Where to Start
One of my favorite cliches states:
Your past, your history, they don’t tell you where you can go. They only tell you where you can start.
By definition, life is unfair. You don’t pick your parents; which means you don’t pick your brain chemistry. You don’t pick what you’re naturally good at. You don’t pick your threshold for improvement. You don’t pick the environment in which you are raised. You don’t pick how much love, education, or opportunities you are given.
You can very well be dealt a shit hand; and assuming you don’t choose to forfeit the game and give up on life (I really hope you don’t)…the only thing you can do is work your ass off to play the best damn game that you can.
I am incredibly lucky to have the number of privileges that I do. I’m fairly athletic. I’m a straight white guy–meaning I have never felt even remotely like an outlier. I’m moderately handsome. I did not grow up in poverty. Both of my parents love me and I get to talk to them and see them whenever I want. I went to great schools. I have always been surrounded by lovely people of whom I have been able to develop life-long relationships…
With all of this, I still attempted suicide when I was in my darkest place. After failing out of school, being dumped by the love of my life, having to move back in with mom, being $70,000 in debt with no degree, and having no job to pay for it…being a person of “privilege” was the last thing on my mind.
Currently, I live an insanely happy, healthy, and fulfilling life. By taking intentional steps, building systems, and developing strong habits…I have discovered the superpower of learning from your past instead of being defined by it.
You are not what you did. You are what you do consistently.
In other words: Your past doesn’t tell you where you can go, it only tells you where you can start…
After (thankfully) failing to forfeit the game, I realized there was only one option: to take my shit hand and rebuild my life. It’s daunting, and it’s slow. But it is guaranteed if you just keep going and stop thinking that your past defines your capabilities.
We’re all eating a shit sandwich. Some taste worse than others. We can spend all day complaining that other people’s shit sandwiches taste better than ours, or we can learn to fucking cook and make something delicious.