A junior in college named Max posted a cry for help on Reddit titled “I just don’t care about myself” which garnered thousands of thoughtful replies. But one reply was so inspiring we just had to share. If you’re ever feeling down, just read this…
Ouch. Sounds like you’re having a tough time, Max. That sucks. I’ve been there, so I kind of know what you’re talking about. I’ve been in the ever circling vortex of self doubt, frustration, and loathing. It’s no bueno. I know. If you don’t mind, let me tell you a couple things. You can read them if you want, read them again later if you feel like it. But honestly man, if I spend all this time typing this out to you and you don’t let it be a little tinder for your fire, well, you’re just letting us both down. And you don’t HAVE to do that. You don’t HAVE to do anything. But you get to choose.
Who am I? My name’s Ryan and I live in Canada. I just moved to a new city for a dream job that I got because of the rules below. I owe a lot of my success to people much cooler, kinder, more loving and greater than me. When I get the chance to maybe let a little bit of help out, it’s a way of thanking them.
Rule Number 1: There Are No More Zero Days.
What’s a “zero day?” A zero day is when you don’t do a single thing towards whatever dream or goal or want or whatever that you got going on. No more zeros. I’m not saying you gotta bust an essay out every day, that’s not the point. The point I’m trying to make is that you have to make yourself, promise yourself, that the new SYSTEM you live in is a NON-ZERO system. Didn’t do anything all day and it’s 11:58 PM? Write one sentence. One pushup. Read one page of that chapter. One. Because one is non-zero. You feel me? When you’re in the super vortex of being bummed your pattern of behavior is keeping the vortex going, that’s what you’re used to. Turning into a productivity master of the universe doesn’t happen from the vortex. It happens from a massive string of CONSISTENT NON-ZEROS. That’s rule number one. Do not forget.
Rule Number 2: BE GRATEFUL TO THE 3 YOU’S.
Uh, what? Three me’s? News flash, there are three you’s homeslice. There’s the past you, the present you, and the future you. If you wanna love someone and have someone love you back, you gotta learn to love yourself, and the three you’s are the key. Be GRATEFUL to the past you for the positive things you’ve done. And do favors for the future you like you would for your best friend. Feeling like sh*t today? Stop a second, think of a good decision you made yesterday. Salad and tuna instead of a Big Mac? THANK YOU YOUNGER ME. Was yesterday a non-zero day because you wrote 200 words (hey, that’s all you could muster)? THANK YOU YOUNGER ME. Saved up some coin over time to buy that sweet thing you wanted? THANK YOU. Second part of the three me’s is you gotta do your future self a favor, just like you would for your best friend (no best friend? you do now. You got two. It’s future and past you). Tired as hell and can’t get off reddit/videogames/interwebs? Forget you present self, this one’s for future me, I’m gonna rock out p90x Ab Ripper X for 17 minutes. I’m doing this one for future me. Alarm clock goes off and bed is too comfy? Forget your present self, this one’s for my best friend, the future me. I’m up and going for a 5 km run (or 25 meter run, it’s gotta be non-zero). MAKE SURE YOU THANK YOUR OLD SELF for rocking out at the end of every.single.thing. That makes your life better. The cycle of doing something for someone else (future you) and thanking someone for the good in your life (past you) is key to building gratitude and productivity. Do not doubt me. Over time you should spread the gratitude to others who help you on your path.
Rule number 3: FORGIVE YOURSELF.
I mean it. Maybe you got all the know-how, money, ability, strength and talent to do whatever it is you wanna do. But lets say you still didn’t do it. Now you’re giving yourself sh*t for not doing what you need to, to be who you want to. Heads up champion, being disappointed in yourself causes you to be less productive. Tried your best to have a non-zero day yesterday and it failed? So what. I forgive you previous self. I forgive you. But today? Today is a non-zero masterpiece to the best of my ability for my future self. This one’s for you future self. Forgiveness man, use it. I forgive you. Say it out loud.
Rule Number 4: Exercise and Books.
That’s it. Pretty standard advice but when you exercise daily you actually get smarter. When you exercise you get high from endorphins (thanks body). When you exercise you clear your mind. When you exercise you are doing your future self a huge favor. Exercise is a leg on a three legged stool. Feel me? As for books, almost everything we’ve all ever thought of, or felt, or gone through, or wanted, or wanted to know how to do, or whatever, has been figured out by someone else. Get some books, Max. Post to Reddit about not caring about yourself? Good first step! (non-zero day, thanks younger me for typing it out) You know what else you could do? Read “7 habits of highly successful people.” Read “emotional intelligence.” Read “From good to great.” Read “Thinking Fast and Slow.” Read books that will help you understand. Reading is the warp whistle from Super Mario 3. It gets you to the next level that much faster.
That’s about it, man. There’s so much more when it comes to how to turn non-zero days into hugely non-zero days, but that’s not your mission right now. Your mission is non-zero and forgiveness and favors. You got 36 essays due in 24 minutes and it’s impossible to pull off? Your past self let you down big time, but hey… I forgive you. Do as much as you can in those 24 minutes and then move on.
I hope I helped a little bit, Max. I could write about this forever, but I promised myself I would go do a 15 minute run while listening to A. Skillz Beats Working Vol. 3. Gotta jet. One last piece of advice though: Regardless of whether or not reading this for the first time helps make your day better, if you wake up tomorrow, and you can’t remember the 4 rules I just laid out, please, please read this again.
Have an awesome day.