"Everything I ever do blows up in my face." He is slumped forward in his chair, avoiding eye contact and fidgeting with his hands.
"Everyone told me to get a car. 'It will help' they said. I didn't need it, I lost everything I had worked for in eight months."
"People told me to go to school, they said it would help. Now I've wasted four years and I'm in debt."
I didn't really know what to say to him. Most lessons we encounter in life are only remembered because they leave scars.
That day, he peeled back the scar tissue and showed me the painful lesson he had learned.
Don't life your life according to someone else's curriculum.
I recently quit my job. The place I work at was infamous for trapping people and keeping them forever.
I had been there seven years, I was making better money than I would elsewhere but it no longer felt right to me.
It was a toxic environment that was chipping away at my mental stability.
I was due for a raise and I figured that the extra money would make it more bearable. That I would be able to stand it if I just made a little more.
But the raise came and went, and I was still coming home feeling drained and depressed.
So I quit.
People warned me that I would not make as much anywhere else.
They poked and prodded me to find out what my plans were so that they could talk about me behind my back.
"He wants to go to Spain and travel for a year, he won't be able to afford that."
"This 2HelpfulGuys thing isn't going to go anywhere. He should have just stayed here and saved."
Living to appease those around you will never lead to happiness.
Our whole lives we are told what we should do.
People tell you that you should go to school, get a job, find a spouse, mortgage a house, raise a family.
I didn't want to go down this path and I can feel how uncomfortable it makes people around me.
As soon as I tell people about my dreams, writing books, public speaking, motivating people, starting businesses, they immediately warn me of the inevitable outcomes.
"You only have a 1% chance to make it. What about retirement? Where is the job security?"
Whenever people tell you what you can or can't do, remember that it is just a reflection of their own limitations.
These people never chased their dreams.
They left them to die somewhere in the past.
In a classroom where the teacher said they couldn't make it. Or in their living room where there parents told them that they would amount to nothing without a degree and stable job.
I know too many people with degrees they will never use, material objects that bring them no joy and lives that leave them unfulfilled.
All so that people will say "Oh, that's good for you." When asked what they have been up to.
I have no idea where my future will take me.
What I do know is that as long as I am following what I believe is my purpose in life, I'll be happy.
I know people don't believe in me when I tell them my goals, but I don't need their approval.
The only approval I need is from the man in the mirror. When I am home alone, contemplating my life, everyone else in the world may as well not exist.
They will come and go like seasons in my life. The only opinion that matters is the one staring back from the glass. And right now he is thinking "You're doing the right thing, you've got this."