There was a time in my life when I was selfish. Apathetic. I played video games 16 hours a day. I dropped out of high school, twice, and I didn’t give a sh*t about what anybody thought.
At the same time, I was depressed, I was lonely, and I had no friends. Big surprise!
I contemplated suicide. Nobody else seemed to care about me, so why should I care about me? Life sucked anyway. There was no point.
Eventually I got tired of torturing myself with the idea, and began to seriously consider it. Was I thinking of suicide as a f*cked up form of entertainment, or was I going to follow through with it? Was I the ultimate coward?
Sitting in my living room having this honest conversation with myself, I considered what the alternative was—living. Did I want to live? I was in pain, a lot of it, but if it was possible for me to overcome this challenge, and ultimately become successful in life, would I choose that instead? I knew that answer was yes.
If I wasn’t going to end my life, then I had to do the complete opposite—live it to the fullest.
I had to go for it, and not hold back.
I had to dedicate my life to pursuing my dreams, and see just how far I could go—how much of my potential I could realize. There was no purpose greater than my personal development. This was the beginning of my inspired life.
I didn’t really know where to start. I had no friends or mentors, so I just started with the different areas of my life that I wasn’t happy with.
At first, that was my social life, so I started going out to nightclubs every single night. I didn’t drink alcohol, and I kept a notebook to write down the lessons I was learning. Eventually I started sharing these lessons on a blog.
At work I hated having to ask for permission to take the weekend off. I wanted to be spontaneous, and have the freedom and flexibility to do whatever I wanted. So I quit, and started my own business. When I quit I didn’t have an idea, or any business experience—I hadn’t even graduated high school, remember? But I knew there was no way I was ever going to work for someone else. It took me three months to come up with an idea that helped me pay rent, but I survived, and haven’t looked back since.
Now that last paragraph makes me cringe a bit, because it’s starting to sound like the typical “success story.” I was in this position, I made this decision, and now I’m successful. But there are a lot of stories you don’t know. Like the time I ate ramen noodles for months because I couldn’t afford anything better. Or the month I sold my Nintendo Wii to pay rent. Or the year I couch-surfed, also known as living on friends couches for free, across the U.S. to meet new people. Or the hundreds of times I’ve received an email from a service telling me my monthly payment was declined and I needed to swap it to a different credit card. Or the time I had to send an email pouring my heart out to my friends to ask for their support in making one of my dreams come true.
Being vulnerable is not always fun, in fact most of the time, it’s torture, but there was no other way. That last one happened this week.
It’s been nine years since I began dedicating my life to pursing my dreams, and what’s crazy is… it’s worked! I’ve succeeded! Today I run the largest support community for video game addiction. It’s called Game Quitters and we have members in 67 countries. That last part blows my mind. I speak at high schools, and on college campuses. I’ve spoken on TEDx stages, been interviewed by VICE, FOX, CW, and many others. I’ve traveled to 22 countries. I go surfing daily in the afternoon. I even retired from the cold Canadian winter, and moved to California, also known as paradise.
All of that is amazing, and I’m proud of it, but the real change has happened internally. I’m happy. Confident. Fulfilled. I wake up every day with purpose. Regardless of the adversity I face at times, I know I can overcome the impossible. To be at the point I am right now is the impossible. I can succeed. More than that, I hear from people on a daily basis who’s lives I’ve been able to impact. I hear from PHD students who are finally graduating, teenagers who no longer feel alone, and fathers who now have a relationship with their daughter. None of this would have been possible if I didn’t start with myself first.
So now I want to give back. I want my life to be one of service. I want to pay it forward. I want to go above and beyond. And recently I launched an initiative to build a clean water well in Tanzania, Africa. In the future I want to help fundraise for after-school programs, the crisis hotline, suicide prevention, and so much more. But I can’t do it alone and need your support. Because together we can make an impact that extends far greater than ourselves. Together we can create real and lasting change. Together we can leave a legacy. We can leave a positive dent in the universe.
So that’s a lot about me. But what I’ve learned throughout this crazy journey of mine is that so many of us have similar stories. We struggle with anxiety. Depression. Not feeling good enough. The life that has been planned for us, we reject. We don’t always know how to take that next step, but we know we need to take it. We get caught up in telling other people about our dreams, instead of just living them, and letting that speak for itself. I share my story today not because I need your validation. If one thing hasn’t changed since I was little, it’s my level of not giving a f*ck about what someone else thinks of what I do.
I share my story to be an example. To be an example of what’s possible when you make the decision to go for it. When you decide to go all-in, and refuse to settle for anything else.
If I could leave you with anything, it would be this:
1. Commit your life to pursuing your dreams.
As Casey Neistat shared in this YouTube video, “if you commit your entire life to a dream, you will find it, because if you commit your everything, your entire being, there’s only one of two possible outcomes. Number one: You’ll find it, you will succeed. Or number two: you’ll die trying, and it won’t make a difference either way.”
2. Take it one day at a time.
Your life consists of every single day, 24 hours at a time. Make the most of every day, and you’ll make the most of your life. What you do today becomes tomorrow, so focus on today. It’s all you’ve got.
3. Launch a project.
Projects give you structure, and structure gives you purpose. Purpose is your reason to wake up in the morning. Without a purpose it’s easy to get caught up in the anxiety, the fear, and the self-doubt. Launch a project and commit your everything to seeing it through. It doesn’t have to be your forever, but you need something. Remember that the purpose of a project has a lot less to do with the project itself, and more about who you have to become in order for it to succeed.
You are going to wake up tomorrow anyways. You might as well just go for it.
But don’t wait until tomorrow to start. Start now. In this moment. Because this moment is the same moment you’re going to have tomorrow where you ask yourself: Am I really going to go for it?
I believe in you. You’ve got this.
P.S. If you’d like to join me in building a clean water well for a village in Tanzania this October, click here to learn more. We are 80% funded and I need your support to cross the finish line. Every amount counts. Our deadline is September 9th. If you are unable to donate, please share it on social media.
P.P.S. I always respond to all emails and comments. It’s something I’m passionate about. If you’d like to connect with me, leave a comment below, hit me up on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, or Snapchat.