When I decided to write this piece, I did so with the intention of helping you realize a great truth about life. I wanted to show you how truly alone you are in this world, and through this understanding, I wanted to show you how to truly matter.
Why do they always teach us that it’s easy and evil to do what we want, and that we need discipline to restrain ourselves? It’s the hardest thing in the world to do what we want. And it takes the greatest kind of courage. I mean, what we really want.- Ayn Rand
You were born alone.
You will die alone.
In the end, there is nobody to blame but yourself.
Deeds are more important than flesh.
Flesh can rot.
Your heart will stop.
You are completely erasable, but your deeds will remain forever.
In the end, your actions are what people will remember you by.
And even then, for how long will you remain in their memories?
Who will think about you night and day?
As time moves on, even memories begin to fade.
But what you do in life echoes an eternity.
What you are about to read may transform you, or may not. It may change the way you view life, it may not.
I didn’t write this for you, though.
I wrote this for me.
The Great Race
She is seven years old, and she dreams of becoming a writer. She is too young to be concerned with profit. All she knows is that she has a lot of ideas, a stunning imagination, and a love for words. She writes stories in her free time, and her parents think it’s a very cute activity.
Like most of us, Janet was free to explore her horizons when she was young because her parents saw everything she did as a playful act of innocence and ignorance.
Janet is close to her parents, and she is heavily influenced by what they tell her.
Eventually, her parents get concerned with her ideas- they’re both lawyers.
“Janet, you’re 9 years old now, and as great as these stories are, you have to realize that school is more important now. You can write a book when you’re out of school, But first, you need to get a good degree. We think you should go to law school. Lawyers get to read a lot. You’ll be good in that.”
Janet is too young to really know what a lawyer does, so she complies.
She listens to her parents because her parents are the smartest people in the world, and they know best for her.
You see, like most of us, Janet’s soul was born with a compass that always pointed in the direction of her dreams. But, Janet slowly decided to let herself become influenced by the world around her.
She begin to believe, like most of us, that others know us better than we know ourselves. But, for some reason, she always finds herself sneaking back into her room in order to write more stories.
Her parents find these stories, and they become concerned. They further hammer advice down her throat. “Janet, do you know how many books get rejected by publishers? Do you know, of the ones that actually make it through, how many actually go on to be profitable for the writers? Unless you’re a world renown author, you’re not going to make much as a writer. Become a lawyer. You’ll have much more respect in life.”
Janet has many friends now, and she is in 8th grade. She writes from time to time, but nowhere near as much as she once used to. Becoming a writer doesn’t seem to have much charm nowadays, anyway. Janet realizes that she’s going to be going to high school soon, and that she will need to get her “act together” and study hard so that she may get a “real” job like everyone else.
Janet is now in high school. She isn’t so attached to her parents because she has friends to spend time with, and she has more freedom. Of course, due to years of brainwashing, she is convinced that she will become a lawyer some day.
At night, she has dreams of writing books, but she wakes up and laughs at herself for dreaming of such foolish things.
Janet eventually graduates from high school, and, for the first time in her life, she feels as though she has accomplished something. She compares her success to the fact that there were many people who either didn’t graduate or did graduate but aren’t moving onto college. Janet’s sense of satisfaction has slowly matured to the level where she cannot feel happy about her progress unless she compares it to others’ progresses.
She will never meet most of her high school friends ever again.
The dreams she had about writing books are gone now, but she still gets pulsations from time to time. She has gotten used to it by now, though. Nowadays, she is mesmerized by the thoughts of how the world will have tremendous respect for her once she is a lawyer. She is consumed by the thoughts of how much more her parents will love her once she is a lawyer. She is attracted to an artist, but she won’t even give him a chance because she knows that a successful future is one in which she marries a lawyer. Her friends are marrying lawyers as well, so she has to do the same thing. She is beginning to play a game of keeping up with the Joneses.
She will never meet most of her college friends ever again.
She feels accomplished, yet she is also drained. Life is filled with work now, and her only sense of satisfaction comes from climbing up to higher positions at her law firm. She’s secretly chasing happiness at a job she secretly despises. No amount of money keeps her happy. Her marriage is just a status symbol, and she barely shares any commonalities with her husband. One day, she decides to write something down on paper just for fun, and her husband laughs at her attempt for creativity. Janet “snaps back” to her senses and realizes that she needs to focus on bills and other more important things.
Janet now has a daughter named Mary.
Marry dreams of becoming a singer. . .and the story unfolds once again.
Janet is now on her deathbed, and she feels no different than she has felt the past 30 years of her life. Then, she remembers the last moment she was truly alive; the image that comes to her mind is the one of herself at 7 years of age writing a short story across a blank sheet of paper.
Many people die with their music still in them. Why is this so? Too often it is because they are always getting ready to live. Before they know it, time runs out.- Oliver Wendell Holmes
We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are born alone and all men die alone.
You won’t take your friends with you to your grave.
You won’t take your parents with you to your grave.
You won’t take your lovers with you to your grave.
I will now give you some steps that you can take to make sure that you don’t make the same mistakes as Janet.
Find Your Deepest Purpose
Find your greatest passion in life. This may be the hardest thing for almost everyone on the planet, but you have to do it. I can’t teach you how to find this passion in this blog post. But, what I will do is give you some signposts to watch out for.
Your passion is something sacred to you.
It is something that you would do even if you couldn’t get paid for it.
If you can find this purpose, your entire life will change. Absolutely every action you take will have a reason behind it. Everything you do will have a motive, and you will be inspired by something deep within you.
Every heart is born with a compass.
Follow it to where your bliss takes you.
Follow it to your grave.
Sure, you may feel alone on this path, but you are alone in life anyway. Why try to mask the aloneness?
If you were meant to sing, then sing.
If you were meant to write, then write.
If you were meant to dance, then dance.
Embrace yourself in the greatest honesty, and accept yourself for who you are. Why spend time with lawyers when your entire soul just wants to explode into a book that you were meant to write?
The Sense of Self
Eminem doesn’t rap for money.
Oprah doesn’t do talk shows for money.
Bill Gates gives away billions to charities.
People have a fear that if they follow what they truly love, they will become starving artists.
The truth is, we are living in a renaissance right now.
There is absolutely no reason for you not to become wealthy doing what you love.
Eminem was just some white kid from Detroit. What separated him from the rest was that he followed his dream against all odds.
Whatever you do in life, do it for yourself.
Your sense of self respect should come from yourself.
Your sense of satisfaction should come from the work you produce.
You create out of love.
You dance because of the sheer joy you get from dancing.
You write because of the sheer joy you get from putting your thoughts down on paper.
You sing because of the sheer joy you get when you can translate your emotions into powerful sounds.
It doesn’t matter what the world thinks. If they like your stuff, great. If they don’t, that’s also fine.
The truth is, nobody thinks about you night and day. You are not a constant thought on anybody’s mind.
So, why spend your life trying to do what will make others happy when they barely even think of you?
Most people die with their music still inside of them.
Don’t become a statistic.
John, Robert, Kim, Elizabeth, and Fran have their own things to worry about. Even if you become a neurosurgeon, they wouldn’t change how often they think about you. Sure, they may respect you just a bit more, but who cares about how many people respect you for what you do if what you do doesn’t enliven your spirit?
At the end of the day, all you have is yourself.
The only person who truly cares about you is you.
The only person who can make a huge difference in your life is you.
I hate the notion of self sacrifice.
I hate that we are constantly taught over and over again that we must live for our fellow men.
That we must set aside our visions and dreams so that we may contribute to others.
I hate that we are taught that others know us better than we know ourselves.
I hate that we are constantly taught that our thoughts hold no value, and that we must obey the order of conformity.
We give up our dreams and place our lives into the hands of people who don’t even have control over their own lives.
What kind of orgy is this?
I understand that it is seen as a noble thing to put others first.
But, look at what happens when you put others first.
You end up last.
It sounds like a wonderful idea to put others first, but how can you put others first when they don’t even know what they want for themselves?
People are great time wasters, life wasters, procrastinators, nonachievers, and hesitators. Most of them will never achieve anything noteworthy in life. Most people will do what everyone else is doing because they don’t want to be seen as that “weird guy who followed his dreams and got nowhere”.
But, let me ask you something: If you were to die in six weeks, would you still do what you are doing right now?
Do not make the mistake of dying with your music still inside of yourself.
Do not become a statistic.
“I swear, by my life and my love for it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.”- Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
Nobody cares about you. Sure, you have friends, family, and loved ones who care about you in the ways that people who are close to you should; however, nobody is going to live your life for you.
Don’t expect help in life.
Don’t expect others to go out of their way to give you a nudge.
Don’t expect that the world will finally fall in love with you once you become a doctor, a lawyer, or an engineer.
People will view just the same.
They may think about you from time to time as a passing thought, but that is it.
So, why compete with them?
Why try to get your sense of self respect from them?
Why reject your soul’s vision in order to please people who don’t give a damn about you?
Eliazbeth Taylor just died.
I did not care.
Brittany Murphy died.
I did not care.
Michael Jackson died.
I cared, but even then, I didn’t stop living my life. I didn’t stop pursuing my dreams. I didn’t treat life any different upon his passing.
Others may sympathize with us, they may sympathize with our journeys and sorrows, and they may get envious of us from time to time, but you have to realize the cold hard truth: You are just a passing thought in most peoples’ minds.
Your parents love you, and they want to see you succeed, but they are so afraid of you making the wrong choices in life that, many times, they make the choices for you.
But then, you are left alone to work through the life they chose for you. They won’t live it for you.
In the end, you have nobody to blame but yourself.
Who cares if everyone else is getting their degrees faster than you?
Who cares if people are graduating college two years earlier?
Who cares if your best friend just landed a lucrative job?
The fact is that most people are unhappy with their careers, and they only stick around because they have bills to pay.
If it takes you an extra three years to graduate college, then let it happen. Honestly, at the end of the day, nobody will really care about how long it took for you to graduate anyway. NOBODY cares.
If you are working at a job you hate, nobody cares about how much you hate that job. If your job brings you respect, all you are getting is 15 seconds (not even minutes) of fame, because most people will not think much about you in forms other than a passing thought.
If you set your life up to please others, you will be pleasing nobody. Nobody will care.
You’re only fooling yourself.
Don’t become a Janet.
Don’t become a statistic.
You might be wondering about money.
“Sure, going after your dreams is all fine and dandy, but I have bills to pay and mouths to feed. What about that?”
If you live this type of lifestyle, you’re going to get drained. This mentality will pass onto your children, and you will live a very unhappy lifestyle.
There are COUNTLESS books, audios, DVD’s, and Seminars on how to make massive income doing what you love. I won’t go into the details here, but if you do need some guidance, I suggest that you read the following books:
1. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
2. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
3. The Millionaire Messenger by Brendon Burchard
I want to stress to you that money is just a result, and it is a fantastic result. You DESERVE to get paid handsomely for what you do in life. But, the thing you must watch out for is whether or not what you are doing makes you happy.
Russell Simmons talks about rappers and cars in his book Do You! New musicians experience this all the time. They spend their first paycheck on a car that costs a half million dollars. Once they park the car, they realize that all the happiness is gone. They realize that they just bought a piece of metal.
In every walk of life, the richest people begin to say that the money never brings lasting happiness. What brings lasting happiness is the journey.
Do what you love.
Do it for yourself.
The money will come if you understand how to market your passions.
The greatest thing you can do in life is to follow your bliss and get paid for it handsomely.
At the end of the day, nobody even cares about what’s in your bank account.
He’s always chasing the pot of gold, but when he gets there, at the end of the day, it’s just corn flakes. – Morty, Click (2006)
When you constantly chase dollar signs, you’re missing out on the most important things in life. You’re missing out on your dreams. You’re missing out on your soul. You’re missing out on the things that make you human, that make you unique, that make you special.
I remember reading a quote one day that really made me think. It said, “Life is neither the candle nor the flame. It is the burning.”
Money will not buy you happiness.
Friends will not buy you happiness.
Respect will not buy you happiness.
Following your dreams is the only way to true happiness. And when you follow your dreams, the best money, the best friends, and the best respect will come to you as a byproduct. I would rather be respected for what I love than be respected for what I despise.
“Money will always remain an effect and refuse to replace you as the cause. Money is the product of virtue, but it will not give you virtue and it will not redeem your vices. Money will not give you the unearned, neither in matter nor in spirit.- Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
Money is just an effect, not a cause.
Money is wonderful, and you can make LOTS of it. But, at the end of the day, your life is all about service.
Your passion was never meant to be kept inside. It was supposed to be unleashed into the world through a smattering of love and an explosion that sets hearts on fire.
The truest happiness comes in the form of giving. The greatest giving comes in the form of an embodiment of your highest values, your highest sense of self, your highest virtues, and your deepest dreams.
Desire is the faculty through which your service may be of value to another man.
At the end of your life, people will remember you for the music you left behind.
They will remember you for the results you were able to produce in others’ lives.
I remember Charles Dickens because he left behind 3 ghosts.
I remember Ayn Rand because she left behind a fountain and an atlas.
I remember Dr. King because he left behind a dream.
People will follow you for your dreams as well, if only you would dare to dream them.
The greatest happiness comes from putting your entire soul into something you believe in and then seeing that thing manifest into concrete form.
You put your soul into something that others can finally hold.
That is the most beautiful thing you can do. In life, you have to do great things. But those great things are not great because others define them as great; they are great because they are truly unique things that nobody else could bestow upon the universe but you.
[I need to] find a truly original idea. It is the only way I will ever distinguish myself. It is the only way I will ever matter.- John Nash, A Beautiful Mind
When it comes to marriage, do not settle for anyone less than the person whom embodies your greatest beliefs, moralities, and visions. The person is not someone who will have the same purpose as you, but he or she must have the same ideals.
You need to be with someone who harmonizes with your dreams.
Finding this type of love is beyond the scope of this article.
But, realize that who you marry can have a drastic effect on your life.
The person you end up with must reflect your highest virtues.
Never settle at any step of your life.
Don’t marry someone based solely on looks or money alone. These are very important traits, but what matters most is the soul.
The other kind of half is the man whom people call practical, the man who despises principles, abstractions, art, philosophy and his own mind…He tells himself that all he’s after is physical pleasure-but observe that he tires of his women in a week or a night, that he despises professional whores and that he loves to imagine he is seducing virtuous girls who make a great exception for his sake. It is the feeling, of achievement that he seeks and never finds. What glory can there be in the conquest of a mindless body?- Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
The Virtue of Solitude
You were born alone.
You will die alone.
The person you marry must reflect your highest sense of values.
The job you undertake must be one that is a projection of your dreams.
Your greatest sense of happiness comes from an act of service that embodies your dreams.
You can get paid handsomely for following your bliss if you market yourself correctly.
Nobody truly cares about your life as much as you do.
Nobody will live your life for you.
Do not live your life for them.
Do not sacrifice your soul’s bliss in order to follow the advice of a fool who knows not a thing about you, let alone a thing about himself.
You will be forgotten.
Your flesh will decay.
All that remains are the actions you took, the services you rendered, and the masterpieces you created.
When you set out to accomplish something, you do it.
Do not care about how much time it may or may not take you.
Even if it takes years, dedicate yourself to the task at hand.
It’s the only way you will ever really matter.
Do not die with your music still inside of you.
We’re all meant to wake up some day.
Do not let that day be on your death bed.