I remember once reading from the blog by James Altucher that to make a real connection with the people who read your writings, you have to bleed, be even more honest, more transparent, and then bleed some more.
To Quote his message..
“”Bleed in the first line. We’re all human. A computer can win Jeopardy but still not write a novel. You want people to relate to you, then you have to be human. Penelope Trunk started a post a few weeks ago: “I smashed a lamp over my head. There was blood everywhere. And glass. And I took a picture.” That’s real bleeding. My wife recently put up a post where the first line was so painful she had to take it down. Too many people were crying.””
From quote from another one of his blog posts (source HERE)…
“”…Bleeding is about sharing a situation that we can all relate to: usually disgusting, embarassing, and humiliating, and finding the truth in it….””
I don’t really read many blogs but James’s writing is some of the most honest, real, and raw stuff I’ve ever seen. The level of honesty and rawness he brings to his writings make me feel so innocent and young sometimes. And I’m not young at 28.
I remember a person once gave me the exercise of asking me to calculate how many days left I probably have in this life. Since I am already 28 and I probably will live to the average US male life expectancy age of 80, that means I will have about 52*365~19,000 days.
That’s how many days I have left to live, about 19,000 days. When I had come to see that my inevitable death could be so concrete and finalized from putting a measurable, calculated value on it, it really drove the message deep into my mind. I am going to die, and there is nothing I can do about it. A metaphoric image would be where I imagine my self in a conveyer belt with my head held down in the wooden block of a guillotine being slowly rolled to the blade. I can’t twist or lift my head to see how far away is that blade, but I know that it will be around. As time moves on, I get close and closer to that blade. I know that I have a 99% chance that in 20,000 or less my head will one day meet that guillitone blade. And it frightens me to the very core of my being.
I guess my way of interpreting his message is that I got to be more honest and more real with my writings and messages. So it is time to tell you another secret, a hidden fact which I wanted to hide from you, so that you wouldn’t find out but I can now release.
Here is the secret: I would have never started this website and blog if I hadn’t been so emotionally damaged and detroyed by my girlfriend who left me earlier this year. On the same day she told me that she wanted to end our relationship through the iPad 2 I bought her just a month ago, she started dating a new guy, the current guy she is with. Yeah she left me.
My first reaction was desperation and confusion. I couldn’t do a damn thing. She was at the moment on the other side of the world, in another country. I was completely helpless. I knew words at that point was useless and that if I wasn’t in front of her, I would have no way to control or handle the interaction. All she would have had to do was click one button and she would not have to see me ever again.
I guess looking back on it, my reaction was sort of normal when a guy gets left by his first true love. Devastation is not a strong enough word to describe the type of pain I felt on that night. When you hear those stories of guys and gals who go crazy and insane because the person they were with leaves them, I want to say that the stories were talking about my situation. I lost it completely.
I got angry. I was depressed for at least 6 months afterwards. I had to call a suicide hotline that night she left because I thought my world was gong to collapse. I would call every suicide hotline I could find because I was scared. I was scared that I would kill myself if I didn’t watch my own emotions. I didn’t want to die but I also didn’t want to feel the extreme emotions going through my body. After the 1st month, I went and saw two therapists about this issue. They didn’t help. What they could say? They could not offer any real advice on the steps to take to make the emotions at least decrease a little.
What she never told to her parents, what they didn’t know was the baby. There was a pregnancy, and a quick abortion. She wanted it but I didn’t. I wanted to keep the baby but she didn’t.
If I try to project into the future, I know that 20 years from now, when she finally manages to figure who she is, find the happiness she couldn’t find with me, I will get a call from her. I’ll pick up that phone and she will try to apologize for choosing to go through with the abortion. She’ll also want to apologize for hurting me so long ago, because she wants to find forgiveness so that she won’t have that guilt eat inside of her. She wants to avoid, run away, and escape from the pain, and I still hate and resent her for not being brave and just dealing with the negative emotions in the first place.
I know I can forgive her for leaving me in time. I can forgive her for immediately dating another guy the exact same day she dumped me. Anger and sadness can go away with time.
However I don’t know if I can forgive her for the abortion. Death is something you can’t reverse. Lord Tennyson in his poetry In Memmoriam A.H.H. wrote the now immortal phrase…
I hold it true, whate’er befall;
I feel it when I sorrow most;‘
Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.
I don’t regret ever meeting her because of her love. I had so many amazing experiences and memories with her. I don’t regret her leaving me. That’s okay now.
The biggest problem is regret. That is the killer which I have never been able to get rid of. Sure, I have read enough self-help books to intellectually realize that mantra by self help gurus of “life each day to the fullest” or “I don’t have any regrets on my life decisions”. I couldn’t do that. I did have regrets. I do realize that I do get lazy and lethargic. Sometimes I don’t want to do anything expect lie in bed and stare up at the ceiling. And the next day I feel regret that I lost another day in being unproductive, in not giving what I could back to this world. I then would feel another layer of self-awareness that I was beating myself up over my laziness.
I regret that I was never even given the chance to love my child. We never even found out the sex of our baby. I paid for the abortion, she felt relieved that she could go back to her care-free reponsible less life of the average normal college female, and we then went out to have sushi. I think at that time, we both wanted to cover up that experience in whatever way we could, and she would use repression to push the thought out of her mind.
I remember that the Holocaust and Death Concentration Camp survivor Elie Wiesel who wrote “Night” could not even talk about his experiences on what had happened for 10 years after the WWII and the Holocaust was over. Many holocaust survivors might not even talk about it for 20, 30s years and some people just never talk about it. It is the normal human reaction to block out the memory and any negatively associatied emotions and feelings of such a horrible thing by never reopening up that wound again. The human mind just repress down that memory and never let it out for healing. And that is okay. That is how some people deal with bad experiences. After almost a year, I think I can now open up my heart again and reveal what I had been keeping inside.
I remember telling her that she won’t realize this mistake until the day she finally has her first child, when after the pregnancy and labor, she finally gets to hold her baby in her arms for the first time. She will cry, and she will realize what it is like to finally, for the first time in her life love something or someone so unconditionally that all you wanted to do was make her happy. Then she would finally realize that I was right, but it had to take maybe a decade of life experience, learning, and mistakes for her to realize it. She doesn’t care right now. She says that even if she would realize later, at this point in her life, all she cared about was her career. She was worried about what her parents would think of her. She was worried that she would give up her career. I understand where she is coming from emotionally but I don’t believe that she understands where I was coming from emotionally.
I know I will carry this to my grave and feel the weight of regret only get heavier with time as life continues forward. I have lost my own innocence.
One of my personal mentors is Anthony Robbins who was one of the founders of the whole coaching and self improvement movement in the 80s. I have both of his most famous works, “Awaken the Giant Within” and “Unlimited Power”. The main technique he has done his entire life to reach the success he has is based on a very simple idea, Modeling: Find out who are the people who are already successful, figure out what they are doing, and learn from them. It would be extremely curt and stupid of me to try to condense all of his work and material into one central message so I will try to do it in three main points. If I was to take two things from everything he was ever wrote it is this.
1. Just take massive action right now and don’t stop.
2. Learn, make as many mistakes as possible, but make the corrections and move fast.
So far, I have found that people can view life in 6 main ways. Maybe there are more ways but for right now, I have found 6 types of perspectives people can take. Sure, people are not 1-dimensional so each individual person will have their own unique combination or permutation of the 6 life perspectives.
- I. For some people, they choose to view life as an experience to have fun, to experience pleasure, so they chase pleasure. What drives them is the immediate gratification. They look at life as a process and try hard to live for the moment. They don’t sweat the small stuff, and when bad unexpected things happen in their life, they roll with it and just adapt and react to it but by being flexible, understandng, and tolerant.
- II. For other people, they choose to view life as a set of responsibilitys and obligations. They are chasing the accolades, the degrees and promotions, They are calculated and think in terms of everything in terms of investment and trading.
- III. For other people they view life as a battle, as a type of competition, Their perspective is Machivallean and think like Sun Tzu.
- IV. For other people, they view it as a sprint, something they have to race through as fast as possible. They want to finish their schooling fast, get promoted quickly, and make their fortune as quickly as possible. They are the type to not stop and experience the things in life at a deeper level.
- V. For other people, they view life as a process for growth. They are continuously searching to learn more, develop their personality, and understand the world more. They are the ones who goes to school ot study psychology and philosophy. They go to pilgrimages to India to find
- VI. Finally, you have people who think in terms of contribution, in terms of service and giving. For me, that is my path. I know that I am going to die. I don’t want to die and leave this world without giving people at least something.
It took me a decade of living and 4 main critical points for me to finally decide to take real action to fulfill this strange desire to find a way to make the world better.
I. I realized that I was going to die, and I saw a clearly defined time limit on when it would happen. In the grand scheme of things, 20,000 days really is not a lot. Eckhart Tolle in his worldwide best seller “The Power Of Now” talked about the need for us as people in this modern, fast pace world to finally reign in our minds to stand still and be in the moment. It took me years to finally calm my mind long enough to see who I really am. When I turned to myself and could see that this “Self” or “I” would one day cease to exist, I immediately felt myself become instinctually scared, at the most basic level. My primordial reptilian brain felt the fear of death, and it was trying to run away from it. This was the experience of fear. This was the first insight. However, it was still not enough to make me decide finally to stop fucking around, talking bullshit to make myself feel better, and actually finally taking action.
II. I realized that the one person who I could have loved unconditionally and have given my life to, my lost son or daughter, would never be, would never even live for 1 second, to know and experience life. I never even got the chance. They were never even given the chance. This was the experience of regret. This was the second insight. The emotion of regret gets heavier and heavier as life continues. Life is not easy, and it will only get harder and harder as time goes on. Like from the movie Rocky Balboa…”Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life.” (source) . For me, this was STILL NOT enough to change my behavior and thinking. It really is that hard to change.
III. I had to experience the loss of love, of the rejection of my ability to completely care about someone and for them to not give a fuck about me. I had to experience so much pain, at such a deep, such a raw, and visceral level for me to fundamentally change my thinking process, my believe system, and my actions. This was the experience of sorrow. In the classic novel loosely based on the founder of the religion Buddhism, Shakyamuni Gautama, “Siddhartha” by Herman Hesse, the final lesson that the original Prince Siddhartha had to learn was the lesson on love. In the novel, we find that in terms of development, the main character had to go through many phases in life to finally reach the state which so many mysticists and seekers through the ages call “Enlightenment“. First he had to leave his life which was already set up for him. It was filled with comfort and luxury, which he had to first choose to deny. Then he would have to learn from teachers and reach the conclusion that ultimately, no teacher can directly show him what is enlightenment. He is the one who must find out himself. Blindly following another person, no matter how wise they are, will not allow the individual fully comprehend. Along the way, he must experience romantic love and the primal emotions of lust and sex, which is absolutely critical in a fully developed person’s experience. He will grow older, and finally realize what it is to love unconditionally. That son would eventually not understand his love and he finally has felt all of life’s most basic levels of pain and emotion
This was probably the real lesson that most people needed to learn in life. For most people this emotion is what causes what psychologists call an emotional breakthrough. While the emotions of fear and regret are emotions that are negative and feel like an attack which cause the person to resist and defend their “ego” the emotion of Sorrow is what lets a person to relax and stop resisting the world so much. Sorrow is when the person can open their heart and allow for themselves to finally feel the pain they are so afraid of. This was the last trigger I needed.
Anthony Robbins stated very wisely when he claims that at the most fundamental level “Humans relate most easily through pain”. We all know, understand, and can feel pain. We’ve all experienced such pain and will do anything to avoid feeling that type of pain. However, I realize now that this type of deep pain is an ABSOLUTE requirement for most people to really change their life and their behavior. Most people just don’t have the will power, the drive, and the motivation to turn their life into a masterpiece.
IV. I had to finally realize that what I wanted in my life, I had to do something and take real action to make it happen. I am taking full responsibility for my actions in my life and going to take real action to manifest what I will and desire from life. This was the realization and experience of will. From my will, I can use my determination and persistence to take action. Nietzsche wrote about the concept of “Will To Power” and is quoted for stating “”world is the will to power—and nothing besides!“” My own personal interpretation of his work is that even if the world is to beat down on the person, there is still at a core level the impulse which is probably reptilian to achieve, pursue, and strive for something. I was a huge reader of Nietzsche in high school and tried to reconcile the loss of morality due to my atheistic upbringing and the nihilistic extremism which is so easily reached if one pushes brute logic to explaining the world. When there is no system of rules, philosophy, or values to hold one’s identity in place, one realizes that one is really just standing above the abyss of nothingness and one has to find a way inside to be okay with that. If not, one goes into madness like what eventually happened with Nietzsche. You are not standing on something real so it is your responsibility and right as a free being to choose what is your purpose and actions in life. All the things other people try to do in the world around you is just to try to win your heart and mind. However if you want to be free and be your own person, you have to stop the external thoughts trying to reach you and reach a life conclusion from the inside and manifest whatever you want to the outside world. This was the last insight.