Imagine you grew up with a new best friend.
Both of you alike in almost every way. Same looks, same tastes, same friends. You both graduated high school with the same grades. Shipped off to the same university. Built the same network and had the same opportunities.
To the outside world, your lives were practically identical.
But then something changed…
Your friend left university and landed a high-paying gig right out the gate. He met a beautiful woman, started a family, and bought a four-bedroom house across town. By the time he was 33, he had started and sold one of his passion projects for millions.
He was living life on his own terms. Happy, excited, fulfilled, driven and free. He attracted opportunity, and he capitalized on it every time.
Your story was a little different.
When you left university, you still felt lost. You had no idea what you wanted to do with your life. You bounced from job to job, never quite finding the ‘right fit.’ You watched with envy as all your peers built happy and fulfilling lives.
By the time you were 33, you were still stuck doing a job you despised. It paid the bills and afforded you everything you needed, so you stayed. But deep down, you kept hoping for something better.
“It’s too late now for me to do anything different,” you kept telling yourself.
And you were right.
As long as you repeated those words, nothing in your life would ever change.
So you settled.
Unfulfilled, unhappy, unmotivated. Downright reserved and hopeless.
You spent most days feeling jealous over the lives your peers were living. Everyone else was growing happier. But you? You were starting to forget what that was even like.
Over and over, you repeated to yourself…
“If only I did that different, I’d be happy now like everyone else.”
Why did your best friend move on to a life of passion and purpose while you moved on to a life of confusion and despair?
Why did one of you thrive while the other slowly withered away living a life they never wanted to live?
The answer, my fine feathered friend, is in how each of you dealt with the obstacles of life. Did you build walls around yourself and not let opportunity and happiness in? Or did you beat down any and all barriers standing between you and something better?
It’s no secret what your friend did.
And if you ever want something similar, you’ll need to follow suit.
Luckily for you, this article contains all the weapons and tools you need to beat those barriers down and start building a better life from the rubble.
Now sally forth to the armory and let’s get started.
Step 1: Take Your Rightful Place as Captain of the Ship
Yes, you — the Captain.
Not your mom. Not your dad. Not your friends. Not the 20-year-old life coach dishing out wisdom live on Instagram every hour from the comfort of their parent’s basement.
No — you take control of the ship, and take control of it now.
And by ship, of course, I mean your life.
But I understand why that might be easier said than done.
See, you gave up control of your life a long time ago.
To parents who convinced you that your art was worthless and that you had to pursue a life of academics and prestige instead.
To friends who laughed at your ideas and told you they’d never work, convincing you to never change so you’d be stuck with them forever.
To partners who implored you not to take that job or start that business because “the risks are too damn high!”
And to a society with rigid, ridiculous, and outdated expectations of what your life should be.
It’s a wonder you’re even allowed to read this!
But guess what, Skipper?
None of them are in control of your life. You are.
YOU are the Captain.
YOU are the creative force.
YOU are the designer.
YOU are the sole-director of how this life of yours plays out.
No one else.
The sooner you believe this, the better.
Don’t make the mistake of waiting for someone else’s validation. Make choices and move forward with confidence knowing that what you’ve decided is best for you.
Those who love and care about you will stay in your corner if they’re meant to be there.
But if you let the fear of what others think hold you back from living life on your own terms, you’ll be stuck in a prison of your own making forever.
No one wins, then.
So take the helm, Captain, and look out to the horizon.
What do you see?
This is your nothing. Your adventure. Your opportunity. Your… choice.
Now set your sails and start sailing.
To where, of course, is up to you.
Step 2: Study at the Leonardo DiCaprio School of Letting Things Go
You know, that semi-successful James Cameron movie of the 1990s?
Well, there’s a powerful lesson in that film that, once recognized, can have a dramatic impact on your life.
More specifically, I’m talking about the end of the movie when (SPOILER ALERT) the boat sinks and our unlikely lovers are floating around the ice-cold Atlantic on a piece of wooden debris only big enough for one of them.
Just waiting (and hoping) to be rescued.
But Leo’s character, Jack, knew better.
He knew him and Rose weren’t going to make it.
So he made her let go.
He made her let go and promise to live on for something better.
And that’s exactly what you need to do, as well.
Because here’s the thing…
Aware of it or not, you’re likely carrying a ton of baggage that’s holding you back:
- Toxic relationships.
- Unfulfilling jobs.
- Destructive habits.
- Outdated and unproven beliefs.
The list goes on and on.
And you know what?
You have to let it go. All of it.
Because if you don’t, you’ll never create room in your life for something better.
When you hold on and try to keep things exactly as they are, you send a signal out to the universe that says you’re not ready for change. The universe, then, responds the only way it knows how.
No help, no signs, no guidance.
Because that’s what you’re asking for.
You shut off the valve for magic and synchronicity to flow freely.
Listen to your heart and let it lead the way. If something is making you feel unhappy or uninspired, let it go. And even though it might thrust you into a world of uncertainty… do it.
Take the leap.
Purge the junk from your life.
Become relentless in the pursuit of letting things go.
And if you’re ever stuck, just ask yourself: “What would Leo say?”
If it’s really holding you back — if it’s really causing you to live ANY less of a life than you deserve — he’d beg you to let it go. He’d hold your hands, look you in the eyes, and make you promise to live on for something better.
Don’t break that promise.
To me, to Leo, or to yourself.
Step 3: Stake Your “Vampire Beliefs” and Stuff Their Mouths with Garlic
There’s an infestation inside your head.
Nasty pests, too. Feeding off the host every chance they get. Left unchecked, they infect every corner of the mind.
A rabid clan of ‘Vampire Beliefs.’
But these vampires don’t feed off your blood. No no…. these vampires feed off something much more valuable. Much more sacred and limitless.
These vampires feed off your potential.
You likely know them by their more common, less sinister name: Limiting Beliefs — but I know a vampire when I see one.
These potential-sucking pests will drain you as long as you let them.
They like to lurk in the shadows and try to convince you that you’re not good enough to succeed… that you’ll never make something more of your life and will be stuck exactly where you are forever.
That’s the bad news.
The good news?
It’s much easier to slay these rotten pests than you think.
All you gotta do is show them a little proof.
And by proof, I mean evidence they’re wrong. Evidence that contradicts their very existence. The more you can find, the better. It’s like dousing them with Holy Water straight from the Pope’s toilet.
Let me show you how to do it.
First: Hunt ’em down
ANY belief that holds you back from living the life you desire is a Vampire Belief. Too old? Not smart enough? Not worthy enough? All Vampire Beliefs.
Write them all down.
Second: Interrogate ’em
For each Vampire Belief, ask yourself a simple question:
“Do I really know this to be true?”
This question alone usually causes their skin to burn.
For example, let’s say you’ve decided to interrogate the “It’s too late to pursue my dreams” Vampire Belief — a dangerously common one, too.
So you ask the question: Is it really true?
Has anyone ever proven it’s never too late to pursue your dreams?
Your growing evidence will be the wooden stake you drive through the Vampire’s heart.
Third: Slay ’em
You’re kickin’ some serious ass, Buffy.
The only thing left now is to stake the Vampire, stuff its mouth with garlic, and repeat the words:
“I choose not to believe this anymore. It’s not true!”
Upon uttering these words, the Vampire Belief will ignite into a ball of flames and melt into a pile of potential-sucking mush right before your eyes.
A gruesome (but necessary) scene.
Now wipe your stake and repeat the process.
Each time you slay a Vampire Belief, you’ll grow stronger. In fact, they’ll grow so afraid of you coming for them, some will even step directly in the sunlight to avoid meeting you face to face.
They’ll know the Vampire Slayer is coming.
And you’ll have the tools to eradicate them all.
Step 4: Make a Gratitude Marinade and Soak up Every Drop
Somewhere in the world right now, a surly uncle at a family BBQ is waving his finger screaming…
“You ungrateful little s***!”
And you know what? He’s probably right.
In fact, he’d likely still be right if he waved that finger at you or anyone you know. That’s not an admonishment. It’s just that most people nowadays wouldn’t know gratitude if it bit them in the gluteus assimus.
Got a roof over your head?
Food in the fridge?
Shirt on your back?
Shoes on your feet?
If you have any of those things (and I’ll go out on a real shaky limb here and say that you do), then congratulations! You’re among some of the most fortunate people on the planet.
But that’s not something you think about often, is it?
Why would it be?
In a society built around competition and consumerism, practicing gratitude is more difficult than ever. How the heck are you supposed to feel grateful if EVERY message you see and hear tells you you’re lacking and need to strive for more?
It’s obvious the cards are stacked against you.
But guess what?
Being grateful doesn’t have to be quite so… difficult.
In fact, it can be downright easy if you follow a simple recipe.
A recipe Nana Manifest taught me many moons ago.
Step into my kitchen and I’ll share it with you.
First, make a list of things you’re grateful for. Friends, family, green grass, sunshine, whatever. It doesn’t have to be exhaustive. These are going to be your ‘ingredients.’
Next, imagine putting all these ingredients inside a Ziploc bag. Shake it up. Let the flavors get to know each other. This is going to be your ‘marinade.’
Now, the most important part.
Imagine yourself getting into the marinade to soak everything up. Maybe 5 minutes at first. Acknowledge each ingredient and thank it for being part of your recipe. Your goal here is to express as much appreciation as possible.
Then, when you get out of the marinade, you’ll be feeling more invigorated (and dare I say delicious?) than ever before.
You can do this whenever you want, and I’d suggest you do it at least once per day. It’s the single most effective way to live a happier and more fulfilling life.
So whip it up, and whip it good — then soak up your Gratitude Marinade as long (and as often) as you can.
Step 5: Don Your Tinfoil Hat and Proclaim “Happiness is an Inside Job!”
There’s a conspiracy afoot.
If you ask around, it seems like most people are in the dark about it.
But you’re not most people are ya, Skipper?
You know the real truth… don’t you?
If not, don’t fret. I’ve got enough blue pills to go around.
But first, a story.
Last year, I was with a group of friends when one of them said something that had a remarkably profound impact on me.
Now, what you need to know about this particular friend is that he’s a real go-getter. Wicked smart, witty, entrepreneurial, driven. He’s a husband, a father — an all-around great man.
Some would say he ‘has it all.’
And by today’s standards, it would certainly seem that way.
But then he said this:
“I’ve got the house, the pool, the big garage, the truck. I’ve got lots of money and a high-paying job. I’ve got everything I was supposed to get. Why, then, am I not happy?”
My heart hit the floor.
I had no idea.
Him? Unhappy? It didn’t make any sense to me.
But it wasn’t learning this that devastated me. What devastated me was that he answered his own question without even knowing it.
He, like most people, was looking for happiness in all the wrong places. It wasn’t his fault, either. Like he said, he had everything he was “supposed to get.”
Problem is, what you’re “supposed to get” isn’t always what makes you happy.
Far from it, actually.
In fact, the more you strive for society’s ‘ideal life,’ the further you get from discovering where your own happiness actually comes from.
An infinite spring of happiness within you — and the majority don’t even know it exists.
Can you see the problem here?
Most people believe they can find happiness by collecting all the whose-its and whats-its they can get their hands on.
But that’s not how it works.
You don’t find happiness by looking outside of yourself.
It’s not something that’s created in the physical world.
You don’t acquire, purchase, or possess it.
Happiness is something that manifests within — and it’s time you start treating it like the proactive endeavor it actually is.
Fulfilling relationships, exciting experiences, feelings of love, gratitude, and appreciation — this is what makes a person truly happy.
Understand this and watch as the light grows brighter within you.
Soon, you’ll come to know the conspiracy was true all along.
Happiness really is an inside job.
Start Rebuilding Your Life from the Rubble Today
Look at you.
Captain, Movie Star, Vampire Slayer, Chef, Conspiracy Theorist searching for truth — you’ve come a long way since we started.
But with your new roles comes great responsibility.
You’ve now got all the tools and weapons you need to start fresh and build a life you’re proud of. You can summon the courage to leave that job you hate… to pursue what you love instead of what you’re expected to do… to stop being jealous and finally open the valve for true happiness to flow (with)in.
You can have it all if you want it.
But it’s up to you to make it happen. Because nothing in your life will ever change if you don’t step up and take action.
Remember your friend?
The one who grew up to have it all?
The one who let nothing stand in their way? Happy, fulfilled, driven, passionate, and free? The one whose life got better every day?
Well, guess what?
That friend… was actually you.
It was the you who didn’t let obstacles stand in your way… who never believed in the stories of inadequacy you kept telling yourself… who counted your blessings and relied on no one but you to make you happy.
It was the you who took charge and made life the way you wanted it to be.
It was the you that you’ve always wanted to become.
Someone once said the definition of hell was that, right before you die, you’ll get to meet the person you could have always been.
If that’s true, then don’t let that person surprise you.
Instead, follow the steps above so the person you eventually meet is simply a reflection of the person you chose to become today.
Now suit up, grab your weapons, and start beating those barriers down. Your happier and more fulfilling life is waiting for you on the other side.