Sipping my cappuccino and minding my own business in Bali, Indonesia.
There you go, whiners. Read it slowly and let it sink in. No one owes you anything. OK, not whiners, everyone.
I just finished reading a classic personal finance book Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. The fundamental message is that people who think life owes them something are being bashed by life. By the job, government, society norms and their beliefs. If you are not happy, rich, healthy or fulfilled, the problem is you. It may sound as I am arrogant and offensive but that is true. People who never achieve anything blame others and don't see themselves. If you got defensive reading the previous sentence, step back and observe yourself, maybe all the time you have been blaming others for your life.
Who are you blaming?
I was raised in a family, just like in the mentioned book, would blame the government, the rich, job, or anything else. We were struggling financially, not living the way we would like to and not having paid what we thought was fair.
When I went to school, they tried to teach me that if I get good grades, listen to authorities I will get a good job, good salary and will be happy. As if there was someone waiting for me to reward me for my good grades and effort being the best student (I was the best student).
Luckily, I was not accepting that idea, it didn't feel right for me. I wanted autonomy and freedom to do whatever I wanted on my own terms. It is not easy to just simply do what you want, you have basic needs like food, clothes, shelter and so on. But simply not accepting the fact that there is someone responsible for me, like my parents, job or government allowed me to switch my mindset and start developing my freedom plan.
I had a vision to work for myself. Do what I like and get paid for it. I had no idea what it would be.
After playing computer games for almost two years I felt I was wasting my time and just expecting things to happen. I was 16 when I started researching how to make money online. One of the ways was graphic design. I instantly felt hooked and started learning Photoshop, following tutorials and copying great designers. After some time, I was curious to see if I can earn anything using my skills. After a couple of days scrolling job offers, I found a very simple listing asking for an animated banner. I had no idea how to do it but I thought I will figure it out if I get the job. I applied. After showing some examples of my work I got the job and completed it.
That moment I realized that I can do anything I want and I will focus on my skillset to create value for people and get paid for it.
That was a confirmation for myself that I don't need to listen to my teachers or parents seriously because I found a way to escape the rat race. Instead of expecting something, I was creating something.
You're not amazing
Many people like myself are raised with an idea that they are amazing, one of a kind and world owes them something. The thing is, the sooner you realize that you are insignificant and no one owes you anything you feel empowered of building your own destiny. You stop complaining, you stop wishing and hoping, you become more grateful for things that go right, you learn from things that go wrong and you toughen up because you understand that after your success or defeat, no one owes you anything.
Just because they are your parents it doesn't mean they have to buy you food, pay for your college or provide free shelter when you f**k up. Yes, it's the norm, they are loving parents but they don't owe it to you. Society made you think they do but they don't.
Another thing, no matter what job you have, you always want to earn more, have more days off, get benefits etc. Again, your job doesn't owe you that. Your boss doesn't owe you anything even if you think you are underpaid.
You are responsible for your life. How happy or healthy you are, how much you earn, how much freedom you have, how much you respect and are respected. You owe everything to yourself. If you have a shitty job, it's you that made the decision to get it. If you have miserable relationships, it's not other people, it's you who let yourself justify and let people with low standards, negative attitude, and narrow mindset control your life. It's all in you.
"You are responsible for your life. If you're sitting around waiting on somebody to save you, to fix you, to even help you, you are wasting your time. Only you have the power to move your life forward." - Oprah Winfrey
I don't know exactly when I switched into the creating mode, but it helped me to stop looking at other people and expecting them to hand me out a golden opportunity. I knew there is no one in the world that is going to do everything for me, I had to get my hands dirty and fight for it. Fight with myself and my preprogrammed beliefs. Instead of waiting I started learning, writing, creating, experimenting, failing, starting over again and seeing some sort of positive outcomes. Since I created that first animated banner for $5 I earned over $30,000 in the last three years just from that skill.
Commit to change
"How do you get everything done?" - people ask me. I choose to get things done. I complain very little (don't take me wrong, I still complain). I embrace the fact that I am "the master of my fate, the captain of my soul" and work towards my goals.
If it means learning a new skill, I do it. If it means sending 200 emails, I do it. If it means waking up at 5 am, I do it. I fail a lot along the way. But I keep moving forward.
If I can do it, so can you. You simply need to commit to change and accept the fact that you are the only one who owes you anything.
You have to truly start believing in yourself and what you want to achieve. I might not believe in you, most often your friends and even your parents will not believe in you. You have to convince yourself and believe it with all you got in order to see numerous ways to achieve it. Whether it's to have a magazine cover body, build a business, travel, write a book or find someone you love. Believe in it. Every day, every second.
Let the burning desire become bigger than your fears
Turn your belief into a burning desire. Burning desire is the cure for fear of failure. When it's burning inside, you become blind of failure. You just keep moving forward.
My desire is to live an extraordinary life, impact millions of lives and gain financial freedom. I desire to work only on what excites me, train my body and mind, and leave a legacy. This desire for a healthy, fulfilling and challenging lifestyle is pushing me forward. That is why I start one project, it doesn't go well, I kill it and start another one. Step by step my projects get better, my body with daily training gets stronger, my mind with daily learning gets sharper, my income increases, my network and brand expands and ultimately my happiness boosts and lets me live with a purpose.
"You just can't beat the person who never gives up." -- Babe Ruth
Forget all the ways it won't work. Burning desire doesn't care about it. The thing about the burning desire is that if it doesn't work out the first time it should burn even stronger. For me, it's 8th year that I am pursuing same goals and it still burns, it still pushes me forward. My belief turned into burning desire that turned into confidence that no matter what, I will get where I want to be.
What are you fighting for?
Subscribe to my email list for more inspiring stories.
A version of this post originally appeared at tomaslau.com.