Big, Shitty, Important Lessons From 2016

2016 is over. And depending on how it went for you, you may be saying, “Finally!”

For the collective masses, it certainly seems like 2016 was a steaming hot pile of dog shit. Looking at social media, you would believe that 2016 was the worst year in the history of the world.

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Or maybe for you, 2016 was great. Maybe you got married, or your business exploded in growth. Maybe you accomplished all the goals you set for yourself. Maybe 2016 was your best year ever. And if it was, good for you.

Perspective is a funny thing. If you’re reading this then you lived through 2016. We all had the same 365 days; the same 8,760 hours. But for some, those days and hours we’re great. For others, they were a fucking nightmare.

For me, I’m not sure where 2016 falls on the spectrum. My gut says it was the worst year ever. I started 2016 with grand aspirations. My business was going to explode, I was going to propose to my girlfriend, and just crush life in general.

What actually happened was business grew a bit, but not as much as I had hoped, instead of going through with a proposal I went through a break-up instead, and rather than crushing life I slightly crumpled it.

To say 2016 fell short of expectations would be an understatement. In fact, 2016 was filled with more misery, more heartache, more struggles, more tears, and more frustrations than I have ever experienced in my life.

Seems like a pretty shitty year, right?

Yes it does, and it was. But I struggle to look at 2016 as a completely shitty year, because all that shit brought a lot of lessons.

And not only that, but 2016 helped me grow. It helped me grow from a person who I was unsure of, and sometimes both scared to show to people and scared of a year ago; to someone today who is comfortable and confident in who he is, and isn’t scared to show that to anyone.

2016 was like that teacher you absolutely hated, mostly cause you thought he was a dick, but then you graduate and look back and see he really wasn’t a dick after all, he was just trying to prepare you for life.

2016 had some big, shitty, important lessons to teach. Here’s what I learned…

 

Big, Shitty, Important Lessons From 2016

 

Big, Shitty, Important Lesson #1: Like it or not, your life is your responsibility

 

We all like to believe that life is some big convoluted cluster fuck of a mess, that we have no control over; and everything that happens is some elaborate plot by the universe to make us miserable, while also taking away all control we have over the situation, so the only thing we can do is sit at home with the curtains shut, wearing last nights pizza-stained t-shirt, while surfing Facebook, looking at how perfect everyone else’s life is.

This belief is great (not really) because it gives us the illusion that our shitty situations are out of our control. We want to believe that our problems are special, that they are ours, and ours alone.

This thinking allows us to disassociate from the taking responsibility for our own problems. If we think our problems are so big and so unique, and that no one else could possibly understand, we end up making such a mountain out of a mole hill that we convince ourselves that there’s absolutely nothing we can do to fix it.

The reality is, life isn’t that complicated, and you and I aren’t that special.

Everything in life can basically be boiled down to this:

1). What do you want to accomplish/change/fix?

2). What are you doing to make it happen/change it/fix it?

That’s it. It’s that simple.

Life is not complicated. It’s not easy. It’s hard. Like really hard. More often than not. But it’s only complicated when you make it so.

The difference between the people who look like they have their shit together, and those who don’t, is taking responsibility and placing blame.

 

Big, Shitty, Important Lesson #2: It’s going to take a lot longer, and a lot more work than you think

 

Overnight success stories are bullshit. Fairytale or perfect relationships are bullshit.

Every successful business, entrepreneur, or relationship took an endless amount of blood, sweat, tears, and work to make it into the success that you see.

But no one ever hears about that. No one ever hears about the years entrepreneurs spend barely being able to pay the bills, just so they could realize their dream.

No one hears of the late night arguments, talks, tears, breaking-up-and-getting-back-together, and work that happened before that couple made it to the alter.

You don’t hear about that, because you don’t want to.

“Work” isn’t sexy. “Hard” isn’t appealing. No one wants to hear that they had to struggle to get what they want. We all just want it, and we want it easily, and right now.

And that’s the reason why you won’t get it.

They say nothing worth having comes easy, and it’s true…because while we want easy, we don’t value it. So we don’t work for it.

Ask the successful entrepreneur if those years of scrapping by were worth it, and they’ll say yes, because it taught them how to be strong and stay the course.

Ask the husband or wife who’ve been married for 20, 30, 40+ years if all the fights, doubts, and sacrifices were worth it, and they’ll say yes, because it taught them how to love unconditionally.

The longer it takes, and the harder it is, the longer it will last, and the stronger it will be.

 

Big, Shitty, Important Lesson #3: Happiness is the journey, not the destination

 

We all think happiness is a place we’re going; something we’re going to find at the end of our proverbial journey.

But happiness is the journey. Happiness is what we discover about ourselves along the way.

Even though 2016 was pretty miserable for me, I can look back and see that I found happiness in a lot of ways.

I found happiness in battling some of my inner demons, and bettering myself as a person.

I found happiness whenever a client would email me excited about the results they were seeing in their program.

I found happiness in doing things for the people that mean the most to me.

I found happiness in learning to enjoy the simple things, and the little moments spent with the people that I love.

I found happiness in being wrong.

We all look for happiness in other people or things – and those things can provide us with happiness – but not an endless amount.

Complete happiness comes from letting go of negatives, embracing the good things you have in your life, and learning to love the journey.

 

Big, Shitty, Important Lesson #4: Learn from the past, don’t’ live in it

 

Sorry if I have to be the one to break this to you but no amount of dwelling on the past is going to change it.

The past can be a great teacher. But it can also paralyze us. It can hold us back. It can keep us from going after things that will make our lives better, and move us forward.

The past only exists in one place: our minds. Allowing it to control us and dictate our decisions will only keep us from getting where we want to go.

Learn from the past, but don’t let it control you.

 

Big, Shitty, Important Lesson #5: People always show you who they really are…but it’s up to you to see it

 

Who we surround ourselves with plays a huge impact on our lives. There are those people who make our lives better, who add love, value, knowledge…

And then there are those who add nothing; who actually take things away from us, like our time, joy, energy…

Too often we cling to these negative people, falsely believing that there is some good in them, because after all, we chose to have them in our lives…because we hate to be wrong.

Sadly, we often hang onto these toxic people at the expense of those who truly add something to our lives.

In 2017, don’t be afraid to let go of negative people, just because you don’t want to be wrong. Is that really worth your happiness?

 

Big, Shitty, Important Lesson #6: Our lives are a lot better than we want to believe

 

Things suck sometimes. I won’t argue with you on that. But they never suck as bad as we like to think they do.

Did you wake up this morning?

Do you have a roof over your head?

Are you able to mindlessly surf social media or watch TV?

Do you have money in your bank account?

Did you eat yesterday?

Are you loved?

Then life isn’t really that bad.

See you in 2017, friends.

 

 

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