What Man Hasn’t Squandered a Life Changing Event?

by A Manly Guest Contributor on November 20, 2011 · 42 comments

in A Man's Life, Personal Development

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Tyler Tervooren from Advanced Riskology.

The other day I asked myself, “Tyler, how long has it been since you’ve recognized yourself?”

That’s a pretty funny question when you think about it. But the truth is the me that I know today is less than two years old. My life has changed dramatically in the last 20 months—by accident at first when I was fired from my job, and then slowly but surely on purpose as I learned about what really motivated me to make significant changes in my life.

To say I’m happier now is an understatement. When I look at pictures of myself from a few years ago—slightly overweight, mildly depressed, and generally bored—I can’t help but feel a bit sorry for the old me. If only Old Tyler had learned earlier what New Tyler knows now…

I turned 27 a few weeks ago. Birthdays have a funny way of making you examine what the hell you’re doing with your life. If you’re lucky, you won’t come out of it too depressed. And for the first time in a long time, I was excited about the year ahead.

And what about the year ahead of you? This is your life after all, and time seems to speed up with each one that passes. If you’re waiting to make a change for the better, then what, exactly, are you waiting for?

Me? I was waiting for something big to happen—a sign from the universe that told me it was time to change. Lucky for me, I got it when I was fired from my job. But should I have needed that? I don’t think so. I certainly don’t feel like I need it now. I’m capable of any change I want to make—with or without any galactic message.

The truth is, these kinds of messages surround me every day if I’m willing to look for them.

What Man Hasn’t Squandered a Life-Changing Event?

Human nature tells us to strive for more: own more, do more, be more. As a man, this is both your gift and your plight. And while we’ve learned to accept and attenuate our desires to have and do more, what man goes a day without wishing to be more?

And is that such a bad thing? Is it not required of us, as men, to attempt to be more each and every day? To be more faithful and less capricious? More dependable and less inconsistent? Filled more with life and less with burden?

What man doesn’t wish to be better tomorrow than he is today? And what man who doesn’t deserves tomorrow at all?

So we aim, strive, and toil to improve, but so many of us find improvement fleeting. Improvement means change. And change is hard. Change is uncomfortable. Change is risky.

Despite the intense desire to pursue it, our habits of yesterday tend to win the fight for the future—the best predictor of how a man will behave tomorrow is how that man behaved yesterday.

So how does a man, flawed as every other and steeped in responsibility and other burdens, change his position to become better? How does he begin to reconcile the difference between the man he sees in the mirror and the man he constructs in his mind?

The answer, perhaps, is not so complicated:

He alters himself in response to a life-changing event.

The Life-Changing Event as a Force for Revolution

If motivation is the missing ingredient for a man to make a change in his life and follow his dream, then fear is almost certainly the culprit. This fear stems from the risk that if he were to try, it may not work. Failure, they tell us, is something to be celebrated, but science tells us—and a man knows intuitively—that depression is the result when we try and fail to change something important.

These are large hurdles to overcome, yet nothing makes overcoming them easier than a truly life-changing event, and almost every man has experienced one in his life.

The unexpected loss of a job, a messy divorce, a death in the family, or the prognosis of a terminal illness. These types of unwanted traumas, time and time again, produce massively positive changes in those fortunate/unfortunate enough to experience them.

Life-changing events work because the unsolicited stress they produce is many orders of magnitude greater than the changes that used to seem enormous and insurmountable. They raise a man’s stress threshold.

When you can look at yourself and objectively say, “Everything in my life has changed, and the world will never be the same again,” what seemed impossible before, now becomes inevitable.

If you were given six months to live, would you spend your day tomorrow the same way that you plan to spend it now? What if you separated from your wife or girlfriend with the knowledge that you’ll never be together again? Would you behave the same as you did yesterday, or would you immediately make a change? If tomorrow you lost the job you hate but can’t imagine leaving, would you immediately look for another one you’d hate, or might you apply a little different criteria to the work you’re willing to do?

Without a doubt, a truly life-changing event can take a man’s dreams and make them a reality in rather short order. The problem, of course, is that you get no control over these things. You have no say in when an event like this will come, so instead, you wait impatiently for one to arrive, all the while praying that it never actually occurs.

But in the meantime while we wait for these life-changing events, we’re squandering many smaller ones every day.

Mini Life-Changing Events: How a Man Changes His World on Purpose

Perhaps the reason we need such enormous events to make an appreciable difference in our lives is because the changes we want to make are equally enormous. When our desires are overwhelming, so to must be the events that precipitate them.

So, what if you were to dial down your desire? Cut it in half. Then cut it in half again. And again.

What if you dissected your desire for change until you had something so small and commonplace that it took almost no effort at all to achieve? Then what kind of life-changing event would be necessary to motivate you to act? An equally small one.

And what if you multiplied these changes over time? What could you accomplish in a week, a month, a year if you acted on one unremarkable life change each day?

What kind of remarkable things might they add up to? Who might you become then?

Each and every day, we wander through the world, manipulating it as we go. And with each step we take, breath we breathe, word we utter, the world manipulates us back.

Each of these moments has the potential to be the catalyst for the world’s tiniest revolution, if only you repair your filter to allow yourself to see them. But with no milestones to guide the way, they’ll go unnoticed—squandered by a need for too much, too soon.

Just as the savvy card player looks for an opportunity in every hand rather than waiting to be dealt a royal flush, so must you look for an opportunity in every moment of every day. The card player may need $1 million to win the tournament, but he must get there $1,000 at a time. You may need to turn your life 180 degrees, but you must get there in excruciating 1-degree pivots.

The beauty, of course, is that these tiny actions don’t act independently. And they don’t only add together, they multiply. Each step, each pivot, builds momentum in an exciting new direction.

The card player may start by winning $1,000 hands, but with several of those behind him, $10,000 hands become the new normal. Before long, he is winning $100,000 hands and his ultimate goal is at the tip of his fingers.

To begin this process, though, a man must wake himself up—not in a physical sense, but in a perceptual one.

The Awakening of a Man to the Realization of His Dream

Once a man realizes that the task in front of him is to make many small changes over time, his immediate goal must be to wake himself up in a way that will allow him to estimate the changes needing to be made.

To do so, he must make three critical adjustments to his life:

  • The tuning of his perception filter
  • The deceleration of the speed of his life
  • The reframing of his daily experiences

By focusing his attention here, he can prepare himself to take advantage of the many life-changing events each day that were never noticed before.

The tuning of your perception filter

In order to make tiny changes, you must prepare yourself to see the tiny things that precipitate them. Where you previously waited for life to hand you a striking blow, you now must turn up the dial on the microscope and become sensitive to the many small events that happen each day that affect how you behave.

By tuning your perception filter to a finer lens, you prepare yourself to take in the many otherwise unnoticed events in your life. Rather than seeing a bad day, you’ll see the individual things that went wrong that lead up to such a day. And you’ll notice the things that went right, but weren’t good enough to overcome your negative feelings.

More importantly, you’ll see the way you reacted to each event so that you might start to alter the way you behave when a similar event occurs again.

Instead of seeing your boss as a jerk, you’ll see the minute characteristics that make you feel this way about him. You’ll pinpoint the problem, and then you’ll see how you react to him so that you may alter your own behavior.

Rather than seeing a task as too hard, you’ll see the many small parts of the task—the ones that are easy to complete, and the ones that will keep you from finishing it. This will allow you to see where your attention must be focused to improve and complete the work.

With the ever finer tuning of your perception filter and each alteration of your behavior, you’ll begin to build small successes that add up to a sum much larger than its parts.

The deceleration of the speed of life

In a modern world, your life is allowed to move at whichever speed you choose for it. And the predominant setting for most men is “fast,” so you’re likely to default there without consciously deciding on it.

But once you’ve adjusted your perception filter to take in more of life, fast becomes incompatible with your new settings. Fast results in information overload and makes it nearly impossible to choose and analyze the most important micro life events that will allow you to make the progress you want.

When you drive through a city, how much detail do you notice? If you were to travel back through on a bicycle, what might you see then? And if you took the whole day and simply walked across it, what kind of relationship would you build with that place that would have been impossible from a car?

The goal now is to place the emphasis of your actions on “effective” over “efficient.” You must give yourself the opportunity to see the right pieces of life to be worked on. When you move slowly, this is easy to do. But if you move too quickly, it’s very difficult because the temptation to “just get things done” becomes more and more pervasive.

In practical terms, this may mean removing yourself from regular social habits and replacing them with solitude where you can reflect on your day. Or it might mean refusing an extra task at work so that you can give your full attention to the project that’s most important to your success.

When life slows down, improvement speeds up.

The reframing of your daily experiences

Perhaps the biggest problem that a man wanting to change his life faces is his frame of reference. When life is diverging from the path that you want it to be on, it’s easy to feel defeated and begin to look at each day as something to get past, hoping that the next one will go better. Unfortunately, with this viewpoint, it won’t.

If this exists in you, then it’s critical that your perception change before progress can be made. Instead of looking at each day as something to get past, you must reframe it as a series of events to get through instead.

When you attempt to get past something, the details don’t matter. But when you’re trying to get through something, you begin to place more emphasis on the method that you use to get through it.

This may seem inconsequential—both of these ways through life are less than ideal—but the difference is important. By allowing yourself to focus on details, you enable yourself to manipulate them. And by allowing yourself to manipulate them, you set yourself up to change them in ways that align with who you really want to be; you open yourself up to the process of change.

A Man on the Right Path

What man hasn’t squandered a life-changing event? Likely no man at all.

But with an improvement-minded attitude and the right perspective, any man can take control of what seems like a wild and unpredictable world, and spare himself from squandering any more.

He can begin to do this by refining his perception filter, slowing the speed of his life, and reframing his daily experiences. And hopefully he will, because even though these life-changing events are all around us each day, their numbers are finite, and one day every man will find himself without any more ahead of him.

Let no man forget that the quest to become who he desires to be is not only possible, it is also urgent.

Go forth and be more.


Tyler Tervooren writes for men making important changes in their lives at Advanced Riskology. Connect with him on Google+.

{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Thom November 20, 2011 at 8:24 pm

Thank you for the this well written, insightful, and inspiring piece of writing. It was at once both profound and amusing to feel like the author was speaking directly to me. I felt like he had been a fly on the wall witnessing my life and was gently but firmly placing his hands on my shoulders to redirect me in a better direction. Truly touching. Again, thank you.

2 Thomas November 20, 2011 at 8:33 pm

I think i just read a life changing event , thank you for a brilliant article.

3 Charlie November 20, 2011 at 9:04 pm

On the evening before my eighteenth birthday, this article could not come at a better time. Thank you very much, Tyler. By the way, I find the concept of your blog very intriguing.

4 Ron November 20, 2011 at 10:13 pm

Just started following this website a few weeks ago. This article is the best one I have read so far. Very inspiring and practical.

I love the site. Keep up the great work.

5 Kdh November 20, 2011 at 10:23 pm

This article couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I moved from Oklahoma to Louisiana in June for a new job. Everything was going well till August when my Fiancee decided that she missed home and was unsure about us and our lives together and packed up and moved back. When she left it was like she took a part of my soul with her. I have been looking and searching to find ways to occupy myself and keep from going crazy in a new place with no friends and no one to talk to 600 miles from home.
In the midst of all this I have learned tons about myself and how much I had come to depend on other people in my life. I am now taking this opportunity to make changes in my life that I have always wanted to make. Improving myself day by day into the person I want to be.
Now I have found out that the company I work for will be transferring me back to Oklahoma at the end of January and my goal is to return a changed person.
I guess the moral of my story I want to convey is that everything happens for a reason. Sometimes is just takes a little while to find out what those reasons are. And don’t let opportunities go to waste!

6 sergio November 20, 2011 at 10:45 pm

Beautifully written. Love the closing, “Let no man forget that the quest to become who he desires to be is not only possible, it is also urgent.”

7 Nick November 20, 2011 at 11:04 pm

Very inspiring article.
Well written.

8 Will Berlin November 21, 2011 at 12:42 am

Not enough superlatives exist for this article – thought-provoking, well-written, beautiful. Thank you for this.

9 Gerhard Botha November 21, 2011 at 4:33 am

Your ending will stuck with me for a while, that is the urgency to ‘wake up to becoming the man you desire’ shouldn’t be put on hold.
Inspiring and maturely written.

10 Yagie November 21, 2011 at 6:01 am

The other thing is sometimes your life can make drastic changes without you even realizing their happening. You just have to remain open to possibilities, and accept any opportunities that may come up. When I read this article I think back on my life. 4 years ago I was a nobody in a small town with no plans for my future, and little hope. Today I work for one of the top security agencies in the nation, have led companies of men in battle, captured high level terrorist, almost finished my bachelors degree and have part of my masters credits already, while successfully maintaining a beautiful family and home.

I would have never dreamed I could have gotten here 4 years ago, but by slowing down and taking advantage of the opportunities that have presented themselves, I have striven far beyond the concept of what I could be, evolving it into even greater views of grandeur for my future.

There’s a saying that they use in marksmanship, “Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.” and the principles are very similar. Take you life slow, pay attention to the road ahead of you, focus on your journey and your target, and you’ll be surprised how fast you get where you never thought you could be.

11 Travis November 21, 2011 at 6:15 am

Great article. It’s nice to see all the comments as well and see how open everyone is to sharing their life changing events. I don’t think guys really have many places where they can open up and share their experiences and this is a great outlet for that and it helps us all grow as men and learn from each others experiences. With that being said I’d like to share my experience and my life changing event.

I’m turning 25 in less than three weeks and until two months ago I had no idea what I wanted to do as a career. I had two jobs, one of which I could have supported a family on if I went full time, but I would be unhappy everyday and I was not ready to settle for that. The coming of my 25th birthday really made me re-analyze my life and where it was headed and it pushed me to do what makes me happy. Starting my business has made me realize I’m building a future for myself and not someone else. Everyday I push my company a little further and make progress towards goals I’ve set I see my hard work is benefiting me and making my life better.

There are days when I’ve made more than I ever did working for someone else and there have also been days when I’ve made a lot less. Through the ups and the downs I still wake up happier than I ever was before and will always be grateful that I embraced the coming of my 25th birthday and I let it become my life changing event that helped me grow as a person and change my life for the better.

12 RickyTj November 21, 2011 at 9:03 am

This article couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I am a final year university student desperately looking for jobs. While most of my friends have been invited for interviews or even secured themselves a full-time graduate job, I haven’t yet been interviewed, not even once! I have long realized that procrastination is the biggest culprit and been trying so hard to change each and every day but I always ended up procrastinated even more. I had the exact same thought that, in order to change, I would probably have to face a life-changing event. But after reading this article, I feel so relished that I haven’t actually experienced a life-changing event and wish I won’t have to. Because now, I learn that change isn’t something difficult to achieve. Thanks again for such an awakening article. I am definitely waiting for more of similar quality articles.

13 Brad Weaver November 21, 2011 at 9:13 am

Profound truth and insight Tyler. I’m a fan of your blog and this one, so it’s great to see them come together on such a moving article on what it means to drive change in your life. As a man who walked away from all of the security, family in tow, to pursue my dream I can relate to both successes and failures when I’ve looked at life through the proper lens or failed to do so.

14 Harland November 21, 2011 at 9:14 am

I quite enjoyed your insights and approach. We often look up to a distant mark we want to grow to, feel overwhelmed by the distance in our character and despair. Looking at smaller, incremental change can make the difference.
I did want to highlight one aspect of ‘life changing events’ you seem to miss. You highlight those tough times that we shouldn’t squander. But often that motivation can come from the good times. I just had my 3rd child on Saturday, a new boy to join our twin girls. These moments of happiness have often been a fantastic motivation to be the better man, live like I should be. I know that approaching this birth I have revisited my life trajectory often, and personally I have come to focus more on the quality of my path in life rather then certain achievements. In other words I’d rather be seen as a man of character, virtue and love of life than a VP or marathon winner, etc. Not for everyone, but a good review for me.
Finally, not everyone will feel this way, but as a religious person, I find my Sunday services an excellent weekly check to frame my week. I find the ribbon of my life pinned up by worship; a chance to reflect, renew commitment, repent and refresh my approach to a manly life.
Thank you for the article!

15 Daren Redekopp November 21, 2011 at 9:23 am

We are always becoming what we will be. Thank-you.

16 Tyler Tervooren November 21, 2011 at 9:26 am

Thanks to everyone for the really great comments. It’s fun to read your stories of big (and small) life changes, and you’ve added some great thoughts to the piece that I missed.

With much gratefulness to the AoM community,

17 Matt November 21, 2011 at 9:50 am

Tyler: Curious as to how you’d frame apathy in the same context? Fear has never been a problem for me in that I just don’t care much once I set my mind to do something but Apathy is a big problem. At 30 I feel like I’ve achieved a lot but lately feel like I could be doing much more primarily in the career arena. I’ve a decent job making a decent wage, house, newer car, fun hobbies, honed man skills and enough to get by just fine but I’m so bloody bored it’s ridiculous. I can’t bring myself to make a ‘bold’ career change because of the mortgage and so forth… painted myself into this pretty little american dream corner and now I feel stuck in it.

18 Louis November 21, 2011 at 10:09 am

Dig It Dude…nuff said!

19 jeff November 21, 2011 at 11:11 am

I found that the greatest life changing events happened without me realizing the event even happened. It is only on reflection that I came to understand what the event was in relation to my plans, will, and passions. Most of the big things happened more of randomness than by focused attention or desire. What did happen by will was a conditioning to be flexible in my thinking, my material expectations, the harmony within my own body, and a clearer understanding of myself within a group; something as small as family and friends to something like the community that I can consciously interact in. So, I can truthfully say I have never squandered a life changing event, because the biggest things were never under my control, or even immediately in my awareness, and over time the biggest things changed as my experience changed, and my acceptance of change has grown and the big events became little hurdles or awards to the energy I’ve spent trying to be not so much more or better than I am at an point, but rather to work at a consistency that allows me to adapted to change, without having to change the fundamental parts of me that I have proven to be of worth, depth, and utility.

20 Owen Marcus November 21, 2011 at 11:12 am

Excellent post.
You’re right, we want change – but we avoid it. We start at least in our heads than our fear sabotages us often unconsciously.

Traumas do just happen and they will get us off our asses… but what is a better way? It often comes down to this simple equation: pain needs to be greater than fear for us to change.

Chunking down the goals and the steps certainly works. It has for me. You description on how to do it is excellent. What I would add from my personal experience and working with men is to get support and accountability.

Our ability to take ourselves off course is huge. Having other men to be a resource of support and someone we answer to can shorten the cycle of change. I can’t think of a better way than a good men’s group.

Weekly in person interaction not only accelerates the change, it makes it easier and more fun. First you feel you aren’t in it alone. When your ‘monkey mind’ starts to trick you – you have someone to call. Plus when you do have those little wins there are men there to celebrate with you.

There are thousands of these men’s groups around the world. We started Men Corps as free resource for men to start their own groups.

As you said, it doesn’t need to be a crisis, nor does it need to be long and hard work. Make change a team sport, start a men’s group.

21 Carl November 21, 2011 at 12:24 pm

This post touched me so much, I almost started to cry. Thank you so much.

22 Adam Lehman November 21, 2011 at 1:27 pm

Very interesting.

I came across a post from a pastor, Chris McAlister, that spoke on recognizing (and grieving) on what we’ve realized we’ve missed. Check it here: http://www.chrismcalister.com/?p=1598

Often, we spend so much time building up a rationale as to why it didn’t work out or how dumb the system was that didn’t embrace us that we miss out on the truth (and growth) that lies in the failure.

23 nkosana November 21, 2011 at 2:12 pm

Thank you. this article came right at the right time for me.

24 Frankie November 21, 2011 at 2:19 pm

I never comment on posts but I have to say this is one of the best articles I’ve read online in a long time. The ideas presented here are some that I’ve had floating around in my head forever but could never quite piece together as a solid concept. Much thanks.

25 James R November 21, 2011 at 2:51 pm

Possibly the best “guest” written article to date. Bravo! The writing is terrific, however I feel I may be a bit biased on this topic, as the article, especially the beginning, mirrors extremely close the last year and half of my life. I too left my previous job and was left very much doubting myself. I was more than fair bit overweight, and just rather unhappy.

In the time since that period, I have returned to school, took an internship, was hired by the company, bringing me into a new field, I have lost over 80 lbs, I have strengthened my relationship with the people most important to me, and have discovered many things about myself that leave me feeling quite proud. I still very much view myself as a work in process, however, that process is much closer to where I wish to be than it was before.

I believe one of the most insightful quotes I will take from reading this is; “When life slows down, improvement speeds up.”

Truer words have never been spoken.

26 Brucifer November 21, 2011 at 6:36 pm

‎”It is never too late to be what you might have been.” ~ George Eliot

27 Taylor November 21, 2011 at 6:40 pm

My roommate introduced me to this site awhile back but I just started actively perusing it on my own time. This was the first article, maybe second, that I’ve read and can’t help but be thankful to have read the words above. I am about to graduate from my undergraduate school and everyday is a blur currently. Thanks Tyler, for a inspiring message I hope to utilize in my immediate future.

28 Roy Marvelous November 21, 2011 at 7:23 pm

I’m a big fan of Tyler’s writing and he has not failed to impress again! Yes, I’ve squandered a life-changing event before but that mistake has led to other opportunities as well.

29 Doug omaha November 21, 2011 at 10:05 pm

is something the matter with AoM website? When I try to read the articles from my email links, I get script that piles up on itself when I scroll down on it. No other links have been doing this.

30 Ryan November 22, 2011 at 10:26 am

Wow this is like Dave Ramsey’s debt snowball for my soul. Thank you!

31 Aaron November 22, 2011 at 11:17 am

I was sitting on my couch this morning, surfing the web. Now I’m setting down the laptop and am going to work out for the 2nd day in a row, after I had previously decided against it. Small decisions are not insignificant, they can change your life. Thank you for the article.

32 Nicholas November 22, 2011 at 11:19 pm

Great post, Tyler, thanks for writing!

33 Mart November 23, 2011 at 11:34 am

Can’t describe how much i appriciate your website. Thank you and keep them articles coming !

34 Kenny in VA November 23, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Sorry to be the wet blanket here but this article is mostly just late night infomercial soundbites about ‘taking back your life’ and ‘finding your true passion’ all strung together in overly-simplistic platitudes. The majority of the posts seem to be from guys in their 20′s who, frankly, haven’t put in enough time to know what the hell life is really about, much less dispense such sage wisdom about it. Come see me when you’re 55, your wife has a terminal illness, you’ve lost a child, and your soul-sucking (albeit well-paying and successful) job is the only thing standing between safe retirement and absolute financial ruin. Kinda hard to just hit the ‘re-start’ button (or maybe to ‘re-tune my perception whatever’).

Your life’s pace is what it is – sometimes it’s fast, sometimes not. It seems fast during your kid’s birthday parties and torturously slow sitting vigil at a hospital bedside but you know what? It’s really all the same.

And that one path bullshit? Let me tell you all something…no-one but a true narcissist, trust-fund baby, or complete asshole plows one path to their own personal nirvana. If the word ‘sacrifice’ isn’t in your vocabulary, you are NOT a real man. Enough with the whiny boo-hoo stories of breaking up with a girlfriend leading to some transcendent epiphany – suck it up, learn from it, fall in love all over again, and exploit the hell out of the new path you got knocked onto.

Am I bitter? You bet. I’ve lived a very full life thus far. I’ve played by all the rules (breaking a few here and there), achieved financial success by anyone’s standards, loved more times than I probably deserve, had three beautiful kids (hands down the absolute best thing in my life), but am frightfully aware of the heavy days ahead, and I resent it. And I resent some kid (yes, 27 still makes you a kid in the big scheme of things) rolling out life experience crap like it’s some big funny fortune cookie. Newsflash – it’s not.

Life is hard, life is great, life is life – and re-examining it regularly isn’t just laudible, it’s essential. But don’t get so lost up your own ass with dimestore zen that you feel it’s your duty to lead the rest of us out of our apathetic fog. This is a wonderful site, with sometimes great advice and a keen eye towards pathos and humor. I enjoy it immensly but this particular article really struck a nerve.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone…let the bitter old man comments commence…

35 Jason November 24, 2011 at 3:26 am

Kenny wrote…

“But don’t get so lost up your own ass with dimestore zen that you feel it’s your duty to lead the rest of us out of our apathetic fog.”

Anyone who sees it as their duty to help another (whether that be by offering encouragement or helping confront restrictive apathy) is not up their own ass. But what do I know? Apparently I have no idea what life is about. I have lived in one of the poorest countries in the world surrounded by poverty, death, disease, and war. I have worked with marginalized teenagers who are surrounded by gang violence and abuse, never knowing what it mean to be loved a day of their lives. I have helped babies be born and have treated patients who’s lives are withering away from chronic illnesses. But because I have only been alive for 25 year I have no wisdom to give and “haven’t put in enough time to know what the hell life is about.”

I am encouraged though. Since wisdom comes from age alone I know that in 25 more years I will have earned the right to put young ambitions fools in their place and will have obtained “sage wisdom” that comes with a number.

Interesting that all of the writers on the site are under 35 and this site was created by a man in while he was in his twenties…

36 Gene November 25, 2011 at 8:03 pm

Can’t agree more…your article has given me the tools to reevaluate the current stage of my life. At 22 and a current senior college student, I’ve once perceived my life as no future..after an almost 2 years of serious relationship with my girlfriend who had passed away last year. That pain of suddenly losing someone who had always supported you, laughed with you, and lived with you has considerably subsided after all the help from family and friends.

The question that I want to ask is. I feel that I’m ready to move on, not relationship wise, but how exactly can I utilize the concepts you wrote in my situation?

37 MStarks November 28, 2011 at 3:03 am

Wow! Great stuff. I feel like i was just kicked in the balls with the motivational boot combination of Tyler Durden and Leonidas. Fantastic! Keep it up.

38 Mark November 28, 2011 at 8:49 am

A truly inspiring article. If you ally it to the fact that your cellular body physically changes every seven years it is almost impossible to to say that we can’t or won’t change. Brilliant stuff.

39 Brett Dent December 3, 2011 at 10:59 pm

Maybe I tried to read too much into this, and I do appreciate the sentiment of the article, but I’m sorry to say I didn’t really get anything out of it. The only thing I see is an explanation of what I can expect once I make the “three critical adjustments.” But HOW? Do I just wish myself to have made those adjustments, or is there any specific advice in here that I’ve missed? Surely I’m not only 1 of 2 people out of the 39 comments that didn’t get it. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not bitter as Kenny above, just left scratching my head like I’ve missed the key to the meaning of life based on the other comments.

Much respect to Tyler for posting a well-written article on a difficult subject, and I’ll have to check out your website because I like the sound of it. But what I read just didn’t resonate with my expectations.

40 Mikey G. December 4, 2011 at 11:28 pm


Really enjoyed this article a lot. Just turned 25 and not thrilled with the way things are turning out. However, you made me take a look back at what I accomplished in just this year and I did a lot! Just to mention a few things, I received my degree, traveled to new places and even made it to Vegas for the first time in my life. Had a few relationships along the way, nothing that stuck but definitely don’t regret them. Yet, currently just stuck in this rut of a lame job and not meeting new people just hoping days will pass me by! I want so much but fear is definitely a culprit for me! Technically I should be invinsible, I have nothing to lose and a very supportive family that will always have my back. But personally the idea of failure just kills me and it has had an effect on many areas of my life from women and even sports. Your article put it nicely, take small steps and win little victories and maybe it will multiply into success and not an epic fail. I look forward to reading more from you and I plan on slowing down a bit to get a different perspective on things! Thanks!!!

41 Casey Lee December 8, 2011 at 3:43 am

You know, this has been one of the first times I traversed the internet for something that may be inspiring to what I have lost. Almost four years ago now my fiancee eloped with a friend that felt like family and been known for over ten years then. I trained him in many things, our trust was unbreakable before then. In the end, they took everything cause to them I was a coward for refusing to help them. Lost even contact with family.

Two years of living house to house, desperately making ends meet, I finally met the end when I found myself living in a car for another two years. When I look back, I’m amazed how much they took from me when we’re weren’t even married. It shouldn’t have come to loosing that much, but it did. Now 25, living in a small apartment I have been trying to find my inspiration since the previous one seems dead. It is now that I read this article that speaks to me in a level I wouldn’t think would happen with such an article. Thanks for this amazing read! I felt the urgency before, now I know it wasn’t just desperation to just find something.

42 Jim September 29, 2013 at 8:41 pm

It was amazing to read about almost everything that I am currently doing, feeling and not doing. I have never connected more with an article than I have with this one. Squandering life is a big part of my guilt right now and has been for quite some time. Not being the man I want to be or need to be at this point in life. Being complacent on top of procrastination doesn’t help either and is a monster snowballing.
Great writing AoM

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