Where Your Best Opportunities Are Hidden

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    110 people had breakthroughs this week. Will the next one be you?

    One thing for you to think about

    Always question your first assumptions.

    The best opportunities often appear to be huge mistakes on the surface. That’s why they’re opportunities.

    The biggest mistakes often appear to be huge opportunities on the surface. That’s why they’re mistakes.

    Reflect: Then consider sharing this thought with others.

    Four things for you to ask yourself

    Think back to the biggest mistakes you’ve ever made. Did they seem like good ideas at the time? They probably did. Think back to the biggest opportunities you’ve ever had. Did they seem like risky/dumb moves at the time? They probably did.

    Now think about your current life. What seems like an opportunity today that might actually be a mistake? What seems like a mistake today that might actually be an opportunity?

    Recommended: Use these as journaling prompts for the week.

    One thing for you to try this week

    If you realize you’re pursuing a mistake, put the brakes on this week. If you notice an opportunity, go for it this week. In both cases, let me know how it goes.

    Remember: Small changes lead to lasting breakthroughs. Reply to this email and let me know how it went for you.

    New This Week

    The Ultimate Guide to Not Giving a F*ck – This YouTube video has been three months in the making. I flew out to Atlanta to spend a weekend with a fan who struggles with being shy/anxious/self-conscious/etc. By the end of it, I had him jumping out of an airplane in a chicken costume… no, really. I did. Go watch.

    What Nobody Tells You About Getting Rich (ft. Morgan Housel) – The podcast continues with my friend Morgan Housel, the bestselling author of The Psychology of Money. He and I talk about why people attach moral meaning to wealth, what the experience of becoming wealthy is actually like (from a psychological perspective), and how to not fuck up your kids. Check it out!

    Last week’s breakthroughs (and a question answered)

    In last week’s newsletter, I asked you to think of someone you compare yourself to regularly and find ways in which you might be wrong.

    Gemma is trading jealousy for compassion:

    I’m money-obsessed. How much does everyone make? How much did their new car cost? How much did they spend at that restaurant for their birthday? And so on. I’ve got a very bad tendency to hyper-focus on the cost of everything and compare that to how little I’ve got, and how I can’t afford that car/meal/whatever. I’m not proud of it but manage to keep it to myself most of the time.

    Today I was talking to a friend about another friend of mine and how much she’s recently spent on something for her new kitchen, which is being renovated. But then after reading your email I really felt awful—it was what you said about people’s internal struggles that we don’t see.

    I know my friend struggles with her mental health, she’s been very open and I’ve been there for her in some very tough spots. I suddenly realized that yes, she may have an amazing new kitchen, but her mental health is fragile and her internal struggles are what I should be concerned about. Not her fucking renovation.

    So thank you. I won’t compare myself with her financially again. My health is my wealth. And I’m so lucky that my health is good, even if my kitchen is a bit shit.

    Hannah was able to reframe how she sees her competition:

    I recently found myself comparing myself to a competitor in my field. I thought, ‘every time she launches she makes 300+ sales, but I only make 50 or so.’

    After reading this email, it dawned on me. What she has in external numbers must mean a huge team to pay. She also has kids, I don’t, so her expenses are naturally higher. She lives in the USA and has a mortgage to pay off. She must work around the clock.

    What about me? I have a very favorable profit margin and live in a luxury apartment with an ocean view in Mexico. Most of my money stays in my pocket—there’s a chance that my very breezy workload gives me more freedom and quite possibly more personal income to enjoy.

    I designed [my business] the way I wanted, she designed it the way she needed. This was a powerful reframe for me!

    Maria pointed out that this unhelpful comparison can be with yourself:

    You didn’t mention comparing your ‘today’ you to your ‘five years ago’ you. That’s the battle I fight every single day.

    I just had a baby two months ago and I keep comparing my body and emotions to how I was five years ago. I was, obviously, a couple sizes smaller and I had a better grip on my emotions.

    I’ve been telling myself that five years ago I didn’t have a baby, five years ago I lived in another country, five years ago I had a stable job. I have to stop comparing myself to that person. I am not her anymore.

    Today’s me have faced so many challenges and come out winning. I moved to another country where no one wants to hire me, and I adapted. I helped my family adjust to our new environment. I created my second little human (like damn girl!).

    I remind myself that I am stronger than I was five years ago and that I have a whole lot to be thankful for, which I am.

    Finally, a question from LP I’d like to answer for the benefit of all who find themselves in the same situation:

    I have struggled greatly with depression in the past few months. My life is full and it should be fulfilling. I am far better off than many others in the world. If my situation is so wonderful compared to the lives of others, why is it so hard for me to be happy? My comparisons are different compared to others’, but I don’t know how to stop or even if I should. Any advice?

    Your life is full, but full of what? Full of things other people would be happy with? Or full of things that you are happy with?

    It sounds like you’ve put all of your energy into winning the comparison game rather than stepping away from it. And that can leave you in an awkward position of having a great life on paper, but not being satisfied with any of it.

    Here’s a starting point: if you had to spend your life doing things with total anonymity—i.e., no one would ever know how successful/unsuccessful you were at anything—what would you spend your time doing?

    Find that and pour everything into winning at that game.

    As always, send your breakthroughs by simply replying to this email. Let me know if you’d prefer to remain anonymous.

    Until next week,

    Mark Manson

    #1 New York Times Bestselling Author
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