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.

“Winners go home and fuck the prom queen”

Im worried that one day someone might read this and think Im plagarizing,copying… fuck it, paraphrasing work by another person… so I’ve added a new category to credit the reason for a lot of these posts.

Have you ever relied on someone to do something, they’ve failed miserably and tried to pass it off as “Im doing my best”. Like thats meant to be the “get out of jail free” card for fucking up?

Im guilty of it, I’ve uttered those words… like it excuses the outcome because at least you tried.

When you’re young, you’re told that as long as you give it your best shot, and you know you did everything you could… your best effort is enough. When you get older, you start to realise its less about trying and more about succeeding.

So ask yourself, what does success look like to you? What is it you actually want out of life?

When I was at school, success to me was beating my best friend at every subject. I didnt have to be the number one, but I did have to beat him. Why? So I could feel superior. It didnt help that he was way smarter than me, so yeah, the scores had to be pretty up there. What did that superiority get me? Nothing really. He didnt care I beat him… he had his thing which made him feel successful.

When I got older, I thought success meant being the boss. My father is, and probably always will be the model of leadership. Straight out of the Navy into the corporate world. He wasnt a corporate executive or anything of the like, but people respected him. I wanted that too. I wanted to feel how good it feels to be in charge.

Did I ever achieve that? No. Not in any sort of recognised way. I wasnt a Manager, I wasnt ever in a position of authority. If anything I was usually in a position of “anti-authority” because I knew better, worked harder and could spot all the faults of our leadership and would undermine them, ignore them or basically just do what I wanted anyway, and take as many people as I could on the ride. If I wasnt going to be in charge, I was going to make it difficult for those who were. Corporate fucking sheepBleating the company line… 

Looking back, thats why I’ve probably had a lot of failure in my life. Mainly because I never trusted anyone in a leadership position because I felt I should be in one too. I wouldnt be a line toe-ing suck up though… I would look out for my team. I would keep them informed. I would treat them as equals…. and they would respect me for it.

The funny part is that in my head I knew it was self sabotaging. Where office politics requires a scalpel, I was a sledgehammer. I was Machiavelli with a Machine Gun!

I was trying to do the right thing, but I cant respect those who throw others under the bus at the first sign of trouble, or steal the credit as soon as things start going well.

It was only very recently when I realised that I dont actually want to be in charge. I am happy just being on the team. If you read my previous post I talked about sacrifice and what you’re values are.

A huge problem I see, and I guess I suffer from, is that happiness is not an equation. If you do X, to achieve Y, then Z will happen. Quite often I find myself doing X, Y never happens and Z wasnt in the realm of possibility.

In my mind though, I figured if I was doing X, it was those who benefited from it who were stopping Y from happening and I would never get to Z… and I bitched to everyone I could think of… wanting them to agree with me… about how unfair it was. I was doing my best and the goalposts kept fucking changing!

So who is this prom queen and how do I get to fuck her?

Ever find yourself standing in front of the mirror and repeating affirmations…

I am a winnner!
I am smart!
I am good at what I do!
If people dont like me for who I am then it is their loss!
I want to actualise my potential so that I can maximise my benefits in the long run!
I want the universe to give me a pony!

You ever consider that people who are happy dont need to tell everyone they’re happy. People who are confident in their abilities dont need to remind everyone or themselves about it.

A lot of these self help books actually get you to focus on what you dont have and chant that if you follow their patented 34 Step program (each sold seperately) you will actualise your potentiality for the rest of time.

That shit pisses me off. When “The Secret” was a thing… I boiled it down to “If I wish hard enough, the universe will give me a pony”. Of course, its just a lesson on focussing on your goals and eventually something will happen and you will believe you’ve achieved them.

I am actually very skeptical of any sort of self help book. I read “How to make friends and influence people” and yeah, I took away a few tips and tricks that have served me well…. and stopped me from getting fired funnily enough. Work put me through the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People… and as soon as I found the connection to religion… it lost me. I tried to use it to appear like the good corporate worker drone… but I just returned to what I knew best.. I do things the way I know how.

And that goes the same for everyone. There is no magic bandaid, one size fits all solution to whatever troubles you in life… you can only give so many fucks in this life time, so make sure you give them appropriately… thats my philosophy…

So, once again… what does success look like to you. What is it that makes you truly happy? I dont mean 5 second orgasm happy… I mean what gives you purpose? What is it you NEED in your life for you to not feel like a fuck up.

For me, part of it is writing, hence this blog. I used to write all the time when I was younger, even banged out a couple of half finished, unpublished novels. I liked it because I could get lost in those characters, write the narrative how I wanted things to go rather than deal with the real world. I had it all planned out.

I also like training people. Doesnt matter what the skill, I just like imparting knowledge on people. I like a lively debate on any topic. An intelligent discourse where either I can teach you something, or you can teach me something.

Now I could have said that success to me is that Im a published writer, which in theory I am every time I hit publish on these posts. However this isnt what drives me.

I am also a problem solver. Like most stereotypical guys, we just want to fix the problem. For me it goes deeper… I work in Software Development, but its not about building the next killer app, or punching out elegant streams of code… for me its about solving the problems of the business. Its about finding the issue, and being the guy in the room to build the solution. If somethings not working, I will take it apart like a mechanic does an engine… and find where its fucking up … and basically unfuck it. Its the single most motivating thing about my job. Writing code is boring as hell. Sitting there watching something run is mind numbing… but finding the fix to someones issue… no better feeling in the world.

In the real world, as a member of a Volunteer Emergency Service, I have to be able to problem solve… that tree fell on your roof, so how do we get it off your roof and sort your tiles. You are trapped in a car thats just been t-boned (Im guessing the other guy was trying to drive properly)… how are we going to get you out safely?

I even find myself googling Brain Teasers I love solving problems so much.

Solving a problem is like fucking the prom queen to me.

So ask yourself…

What is your “prom queen”… and what will it take to fuck her?