Hi Past Mike,
Future Mike here.
There is something very important that I and that means you failed to understand for a long time.
Many people, you included, believe there are shortcuts and hacks to money, power, love, skill and all the other things that are important to them. This belief is terribly wrong and few are more destructive.
So please listen to me and don’t fall for it.
Let me explain.
When you were young you were constantly searching for treasures. You did search for fossils remember? Every find was incredibly precious. Guess what? It’s not. You should have got that by now. The thought there were things to be found that would instantly make you rich, maybe famous and could change your life was something natural. Maybe it is like that for all kids.
This belief holds a long time. That’s why most teen novels carry the protagonist out of his normal life into something new and fantastic. Something secret and hidden. Some secret knowledge or entrance. Or even a secret past. Something that drastically changes his/her life in an instant. Many superhero movies are the same, comics, mangas, games you name it.
It might be something evolutionary. It is so deeply ingrained in our psyche that many people never learn its wrong.
Understanding that there are no shortcuts is a major step in growing up.
In fact, people who fail to understand it, fail at life.
Heres the good news: You’ll learn it. But 10 years earlier would be so much better! So here is what I came up with.
There is no shortcut to wealth
Ok. Major one first. Many, MANY, people get this wrong and fall for the same traps over and over again. There are no money hacks, no spontaneous shooting stars, no one gets rich overnight. Most wealth is inherited. It took generations to build it. People who really got from rags to riches normally worked their ass off, were incredibly lucky and are very few. The ones that got rich by lottery or some other shenanigans are much fewer and many of them lose their wealth just as fast.
Just getting a lot of money doesn’t make you good at managing it.
Let me get this straight: Every fiction in your head, every offer by anyone, every guide or tutorial that promises wealth fast or without work is wrong. Yes, there might be the selected few that get rich quick and keep it somehow, but mathematically it would be stupid to believe you are one of them.
You are not stupid. You’ll get it.
There is no shortcut to love
You can’t make someone love you. There are no tricks when you are searching for someone that might spend every day with you. Everyone gets to know your true self after that long. You can’t play forever.
The only way to make someone love you is becoming a person that deserves to be loved.
Be kind. Stop thinking about yourself. Stop thinking about getting someone. Just be the best you and everything will be fine. Some people are so nervous that they visit courses on how to talk to women. Most don’t need that. Some might. I don’t know. You don’t btw.
That said. If you are friend zoned: get out of there. Nothing to gain.
There is no shortcut to skill
Ok, that’s a short one: There are no geniuses. At least not how you would define them. Noone ever won a gold medal without training. Noone ever solved a hard problem in mathematics without learning the basics. Even Mozart composing when he was five is a myth. (He did, but it was bad and he truly started in his twenties after years of training) There is no best selling first novel. Every good writer has had his share of bad writing first.
You don’t believe me. Just read their biographies. Ask them. Every spontaneous success story is a story of years of training and failure that no one noticed.
That means for you: there is no skill in which you or anyone is the best just by figuring out which one it is. Reality doesn’t work this way. Stop searching.
If you want to be good at something. Train hard for a long time!
There is a shortcut to happiness, but it’ll kill you
Being happy just means lots of dopamine and other happy chemicals in your brain. Drugs do that fast and kill you in the end. Get a Ticket to Frankfurt and watch some addicts sleeping in the gutter if you don’t believe me.
By other means its much less easy. There is no one thing that is making anyone happy forever. Buy something, feel empty the next day. Even lottery winners are back to their basic happiness levels after a year. The moment you reach a goal the happiness starts sinking and you need a new success.
This also includes love by the way. It isn’t your partners’ responsibility to make you eternally happy. That belief has killed many relationships. A relationship can support you, it can make you happy sometimes, but happiness always comes from you. It can’t make you happy all the time.
When someone is happy all the time its called mania. That’s a medical condition and leads people to totally ruining their lives.
Your level of general happiness might be pretty much fixed. I’m not entirely sure, but it seems people who are naturally less happy tend to stay that way. Sounds like bad news huh? You are a low happiness person. More on the depressive side. But that’s ok.
Heres the good news: Happiness is not making your life worth living. It is short-lived, fun and you should have a lot of it, but something else is much more important.
So let’s get to the last one.
There is no shortcut to fulfillment
Yeah, fulfillment. People are hitting that word by now for being overused and it is. Being fulfilled doesn’t mean being happy. It’s more than that.
Being fulfilled means to be sure that what you are doing right now is the right thing to do. Even if it’s hard or painful.
Try doing something hard. Care for other people. Learn new skills and get better at ones you think you have mastered.
TRY. LEARN. CARE.
Ask a world-class pianist if he was happy when he is was five years old playing the piano every afternoon while his friends were playing outside. Ask him how he felt when he was tested. Ask a world-class athlete if every 5-hour training session is making him happy. Spoiler: It isn’t.
Then ask them if they wished they were doing something else.
Fulfillment is not happiness. Happiness is not the meaning of life.
That’s what I can come up with for now. Just remember:
Everything precious is hard to get. No exceptions.
People who don’t get that, amount to nothing and often it leads them to hate. If you believe in shortcuts, you believe that other people are using them not telling anyone else. They behave like the kids in shooters that can’t believe that others beat them and blame cheats. Just don’t be that crybaby ok?
Are there cheaters? Yes. Some.
Is everyone who gets ahead of you a cheater? No. Most of them aren’t. You are just not good at what you do. You could learn from them if you accept that.