You Might Just Have To Paint The Wall


Last night before I went out I had a bit of a…quarter life crisis. It sounds ridiculous…and parts of it were, but nonetheless the crisis ensued and I began to rattle off some pretty serious questions.

“Am I really supposed to be doing what I am doing?”

“Am I even supposed to be here in LA?”

“What is the purpose of all of this?”

There were more I promise you, about 20+ of them…and if we are gauging by quarter life crisis statistics and common behavioral characteristics of your mid twenties youngin struggling with some big questions…it comes out to be a fair number. But it really all came down to one thing: doubt. And there’s been a lot of that around lately. Trying to start my own business. My health and fitness. Housing. The Better Man Project. There’s just been a lot of “what ifs” lately and it hasn’t really rendered me paralyzed, but more self-destructive. I’ve started and stopped doing this more times than I can imagine in regards to specific goals. And to use the finest language I can possibly muster up: it sucks.

But here’s the thing. When you have a resilient soul, or you just decide that resilience is a characteristic you would like to build for yourself, you continue to get up after you have fallen – despite the fact that is has happened hundreds to thousands of times. And if you think about things a little bit differently than you did when you started, well you are going to offer up some different actions that may just be what you need to finally make something stick. And that’s why I put the picture above.

Once in a while you might have to paint the wall instead of painting the canvas.

And this thought brought me back to one of my favorite stories of all.


In the 1500′s Hernando Cortez was the captain of eleven ships with more than 500 soldiers headed for Mexico to conquer the Aztecs and bring back gold and treasures. As you can well imagine, after his ships arrived in Mexico, the sailors and soldiers were not in the best of shape. Some of them fell ill on the journey, some had lost their motivation, and their quarters were not exactly shipshape. Several of Cortez’s crewmates wondered what would happen to them in this strange new land. If they faced challenges or resistance, how would the crew return home? The crew asked Cortez what the plan would be to get back home. The captain had the perfect response: He burned the ships

There was no going back

The only direction to go was forward

The old way of doing things were about to be rethought.

In fact, there were no more “old way of doing things”; a new way had to be defined.

So I burned the ships – metaphorically that is. I am defining new ways of doing things and trying some stuff out that I have never done before. Out of this quarter life crisis came something that hasn’t been prevalent in the past few months: certainty. With the help of some friends, I realized that what I am doing right now is precisely what I am supposed to be doing. I am supposed to be writing every day. I am supposed to be inspiring others with my words. I am supposed to constantly strive to elevate myself to do greater things, not only because it’s what I want, but because I am giving others to do the same as well.

So I drew a ship on the inside of my wrist with a pen and plan on redrawing that little guy every day. Life can be a massive struggle sometimes. I know this to be a fundamental truth. However, it doesn’t have to be that way all the time. You’d be surprised by how much stress you are creating for yourself because you’re not in alignment. When the mind, the body, and the soul are all out of wack, you become this gigantic confused mess. And I’ve been there a lot. But out of these times always comes a clear vision…so I am thankful for the balance that life delivers. There’s no doubt in my mind that I am constantly being taught lessons.

Burn the ships

– Evan Sanders

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  • salmanalvi
    December 6, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    Very good post! Thanks for the reminder…

  • thebookboozer
    December 6, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    Reblogged this on thebookboozer and commented:
    If you guys aren’t already following The Better Man Project, do yourself a favor and check it out! One of the most inspirational blogs out there.

  • progressionofme
    December 6, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    Reblogged this on Progression of me and commented:
    This post really resonates with me at the moment….as always Evan has some great advice!

  • justalittlebrit
    December 6, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    Keep doing your thang! I’ve had those moments as well but I think it’s what makes us human. 🙂 Also, I LOVE the idea of that first photo (the walls painted and the canvas’s blank).

  • healey24
    December 6, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    I wish I was this self aware at your age. It took me twice as long to make changes for the better. Keep it coming. You are inspiring others and keeping yourself on course 🙂 Kudos!

  • Brandie Sellers
    December 6, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    Oh man, this came at a very good time. Thank you! I actually got a little teary…Your work resonates with people. Don’t burn yourself out with “doing what you think you should do” but definitely burn those ships 😉

  • tinabrenee
    December 6, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    It is absolutely true that we create our own stress man times. And it can be eliminated quite simply, except that it eludes us behind all the chaos! Thanks, Evan. It is apparent that you are on a journey of enlightenment on which it takes great courage to embark and great humility to take us along with you.

  • Monicle
    December 7, 2013 at 5:02 am

    Reblogged this on sixty, single and surviving and commented:
    Keep your eyes on the horizon

  • evolution
    December 7, 2013 at 5:16 am

    Now that well into my 30’s, I know I’ve stopped and started many times, and I sometimes fear that I’ve really, really perfected the art of learned helplessness. But I haven’t, it’s all just part of life’s journey. I sometimes forget that many people don’t try at all, and then I compare myself to them and ask why I feel I’m questioning my path. The point is, I’m forging a new path, which has left me feeling doubtful of myself…it’s part of it all. Neale Donald Walsh says that it’s important to remember that wherever we are, our lives are in perfection. Even if it doesn’t feel like it in our confusion of what we’re supposed to be doing. It’s all a part of our learning journey. Thanks for this post, as I needed it today.

  • Donnie Blanz
    December 7, 2013 at 9:48 am

    I am glad your here,

  • magmap
    December 7, 2013 at 10:33 am

    Yes. keep going, growing and progressing. Only stop to rest, maybe see how far you have come, then get up and go forward to see how much farther you can progress. Seems as though you and I are on similar lines of thinking. I hope you enjoy my blog as much as I enjoy yours.

  • aronjoice
    December 7, 2013 at 11:21 am

    Reblogged this on ARON JOICE and commented:
    I absolutely love this mindset. There is no retreat. Great post.

  • awakeningheartsfoundation
    December 7, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    Thanks for sharing. I’ve never heard that story, and it really is such a great way to think!

  • JustJohn
    December 7, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    food for thought: instead of “what I am doing right now is precisely what I am supposed to be doing” … “what I am doing right now is precisely the good thing for me to be doing right now”

    just a thought.

  • tchistorygal
    December 7, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    Such good advice, Evan. I need to do that with a few things. 🙂

  • Pink Ninjabi
    December 8, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    LOVE this reminder, thank you! Burn the ships! Burnnnnnnn

  • Rajiv
    December 8, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    I love the metaphor, and I love this blog. I am in the process of starting to burn the ships….
    This will take time, but they will burn.

  • Rajiv
    December 8, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    Reblogged this on rajivchopra and commented:
    Excellent advice. This is one of the best you can get

  • Brad Volz
    December 9, 2013 at 7:34 am

    Nice post Evan, I’ve been plagued by doubt for years. I don’t seem to be able to find/ create a clear path to allow alignment and commitment. Suggestions?

  • volk
    December 9, 2013 at 7:49 am

    Cortez the Killer?! 🙂

  • Jane
    December 9, 2013 at 9:16 am

    Love this :). A well timed post for me. The ships will burn 😉

  • guidedmissile
    December 10, 2013 at 3:10 am

    Thanks 🙂
    Mind + Body + Soul

  • adaorauduchukwu
    December 11, 2013 at 2:01 am

    touching for me