The Biggest Waste of Time in Life

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

    Two things for you to think about

    The second biggest waste of time is to try helping someone who asked for help but doesn’t actually want it.

    The biggest is to be that person who asked.


    The person who asks for help and doesn’t want it, and the person who gives it even though it isn’t wanted, both want the same thing: to feel seen.

    Reflect: Then consider sharing this thought with others.

    Three things for you to ask yourself

    Do you really want help or do you want attention and validation? Do you really want to help or do you also want attention and validation?

    How much more time are you willing to waste?

    Recommended: Use these as journaling prompts for the week.

    Two things for you to try this week

    Stop wasting time on people who don’t actually want it. Stop wasting time waiting for someone to give you what you don’t want to receive.

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

    New This Week

    My Advice for If You’re at Rock Bottom – Our greatest transformations often come from our worst moments. This quick video talks about the lesser-known research behind trauma and how our pain can become some of our most unexpected sources of strength. Check it out.

    The Unsettling Truth About Self-Discipline (ft. Rich Roll) – I’ve often wondered if self-discipline is just a way of turning bad addictions into healthy ones. There’s no one better to talk about this with than Rich Roll, former ultra-endurance athlete, recovered addict, author, and podcaster.

    We talk about the value of pain as a catalyst for change, the idea that addiction is a spectrum that doesn’t just involve substances, terrible breakups, finding a deeper spirituality, lessons from Rich’s financial struggles, his career running a top podcast, and much, much more. Check it out.

    Last week’s breakthroughs

    In last week’s newsletter, I wrote about how the only failure in life is to never fail. For if you never fail, you never learn. I then asked you to go fail spectacularly.

    For Kirsty, it was her repeated failures that eventually brought success:

    At the ripe old age of 49, I decided that I didn’t want to spend the next 18 years until retirement working in my current field. I had no clue what to do instead, but ended up looking into coding.

    I tried an online seminar, which I loved, but the course cost thousands, and since I currently work for a charity, my available funds aren’t exactly high!

    I was able to find an organization offering scholarships, if you could successfully pass an entry challenge. So, I started studying. I failed so many times over, trying to understand the materials and how to make my code work! I would spend hours on a problem trying to figure out why it wasn’t doing what I wanted it to.

    The feeling when I finally cracked each part was second to none. When I eventually took the hour-long challenge I was terrified, my brain blanked out for the first five minutes, as I just sat reading the first line, over and over again, unable to process a word.

    Then I remembered all the times that I’d been stuck, and that every single time, I’d got unstuck. All that failure came together in that moment, and I was able to clear my panicked mind and begin the challenge. I passed, and am delighted to say I begin full-time training in September.

    I have to give up my job to do this, and I only have a small pot of funds to keep me going while I train, so the potential for failure is huge. But you know what, I don’t give a fuck! If I fail, I will still come out the other side with way more knowledge and skills than I have now. And I won’t quit, I’ll just find another way to keep learning, until I have enough skills to get a job.

    Elli unexpectedly failed at work, and the outcome surprised her:

    I was thrown into a project at work I had absolutely no idea of. I know how to do my job which is completely different but I thought ‘I always figured things out, so I’ll figure it out now, too.’ Boy, did I fail!

    Surprisingly, no one hates me for it. I always thought people would talk shit about me if I failed. I thought nobody would want to work or even talk with me anymore. Did the team give me negative feedback? Absolutely. Do they still want to work with me? Yes. Did they even praise my courage to jump into something I didn’t know anything about? Yes!

    I learned a lot about project management and that I definitely don’t want to do it, and of course about myself and the image others have of me.

    Our final reader is ready to fail, and loving every moment:

    My big failure? Not sure yet, but I decided to move to New York, as I love the city and was born here. This move is a surefire way to a lot of failures, but at the same time it is a big adventure—the adventure I call life!

    I could have stayed in Munich, the place I lived the last 12 years, the same apartment, the same people, the same environment, the same job. It was the easy choice, the predictable. But it made me unhappy, and I knew, either I make that change now or I will forever regret it.

    So I went on the adventure of life! Jump into the cold water and go with it. Working on making it in New York and seeing where it leads me!

    The result? I have no fucking clue, but it feels frightening, exciting, stupid, funny, adventurous, and like for the first time, at 37 years old, I decided to just follow my heart and intuition! And that is the beauty of it!

    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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