“There is nothing permanent except change” – Heraclitus
I am going to dedicate this entry to a friend I have been fortunate to have known intimately for over a decade. The man I am about to introduce to you is not the luckiest man in the world. He was never dealt the best cards in the game of life and in his 27 years of existences has had more then his fair share of challenges. His long term ex-girlfriend cheated on him and left him, his career opportunities and income sources have been consistently restrictive and has already been bankrupted. This is Stuart;
When I was 13 years old my family moved from the western suburb of Sydney to a small rural town of Glen Innes. Including the surrounding shires Glen Innes had a population of 15,000 and it was so small that all the retailers closed at 12pm on Saturday and never opened on Sunday. Movies came to Glen Innes 3-6 months after cinema release and in 2008 finally got a MacDonalds despite being situated on a main highway between Sydney and Brisbane. It was here that I made some of my best and oldest friends to date that I still spend regular time with.
Stuart was never the most popular kid at school. He hated sports, his music taste was against the country and western music that most others enjoyed and he had a hairy body which gave him the nickname Magilla Gorilla. While it could have been easy to brush past Stu, I found some of my favourite high school moments involved Stuart. From eating noodle buns, walking for hours under the moonlight of a clear country sky talking about alien existence to sitting up for hours playing the various gaming systems that came out during my childhood (Mega Drive, N64) and the ongoing Lylat Wars battles. Stuarts biggest enemy in life, however; was himself. He believed the world was against him for almost as long as I knew him, he believed he would die alone and that he was a victim of circumstance and NOTHING would change his position in life. Becoming bankrupt, having his car repossessed, losing his job, having his girlfriend cheat then leave him and putting on a ton of weight only reinforced everything he believed.
The straw broke the camels back and enough was enough for me.
I watch him struggle with his life and as much as he wanted to change I knew he didn’t have a map to direct him to positive change. The first task I begged Stuart to do was to wake up every morning and speak to himself in the mirror. I asked that he would compliment himself each day and with every new morning the compliment had to be different. He told me that this was the stupidest thing he had anyone ask him to do but promised to give it a go. While some people may view me as an arrogant person at times, I always believed that before you could love somebody you needed to love yourself. Stuart hadn’t loved himself in a long time and would have spent years reinforcing negative stories based on his life experiences and criticizing his ability and potential.
Stuart didn’t needed help with the ladies or with his appearance but rather his identity and who he saw himself as. How we see ourselves influences our actions (or lack of actions). If you don’t believe me, think of somebody in your life that would never sky dive, eat a fried cricket or wear a suit because “that’s not me”. They are restricting their lives based on a judgement and yet how do they not know fried crickets are not their favourite dish?
Slowly this young man has transformed himself. He has dropped a considerable amount of weight, he has found a fantastic new girlfriend and has recently bought another car which he has used to take trips to the beach and some holidays in the near future. On Sunday night Stuart told me that during his drive to the beach one of his friends did something stupid in the car and Stuart yelled out “Don’t kill me, I’ve got too much to live for…”. The conversation in the car froze and one his mates said “that doesn’t sound like you Stu” and he was right. The Stuart everyone once knew had changed… not only physically but also mentally. He was a master of his domain and even if life threw him another dud card, he wouldn’t let life dictate his future. He was now in control.
We can all learn from Stuart. Life never gives us a perfect hand and it is easy to blame others but for someone to be financially, emotionally or intellectually rich I ask what responsibility have you taken on board? Once you have accepted responsibility then you can create choices to reach your goal.
I am so proud of Stuart and am honoured not only to have assisted him on his path but to call him a friend. If anyone is looking for inspiration on how to achieve your goals, look no further then this man. Well done brother!