500 days of writing. I think it just hit me. Wow. I wonder how many words that is? Well lets see…Average of 700 words per post…woah. So what the hell have I learned from all of this? I have learned two incredibly important lessons that are much greater than all the rest. Of course I have been able to look at myself each and every day with critical yet accepting eyes and morph myself into the person I wanted to be all those years ago. But there is even a lesson in that. Being able to see yourself for exactly who you are and exactly who you aren’t. But let me get into it

1. Never. Never. Never. Never. Never. Never. Give up.

I have failed so many times at my goals. Life got to me. Procrastination got to me. Emotions. Fear. But I think we can all agree that most often…”I” got to me. I sabotaged many of the goals for reasons that may never be clear to me. However, I never gave up. I kept  chipping away and tried to find ways to do it differently the next time. That, is one of the most important lessons that I learned. That no matter how many times you fail, keep going. “Fail your way to success” Les Brown says. “Even a broken clock is right two times a day.”

In the face of the “Black dog” as Winston Churchill would call it (those incredibly dark days) we have the ability to either see the worst in life or try to see the light…those stars shining above our heads. I know that I write a lot about positivity and about what it takes to motivate yourself, but in all honesty, and I think you know this already, I have had my share of dark days. A quick FYI, today is a quote day for me. Carl Jung said, “The brighter the light the darker the shadow.” We must all learn that as the sun goes up, it must also come down…and that our days will not always be adorned in beams of light. There will be dark days. Very dark days. But if you focus too much on the fact that you can’t exactly see where you are going, you will never take a step. Sometimes, taking a step in any direction is better than freezing in place.

Make mistakes. If you are too busy trying to look good or too afraid to look bad, you become this robot. A robot that tries to please everyone because you believe that is where happiness is holding up. Pleasing everyone is actually what will make you unhappier than anything else. Not because of the smiles that you land on other people’s faces, but because of the lack of identity you have within yourself. You end up trying to morph yourself into something that everyone else will like instead of being you – authentically and uniquely you. So if I have learned anything over the past 500 days…it is to piss some people off. Garner a group of haters. Because if you are putting yourself out there for the world to see and trying to make the biggest impact you can, you are bound to find some people who uninterested in you and hate you for no reason. Don’t take that personally. Instead, understand that it is part of the game, and that in fact, you are playing the game right. Make your mark on the world.

“If you want to be a maverick or a true original, you have to break some of the rules.” – Schwarzenegger

2. Love unconditionally

This by far has been the greatest lesson I have learned…and it has by far been the hardest one to learn. I have found that life has a very very interesting way of making everything happen all at once or nothing happen at all. That being said, shit can really hit the fan and then it can get extremely quiet. Let me look at both.

Shit hitting the fan. The way that I have been able to maintain composure under extreme amounts of pressure is actually to succumb to the pressure itself. I used to fight it. Scratch and claw my way out of it any way I could. But after reading a passage from Bruce Lee, yes here comes another quote, I figured out that I could be much more effective in life by being molded by the situations life threw at me instead of fighting back. Maybe you are familiar with this one…but be water my friend.

“Empty your mind. Be formless. Shapeless. Like water. If you put water in a bottle it becomes the bottle. If you put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can flow…and water can crash. Be water my friend.” – Bruce Lee

This mentality changed how I saw things. Become the situation. Instead of running from fear, grab fear by the collar, throw it in your car and take it for a ride. Immerse yourself in what life gives you…it is a gift not a curse. Life has the ability to give you exactly what you need when you need it despite what your current thoughts on the situation is. Don’t complain. Soak it in. Appreciate it. Flow. Crash.

When it gets very quiet: Sometimes people are taken away from you without reason or explanation. Sometimes you have to leave those who are tearing you down in life. During this time, things get very very quiet. I mean…dead quiet. Contact from others goes down. Communication with the outside world somehow silences. And it’s just you and you. This time though is there for a reason. It is there to get you to start listening to that voice inside you, the one that knows where you want to go and has been trying to direct you to that place. That voice encourages you, supports you, and believes in you. If you tune in and stop focusing on how quiet things are, you might just figure out some really cool things about yourself. Every day, as I sit down to write, I tune everything out and listen to the patter of the keys on the keyboard. As the first key hits, I hear that voice…and off I go.

Those moments of silence though can be brutal if your life isn’t “clean.” That internal voice instead of being motivating continues to remind you of everything that you have done and all the current bad karma you have going on in your life. If you hit this point, clean everything up. Apologize, make amends, and sweep up the past. The punishment will go away.

500 days of writing has taught me much more than this, but those are the two biggest lessons I have learned. Never ever give up and love people unconditionally. Love them for exactly who they are and exactly who they aren’t. And also, love yourself.

Evan Sanders
The Better Man Project