This is a story for those of you coming out of 2016 beaten down, scared, sad, or pissed off. Things aren't going your way and I get it. Been there.
Late 2014, sometime around November, I found out my girlfriend of 3 years was cheating on me with some guy she met on a vacation with her cousin in Europe. Whole thing blew up, dude flew in for Christmas & NYE from Australia. I wanted to go out for NYE, but wasn't able to as my friends couldn't commit to any plans. Ex was engaged two weeks later.
To top it all off, I was labeled “childish” and “irresponsible” for not wanting to settle down and have kids at age 26. Thus, most of my social circle evaporated overnight and sided with said ex. She's currently living in Australia and I believe has a kid or two with the guy.
It was cold has hell that winter. I was crushed for about 2-3 weeks. Then I realized something: I wasn't living up to my potential. I was in my mid-twenties, kept to myself mostly, and liked being in my comfort zone. Sure, I had a masters degree and a corporate job, but I wasn't moving up and made somewhere around $35k/year. I lived at home with my parents and didn't have a clue what I wanted out of life. I just did what everyone told me to do – go to college, get a job, then work. That's it. I was boring and uninteresting. No wonder no one wanted to be around me.
… but life was unfulfilling.
For the rest of that winter, I stuck inside, cut myself off a bit from the world and zoned in. I lifted, ate well, and planned out 2015. There were many nights of sitting in the cold garage thinking about who I wanted to be or what I wanted to do. My back was up against he wall in life and it was now or never I slowly realized. I can chose to continue to be a loser or to rise above.
My first goal was to get out and travel. People would talk about going to here or there and I'd scoff at them thinking it was a waste of money and time. I had never been to beach, maybe 1-2 other cities as a kid, and that's it. My view of the world was my one city and a few small suburbs. Second, was to get better with meeting new people, both girls and guys. I realized I had very limited close friends and a few more people I'd rank as lofty friends. Rarely hung out with them. Girls and dating – Ha, my ex and I were setup through a friend. I was awkward and boring. I had zero skills to talk or approach anyone. I was terrified of asking for directions.
Spring came, I got out and started executing the plan. In order to do something while traveling, I picked up a video camera on a whim. No friends, hell, I'll talk to the camera. Started a Youtube channel on traveling and my main hobby, cars. I made 1-2 videos a week, each getting better with more interesting places.
For travel, many of the first few months were completely solo with that camera. Waterfalls, state parks, roadtrips. I drove 5 hours to a new city to see the concert of my dreams. I remember standing in the crowd, by myself, not thinking it was real – but it was. I was doing this. That was the first time in my entire life I actually felt alive.
As for meeting people, I made a pact with myself to talk to 2-3 new people a day. People on the street, in the subway, or out at lunch. The hardest thing was getting started, but at the same token, with no friends, I had nothing to lose. Even if I made a fool of myself, I had no one to ridicule me. Rain or shine, I'd be walking around downtown usually just saying “Hey, who are you?”
I kept up with that 2-3 people a day from March until November 2015. Approximately 20 (business) days a month, 3 people, 60 new faces a month. 9 months later, I had introduced myself to over 500 people. I dated a lot too, more than any year in my life. I went from being that kid that sat alone in his high school class picture to dating the prom queen of another school the same year I graduated. 3-4 notable month long relationships. It brought me a lot of joy and the others in return.
With that said, not everything was a bunch of roses. Rarely, but sometimes people would just look at you like a freak and walk away. Very rarely, but those ones hurt. After a few of them, you realize these people don't know you, so it's not an attack on your character. They're probably going through something in their lives or relationships you don't know of. You brush it off and keep going.
For all those who I didn't meet up with again out of those 500, for half of them, it really brighten up their day someone noticed and talked to them, even for 15 minutes. The other half, they were usually too glued to their phones to care. So be it.
I learned more about myself in 9 months than my previous 26 years of existence. I peeled back the layers of low confidence, low self esteem, and fear, replacing them with high confidence, leadership, and hunger. Hunger to get better in all aspects of life.
This become most apparent in my biggest hobby, racing. I took up autocross in more depth in 2015, vowing to go to every local race and even some 2-3 hours away. I almost missed my goal when the fuel pump failed two days before the final race, but stayed up til midnight to fix and test it. Placed at every single one.
This new found confidence spilled over in my career, I conquered projects and tasks I feared for years prior. Before this, I begged my boss not to work on them, but to be assigned other work. Instead, I asked him to be assigned full responsibility for two major projects to head. I worked some long hours in there, notably a period of 10 days of 8am to midnight to get some jobs done. I was promoted and on a separate occasion, picked up a large bonus.
Through all of this, I found many male friends, people I'd like to call true friends now. I don't feel lonely or scared anymore. I feel awesome. I feel like I mean something to others and these others mean something to me. I believe this is one of the biggest universal truths in life.
2015 came and went. In 2016, I finally moved out of my parents house and in with my new girlfriend, met through talking to these new people. We finally made it to beach – twice. Racked up nine more states traveled to in 2016, in addition to the ones in 2015. New job with 40% higher pay and better hours/environment.
Through Youtube (and 190 videos later), I met some really great people. I regularly hang out with people with Ferarri's, Lamborgini's, and Porsches. Summer of 2016, I found myself at a meet and greet with subscribers in a parking lot downtown. Hundreds of people surrounding us. It was epic.
No, I don't live a lavish lifestyle or was gifted a bunch of money to get started after college. I left with $500, a rusted station wagon. I've been down some deep holes in terms of relationships. I've seen the best and worst people. There are others out there with far less or bigger problems, but I have some advice for everyone….
GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE. Period. If it scares you, do it. I was terrified at talking to girls, but I just forced myself. I was scared to take that new project at work, but I did. The need to conquer that fear became greater than the fear itself. If you think you can't, don't try… just do it. The first step is taking action. Plan out your 2017. Make goals, but most of all, make a realistic plan on how to get where you want to go. Work longer hours, skip on drinks or restaurants in order to travel.
In order to be great, it's trial and error. I didn't know how to do anything at the start of this, but I learned. I failed over and over and over. Then things started to click. Your biggest ally in this battle against yourself will be some type of motivation. For me, it was mostly hate or “I'll show you” at the beginning, but that only gets you started. It will not carry you through. Eventually that hate has to turn into a passion for what you do.
Don't wait to start on January 1st. START NOW. Drop what you're doing and make plans. Follow through with them at all costs and fully believe you CAN in whatever you want to accomplish.
EDIT: I don't normally post my channel here, but since it's been requested multiple times. Here you guys go.
I specifically just put a video related to this post you can watch here: https://youtu.be/Vha_a4j7ThQ
Good luck out there guys!