So on Sunday I turned the big 40.
I’m not really one to talk about birthdays but this one seemed pretty significant. Not because I’m 40 really but because my life’s changed a lot in the past four decades and along the way I’ve learned some valuable lessons. I figured it would be nice to put some things on paper and share some of it.
Ps. There may be a little language in this……..
Age is a chronological process we go through, teaching us things. Some we learn from, some we don’t. Some, we have to repeat numerous times and make the same mistakes before we move on.
Maybe thats stubborness? I’m not entirely sure?
Along that way things impact us physically and psychologically. This then fuels our outlook on things, sometimes positively, other times in a very damaging and negative way.
I believe that the inherent nature of humans and our necessity to ‘fit in’ means we live a lot of our lives blinkered by beliefs and led by people. I guess we see people who have what we want, popularity, wealth, physiques, love and think if we mimic them we end up in the same place. We see life as a series of simple equations thinking they all ultimately lead to happiness.
I had this conversation with a good friend only a few days ago. I’ve never, that I can recollect walked into a room and thought that I’m a man of his actual age and ever felt the need to portray myself in a specific way. You know, the one society expects us to be. Again, I’ll refer back to stubbornness. The thing that I can say at times in those 40 years even made me question my actual existence, yes, I mean what you think that means.
I never wanted to confirm, I still don’t. To fit in, to live up to other people’s expectancies.I always thought it was a futile attempt becoming popular. Any time I felt me sliding into these ‘cliques’ I didn’t like who it made me. So, largely, to my detriment, I didn’t.
None. I put up with some crap in my time and been in some very dark places. Nonetheless I survived and I’m here now with a shit load of life in the bank. Much of it I can attest to being, in the immortal words of Bill S Preston esq, ‘most excellent’. (One of the few times I actually acknowledge my age is when I use a film quote or such like from my childhood only to realise the room of people in front of me weren’t even born and have no clue what I’m talking about).
Have I been lucky. Hell no. I didn’t ‘WIN’ things in my life.
I earned every last fucking bit of it and no one will ever take that away from me. That’s about as far as my egos stretching. I’ve worked relentlessly hard and put my time into making my life what I want it to be. I’m not going to put it down or have it put down to some deighty or ‘luck’. I simply worked hard and when times got hard I managed not to dwell on it too long and I worked harder.
Thats just my character. Tell me I can’t do something and I’ll do everything in my power to prove you wrong.
Yeah I’ve fucked up, on many occasions. In all aspects of life. I went through many years doubting myself (remnants of my childhood and believing what some of the pricks in my life led me to believe). I never thought I was good enough, never thought I deserved anything of good that came into my life. I would purposely sabotage things that came my way and if something made me happy I would try my best to ruin it. I had lots of doubt and fear.
A lot of these things still linger like a bad shadow at times but I deal with them much better than ever before. That, I put down to the fact I have people who rely on me for things greater things now. I care more for other people in my life more than I care for myself.
Now I don’t want someone playing a fucking violin. I’m just being straight and honest about my life and some things that brought me to where I am today. My parents worked their arses off EVERY day of my childhood to provide for me and my sister. They worked ridiculous hours and missed out on time with us because they had a choice to give us a better quality of life and be absent in some of it or not. I think, in the same situation I would have done the same.
We had food on the table, we had clothes, we were fortunate enough to grow up in a lovely area of the world and had two parents who loved us dearly.
Thats more than many people have and that was down to the work both of my parents did, day in and day out, not just to earn a living but the work they put in on their own personal life.
Some people aren’t that fortunate. Some people aren’t brought up with that work ethic instilled in them. I believe a lot of that is about leading by example and good parenting.
I wanted to put my fingers to my keyboard and reflect on what’s come and gone in my life and brought me to where I am today. This may sound like a series of elongated meme’s or pep talks but hope you can take something of value from it.
STOP TRYING TO BELONG. Belonging is easy and allowing your own thoughts to go through someone else’s filter is easy. This is generally abbreviated into someone frivolously saying ‘Just be yourself’.
Human beings love to be a part of something. Clubs, communities, belief systems, anything that makes you feel part of a collective. This doesn’t mean you can’t be a part of anything. You won’t however learn to be a leader unless you’re willing to lead. Don’t mistake this for rebellion. Understand that this is about controlling your own decisions in life and coming to your own conclusions.
Again, often abbreviated as ‘Don’t be a sheep’
I run a HUGE community of people and I educate people. This doesn’t mean I want people who follow mindlessly what I say.
I shudder when I think of people saying ‘because Phil say’s so’.
Have your own thought process. It’s liberating and I honestly believe it makes you much happier as you end up living life on your own terms.
LIFE ISN’T ABOUT CHASING POPULARITY. Way before social media, likes and having thousands of ‘friends’ you’ve never even met I used to dream about being popular and having a few friends who would simply have my back. Human beings are for the most part very shallow and trust is a trait that seems to hold less weight than ever before.
As you probably realise the greatest belief I have is in human beings. Their capacity for good and ability to fix their own shit. Anything that went to shit generally went that way because of us and something we did. That means in many respects we have the capacity to fix it.
I spend my life trying to fix human beings, in a very small way but thats my intent. To help people become successful, to help people create a better quality of lives, to help people ‘achieve’, whatever that may be and more than anything give people belief in themselves.
The only way you’ll ever be popular is to give a shit about others. I love my family and love my friends because they give a shit about me. They’ll bend over backwards for me. Hell, my wife and my best friend are two of the most selfless people I know. This transcends beyond just ‘me’ but to everyone that they cross paths with. In contrast, the loneliest and most miserable, resentful people I know are also the most selfish.
I tried to be popular when I was younger which at times made me a selfish prick. The more ‘friends’ I thought I had the less true friends I actually had. It was just a huge circle of mistrust and bitchiness.
I’m fortunate now to have a lot of people in my life who like me and what I do. I also in the same breath have people that despise me and what I do.
Stop worrying about being popular. Worry more about being a decent fucking human being.
REALISE YOU’RE VALUABLE. You can change a lot of peoples lives with very little effort. You can change someone’s outlook on everything in a heartbeat. This goes back to my previous point.
This isn’t something you can feign, something you can pretend. It’s real, it’s genuine and wanting to help people is a hell of a thing. Patting someone on the back, telling them how well they’re doing. Saying thanks and being appreciative of people that help you.
Life is much like business. In business, it’s much harder to find a new customer than to keep an old one.
In life, it’s much easier to keep an old friend than to find a new one.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO INVEST. This isn’t just financially, this is about time, this is about your expertise.
If you saw someone with a flat tire would you invest the time into helping them if you could?
What if that person was about to change your life? What if they had the resources to change everything about your business and because of them, because of that day you pulled over in the rain to help them you now have a quality of life you only dreamt of.
Life isn’t about luck. It’s about opportunities and it’s about people. The things you do. Not the things you don’t.
Take chances. I missed opportunities in life for the simple fact I was scared. Scared of rejection or failure and too stubborn to admit it was simply that.
People say ‘what will be will be’, it fucking won’t, it will be what you make it.
My business has suffered. My personal life has suffered all because I didn’t think:
A) I was good enough
B) I was good enough
You’re good enough and maybe when you turn another year older you too might actually realise that fact. The people that pull you down eventually let go and fall. Trust me on that one. Remember I’m practically a relic compared to most of you and I’ve never seen anyone succeed from pulling people down. NOT ONE single person.
DON’T BE A PRICK. Thats a simple one. If you feel you need to condemn people, tease people, ridicule people as part of your day to day life you’ll fail. For the simple fact you’re a prick.
People will always be entertained by these types, this feeds their egos and they slowly pail into insignificance and they don’t even realise it’s happening.
If you think taking money people off them and shortchanging them of value, you’re a prick.
Yeah, you may make a penny or two but you’ll end up with no-one. People won’t trust you, believe you, trust in you or love you.
That means you better sort your own funeral arrangements as the only impression you’ll leave on this world will be a mound of fucking dirt. Even that, after a few months will turn into a flat piece of grass people walk over and never take a second glance.
LEARN TO LISTEN. One thing I’ve seen and without this sounding like a ’10 things all successful CEOs do’ click bait. One thing I’ve always recognised and acknowledged with successful people and businesses alike, is that they listen. They listen intently to the people they serve and the people they care for.
Not for one moment do they ever think they know it all. It’s like they have an internal SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis that happens every morning when they wake up. They make use of their strengths, acknowledge their weaknesses and delegate if needed, they take opportunities and deal with threats. All with clinical precision.
Do they screw up.
Yes they do, they just don’t dwell on it.
REALISE THAT MOST MATERIAL SHIT IS NONSENSE . This goes back to my first point. We’re led to believe that most things of value mean something grand. Something that enhances your status or improves your quality of life. I remember saving for months when I was a 14 year old boy to buy a Dolce and Gabbana sweatshirt. It was £105 and I remember it distinctly. I would wear it at every opportunity and it made me feel important because it told everyone around me that. I was exactly the same person, with the same to give the same to offer people but I simply had an expensive jumper. I was also pretty broke too.
What gives right?
Buy things, things you want or make you feel great but buy them for YOU. No one else. If when you wear them, get in them they make you feel great and they intrinsically drive you to become better go for it.
It’s like a designer label. Do you want a slogan across your chest that tells everyone extrinsically how great you must be or is it something that changes the way you intrinsically feel.
Go with the intrinsic.
In 2014 I bought a Ferrari, My family knew I had it and a few of my close friends. That was it. It was the car I always wanted as a kid. I had a picture of that exact car (although it was in red) on my wall alongside a Lamborghini Countach. I bought it for me, not for bragging rights, it intrinsically drove me. Every morning I would walk past it or get in it and it would make me want to work harder.
I didn’t cruise around town in it. I didn’t put it all over social media. I would get in it, on my own and often just drive.
It would help me think and recollect things I’d got wrong and the things I’d got right. This is the first time (apart from when I sold it) that it’s ever been mentioned by me to anyone beyond my tight social circles. It’s relevant now.
Nowadays I have little need for that extra intrinsic drive as I have people that directly rely on me. I have more mouths to feed than just my own.
I sold the car earlier this year.
Material things must mean something and be intrisically emotive in my view. Generally when they are, they’re investments. I own very few expensive material things, each however has a story and each means something to me. Also ironically I could probably sell all of them tomorrow for more money than they were first bought for.