How to turn a disastrous year into the best year of your life

Image via Flickr

You look back at 2015 and all you can say is, fuck! Nothing fucking worked! You did your fucking best and you fucking know it, but it just wasn’t fucking good enough. Heck, sometimes it was the result of someone’s actions that put you in such a fucking mess. Then there are those experiences that really just came down to bad fucking luck. Such experiences are out of your hand no matter how good your yoda-like due diligence process is. If someone says to you they can control 100% of the outcome, they’re fucking lying to you! It wasn’t a few bad days here and there, you had a fucking disastrous year!

(I have used the f-word nine times in the above paragraph. Yeah, that’s ALOT but that’s probably not fucking enough if you know what I’m talking about. If profanity is not your cup of tea, you can replace the f-word with fudge. Everybody loves fudge! But if you’re reading this, it’s too late. Haha.)

You could get angry at 2015 and do what the Hulk does but that doesn’t achieve shit except cause destruction. Most notably the people most dear to you, that is, family and friends, will no longer want to be with you because all you ever do is complain and complain! Don’t get me wrong, venting your frustration and anger is perfectly fine. Life is tough, it can get the better of anyone, but doing it over, over, over and over again? Really? Think about it. Would you want to spend your precious time with someone who complains all day long? Everybody has problems. It’s not just you!

Here’s what my 2015 looked like:

  • Started the year depressed. I was part of a scam that effectively swindled $2,000,000 out of everyday people. I had no idea. I snapped out of it in January. It was my birthday. Three months after I resigned.
  • After my quarterly checkup at the hospital in February, my haemoglobin levels showed a sharp drop. I had an operation in March. The worst case scenario? I had bowel cancer.
  • I had an opportunity to run the sales division for one of the world’s most innovative companies in April. After a three month process, I was pipped at the finishing line.
  • I was threatened with legal action by a tenant for something that was caused by someone’s negligent action. This ended in July. Ten months after the damage was first reported.
  • I joined a startup set up by one of Australia’s most successful technology entreprenuers in August. It lasted as long as the interview process. I just came onboard too early. Simple as that.
  • In November, I had an opportunity to pursue a very different life in Shanghai, China. It never eventuated because I couldn’t get health insurance for my pre-existing medical condition.
  • Needless to say my career took a massive nose dive. Having short spells of employment doesn’t look too good. Being scammed is not something people know how to react to. Nor did I.
  • Last but not least, this is always at the back of my head.

Here’s what I learned from each of the above experiences:

  • Depression is real. It took me a long time to pinpoint exactly why I was in such a state. For me it was about forgiving my intuition for failing me. Specifically, it took four months to realise I was in a scam and to identify the conman who orchestrated it.
  • You burn about 500 calories per hour to keep warm in extreme cold. The fact I wasn’t myself and I was in foreign country that averaged -12°, and where food was not ideal due to my dietary requirements, a drop in your haemoglobin levels can sometimes be caused simply by poor nutrition.
  • You owe it to yourself to understand why something didn’t go according to plan or in other words, why you failed. I am proud of getting out of my comfort zone to learn an industry I had zero prior knowledge in. In the end it came to my lack of industry experience. It is what it is.
  • There are people in this world who will drive you to the ground solely because they can. So how do you deal with this type of person? Disarm by showing respect. Put yourself in that person’s shoes and ask yourself, “Why is he/she acting like this?” 99% of the time it is pride.
  • You build a billion dollar company with (1) a phenomenal work ethic and (2) mental toughness. How you choose to spend your time will determine your success. Life has an opportunity cost. So what’s success? It’s whatever YOU define it to be. Remember that.
  • No matter how good you are at lining up your ducks in a row, nothing is guaranteed. Luck, fortune, karma, serendipity, etc. exists. Yes, you can place yourself in the best possible position to succeed but making your own luck is bullshit. It implies you have control. You don’t.
  • “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. Albert Einstein. Don’t send the same resume over, over, over, and over again. A/B test and adopt lean startup principles. Yes, you can apply it to job hunting. I’ll save this for another post.
  • If it doesn’t affect your health, it’s not a problem.

Catch my drift?

Here’s what I also did in 2015:

  • I can now Russian deadlift 80kg. I think this is quite a feat considering I had no idea what a deadlift was at the start of the year. I weigh 65kg.
  • I can now perform a wide-grip pull-up with proper form (3-sets of 10 to be exact). I couldn’t do one at the start of the year.
  • I can now hit an off-forehand with power and precision. My total tennis game has also improved. I handed out my first “bagel” last week.
  • I have learned to be a better husband. So many arguments are based on trivial matters. Ego is what destroys a marriage.
  • I have learned to be a better son and brother. The door to my heart will always be open to them no matter what. Thank you, Ajahn Brahm.
  • I have read 364 articles. 182 of them are on fitness and nutrition whilst the other 182 relate to entrepreneurship, business and sales.
  • I have read 6 books ranging from startups, selling, religion, fashion, self-help, and health. That’s one every two months.
  • I decided to stop seeing certain people in my life. This has freed up time to focus on those who bring me joy. I haven’t turned back.

Celebrate the small wins in life.

Yeah the past year sucks monkey balls but if you set aside time to learn from each negative experience, there will be life lessons that will stay with you for the rest of life. Shit happens. Learn to deal with it and you will evolve.

Your best years await. Happy New Year!

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