I don’t believe in the law of attraction that the book, The Secret, preaches. Yet, in the last few months, I have been attracting everything that a well-minded person could possibly desire into my life. I manifested an, I created my first and am working on another one, I was invited to a few guest interviews, two additional podcasts and created new strategic alliances.
Back in the Spring of 2013, in an interview for a marketing job, I told my employer I was going back to school. My word is my bond and I won’t go against it. When I state something, I stick with it. So I have been going to school for the last four semesters at a local community college online. Each time school came back into my life, I hit my breaking point, but I made a commitment that I was following through with.
The first semester was a breeze, as I wasn’t doing anything in life. I mean I was trying to create a fashion line with my friend who asked me for help, but school didn’t really distract from what I was doing because she quit on the project anyway. The second semester in Fall of 2013 though, I hit a breaking point. I was writing on Quora, picking up momentum, trying to get a startup to work, working full time, helping people one on one with life advice and going back to church. I went from doing a 60 hour week to being packed into a 90-100 hour week. I was overwhelmed by the anticipation of a full schedule. So I figured out that when the time comes, I would need help.
Funny thing is, two weeks before school started back up, I wrote this post:
Highlighting these key areas I had learned from my mentor, James Altucher, who also answered this question:
1. Get 8 hours of sleep a day.
2. Eat two meals a day.
3. Stop living in the past or the future.
4. Live in the moment. Take time to appreciate what is around you.
5. Have an attitude of abundance.
6. Think of all the people you are grateful for every morning.
7. Let the people to whom you are grateful know that you are grateful to have them in your life.
8. Forgive everyone of whom wronged you. You don’t have to let them know you forgive them. Just forgive them internally.
9. Volunteer to help others. Expand that abundant mind set.
10. Exercise. Walk 15 minutes a day.
So I crowdsourced advice on Quora and sent a long-winded email to James, completely in panic. Marie Stein told me to suck it up and get over myself. James never responded. So as the school schedule started, somehow I figured out how to maintain it all, but barely.
I read over that ten step plan again, and somehow I made it through that semester. Then by Spring of 2014, I was back in school as a full time student again, panicking at the responsibility and 100 hour work weeks I would be forced to deal with. Since I was working on that startup trying to find a programmer to no avail, I was losing faith rapidly, especially since my time would be pulled into a different direction to educate myself on four separate topics in school. Plus, I wanted to figure out how to somehow get vacation time in, to temporarily escape the 100 hour weeks of hell. I took a flight to New York and met with James, Scott, Jason and other new friends like Helen, yet with all the walking that one must do in New York, it was hardly a vacation at all.
Unfortunately, that vacation ended up pushing me further into depression, as another person out there had promised me a mid six figure job, but turned out to be full of fluff. So since I was overwhelmed and depressed, I fell into a pool of disappointment. Disappointment over losing out on a mid six figure opportunity that wasn’t even real. Disappointment of going back to school to get a degree that will probably be useless to me, all because I made a commitment. Disappointment of not being able to get a startup up and running. Disappointment that my mom came back out of nowhere to complain all day and live with me. Disappointment that no one would ever love someone who lived with his mom. Basically, I went from being so close to reaching nirvana prior to when my mother arrived, to being full of disappointment in every single way possible.
I felt worthless. Sure, here I was with a Top Writer badge, I did a podcast, a few guest interviews, had 10,000 followers and 5 million views on my content online, but with the chain of events, I felt completely worthless. I let my expectations get in the way and just compared myself to earning $250,000 a year. Since I wasn’t earning anywhere near that, I just sank deeper and deeper into a pool of depression. I couldn’t see what I was building nor could I justify the time it was taking to build it, due to the lies I was told.
I went through a phase of impostor syndrome. I felt like I didn’t earn anything I had created and adopted a mindset where I thought of myself as a failure. I just couldn’t accept that I was who people were making me out to be. They called me an inspiration, yet here I was trembling at the fact that I would have to live with my mom for the rest of my life. They said that I should write a book, yet all I did was fail. People messaged me and told me I gave them hope, yet here I was completely lost in my own life. I didn’t know what I was doing anymore, so I made a decision.
I decided to quit.
I quit. I walked away from everything. I stopped writing. I stopped participating in communities. I dropped two classes at school. I just focused on taking care of myself. I made friendships and confided in specific people, like Cammi Pham and Becky Lee. I just started to do what I wanted to do.
In the beginning, I didn’t write to make money. I did it to share my experiences with others. I didn’t even think that writing would pan out and get me where I am today, with 20,000 followers. I never even thought I would write a book in my life, yet I did. Because of that fake job, I lost my way. Money clouded my judgment and I went off to chase something that wasn’t important to me. I needed to go back to who I was before, just a guy who wanted to be an ordinary part of society.
So I regressed.
Quitting was the best decision I made in my life. I was able to recapture my free time. I was able to sleep eight hours a day. I was able to start to enjoy life. I knew that I wasn’t going to quit everything forever, so I had to set up channels that would work automatically while I was away. So I hired one of those friends, a “trusted confidant”, as an assistant to move my content over to my blog, LinkedIn, Medium, Twitter, Facebook and Google+. He was having financial struggles and needed help, so I paid him 1.5x more than what he asked for in advance. Unfortunately, he quit halfway through the project and even though I had promised him $15 an hour, I was brought to an astronomical cost of $40 an hour due to a breach in contract. That shattered our friendship.
Funny thing is, he’s the one who quit on me, unfriended me on Facebook, yet held a grudge. He’s the one who went around and made remarks and comments about me and trolled me all over the Internet. He did it to make me angry, to make me lose my cool.
But I had quit everything at the time, so I didn’t care. He could say whatever he wanted about me. I was done with writing, at least until I figured out what I wanted to do with my life. Impostor syndrome had affected me so much, that I actually felt like I was a nobody who was living a lie. But I wanted to live a fulfilling life. I wanted to find love. I wanted to be happy, but I didn’t want to go on the chase for worldly things.
Then that was when I met her.
When I saw her smile, my heart melt. When we talked, we could talk endlessly about anything. When we compared our lives, we were similar in so many ways. When I looked into her eyes, I saw our future together. I thought, “this is someone I could spend the rest of my life with.” We did everything together. We ate, went to fairs, went to the dog beach, everything. She even helped me at my book launch. We spent every moment that we could together.
She was all that I ever wanted, and here she was. In my life. It was just all too surreal. My weeks were packed and between work and my girlfriend and writing a book, I would say I had about 100 hours a week occupied. From all my prior experiences with school, I moved up my ability to handle more hours.
However in September, school started once again. I was losing time at a rapid rate. I had 60 hours a week doing what I had to do, 30 hours a week doing what I wanted to do and 30 hours a week doing what I hated, I didn’t want to do, nor had to do. On top of that, when I released my book, I was attacked by troll after troll and my old assistant who followed me around everywhere harassing me in every possible way. Since I was operating at 120 hours a week for the last month and a half, I started to hit fumes.
Once again, I faced a breaking point.
This time I lost hard.
Each attack just took me further and further behind. I was a month and a half into school and I didn’t take a moment to catch up on my rest. I could have, but I didn’t want to spend time away from her. She just sparkled up my life. But as the 120 hour weeks continued onward, I felt the toll being put on my life. It wasn’t just my relationship it was affecting, it affected everything.
I couldn’t concentrate.
I couldn’t write.
I was slowly losing myself.
My self-confidence was shattering. My mental state was falling apart. I was becoming a subpar employee. I was becoming a subpar writer. I was becoming a subpar friend. I was becoming a subpar student. I was even becoming a subpar boyfriend. All because I was juggling so much responsibility. Some people may wonder what the big deal is, but when I look back at the ten things on the list, I wasn’t getting the #1 most important thing on the list: 8 hours of sleep a night.
As James has mentioned many times before, people who lack sleep become a bit bipolar. I was becoming bipolar. Since I overexerted myself, I started pushing away and cutting out friends all to isolate myself, because I couldn’t maintain my mental stability. When the trolls attacked, it was hitting me harder than the trolls of the past when I thought “who cares“. Even the act of betrayal from my prior assistant who I paid when he went on to publicly defame me riled me up. When people offered me help, I pushed back and scared them away. I hit a breaking point where I started to have suicidal thoughts. It didn’t help that I read the most depressing article in my life, about how trolls always win.
I understood my problem and reflected back upon my prior writings, then I knew that I needed to get rest to recover.
So I took a break. I started eliminating unnecessary responsibilities. I went back to focusing on my health. After a whole weekend of endless rest, I recovered back to a stable mental state. Unfortunately, while I was doing everything I could to recover myself, my girlfriend did some thinking as well. She thought that because of how I handled these 120 hour weeks (which are not even duplicatable outside of a school environment, even with a family and career) that I handled stress poorly and felt that she couldn’t depend on me in the long term. She left me this monday.
I kind of saw it coming. I laid in bed anxious trying to force myself to sleep when she wasn’t returning my texts or calls. I took time off and skipped work for a few days so I could get caught up on myself to be better for both of us. Yet here I was, recovered. And there she was, gone.
Over the last day, all I picture her doing is holding her arms out pretending to be a bird. It’s the most precious image of her I have in my mind. Yet, now she’s gone.
Sure, I cried and wallowed when we broke up, and almost broke down in tears multiple times at work yesterday. I may have even cried myself to sleep, then woke up early so I could just ponder for a few hours over what I truly lost.
Once again, here I am facing disappointment.
Some people say we learn lessons from our failures and losses.
We really don’t.
If anything, it cuts out the nonsense and shows us what is truly detrimental in our lives. The unnecessary obligations that are taking us away from our true responsibilities of being healthy human beings who are living up to our full potential. For me, that is school. After playing back the last two years of my life, school has been the main cause of all my emotional duress, especially since I truly don’t want to go. It causes me so much pain, yet an associate degree will bring little to no return. After this semester, I am quitting college for good.
A degree won’t do anything for me. Instead, being responsible in things that don’t matter and trying to attain one has cost me too much opportunity. Due to the overwhelming number of hours being pulled in directions I have zero interest in, I’ve lost the most important person in my life. However, I have learned one thing from school I can keep with me and that was what I learned in my ethnic studies class. What I learned about the history of Blacks, Latinos, Asians and American Indians has helped inspire an outline for what directions to take in the future.
Over the last day, I have just been doing some thinking. I can run back and hide under my impostor syndrome and think that the woman of my dreams was out of my league and I didn’t deserve her because she had a Master’s Degree, owned her own house and earned twice as much as I do. That actually helped stop me from bawling my eyes out at work. But the truth is I need to accept myself for who I am. I need to take ownership of my flaws, who I am, what I have accomplished and what I will be accomplishing.
Because there isn’t anything better for me to do with my time. Deep down, I never wanted anything in life except for a wife who I could start a family with. In return for not wanting anything, I have been blessed with so much. There is so much more that I will be blessed with in the future, but I lost the only thing that actually matters. Her.
I took the first step. I have overcome this impostor syndrome and took ownership of what I have accomplished with my life. I identified what was causing my extreme duress and eliminated it. I accept that I lost everything I valued in my life, the woman of my dreams, because I didn’t solve my underlying issues quick enough. I don’t have suicidal thoughts because I am healthy and well-rested, so my thought process is working fine. I’m handling stress in a tolerable way, by eliminating all my problems and focusing on growth opportunities. Now I’m investing into my partnerships and working on all the projects I have on the table, as I’m a huge skeptic and don’t believe that I will ever find anyone else like her again. Nor do I want to put in the risk asserted to the hours associated with trying to create another relationship, when I have a lot more value to create in the world.
Where this will take me, only time will tell… But then again, I have just got rid of all my distractions, have nothing to do with my time but work and I have absolutely nothing left to lose, so there’s only one way to go from here…
Originally posted on Quora.