Choose yourself

For as long as I can remember I've put other people's needs ahead of my own. I don't say this to gain sympathy, and I'm not a martyr. I do it because it works for me. It makes me feel useful and valuable. Making other people happy, and meeting their needs, makes me happy.

Right? Well kind of.

I stumbled upon a book recently called Choose Yourself by James Altucher. It's available on Kindle or as a paperback. It's a business book, a #1 best seller on Amazon, and it's widely regarded by people I admire from afar as a book worth reading. I like it too. It acknowledges the world is changing, jobs are disappearing, industries are being disruptedĀ  and traditional educations are becoming less and less relevant in the new economy that's rising from the ashes. And it teaches you how to use that to your advantage. It teaches you that the world is hyper-competitive and you can't just tick a bunch of boxes and expect to land the perfect job and keep it forever. You need to put your hand up, create your own luck, and choose yourself. Constantly. If you're just starting a career, or you feel you're in a rut, I strongly encourage you to read this book.

But it's not the lessons in business that were most helpful to me. As a semi-successful professional in my early 30s, somehow I've never failed to grasp the concept that it's up to me to back myself, make myself useful to people who are going places, and then set about creating a job and career that I enjoy and that I find meaningful and satisfying.

The problem for me is that I've never been able to translate these lessons very well into my personal life. For a long time I've run my life to please others, or at the very least, run it in such a way as to not **displease** others. While people have often described me as someone who blazes his own path, to a large extent I've actually played by other people's rule book and expected everything to work out. And it hasn't always been the case.

As 2013 draws to a close, I've finally come to realise that choosing myself and putting my own needs first on a daily basis is the only way to get ahead and create lasting happiness. Choosing myself not only gets my own needs met, which is exciting and refreshing, but it has the added bonus of attracting people into my life who are the same, and who want to see me doing things that make me happy.

Living this way isn't without some discomfort. I've struggled, and continue to struggle through feelings of guilt and a sense that people will consider me selfish. But I know myself well enough to know this isn't true. I'm not a selfish person, I'm just bringing myself into the middle.

People who take responsibility for their lives and their own happiness have a lot more to give to those who really need it, because there's no room for resentment. Nothing is expected in return. You already have everything you need. I want to be one of these people.

As we begin to move into 2014, the people in my life I value most are those who encourage me to choose myself and live my life the way I want to live it. The people who are skilled at meeting their own needs and don't rely excessively on other people to make them happy. I'm becoming less and less interested in people who hold me back, even unwittingly. Myself included.

posted by Dylan on 21 October 2013, 9:49 pm in

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