Fight Yourself

Have you ever thought, my life could be so much better if?

Well, you are not alone, everyone has the hypothetical “if” that makes everything better. Only if I went to college. Only if I had the courage to ask her out. If only my parents raised me right. If I could quit this job. If I got a raise, then my job would be great. If they offered more money I would switch companies. If I only had spent more time at home, my wife wouldn’t have left me. If I could understand what she really wanted then I would just give it to her. If I could be satisfied with living in one place then I would have friends. If the world didn’t change so much I would still have a job.

I mean if we didn’t have so many bullshit excuses, we would actually get to see what life would be like on our terms.

What we need to do is take a step back. Kill the if’s and look at what is. Reality is a cold glass of water on a summer day for those who want to take control of their lives. What hold’s us back from taking this step is there are no excuses left. The if’s become what. What are you going to do to make sure your life moves in the direction you want it to. What are you going to do to change your attitude, what skill are you going to pursue? what growth do you need to make you into the person who lives the kind of life you want? Because here is the simple truth, you are the kind of person who lives the life you got and responds to problems the way you do. Your age, your past, your pain, doesn’t have to continue to bring you down. College might not be right for you when you are fresh out of high school, but maybe it is what you need to do at forty, knowing you still have thirty years of work to go. Life isn’t decided by this arbitrary timeline that society has set up. My heart breaks for the teenager that ends their life, not knowing it can get better. My heart breaks for the father who runs out on his family, not knowing the joy he could bring and the redemption he can have in raising his own children.

We have to fight ourselves, our fears, our internal monologue that keeps us down. Life isn’t meant to be a secure enterprise but an expedition full of risk and growth. When we give in to our fears, when we give in to the ideas of comfort, we lose our natural inclination to grow and our joy of success.

Later Gator.

Your friend,

Nino.

Work And Your Life

A Short List About Work:

  • Do the work.
  • Determine what the true work is.
  • Remember you do the work in order to accomplish something.
  • The work you do will end, the effect of the work you do will leave a ripple in time.
  • Life is short and even the smallest part of your life will have an impact on others.
  • Not all work is done for money.
  • Not all work is done with love.
  • Not all work is intentional expression, all work is expression.
  • Work satisfies our need for problems.
  • Work isn’t the totality of who we are.
  • Work can solve other’s problems and creates them for the worker.
  • Work can be fun.
  • Work can create depression.
  • Work can accomplish something or can be a repetitive grind.
  • Work can make dreams come true.
  • Work can be a nightmare.
  • Work can turn one person on and another off.
  • Work is as natural to humans as it is for ants.

There is an old saying “Work on your dreams or someone will pay you to work on theirs.” The above list is just a quick brain dump. It is there so you can think about what work means to you. What does having a job in society mean to you? Is it a job that fulfills a need or is it something you do to get by? Are you searching for meaning through work? Do you feel like you are wasting the very gift of life you are given?

I have started reading Simon Sinek’s book The Infinite Game. What stands out to me so far is the mentality between an infinite game and a finite game. The finite games mentality is that it ends. Winner takes all. Competition and getting ahead are how a person wins. The infinite game is more complex and less about beating someone else. There is no permanent business leader. The perpetuation of the company is what matters; keeping the game going. Anyone can jump in the game at any time and disrupt the whole thing. The finite game is built around traditional goal setting. You only know you have won or are winning compared to your arbitrary goals. Your life’s work will not be on a goal sheet. It will be a composite of all the good you have done. It won’t matter what area of life you did it in, it won’t matter how many times you failed, it won’t matter if you don’t feel successful; your life’s work will be measured by the good you did. That is what will be said at your funeral, that is what those who mourn you will talk about, your life is a work of art. You decide what kind of expression and impression you leave.

Your attitude, your ambition, your disconnect, your dissonances, all of it will be a wave upon wave in your life. It will be the music you make and you will feel the vibration as you go from moment to moment.

A criminal caught feels the weight of their crimes, a hero at home is known for their good deeds.

Later Gator.

Your friend,

Nino.

Finding Your Purpose or Purpose in Your Pain

There is a difference between real limitations and ones imposed on us by nature or reality. To spend your whole life imagining you were taller, to dream of it, to hope for it is a waste of time. You and I grow to a certain height and then we stop. We can modify our looks to a certain extent and that is it. We can push our bodies and at some point, we will hit our limit of speed, strength, and stamina. Our bodies are the avatars we are given. They are the machine we are the ghost. Our parents, upbringing, and the place we are born is out of our control. The current state of the world for most of us is out of our control.

Yet, the world is always asking, “What are you going to do with your life?”

We can shrug our shoulders and act as if the world hasn’t given us clues along the way. But the truth is it has. We have something else we have little control over, our natural inclinations. This starts when we are born, each of us doesn’t come in the world as a blank sheet, we come in as a fully loaded PC bugs and all. Some of us share gifts, some of us share talents, some of us share personality traits, but each of us is uniquely different and has the choice to live a purposeful life.

Purpose requires thought. Thinking is something we avoid doing because it burns a lot of calories and is hard work. Add on top of that the pressure of saying this is why I am here on earth, forget about it. Game over son. Nobody wants to spend a day or night thinking about this, yet on some level, we spend weeks and years doing it. We wonder what am I here for? Or why is this happening to me? Or what am I going to do?

Let me paint you a couple of pictures and you decide what is a life well-lived.

Jonny was a straight a student. He went on to the best schools and when he graduated landed a great job. He moved up in his company, was smart friendly, and worked hard. He made a lot of money and even made time for a wife and kids. He was able to retire early and enjoyed his family. At the end of his first year of retirement, Jonny had died in a car accident.

Okay, let’s move on to our next story.

Jonny was raised in a shitty little inner city. He dropped out of school, sold drugs and then went to prison. In prison, he became a Christian. He started teaching bible study classes and help other men work threw their issues. Once he got out of prison, the best job he could find was at a gas station. He led a men’s group on Wednesday nights and help his church. He fell in love with a former prostitute and they got married. Jonny was well-loved in his church family. Just as he decided to go back to school and try to earn more money. A fifteen-year-old boy decided to rob the gas station. The gun in his hand went off killing Jonny.

Two completely different lives. The First Jonny lived out of a playbook written by society. The second Jonny lived out a script about life until the script changed.

As the author of both stories, I used these lives to illustrate a point. I am in control of their destinies. But if the first Jonny said to me I want more, his life would have gotten worse. I would have challenged him. I would have taken away safety, I would have made him the protagonist and his life would have challenged him. He would have sacrificed to fulfill his unique purpose. My second Jonny, needed me to give him a higher purpose, a way to endure, he found it in Christ. My first Jonny never sought more than to live his own life. My second Jonny lived a life of service.

It is not the gifts, talents, or natural abilities we are born with that give us purpose, it is the struggles we choose to embrace. The second Jonny could have lived out the script of a loser druggy high school drop out and lived in and out of prison his whole life being a burden until he died. That would have been the easy way. The first Jonny could have looked at the suffering of the world and made it part of his life’s work and his career would have been moved to support it.

Our limitations are not good enough excuses to not live a purposeful life. When we choose to live a purposeful life, we are asking for struggle. We are asking to be brought into the bigger story of service to mankind. We have a choice, we can play it safe and try to get through life without a scratch, or we can put on our helmet and gloves and get through, over and around the obstacles that make it a life of purpose.

Later Gator.

Your friend,

Nino.

P.S. Life is an interactive medium. It changes as you do. What might have been your destiny could now just be a past possibility, leaving you to look for the current destiny and wind in your sails. You can choose to live life according to a playbook or live it like it is an interactive game that requires you to participate to get to new and harder levels.