What Ive learned working at Starbucks

When people hear that I used to work at Starbucks, theyre surprised, even shocked. They ask me if Im joking, convinced that Im the last person that would ever take that kind of job.

And I used to brush it off too. Id be embarrassed and say that that past isnt really worth mentioning.

But thats where I was wrong.

A past, no matter how embarrassing you think it is, is a part of who you are as a person and a part of who youll become. A past, no matter how insignificant you think it is, will have influenced your decisions in life at some level whether or not you realize it. A past no matter what is always worth mentioning because theres always a story to be told, a lesson to be learned.

It was the summer right after high school. I had applied to my local community college and figured Id get a job somewhere so I could pay the bills while working on my startup. On a whim, I took up a friends recommendation and applied at the Starbucks I had frequented often in the past.

The application and interview process was surprisingly easy. Just a few simple questions to answer and I was hired.

Work was straightforward, but tedious and of a repetitive nature. Grab a cub, press a button, steam some milk, serve. Repeat. On most days, thats all youd domake drink after drink all the way until the end of your shift. There was never any thinking to be done, other than trying to remember if the syrup was already added. It was all just about following instructions.

I worked at Starbucks close to half a year before I quit. When I left, I didnt even give two weeks prior notice; I just decided at the spur-of-the-moment to tell the manager one night that I no longer wanted to work there.
I had had enough.
I no longer wanted to work at a place I wasnt passionate about, that felt stagnant with no opportunities to grow.
I no longer wanted to work at a place where the culture consisted of drama and gossip.
I no longer wanted to work at a place where I couldnt learn anything.

If you ask me what Ive learned by working at Starbucks, itll be the realization of never wanting to work at that kind of job again. Itll be the realization that I wont be satisfied ever until I find a job where my growth wont be limited realistically in a mere three to five years. Itll be the realization that the kind of job I want is one thatll challenge me and make me feel as if Im accomplishing something, a job that Im passionate about.

The experience at Starbucks has been crucial to the success Ive had and will continue to do so towards my future because its a constant reminder to never set my sights too low, to never lower the expectations I have for myself so I can push myself to do more, and achieve more.

Working at Starbucks was a turning point in my career; it gave me perspective. I was tired of waking up at 4:45AM, all for the sake of making beverage after beverage for people whod never truly care. I was tired of being stuck at a job that taught me nothing and gave me no hope for potential growth. It made me realize that I sought more from myself, and made me realize that I didnt want to live like this, that this wasnt fulfilling for me. It made me realize that there are better things I could be doing with my time.

Starbucks also taught me about optimism. I had been too optimistic in my own abilities; I had believed I was capable of both working close to full-time while running a full-time startup. It was silly, a mere pipe dream. By the time my shift had ended and feet were aching, I was already too tired to work on anything else. The progress I made on my startup that year was less than the progress I had made in any of the months after quitting.

When people ask me about that part of my past, I dont hide it anymore. I dont brush it off, disregard it. Its a part of who I am, and who Ill become. My past is the key to my future.

Its important to realize that every piece of your past can be considered worthwhile, impactful to your development as a person. Every mistake, every victory youve made is a part of who you are. Your past reflects the experiences youve been through, the lessons youve learned, the knowledge youve gained. Every opportunity youve taken or missed determines the very progress youve made in life. Without a past, wed be no one. We wouldnt have a story to tell.

Our past teaches us to learn from our mistakes, to celebrate the struggles weve overcome and to find joy in exceeding the limits we set. No matter what your past is like, no matter the hardships youve been through, no matter the fortunes youve been given, theres always a lesson to be learned from our pasts. Someone who struggles through hardships learn to grow resistance towards obstacles; they gain persistence and become determined to succeed. Someone whos lived life spoiled will eventually learn to experience the harsh difficulties of the world; their past will then become a constant reminder for them to never take things for granted and to put in the effort.

The best thing we have other than our future is our past because its the best guide we have in obtaining the life we want. It teaches us exactly what we need to know, what to avoid, what to focus on, who to care about, what works and what doesnt. Its our pilot, our compass; its what well use to drive ourselves forward. Without it, we couldnt be anywhere or be anyone at all.

The next time youre embarrassed about a part of your past, dont. Embrace it and rejoice it in, even if its for the sake of the lesson learned. The future is built on your past, one step at a time.

The past is your lesson. The present is your gift. The future is your motivation.Anonymous

The one thing that hurts your reputation the most

It was Friday night. A group of us had gotten together after the conference to connect over dinner in San Francisco. I had gone to the conference with a friend and as soon as we said our goodbyes to the other attendees after dinner, I asked him a question that had been bugging me for the greater part of the night.

I asked:

Earlier when we were all talking about X, how come you pretended to know about it when you didnt and started giving advice? Couldnt you just have told them that you didnt know enough to comment?

He had lied, multiple times during the conversations that happened that night about knowing a topic he knew nothing about. Worse, people were convinced of his lie; people had genuinely asked him for advice, advice he wasnt qualified to give.

He responded:

Yeah, Im not sure to be honest. I just kind of froze and didnt want to look weak or anything so I just went along with it. No worries though, Ill go home and learn about it so Ill be better prepared the next time.

When you say those kind of words and take that kind of stance, you shirk responsibility. Responsibility forintentionallymisleading people, responsibility for your reputation and responsibility for your self-growth.

It sounds like like a simple mistake; one that could be overlooked, but the consequences are much more deeper than imagined.

The very moment you claim knowledge thats not yours, youre subconciouly telling your brain that you already know the answer, that theres no need for further research because youve already understood the topic enough to advise people on it. When your brain is being reinforced with the positive signals given by people who praise you because they think you know the answer, theres no further motivation to continue learning. Theres no more reason to seek out the correct answer. Claiming to research more into the topic afterwards at that point is at most an empty promise probably used to placate any lingering feelings of self-guilt.

The very moment you claim knowledge thats not yours, youre causing harm to the very people asking you for advice. Youre taking their sincerity for granted and throwing it on the ground before trampling over it. Youre taking their respect for you and betraying their goodwill towards you. Youre risking their wellbeing, their familys wellbeing and their companys wellbeing by giving them advice that youre unqualified to give, which come worse case scenario, might cause them to lose everything theyve worked for. All for the sake of satisfying your ego.

The very moment you claim knowledge thats not yours, youre destroying the trust that others have placed in you. Youre destroying the reputation youve built. People are smart; theyre observant. When there comes a day that they realize youve been lying to them, giving them advice youre not qualified to give, theyre going to blame you for wasting their time and the consequences from having listened to your advice. Theyre going to lose trust in you and at that point, your reputation and any reputation you mightve initially gained from pretending to know will have all washed down the drain, disintegrated into nothingness.

When you pretend youre knowledgeable in a topic youre not, youre hurting the very people whove confided in you for advice, whove given you their trust and betraying that very trust. Youre damaging your reputation and allowing yourself to be possibly branded as a liar whos naive, insecure and lacking in self-confidence to not even have the courage to admit not knowing something. Youre limiting your self-growth and potential to learn more, to be more educated and well-versed in a multitude of topics.

It sounds like like a simple mistake; one that could be overlooked, but the consequences are much more deeper than imagined. Theres never any reason to lie and pretend to know something that you dont. When you pretend that you know something, youre just being irresponsible.

Im sorry, Mom andDad.

For as long as I can remember, my parents have been eating at the same restaurant almost every single day. They go there because they like the food, the ambience, the vibeit reminds them of Hong Kong, of a past theyre familiar with. I used to like the restaurant too, until I started hating it for the lack of change. It was always the same cuisine, the same food made by the same chefs, served by the same waiters and I was sick of it.

Eventually, during my teenage years, I went through a rebellious stage and stopped going to the restaurant completely. Id say heartless, irrational words like I wish I werent Chinese, or mock my parents for always being predictable and old-fashioned. Id argue back whenever I could and look down on the traditions I felt were forced on me. I insulted their beliefs. I disrespected their efforts in raising me. I rejected their teachings, convinced of their lack of understanding towards me and discredited the very culture in which I was brought up. Everything I shouldnt have done, I did, all for the sake of spiting them and challenging their authority.

Looking back now, its silly to see the person I once was. Its hard to imagine myself that way, a person so reckless, so naive and so blindly unaware of the sacrifices my parents made. Its hard to believe how much time has already passed and how its only now that I realize the mistakes Ive made.

I wish I could go back.
It terrifies me knowing that my parents arent as young as they used to be. They dont show it, but I can tell. Theyve grown older, more thin and more frail. Their originally black hair being quietly overwhelmed by shades of gray. Their bodies weaker, more susceptible to cold and tiredness.

I wish I had more time.
If they ask me now to go with them to their favorite restaurant, Id go without hesitation. Id be sick of the never-changing food, but Id still go because its now that Ive realized that sometimes, its not about what you dont like, but what you value more. What I value more, what I cherish is the opportunity to spend more time with my parents no matter the occasion, no matter the location. What I value more is being able to see the satisfaction my parents get from eating the food they enjoy and are familiar with. What I value more now is the happiness they get from being able to share with me the very sense of familiarity they get from frequenting that restaurant.

Life wasnt easy growing up. My parents did everything they could to provide for me, giving me a life worth living for, giving me the opportunity to learn and giving me support in following my dreams. I am everything I am because of them. I am who I am because of them. So whats a little bit of sacrifice on my part if it genuinely makes them happy? For all that theyve done, for the unconditional love and support theyve given me, for all the times they never gave up on me even when I was a spoiled brat, they deserve their happiness. Theyre entitled to it. Theyre entitled to their choice of restaurant. To me, eating food that I dont particularly like is a small sacrifice to make when compared to the sacrifices my parents have made in all the years theyve spent raising me.

And I understand where theyre coming from. When you grow older, you hold on to your beliefs, your values, your traditions and habits differently. My parents have spent their lives fighting for stability in constantly changing times, in a world far away from what was once their home in a culture vastly different from the ones they were brought up in. To my parents, the restaurant with its never-changing food and its ambience is the best reminder of their past. Its the representation of their values, traditions and habits theyve held.

My generation is different. Everything is even more volatile and ever-evolving than theirs had been. Most of the traditions and culture my parents have tried to pass down to be have already been long forgotten. But despite all that, despite having forgotten, Im thankful for the one thing that hasnt been forgotten: the importance of family. If theres anything I can pass down to my future children, my future generation, its that.

Mom, dad, its taken me a while but Ive finally grown up. I love you both. Thanks for always having been there for me.

Dealing With Past Regrets

Theres a loving couple I know. Theyve been married for decades, have kids and rarely argue. Occasionally though, they do get into argumentsthe wife getting angry at the husband for whatever reason and the argument intensifies and tempers flare, the wife usually brings up the past and all the regrets it holds. She talks of how things wouldve been different had her husband listened to her advice, of how things used to be, of how different decisions couldve been made.

Listening to her, I start to realize a problem that most of us have. We dwell too often on the past, and focus on the what ifs and if onlys instead of our future and the possibilities that it holds. We talk about the past because its easy; its certain, unlike our future.

Thats where we often get stuck. Were so lost in the failures of our past that we forget that new opportunities lie only within the present.

We cant change the past; the past will always be just thatthe past.

Theres a story about a Taiwanese-Japanese entrepreneur who made it during World War II. He had quite an eye for business; everything he invested in returned profits. Months after months, he expanded his businesses and eventually even landed a deal with the Japanese government to start manufacturing engine parts.

The future was optimistic. Until one day, he was arrested. Upon noticing missing inventory at one of his factories, he went to the police to ask for help. The police blamed him and arrested him and put him in a military prison where he was starved and tortured for 45 days.

By the time he had finally been released, the war had ended and his businesses destroyed.

He started over anyways, this time investing in real estate. He found success again and before long, decided to expand into the food industry. He started selling sea salt by evaporating sea water hed pay the neighborhood kids to collect for him.

Business expanded as usually and the future was looking bright, until he was arrested again. The American soldiers stationed in Japan at the time had arrested him on the charge of tax evasion for money he had been paying kids to collect sea water for him. Despite not being found guilty yet, he was still held in prison, this time for years. By the time he was released and all charges had been dropped, he had already lost everything he once owned.

He moved on to start a bank; the bank failed. Business after business were created but all of them met with the same result: failure.

Most people at this point in his circumstances would have already given up. They wouldve chalked it up to a series of unfortunate events and convince themselves that they wont be able to succeed and spend the rest of their lives looking back, full of regrets wishing they had done something differently.

But this man didnt. He refused to stay in the past. He persisted despite all his failures. Eventually in 1958, he found success again as the founder of Nissan Food Products Co., Ltd.

Hes known as the inventor of instant noodles, instant ramen, and cup noodles. His name? Momofuku Ando.

Imagine for a momentwhat wouldve happened had Momofuku Ando focused on his past instead of the present and the future? Had he been stuck onanyof his past failures, he wouldve never succeeded. The Nissan food company, instant noodles and all its variations may very well never have existed today.

Its important to learn from our past mistakesthe experience and knowledge helps us overcome new obstacles, but its more important to know when to let go and stop focusing on the regrets of the past.

It took 48 years of my life for me to come up with the idea of instant noodles. Each and every event in the past is connected to the present by invisible threads.MomofukuAndo

Dont be blinded by the past; focus on the future and its opportunities.

Were Being Taught To Forget Our Passions

Growing up, every time Id be at a buffet, my parents would tell me to avoid fillers and get only foods with the biggest bang for buck.

Sound familiar? Were all told something similar one point or another as kids.

It makes sense. In a society where success of what we do is determined by its monetary value, its normal to make decisions that reflect that.

What we dont realize is that by always choosing only the things that give us the best value, were losing ourselves in the process. We become caught in a cycle, day after day, week after week, working towards financial success without ever giving ourselves a chance to pursue our dreams. We lose sight of our passions, lose sight of the people we care about and lose sight of our dreams. We stop following our passion; we blame it on old age, missed opportunities and never-ending responsibilities when the reason all along is that weve been too preoccupied with how much money well make, or how much money we can make.

Weve let monetary success dictate our lives. Even when meeting new people, were more easily impressed by doctors, lawyers or successful entrepreneurs not because of the impact theyve brought to society, but because of the symbolic ties their position has with monetary success.

Food choices at a buffet might seem innocent enough, but the impact is a lot deeper than imagined. If as kids, were already discouraged from choosing what we want to eat at a buffet because it doesnt gives us the greatest value in return, how are we to grow up knowing we can follow our dreams? How are we to know that we can follow our passions?

Follow your own passionnot your parents, not your teachersyours.


Why only losers post on social media

Its funny how social media works.

Whenever we see a photo of someone swimming in the clear blue waters of Maldives, a photo of friends skydiving across the endless sky, a photo of the most glamourous wedding ever, we cant resist from liking that photo and giving it a thumbs up.

Most of us see it as a mere social signal to indicate our acknowledgement for having seen it, but its way beyond just that. The reason why we like the photos we see in our social media feeds is because theyre projections of the kind of lifestyle we want to have. Theyre moments that overlap with our own illusions, something we can relate to and use as a metric in comparing our lifestyles against that of someone elses.

Whats posted online is often an exaggeration, a meticulously curated process where photo after photo is deleted until the perfect one is found. Add in the editing and color grading, and viola! The illusion of the perfect lifestyle is created.

On a subconscious level, we all know that these photos have been edited to showcase the best moments of someones life. We realize it, but choose to disregard that fact because the truth is, we also do what everyone else is. We pose, we take photos out-of-context and exaggerate in order to create our very own best moments to compete with the moments of others.

As we post more frequently, the photos weve carefully selected and manipulated becomes more than just a portrayal of the lifestyle we want to live in; it becomes our reality. We lose ourselves in this exaggerated, alternative version of our lives and struggle to maintain it because thats how our friends, family, colleagues, acquaintances and even our friends friends already see us.

So were caught fueling, photo after photo, a never-ending lifestyle that becomes farther and farther from the truth. We become the very actors in our own movies, infatuated with the profile weve created for ourselves online and forget who we really are.

We lose ourselves, forget the ambition wed once held in achieving our dreams and desires because in the fantasy lifestyle weve already built online, well feel like weve already achieved them. Eventually, we stop paying attention and give up trying. Our dreams die and our goals remain unaccomplished.

Years later, we might regret it, but by then itll have been too late. Well have finally realized that everything weve posted can be nothing more than an exaggerated version of our lives, a dream. Well realize how fleeting the satisfaction we get from our likes and thumbs ups is compared to if we had actually achieved in real life, the version of the lifestyle we wanted.

The worst feeling ever is to realize that you havent progressed, grown for years because its then when you realize how much time youve wasted, time never to come back again, time that couldve been better used to actually turn your dreams into reality.

If you still have what it takes to achieve your goals, the time is now, the moment in your hands. Make the change, put in the effort and turn the very lifestyle that has been a fantasy into a reality.

The distance between your dreams and reality is called action.Anonymous

The reason why you shouldnt trust what people say

Yesterday, I rented a scooter from my airbnb host. It was a fair price considering the other offers I received in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and more convenient than renting at a rental shop because I wouldnt have to go out of my way to return it after the rental period.

Noticing the gasoline meter indicating a critically low amount of fuel, I asked my host directions to the nearest gas station. He looked confused and said not to worry about it and that I didnt need it because he had his assistant fill up the fuel just the day before. He said the gasoline meter was most likely broken.

I went to the gas station anyways.

What Ive realized, over the period of time Ive been traveling, is that while people are generally good-willed, they sometimes give answers theyre not sure of when being put on the spot. Perhaps its a pride thing, not wanting to seem unsure when asked, or perhaps its them placing too much trust in the answers given to them by someone else.

In this case, my host mightve placed too much trust towards his assistant. A twenty or so seconds before arriving at the gas station, my scooter ran out of gas. I had to manually push it to the gas station before I could fill up on gas.

It made me wonder: what if, I hadnt gone directly to the gas station? I couldve easily been stranded in the middle of nowhere waiting, under a hot scorching sun for my host to arrange a rescue. I couldve missed a business meeting that couldnt be missed. I couldve run out of gas on my way up a steep slope and end up rolling backwards towards incoming traffic. Many things couldve happened and it wouldve been because I took my hosts word that his assistant had filled up on gas the day before.

Sometimes its not about whether or not to trust someone. Its about maintaining a healthy amount of skepticism towards promises made by people whos reputation you know nothing about. Its about taking extra effort and time to verify situations that are worth reconfirming and reasonably easy to do so. If all it takes is a quick check to see whether or not someones words can hold up, then why not? Its easy for someone to say the wrong thing because theyre not the ones wholl suffer the consequences. You are.

I experienced another similar situation at another airbnb rental, this time in Bali, Indonesia. My water supply was scheduled to be shut off for the greater part of the morning due to renovations being made to the neighboring villa, a process that would take three to four hours at most. Time quickly passed and upon realizing that I still didnt have access to water, I contacted my host. It turned out that the contractor had forgotten to turn the water supply back on after he left. My airbnb host apologized and promised that the contractor was on his way and that water would then be restored, all within two hours.

I didnt regain my water access until the very next morning.

My host, having asked the contractor to come back and fix the problem, had assumed her job to be done and went to sleep. The contractor who came and fixed the problem likewise assumed his job to be done and left, without checking to see if the problem had been fixed. It hadnt.

Because of their negligence and assumptions, neither of them had checked to see whether or not my water had been restored. Because of their actions, I bore the consequences as the victim and didnt have access to water until the next day.

To be honest, I couldve blamed them. I couldve asked for compensation. I couldve yelled at them, scolded them. But I didnt, because it wouldnt have done anything to change the situation that had already passed. There was no reason to make a fuss and cry over spoilt milk. Instead, I reflected. I looked back and realized that I was also to blame; I shouldve been more proactive in checking to see whether or not the water had been restored myself without relying on others. I shouldve asked the host to inform me when the problem had been fixed. I had been equally negligent in assuming my host and the contractor would check to see if the water had been restored.

When you have a say, a chance to make a difference in a situation that matters by double checking, go for it. Most people will never go out of their way to check whether or not your problems are fixed. Because its not directly their problem, theyre not going to put in the effort. When that happens, all you can do is rely on yourself, rely on your instincts, your ability to reassess and reconfirm to avoid the chances of being in a disadvantageous situation. We all have the ability, the capability to influence and affect the outcomes to our problems positivelyits just a matter of whether or not we do.

Trust your instincts and ask questions. Trust people for who they are and how they act, but not always what they say. Determine the outcome you want, yourself.

The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.George BernardShaw

How being a TV show addict ruined my life

I was hooked. I was addicted. I just couldnt stop watching.

A TV show that I had only decided to watch on a whim after a friends recommendation quickly grew on me, and before I realized, took over my life. I started thinking about it oftenat work, at gatherings, at dinner. I even dreamed about several times.

So I promised myself that Id stop, that all I was going to do was just watch one more episode and end it there. As if. As if getting rid of an addiction could be as easy as that. Episode after episode, long after my promise, I kept watching. Episodes became seasons and I kept watching even when I grew tired of the predictable plots and repetitive acting.

When that TV show ended, I quickly found another one to ease the emptiness and continued fueling my addiction.

It wasnt until months later that I finally found a way to break out of that addiction. Frustrated with my lack of control, tired of making excuses I knew were lies, I did one one thing I knew would ruin the entire experience of watching tv shows for me. I read the episode summaries of every episode I had not yet watched.

By reading the summaries, I lost any and all satisfaction I had of watching the tv show. The best part of the watching experience was ruined. I spoiled the entire series and lost all reason, motivation to continue watching. In a matter of minutes, I killed the addiction I had for months.

Since then, whenever someone tells me they seek change and come to me for advice, I share that story with them. Thats the method I teach. Out of the many who say theyll try it, a few do, but most dont. They say the method is too brutal, that its too extreme and ruin the joy of watching entirely for them.

But thats exactly the point.

If you want change, you have to be prepared to sacrifice. You have to be prepared to give up on the things holding you back from the change you want. Saying you want to change is easy, but achieving it is hard. Most of us fail because we dont make the sacrifices necessary. We dont want to put in the time, the effort or the attention required to achieve our goals.

Its not enough to talk about our resolutions, how were going to change, the goals weve set for ourselves and the accomplishments well make but not put in the effort. Its not enough to voice empty promises and give ourselves false hope without taking action. We need to do more to realize that change.

Some people ask me if I regret reading the episode summary of that tv show. They ask me if I regret the fact that I ruined the experience. I do. Once in a while, I look back and wish I couldve had the satisfaction of finishing the tv show like everyone else.

But more often than not, Im more thankful and grateful to myself for having made the choice I did because its given me far greater perspective and opportunity than had I not. Its opened my eyes, given me realization that the habits in my lifecanbe controlled and that I can do more than give myself false hope. Its given me motivation to do more, to achieve more, to finally pursue my dreams and desires. And greatest of all, its given me conviction in my judgement to make necessary sacrifices.

People complain every day about not having the time to make a change. Its not true at all. Its not that they dont have time, its that theyreunwillingto use that time to further their progress towards their goals. Theyre just unwilling to sacrifice the time they have to build towards the change they want. What they dont realize is that its never been about the time; its the lack of value they place towards the goals they want to achieve.

If there is something we truly want, something we truly desire, nobody can stop us. Well work hard for it. Well do whatever it takes, make whatever sacrifices we need.Think about the last time weve stayed up for the sake of having a few more drinks with friends, to play a game or watch a movie? Did we complain, voice our regrets for having done so? No, because werewillingto sacrifice our sleeping time for it. Its worth it to us because we place higher value towards the spending of time with friends and entertainment than we do our time for sleep.

I deliberately ruined my tv show watching experience because I knew I was addicted to it despite not wanting to admit it. I knew it was ruining my life and keeping me away from doing the things I enjoyed. The change I sought after was just to be in control of my life so I could learn to do more, to achieve more and build upon my dreams. It was a sacrifice I was willing to make because it was worth it to me, because the value I placed towards having a life I was proud of was more so than the enjoyment of watching tv shows.

All desires for change, all wishes to come true, all aspirations towards goals will require sacrifice. Sometimes it might be more than just time, as in my case. Sometimes itll be sleep, or having to limit the kind of foods you eat, or how much money you make. Sometimes itll even be at the cost of your pride, your reputation. Its up to you how far you want to go, the kind of sacrifices youre willing to makejust know that sacrifices are necessary. Theyre necessary to set you on the right track, to break bad habits and build new ones. Without first breaking bad habits, you cant build great ones because youll lack the energy, attention or the mental capacity to do so.

Life can be full of sacrifices, but how you get what you truly want and the reason why we feel such a sense of accomplishment when we achieve our goals. Because only the ones who have done so will find pride realizing the amount of effort and sacrifices made to achieve those goals.

My belief is firm in a law of compensation. The true rewards are ever in proportion to the labour and sacrifices made.NikolaTesla

If youve ever felt stuck in life, this post is for you

Having read Mark MansonsThe Subtle Art Of Not Giving A Fuckrecently, I realized something I had noticed but had never thought about before. The book talks about how everyone has a choice, that everyone is making a choice whether or not they realize it. Manson stresses this point to give people the realization that they were the ones making these choices the entire time and perhaps as a way to find peace and solace knowing that we do have greater control over our lives than we had thought.

Its shocking how much the concept of making a choice resonates with me. Its something Ive been conflicted over for the greater part of my life, while running startups and traveling. Its also one of the most common complaints I hear from aspiring entrepreneurs who want to start their business or from the average Joe just looking to make a change but cant.

Its true that many people that believe they have no choice, no say in their lifestyles, their relationships, or their careers. They convince themselves that theyre stuck unable to move in a different direction besides forwards so they spend time complaining about the things they wish could be changed, things they wish they had.

Its also true that sometimes it will feel like we have no choice, that were tied to our responsibilities and the expectations that others have of us. Sometimes we feel like were drowning in a never-ending cycle of a daily mundane life. Sometimes it feels like we have nothing to look forward to except afterwork hours and weekends.

Truest of all, however, is the fact that we do have a choice. We all do.

You might notfeellike you have a choice and so you choose to follow that path, but that in itself is already a choice. Youve made choices your entire life, who you choose to be with, the kind of job you do, the people you hang out with, what you eat, what you buythese are all choices. These are all your choices.

You might not agree with some of these choices and perhaps feel as if these choices are forced, coerced upon you, but theyre still choices. If your partner/spouse chooses to eat a type of cuisine you dislike at a restaurant you hate and forces you to go, its still a choice. Either you choose not to go and make them upset, or you choose to go because you hold a greater importance towards how they feel than you do for food.

A woman who decides to travel even though shes worried about her fathers health is making a choice. She makes the choice traveling because she knows if she doesnt do it now, shell never get a better opportunity to rebuild her life after being separated from a 9 year relationship that left her heartbroken and stranded in China.

An aspiring entrepreneur wanting to start a business might have to give up on using social media for entertainment in order to start. He chooses not to give up on social media because he realizes he places far greater importance and value on his personal entertainment than he does towards the starting of a business.

Some sacrifices are greater than others. People with children have to make a choice between spending less time with their children or their aspirations. People in abusive relationships must make a choice whether or not theyll end it, risking being single again. People working in a job where they get no sense of satisfaction have to choose between the job or not getting paid.

The choice you make depends on you. Theres no right or wrongits your choice and nobody can ever change that. But realize that because its your choice, a choice that youve made, you have little reason to complain.We make the choices we do because thats where our values lie; its not that we dont have a choice, its just that were unwilling to make the sacrifices we dont want.

If you truly believe in something and determined to get it, you will succeed. Nobody can stop you. If you truly wish for change, its possible. It all boils down to choice, and you have one. You have a choice.

Your life is a result of your choices. If you dont like your life, its time to make some better choices.Anonymous

Heres why were never likely to succeed

Many years ago, I got an email from an aspiring entrepreneur who wanted to leave his family business to start his own. I love emails like that because it shows promising ambition of someone whos put in the work and ready to make it on their own.

We started talking, brainstorming, helping him come up with the best way to execute the idea. But week after week, month after month, he made little to no progress. Every time hed reach out to me, hed be at almost exactly where he was before, not having even started.

Eventually one day, I lost patience. I told him that I could no longer waste my time, that me helping him was useless if he wasnt willing to help himself. He finally admitted his problem; turns out, he had an addiction to Facebook and Youtube. Every time hed tell himself to get started on the business, hed be browsing Facebook or watching videos on Youtube instead.

He said, Jon, I really need help. How do I stop going on Facebook? How do I stop myself from going on Youtube? What can I do?

I asked him if he was serious, if he was willing to go the extra lengths and what hed do in order to start his business.

He replied, Id do anything.

And so I told him, If you want to stop, just delete your facebook account and unsubscribe from all of your channels on youtube.

Thats ridiculous. I cant do that.

Even though he didnt want to admit it, he had placed a higher value, a higher emphasis on spending time on Facebook and Youtube than towards starting a business. To him, the values he placed towards business was nowhere near the importance of the values he placed towards his entertainment.

If you ask someone whether or not theyd give up going on social media, playing games and watching tv shows for the next five years to become a millionaire, what would they say? Of course theyd say yes. Who wouldnt?

But words arent actions. Its easy to say something, but exponentially harder to actually do it. We say that we want to change, to make a difference, to break out of our bad habit but how often do we actually take action? We make empty promises because its easy and self-fulfilling; we like the feeling of imaging a future where weve already succeeded.

Reality can prove to be different though.

Most of us lack the determination and dedication to pursue our dreams and stay true to our promises. We indulge ourselves in fantasies but look the other way and give excuses when were actually expected to do it because it requires effort were not ready to invest.

Mark Manson in theThe Subtle Art Of Not Giving A Fuckphrases his own experience perfectly:

I wanted the reward and not the struggle. I wanted the result and not the process. I was in love with not the fight but only the victory.

Deleting your Facebook account and unsubscribing to all the channels you follow on youtube isnt really as ridiculous as it seems,ifyou place higher value, higher importance on wanting to succeed. It sounds extreme, but its all in perspective. For those that are determined to succeed, its a small price to pay. Theyd be probably willing to sacrifice even more, to cast away all things holding them back from the success they genuinely wish for and in their case, deserve.

In the movie127 Hours, (spoiler alert here), the main character Aaron, a mountain climber gets his arm trapped under a bounder while canyoneering alone. As the hours tick by, he becomes more and more desperate. Running out of water, he resorts drinking his own urine. Eventually, because he has no other choice, he cuts off his own arm in order to survive. Throughout the movie, his perspective on what he values changes. Hes unwilling to drink his own urine but he does it anyways. Hes unwilling to cut off his arm, but does it anyways despite the extreme pain. He does it because survival becomes the most important thing to him in the very last moments.

What we want and what were able to achieve always boils down to the value we place on things.If you want something and youre determined, you will some way or another, make it happen. Its just whether or not you choose to make the sacrifices necessary. Theres never a right or wrong, correct or incorrect. We have different values. Its up to us to choose and follow the path we set for ourselves because nobody can ever convince us to do otherwise. We can get yelled at, coerced or even intimidated into wanting to do something but whether or not it happens will always depend on us.

Choose your values, choose your goals, and choose your sacrifices.

If you dont sacrifice for what you want, what you want becomes the sacrifice.Anonymous