Rule Circumstances; Don’t Let Your Circumstances Rule You

Dear friend,

You might live in a shitty state of circumstances; but I want to encourage you — you can control your future and your fate.

Rule circumstances; dont let your circumstances rule you.

No matter what your circumstances in life; know you have control to change your fate.

Do you have a shitty job? Learn how to program on the side, when you have free time — and try to get a new job as a computer programmer. Learn on CodeAcademy for free. Or learn on

Are you poor, and have no opportunities? Fuck circumstances; make your own opportunities. Learn how to hustle, work hard, to pick up the extra shift at work, and to put your expenses to the minimum. Cut your smartphone plan, cut your cable TV, stop eating out, make your own coffee at home, move into a smaller apartment, and see how cheaply you can feed yourself with. Elon Musk apparently fed himself on $1 a day (eating hot dogs and spaghetti) when he built up his first company.

Even though you might not have the right resources, skills, money, or opportunities — you always have your own resourcefulness. You always have your own mind. You always have your creativity, you have your hunger, and your sense of hustle.

1. Learn how to fast

I think one of the big steps to controlling your fate is to become comfortable with hunger. To learn how to fast.

I’ve never grown up hungry as a kid. But I did grow up with getting free lunch in school, I did grow up with my dad gambling away the rent money, and I did grow up worrying whether my mom could pay the month rent or not. I still have vivid memories of my mom telling me, “Eric, I just want to let you know — your dad gambled away the rent money this month. We might be homeless next month.”

Unfortunately, there are lots of kids around the world, who go to sleep hungry. I no longer go to sleep hungry, but I fast throughout the day. I don’t eat breakfast or lunch anymore. Part of it is health — I feel sharper, more focused, and more productive when I don’t eat food during the day. Also, part of it is spiritual — it takes away my sense of entitlement. Also when I feel my hunger pangs (like I do right now, as I write these words) — I think of all the suffering people in the world. I feel more grateful, because I know I will eat dinner tonight.

So if you really want to learn how to not be afraid of fate, learn how to fast. See how long you can go in a day without eating. Maybe that just means skipping breakfast. Or having a light lunch. Or going to bed a (little) hungry.

If you’re not afraid of hunger; and you have mastered your stomach — you will feel a lot less fear in life.

And if you are an entrepreneur — and you want to pursue your passion for your living, you need to learn how to live a simple life. To learn how to live in a shittier apartment than you’re used to. To learn how to stretch your dollar as far as it can go. To learn how to be creative and innovative with the few tools you already own. To learn how to become a full-time photographer without buying a new camera, lens, and gear. To learn how to become a filmmaker with just your smartphone.

I think the best hustlers and entrepreneurs are those who grew up in poverty. I’m inspired by the hustle of Jay-Z — who grew up in the projects. He grew up with a single mom, and hustled his way out of poverty.

2. You’re a fucking badass

No matter how shitty your circumstances in life are — if your parents died when you were little, whether you were beaten (physically, mentally, sexually) as a kid, whether you have suffered other forms of death (death of your children, of your loved ones), whether you have become disabled (mentally, physically), whether you have demons from your past, whether you have a shitty boss, whether you have shitty parents, or whatever — you can fucking overcome any shit.

You’re a fucking badass; and you’re a lot stronger than you think you are.

Imagine yourself like wolverine. You have the power to re-generate. You still feel pain, but you are indestructible. Your bones are made out of adamantium — stronger than steel, and you can cut through diamonds.

You are one of the 300 Spartans, laughing in the face of death.

You are Brad Pitt, laughing while he’s getting beaten up in Fight Club, bloody, jaw broken, and half-blinded.

You’re Muhammad Ali — you can take 100 hits to your body, and ‘rope a dope’ until you tire out your opponent.

You have infinite endurance. When you’re getting beaten up in life — imagine like God sent you a strong opponent, to test your skill, and to make yourself stronger.

When your loved ones piss you off, anger you, or criticize you — imagine like you are a jet-black war horse, and little dogs are barking at you. You are too great and magnanimous to even notice the yelping of little puppies.

See yourself as an immortal God — with an invincible crimson-red cloak. That cloak protects you against any attack. When others try to attack you, it is like they are shooting puny little wooden arrows at you. But these arrows just helplessly bounce off your impenetrable cloak.

Or imagine like yourself like Neo from the Matrix. Others will shoot their bullets at you, but you have the power to stop the bullets with your mind. Then the bullets fall helplessly to the ground.

Imagine your negative situation in life as something fun for you to overcome. Life is boring without any challenges.

If your life is difficult or tough; see it as a challenge in life’s RPG (role playing video game). You are the hero of the video game of life. You start off with 0 experience points, and only 100 hit points. As you fight demons, monsters, and opponents — you ‘level up.’ You get stronger. You pick up armor, new weapons, and you increase your strength, agility, intelligence, and skills.

There is nothing worse in a video game than fighting opponents who are too weak. It is always fun when you have a challenge — when you are on the brink of death; there is nothing more thrilling.

3. Play the cards you are dealt

I used to play a lot of texas-holdem poker with my friends.

The best player was my friend Justin Lee. He knew how to play his hand well; regardless of the cards he was dealt.

He would sometimes out-bluff the rest of us. I remember once, he had a 2 and 5 (off-suit — aka the worst hand in texas-holdem poker), and I had a King-Queen (paired, both hearts). He out-bluffed me, and I folded.

In life, we cannot control the hand we are dealt in life. But we can play our hand the best we can.

For example, I grew up to a poor mom. She had no money to give me. So as a kid, I learned how to hustle, pick up part-time jobs, to earn money — to buy the stuff I wanted.

I knew that if I wanted to lift myself out of poverty, I needed to hustle hard in school, get into a good college, and hopefully get a good job, so I wouldn’t end up having the same fate as my mom, barely having enough to pay the rent.

So the practical tip I have is this — see your difficult situation in life as a fun challenge. In video games, I always love starting off as the weakest character, and building myself up. When you max-out the statistics, the strength, and level up the character to the maximum — it is boring. You start all over again.

Even now, I have become a bit soft because I finally have some money, stability, and stuff. But I’m trying to re-start myself. Whenever I blog, I imagine like it is my first blog post, and my last blog post.

Even in my life now, even though I finally have some money saved up, I still try to live like a starving college student. I prefer to shoot with a cheaper camera (Ricoh GR II), I prefer to eat eggs to fill my stomach, and I prefer eating at simpler restaurants (even though occasionally I do splurge). By forcing myself to re-think of my old college days, when I would pretend not to be hungry at dinner with my friends (to save money) — it helps me find more gratitude in life.

Conclusion: We’re all in this together

I don’t mean to write these words to talk down on you, or to blame you.

No. We all have had pain, loss, and struggle in life. We are all brothers and sisters in this journey in life. We are all here to uplift one another and support one another.

I just want to encourage you, no matter how shitty your life might be — you have control over your future.

Is money your problem? See how you can cut your expenses, or how you can pick up some side-jobs to earn more money. Start driving for Uber or Lyft, or learn how to program and maybe one day you can get a new tech-job somewhere in San Francisco. Even easier — the quickest way to becoming more ‘wealthy’ is by having fewer desires. To not desire the newest smartphone, to not desire the newest camera, the newest car, or to live in some fancy house.

Is negative memories from the past your problem? Study Stoic Philosophy, learn how to forgive those from your past, and learn how to make the best out of today. To find gratitude, positivity, and love in your life.

Friend, always be strong.

Always, Eric