What efforts are worth making within a system where it’s nearly impossible to get ahead? Who is worth your time in a society full of unreliable people? Bottom line: what should we be doing right now?
Let’s say you have money. The inflation we’ve seen over the past ten to fifteen years means we can’t out-earn our diminishing purchasing power.
There are mismanaged pension plans and entitlement programs with trillion-dollar commitments, but no funds to sustain them—so the burden of bailing them out will fall on anyone still able to eke out a living in these unstable times.
As for stocks, there’s no telling when the next collapse will undercut investors once again. If even the government- and industry-approved places to siphon off and store your acorns aren’t safe—how are you supposed to invest your time?
Here’s my take. In March of last year, a business alliance I had spent months preparing fell through after my new partner had a midlife crisis and disappeared for over a month. After he came back, I made every effort to accommodate his revised proposal for how the business should operate—only to get jerked around over things like minor phrases in the paperwork, until I realized that he would never sign.
So there I was, having gone from thinking I’d found a mentor whose alliance would vault me toward not just financial stability, but real wealth—only to learn that I had wasted my time with someone who was tempting self-destruction.
I was exhausted, and with my thirty-eighth birthday approaching, also embarrassed and nearly swooning about what to do. You know, you want to make your family proud, you want to achieve great things, and god damn, you want to be free from chasing down rent money.
So after all this, in June, I started working on a new writing concept. At first it was going to be an editorial to post on my blog, but on a whim I started merging it with a dystopian fiction idea I’d written on a hotel notepad sometime in the past—this was the spark, and the next thing I knew, I was off on a frantic six-week creative binge that resulted in my first novel, Reparations USA.
After that, I had to refocus on my existing small business during the busy fall season. But the whole time, I kept chipping away at the sequel. All through the holidays and on football Sundays with friends, I got up early and wrote a thousand words with my morning coffee.
And three weeks ago, I published book two, Reparations Mind. This whole experience has changed the direction of my life—I’ve felt an overall hardening of my being—and the most important lesson, which takes us back to the questions at the beginning of this video, is a concept that I call irrevocable deeds.
Inflation devalues the dollar? Fine. Market crash decimates your stock portfolio? It happens. Girlfriend of two years gets bored and cheats? That’s life. BUT! Is there anything we can do that stands up better against outside forces?
Well, I just wrote two novels. No one can ever take that away from me, no matter how many copies they do or don’t sell. And when you complete important personal projects, they tend to act as a world warp for your mind and your life. Doors will open when you achieve this balance of commitment and courage.
So I say to people looking at a landscape of political turmoil and bleak prospects, or who are feeling fear and doubt—ask yourself, “What can I do as a unique expression of myself that puts a stake in the ground? A personally stamped act that will be a source of pride, regardless of the market’s trends or flaky people?”
There’s an interesting catch though. Many of my own creative projects, which at the time I believed to be the next great thing, were often met with such silence that you could hear a pin drop. A good friend and fellow creative type once told me that the most important thing is to keep growing your body of work. Having expectations is what leads to feeling hollow and disappointed when the accolades don’t follow.
Patience, life balance, and allowing yourself time to have fun are also critical so that you don’t burn out. This down time is when new ideas tend to incubate as well.
A final thought: any survey of the news, social media, or even your credit card balance can make you feel like we’re all stuck in a futile game. It’s just really difficult to be heard or find meaningful work right now.
But catching a bad break last year forced me onto a different path that, in hindsight, I’m glad to be on. I’m writing books and am on fire creatively—and this never would have happened if my business deal went through as planned.
So no matter what rut you might be in, ask yourself, “What potential inside me is lying dormant right now? What unique and fulfilling process can I begin that will serve as my anchor of personal power in the storm of confusion?”
The irrevocable deed. To change your life, define it, and make your own earnest mark in the world.
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Books can be purchased on Amazon here.
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Video was originally uploaded on April 25, 2018.