I wish I could tell you exactly what to do. I wish I could honestly give you the “secret formula to make six-figures in six weeks.”

Unfortunately, I have this problem of having to tell the truth when I write.

I’m an extremely optimistic person. I have big dreams for my future and for yours. You can do anything you want to do with your life…anything.

Well, you can’t be LeBron James, but you can pretty much do anything else.

The S Word

Many people won’t succeed. When I use the word succeed, there is no definitive definition of it.

You can succeed as a stay at home mom, or as a car mechanic, or a social worker, or a doctor, or a best selling author, or a millionaire.

But most people don’t match their standard of success.

I know you because you’re me. I’m you. We’re eachother.

Maybe we all don’t need wealth, fame, status, or recognition. But we all want to have meaning. We all want to wake up feeling like our life is actually useful. We all have that “thing” we want to do.

Some people do it. Some people don’t. How? Are they that much stronger? Do they really have willpower we can’t fathom?

I can’t speak for them. I can, however, speak for myself and tell you what I do with the cards I’m dealt.

Picture the Alternative

For better or worse, I spend a ton of time in my head.

I don’t dream of having a Lamborghini and owning a mansion. Instead, I look at what my life would be like if I didn’t pursue my dreams.

Here’s a snapshot.

I’m 44 years old. I work at XYZ marketing firm as a mid-level manager with a decent salary. I wake up each morning with as much energy as a snail, chug some coffee, and go to work.

The firm rewards people for looking like they’re working instead of actually working. In my 30’s, I tried hard, but the status quo isn’t changing anytime soon, so I’m content to shuffle papers.

It’s not even that my life is bad, per se, but it’s incredibly boring and monotonous.

I come home and loosen my necktie like a classic T.V. sitcom father, eat dinner, and have meaningless conversations with my wife and kids.

“How was school?”

“I’m going to work on the deck this weekend.”

“Some other bull—-.”

I’m there with my family every night, but I’m not there. Kids can smell your emotions. They know you’re uninspired, so it confuses them a little bit when you’re so insistent on following the same route, but they go with it.

My daughter wants to be a dancer. She’s good, very good, prodigy good. Still, becoming a world-class ballet dancer is unrealistic. I bathe her in my mediocre viewpoints until she decides to take dance as a minor while going to business school.

Why do people do this to themselves?

I’m Delusional

I’m biased, irrational, idealistic.

I create a stereotypical caricature of the modern person because that’s how they appear to me in contrast to how they want to live.

How should you live? I won’t tell you how to live your life, but if I were you I would…

Be delusional in your long term viewpoint and extremely practical in the short-term.

Most do the opposite. They delude themselves in the present by thinking long-term practicality is a goal. It’s not a goal. It’s a settlement. Let’s just call a spade a spade and be done with it.

Be delusional about the long term possibilities because you live in a delusional world. The whole universe exploded out of…nothing. That’s insane and doesn’t make any sense. Think of how absurd inventions are.

I’m typing on a computer, with my iPhone next to me, in a home with running water, with my 2-ton mobile piece of metal in the driveway. Midevil people would think I’m a sorcerer.

Your seemingly mundane surroundings and possessions are products of delusional people. Every day, you have evidence of the impossible being done, yet you’re afraid to do the impossible, why?

The Lizard Brain

Your brain thinks it’s 30,000 years ago.

You live in modern times but your hunter-gatherer ‘lizard’ brain controls you.

It’s why you love sweet food — it was scarce back then so it was wise to eat as much of it as possible.

It’s why you fear rejection and embarrassment — alienation from the tribe meant death.

You have negativity wired into your brain — better to assume the rustling in the bushes is a tiger than take a chance on it just being the breeze.

In short, your brain sucks.

Your lizard brain stands between you and the life you want to live. It goes by many names — resistance, fear, doubt — and it’s the most fearsome foe you’ll ever fight.

It defeats most people. The lizard brain combined with societal norms created by people with lizard brains makes for a difficult challenge to overcome.

It boxes you into the corner of false contentment. False contentment means you’re lying to yourself about what you want and the life you want to live.

Personal development can cause you want too much and make you feel bad about yourself if you’re not achieving your goals. Still, ask yourself, are you even close to where you want to be in this life you only have one of?

If not, what should you do?

The Only Thing You Can DO

Ah, the proverbial self-help question no one can really answer….

No matter how many books you read, seminars you go to, TED talks you watch, podcasts you download, or affirmations you say in the morning, there’s still one problem.

No amount of self-help can solve the gap between thinking and doing.

You can pump yourself up all you want, but it’s easy to get pumped up and subsequently do nothing.

Unfortunately, I can’t fully solve the riddle for you either.

I’ve done many things I used to only dream of doing. How? By putting myself in motion.

I wanted to give a TEDx talk, so I filled out the application before I had any type of speech prepared…

I wanted to write a book, so I opened up a word doc and started writing…

It never feels good when you start.

When you’re trying something new you feel anxious beforehand, nervous during, and euphoric after you achieve it. Then the cycle starts over.

There is no escape from the inherent difficulty of life. The more challenging parts of the maze have better rewards. You can take the easier routes, but it’s just as easy to get lost.

My oversimplified formula for success? Just do it.

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Originally published at ayotheauthor.com on December 5, 2017.

Originally published at medium.com