home Life.

I was one of those people who sacrificed everything because I wanted to get ahead. I wanted to be “the man”. I wanted to get on top because everything would be easier then. I wanted the large pay packet, I wanted the cool job. I wanted it all… but what was happening was that I was putting material success ahead of emotional success. I realised that what I cared about most was waiting for me at home. What was the point of shooting for the moon, when I would be happy just watching it from the top of the hill… with her. I was neglecting my loved ones because I was too focussed on the impossible dream.

The pain this caused was that I really no longer care to be “that guy” at work anymore. I gave my all for the team, got me nowhere, gave me nothing but stress and bad moods. I was actually happiest when I got home and saw my wife.

I no longer compare myself to those in the position I wanted to be in, quite frankly I dont need the stress. Letting go has meant that I no longer feel the pressure of trying to outperform, outfox, or even buy into the political bullshit anymore.

Net result… I no longer give a fuck about the things I dont need to give a fuck about. I only give a fuck about those things that Im prepared to endure the pain and sacrifice to achieve… and should I get there… the next challenge after that.