When I was about 23 years old, I reached the peak of an existential crisis. I was dealing with a form of survivor's guilt from being in a car crash when I was 19, and struggling with my coming of age evolving from adolescent to adult. In those 4 years I became totally depressed. I pushed all my friends away including my girlfriend of 4 years at the time. My music career had come to a halt. I was cutting hair but didn’t like the place I was in at the time. I knew I was looking at life the wrong way, but I didn’t know how to find the right way.
The therapist I was seeing at the time, an older man by the name of Evan, offered me some perspective that I will never forget. He might have just been making conversation at the time, but it was what I needed to turn my life around.
He said something like ‘Let’s assume for a second that God doesn’t sway the course of reality instance by instance. Let’s assume God set up rules in the beginning of time that are constant, and the only reason why unpredictable things happen in life is because we do not completely understand these rules. If that's true then the more we learn the rules of reality, the better we will understand how things work and why things happen.'
He might not have meant it to have such a big impact on me, but from that day on I realised the change I had to make in my own life. I had to start observing life like a scientist. I had to begin to learn about each aspect of life as it applied to me, and even document my findings along the way. I began to see life as a great experiment. I began to see myself as an architect of my own future instead of... maybe a blindfolded surfer in God’s private wave pool.
You have to start believing in the significance of your journey on this Earth.
You can either assume your life is totally 100% important, or you can assume your life is meaningless. What I’ve discovered studying business owners is the ones who are successful believe they are creating their own meaning in life. By their desires, their goals, and their actions.
If Albert Einstein spent his entire life on the couch eating potato chips, what meaning would his life have had?
If you stop doing what you are doing right now and give up on everything, would you still accomplish what you set out to do by going to beauty school? There’s no way.
You can’t live a fulfilled, meaningful life by letting life happen to you.
If you want to live a meaningful life, you have no choice but to believe that everything you do has a significant impact on the outcome of your life.
You are the architect of your destiny, the scientist of your life’s great experiment.
Start treating your life as such. Document the process. Keep a daily journal and write your discoveries. Journal what you learn each day, what feelings you have about your experiences, information about the people you meet and the opportunities or challenges that come your way.
Over time you will form scientific conclusions from this information that will help you make important decisions in your life. Record videos of you practicing your work. Talk about your experiences on a regular basis. It will amaze you how much progress you make in life by having a scientific approach to it.
Know where you are going. Know the road by the destination. (Reverse engineering)
In 2016 I went to my first yoga retreat in Joshua Tree, California. I had no idea what to expect going into it, but it was like heaven on earth to me.
On the first day I attended a workshop class about finding your purpose. But I think for you it will help to solidify in your mind what your long-term goals are.
The teacher, a young yogi in his 30s, shared his story and then passed out some paper and pens.
(I recommend you follow along here with a paper and pen, as it will be helpful for you.)
He told us to write down our 3-5 strongest skills. They could be technical skills or soft skills. They can be related to beauty services or they could be an everyday life skill.
Then he told us to write down our 3-5 strongest interests.
Here you can include some industries you have previous experience in if you don't have 3.
You might be really interested in your family life. Maybe a sport. The world of beauty is probably one for you considering you are either a stylist or attending cosmetology school. Whatever it is, write them down.
Today I would choose networking, music, spirituality.
Then he told us to write down what 3 behaviors we would use to define our childhood. I chose playing music, playing pretend superhero, and socializing.
The object of the exercise is to choose the 3 that cross over each section the most. If you don’t have any that cover all 3 sections, sum up which 3 seem the strongest out of all three sections. Then create a Venn diagram with three circles, and write those 3 factors in the circles. What you are looking at is the perfect cross section of your life. For me today, that would be music, networking, and communication.
Take the 3 things and combine them into one sentence to form your own life purpose statement.
For example mine would be something like, “My life purpose is to create and share music and communicate helpful ideas.”
Since you are working toward a career in the beauty industry you can say "In 15 years I want to be ___ by____ with____ "
Keep your sentence between 10-15 words.
If the exercise doesn’t work for you because your 3 don’t seem right, start over. Remember it’s just an exercise not fortune telling, it’s meant to be fun and to help you.
Keep crafting your sentence until you have something you like.
Then write that sentence on a piece of paper and keep it on your nightstand, under your pillow, or in your wallet. It will help guide you. The time should come in a year or two when you will need to do it again because we are constantly growing, changing, adapting to the world, which is also ever-changing, growing, and adapting.
It’s important that you know where you are going if you want to get somewhere specific.
Most people who start a business are following a principle called 'reverse engineering.'
Reverse engineering means taking your end goal, and following the trail step by step backwards until you get to the beginning. That way you know which steps to take on your way to your goal.
Let’s say you’re building a house from scratch. On the first day, you should find a picture of a house that you want to build. Then you should get some blueprints of that house that specify the dimensions, the amount of beams, the materials for the roof and the base, etcetera. If you start building the house without knowing what type of house you want to build, you’re going to end up with a very funky looking, unstable house.
If you want to know how Oprah got to where she is now, guess what? You can Google it. You can buy her book for $10 at Barnes & Noble right now.
You wanna know how Warren Buffet became the wealthiest investor of all time? There's countless hours of video on Youtube of him talking about his journey, his thought process, his decision making. You can learn from his partner Charlie Munger. You can find out the specific details in his book. You can read their company’s quarterly and annual reports. In fact you can write these people a concisely-worded email and they might reply. Everyone reads email.
You can't know everything, but you can know anything. You can learn it for free and instantly. So decide where you want to go and start working backwards from there writing down each step in full detail.
Reverse engineering will greatly impact your life. It gives you a roadmap for any goal you want to accomplish.
Want to lose 30 pounds? Write down the number of pounds you want to weigh and a realistic timeline for achieving that goal. It’s common knowledge that a healthy amount of weight to lose is 1-2 pounds per week. So you can divide 30 by 2 and see that with consistent, moderate effort you will lose 30 pounds in 15 weeks. You will have achieved your ideal weight in just 3-4 short months.
Want to open your own salon? Calculate how much it costs. Work your way back from there.
Reverse engineering is an extremely powerful tool. It is a mental model used by great achievers and businesspeople to reach their goals.
Go ahead and apply it to what you are working on right now and see how much clearer your path becomes.