I never wrote a post about my story and how I got to creating Motivated Mastery. I guess its a story worth sharing?
About two and a half years ago, I was in one of the strangest, yet most amazing situations in my life: I was completely lost.
I was failing most of my classes in community college, had no goals and couldn’t identify my passions, and I relentlessly beat myself up. I couldn’t answer the renown question, “What do you want to do with your life?” I think this is a common dilemma amongst many college students … or maybe people in general. My situation was a mixture of laziness but also a heavy dosage of being stuck.
The desire to be great was present — no questioning that — but I had no idea where to start. I had gone to school my whole life from the moment I stepped into pre-school, all the way to graduating high school and going to a community college 20 minutes away from my home for that Fall semester. For that period of time, I never thought about what I should do to create a life for myself. I think they call that a career decision.
Do you believe that everything happens for a reason?
Even when my life was as stale as old bagels, I still had my adventurous moments: I started to paintball.
Through this hobby, I met someone who, I believe, came into my life for a reason: my friend Eddie. He’s older than I am, has a family, and a long history filled with multiple careers and life lessons. I look up to him as both a mentor and a brother. We saw each other the way fisherman do from afar. And we both loved playing PC games.
He realized my situation, my frustrations, struggles, and the desire to pursue greatness; he always offered his perspective, and many times, I respectfully agreed and took it upon myself to learn from it. Out of all the things he could have told me to get into, he told me to start a blog — even though I had never taken writing seriously, and at the time I couldn’t differentiate their, there, and they’re.
So, he helped me start; my first blog was called Junhax. Originally it was for video gaming reviews, ramblings, whatever. At the time — because I loved video gaming so much — I thought I could finally get paid for it. That lasted about three months before I called quits. At that moment I learned that doing anything for just the money is not the smartest way to go. That’s the kinda advice you hear your whole life, but until you try it you probably won’t understand what the smarter people are trying to tell you.
That summer I pondered if I wanted to continue with this blogging thing. That’s when I started to live and breathe the phrase, “Knowledge is power,” simply because I wanted to know more about the world I was living in. That desire to be great started to reignite.
I did what I never thought I would do: voraciously read. I realized that many successful people read a lot of books. It was difficult at first; I would try to read at night only to wake up in the morning with the book bent in half and across the room. After a while, I developed the habit. Life started to feel a bit different. My mindset changed, the ideas that swam in my head changed, and I began having a more clear focus of what it was I wanted to do: I wanted to be a writer.
After that summer, I decided to redesign my blog and start over — which I did, I think, a total of six or seven times. I started to write about writing, blogging, social media, and some personal development. I took Jon Morrow’s course on Guest blogging, and from there my perception of the internet expanded tremendously. I studied the certain principles that good writers exercised that made them remarkable. I started to see patterns. I began practicing those principles, as well as reading a book a week.
I had a few guest posts accepted on some popular blogs, but I was still trying to discover what I really wanted to write about. At the time, I had about less than 100 subscribers on Junhax. Motivated Mastery at this moment has about 500 — and the blog has been up for only 7 months (end of February to when this post went live).
I’m not really a birthday or holiday kinda guy; as I got older the less I cared, which I never thought would actually happen. But this Christmas was the most memorable. It was the most traumatic, stressful, and life-changing event to date.
The day after Christmas, I woke up with a strange, red bump on my arm. The next day, more red bumps. In a week — from the top of my head, around my face, all the way down to my feet — I was camouflaged in red, scaly teardrops.
“Guttate Psoriasis,” said my dermatologist with a sad look on her face. She said she felt my pain — which I doubt unless she had it before— and told me that there wasn’t a cure for it. The only thing I could do is meditate and go to light therapy and apply some overcharged, ineffective cream. Light therapy is very similar to a tanning bed but it’s more monitored and safe. And meditation was something I never even thought about doing — ever.
I was also writing my first eBook around this time, Building An Empire With Words. From December to about April, I lived and breathed self-defeat. I refused to hang out with my closest friends. I sat in my room all day watching T.V shows, reading, and hating my life — I even stopped going to school, which I think most people would do with my current condition. I occasionally worked on my book, which was great because it got my mind off things. But once I looked at my arms or hands or myself in the mirror, I wanted to vanish. It was mentally grueling.
I finally took the advice from my dermatologist and started to meditate — because at this point, I felt hopeless and stuck. Through reading many self-help books — and the one book that changed my life, Meditations by Marcus Aurelius — I learned a little too late that I didn’t have to live this way; I didn’t have to defeat myself or allow negative thoughts to devour me. I realized that choice was always present, and that I could make the choice to start living again. I wrote a guest post for a blog called Tiny Buddha about my story on how meditation helped me.
What meditation did was allow me to become aware of my thoughts, and in turn, motivate me change the stories I was telling myself in my head. Self-awareness was of paramount importance at this stage in my life. I wanted to harness the effectiveness of being aware in every possible situation so that I could be mindful of my actions and decisions. I became aware of myself, my strengths and weaknesses, good and bad habits, and from there, did what was necessary to reinvent myself.
Seth Godin said in one of his latest blog posts, “One way to change behavior is to keep track of how often these little events occur, because seeing them lined up on the windowsill might be enough to change your mind.”
I like that. And I think it’s very true. The more and more I became aware of what I was doing, the more I realized how fruitless some of my actions were.
As the days went by, I paid less and less attention to my skin, and focused more on my work, positive thoughts, and accomplishing my goals.
All Coming Together
Religiously attending light therapy, meditating, and altering my diet, the Psoriasis vanished as quickly as it came. By the end of March, my skin rapidly cleared up, I finished my eBook, and that’s when I decided to get rid of my old blog Junhax and start Motivated Mastery.
I told myself that this blog was going to be focused on one thing: reinventing yourself. It was perfect timing because I realized it was possible, not just for people who suffer from Psoriasis or fail at school, but for everyone that wants to change and find their greatness.
I self-published Building An Empire With Words while the blog was fresh, sent out a handful of guest posts to popular blogs, and within the first few weeks I surpassed the number of subscribers on my old blog. From there, it has continued to grow. I have to thank you for that. And I have to thank those who have stuck around for all this time and continued to believe in me.
At that moment, I really felt like I knew what I was doing — although that’s probably not true. What I do know is that I relentlessly failed forward. I did things even if I had no idea what I was doing. I started a blog and restarted and rebranded numerous times. I faced roadblocks, failed hard, but picked myself up and went at it again. I learned on the way.
I think this mindset is essential to carry around for the rest of our lives.
I don’t know why I never wrote a post on this. It felt amazing to just write it all out and pull out old memories. It made me realize that we constantly live a story; this just happens to be the first 1/4 of it.
I guess my lesson here is that, although you sometimes feel like you know where you’re going, there are roadblocks or unforeseen events that just happen to get in your way. If your ultimate goal is X, then there will be things in between that might cause you to have a change of heart. You might learn or try a different skill — or get Psoriasis. My advice would be to keep the end goal in mind, but also don’t let that stop you from trying or learning new things. If you want to change your course of direction, you can do so that day, little by little.
If I can give anyone one piece of advice it would be this: keep failing forward. It’s not the most eloquent and profound piece of advice, but I also believe that it’s advice people are scared to take, and in turn, never do. When you are trying to find your purpose or grasp an idea of what it is you want to do with your life, you must try new things and fail along the way. Then, and only then, will you learn a great deal about yourself and begin to build your path towards your own success.