Drunk, broke, and nearly homeless, he hardly expected that a TV show would give him the exact ah-ha he needed to turn it all around.
If you would have talked with me seven years ago, I would have told you that my life was miserable. I was drinking myself to sleep every night, my car had broken down, and I was in heavy debt.
I wanted to find a job that I enjoyed. I wanted to find a job that paid well. As I searched, finding a job that did both seemed impossible.
I have to be completely honest — I hated life.
At one point, I was so broke I would go over to friends’ houses and eat their leftovers just so I could eat. I was miserable. And I would do anything to take my mind off of it.
I ended up over at a friend’s house watching TV one day. And a show came on called “Taboo.” It’s about weird things that happen around the world.
This particular episode was about tribesmen who would go through this crazy ritual in order to be considered men in their tribe. They’d literally get tied down and cut with razor blades thousands of times over their bodies in patterns that are supposed to symbolize the skin of a crocodile. Yikes!
“The Yatma tribe believes that to become a man, you must first be reduced to nothing.”
These tribesmen would just lay there for days in pain and agony, only to have elders pack their wounds with salt and whip them once in a while for good measure.
When they came out, they were men. And they believed they had the spirit of the crocodile within them.
I stared at the TV in terror and amazement. I noticed my jaw had dropped as my thoughts turned inward. But my dismay turned to excitement as I began to have this realization. There was something hidden going on in the background. Something that was immensely powerful.
I began to feel the hairs stand on the back of my neck. Sudden insight rushed over my body.
I had to stand up. I darted out of the house, excited for the first time in what seemed like ages.
This realization became something that changed everything in my life from that moment until now.
But before I share with you what that was, let me take you back so that you can understand it better and know why it was so important to me. I had just moved to Arizona. I was ready to get out of my previous sales job and move back into something I enjoyed a bit more.
I became a personal trainer. Changing people’s lives seemed so meaningful. But I was hardly making more than minimum wage, and that was ONLY if I had a client. They wanted me to start selling again. But I was burnt out. Once again, a choice — fulfillment or money?
I had spent years chasing money, following the American dream, doing what society said I should be doing. It got me some nice stuff. But I was miserable. I wanted to enjoy my life, I wanted to be happy.
You CAN buy “happiness.” The old adage is wrong. But the happiness you buy is fleeting. It doesn’t last. And as soon as the momentary happiness fix wears off, you’re right back in the rat race, going for something bigger, better, cooler.
To me, that’s not real happiness. That’s misery. And I was in it.
I felt like a failure. I had been working so hard for years to create this persona of someone who was important to the world.
I had gotten caught up in looking good for so long that it eventually started tearing me apart.
Is this really all there is to life; slaving away to a job I hate so I can buy stuff and look good?
My finances were deteriorating and I began selling stuff off to pay my bills. It seemed like everyone was pushing me to get back in the race. But every time I thought of chasing money again, it felt like I was wasting my life. It felt like I was chasing someone else’s dream.
I’ve tasted passion before. But this was empty of emotion.
I’ve believed in a cause before. But this seemed so meaningless.
I’ve felt fulfilled in my life. But this wasn’t it.
It just didn’t seem worth it.
At this point, I was nearly homeless. I was in debt, barely making money at my job, and still focused on impressing people.
I looked at everyone around me. I was friends with millionaires and people who had everything material I wanted. But when I became friends with these people, when I got them to open up to me, they were no happier than I was on a day-to-day basis.
They still felt alone. They still felt frustrated. They still felt like they needed to have more in order to finally make it in the world.
It seemed like I spent my whole life working to buy things I didn’t want so that I could impress people I didn’t know.
I began drinking… heavily. I wanted to numb the pain.
But it was still there, nagging at me. I was confused, frustrated, angry.
Until one day, I was sitting on that couch, watching that show about tribal rituals, when it finally dawned on me.
Smiling kids in third world countries began racing through my mind. Sweat lodges. Meditation. Tribal rituals. Sun dance ceremonies.
They all had one thing in common.
This one idea changes the entire way life is experienced, forever.
This crazy idea called “Transformation.” But what does that even mean? Transformation?
A lot of people think transformation is about changing oneself. And if you want to change who you are, that means you don’t like who you are, right?
Fortunately, it isn’t about changing who you are. It’s about becoming authentic and following your own dreams instead of everyone else’s. It’s about discovering what makes life meaningful to you and creating a life based around that.
Whose dream are you following?
Initially, going off on your own path in life with will be met with resistance, envy, and sometimes even resentment from friends and family members. But why listen to them if they don’t understand what you truly want for yourself?
If you want to live a truly meaningful life, get involved in transforming yourself. Find out what old, out-of-date ideas are sabotaging your ability to enjoy your life.
The men of the Yatma tribe subjected themselves to a lot of pain. Yet that experience allowed them to face their demons and come out the other side more powerful than ever before.
I eventually found my path to freedom and happiness by facing my demons and embracing the suffering in my life as a teacher instead of allowing it to destroy me.
Here’s what I’ve learned through transformation: It’s better to show people who you really are in the pursuit of becoming someone greater than it is to live your life a lie, pretending to be someone you could be much greater than.
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