The 2 things that will fuck you over most in life

Your emotions. And your excuses.

And they’re usually the same thing

Your emotions

Emotions are important in and of themselves

Emotions like love (defined as genuine care for others’ wants and needs, not attachment or self-interest, which aren’t love at all) and empathy, in particular, are important foundations of solid AF relationships — and decisions.

One of my favorite books is Ben Horowitz’s “The Hard Thing About Hard Things.” One of the primary reasons is that he talks openly about his emotions as a CEO — even crying over a decision to do layoffs. And I have a lot of respect for that. Emotions like love and care make you a better person.

Your emotions are still valid

Nobody is telling you not to feel the way you feel. You’re allowed to recognize and name whatever emotions you are experiencing as a human being.

They just don’t need to be the ones driving

In the words of Elizabeth Gilbert, author of best-sellers Eat Pray Love and Big Magic, using a “road-trip” as an analogy for her creative process and discussing fear’s involvement:

“Dearest Fear… You allowed to have a seat. You are allowed to have a voice, but you are not allowed to have a vote… [And] above all else, my dear old familiar friend, you are absolutely forbidden to drive.

The issue is that emotions cloud our judgment and risk the outcome we most want.

Fear, anxiety, anger, vengefulness, envy, etc, etc, etc are fucking messy.

Excitement can cause you to overestimate reward and underestimate risks.

“There’s a reason why casinos use bright lights and loud noises — they want you to get excited. The more excited you feel, the more likely you’ll be to spend large amounts of money.” — Amy Morin, author of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do

Anxiety is paralyzing. Fear can cause you to settle. Anger can lead to rash decisions. The list goes on.

Point is, they all compromise growth and longterm happiness.

We all make irrational decisions anyway

The reality is that all of us make irrational decisions and only later rationalize them. There are countless studies and publications on it, perhaps most notably being Blink by Malcolm Gladwell.

But there’s a difference between making honest efforts toward clean, logical thought… and giving into irrationality.

Your excuses

Another one of my fave books is Napoleon Hill’s Laws of Success.

Some years ago, at a time when labor was scarce and wages unusually high, I observed scores of able-bodied men lying about in the parks of Chicago, doing nothing. I became curious to know what sort of an alibi they would offer for their conduct, so I went out one afternoon and interviewed seven of them.

With the aid of a generous supply of cigars and cigarettes and a little loose change I bought myself into the confidence of those whom I interviewed and
thereby gained a rather intimate view of their philosophy. All gave exactly the same reason for being there, without employment.

They said: “The world will not give me a chance!!!”

Hill went on to say,

“Of course the world wouldn’t give them a chance. It never gives anyone a chance. A man who wants a chance may create it.”

The excuse that we have not been given a chance — or the excuse that we’ve been “unlucky,” or that we simply can’t because we have some sort of setback (“I have no money,” “I don’t have enough time,” “I will once I — ,” “I can’t because I’m diagnosed with,” etc.) — is “one of the commonest causes of poverty and failure.”

Every person alive could come up with an excuse if they wanted. All of them. Even the millionaires and billionaires and silver-spooned motherfuckers — all of them have experienced setbacks.

We all have car troubles. We all have parents that fucked us somehow. We all have 24 hours in the day.

The surest sign of success in life is grit — the ability to persevere. It’s more important than IQ and likability.

Here’s psychologist Angela Lee Duckworth’s well-known TED Talk on it.

Effectively, going at your work each day, regardless of the emotions you feel or the excuses you may think of — because you will — is crucial.

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