Ego Is The Enemy: An Interview With Ryan Holiday

IG: ryanholiday

IG: ryanholiday

Ryan Holiday hit the real world hard and fast. At 19, he decided to drop out of college because he was offered an opportunity any ambitious would-be writer would pounce on: a job as a research assistant to Robert Greene, author of The 48 Laws of Power. This would lead him to working with and advising several bestselling authors and multiplatinum musicians.

He kept the ball rolling from there and became the marketing director of American Apparel, where he put into place a very successful campaign that produced both big profits and heavy criticism. But he grew disgusted with the state of online media and released a book that put his name on the map, Trust Me, I’m Lying. The book detailed how easy it was to manipulate online media because of its lack of source verification and its traffic-driven outrage-porn business model.

After reading that book, I discovered and devoured all of his writings. I studied and applied a lot of his stoic principles about business, life, and writing into my own thought process and actions. He is one of the most unique, practical, and highly respected contemporary thinkers.

In his new book, Ego Is The Enemy, he seeks to advise the reader through the lives of notable and not-so-notable historical and current figures about what havoc an untamed ego can have on a person’s life and how one goes about controlling it.

Raul Felix: Ryan, in this book, you analyze how the ego can have destructive effects on people. You even mentioned seeing one of your mentors transform from someone you aspired to be like to never wanting to be like that person. Egos don’t only exist in people of high achievement or celebrity; it is also quite common in the general population. What common examples do you see today of people with high egos yet little substance to back it up?

Ryan Holiday: Yes, exactly. It is precisely because we see this type of behavior in a lot of prominent public figures that we try to reverse-engineer their success and manufacture the right pose. There are plenty of “wantrepreneurs” out there acting like mini-Steve Jobs and plenty of musicians who think that behaving like Kanye West is acceptable. We falsely assume that ego—manifested in their entitlement, arrogance, braggadocio, and swagger—is what drove success. In fact, it was the talent that compensated for the ridiculous, destructive ego. We don’t think about the survivorship bias that hides from view all the people who’ve failed and flamed out because of their own ego-driven sabotage. What is also hidden is the huge subset of successful people who are not clamoring for the limelight.

We also live in a culture that actively promotes constant self-promotion and grandiosity—all of it magnified by a thousand by social media. It is also hard not to think you’re the greatest if that is the message you’ve been hearing constantly from your parents since you were born. Combine these factors, and you see why we have a downright epidemic of ego.

Part of why I initially wanted to write this book is because I would get a lot of emails from really overconfident and brash young people who would send me all these ridiculous emails. And then at large, you see it for instance with people who are not willing to take entry-level positions—But I went to college! But it was the Ivy League! —or people who are not willing to listen or take any sort of feedback because they think they’ve already figured it all out. You see it with people bragging and boasting about what they’re going to do—their ego craving for validation and applause before the fact.

Raul Felix: A line that really stuck out to me was, “If you start believing in your own greatness it is the death of your creativity.” I’m sure any artist who has produced a piece or two of topnotch work has fallen into that trap—even gloating to themselves or others about their creative genius. I’ve done it a few times when I wrote some really good stuff. How does one avoid falling prey to that part of the ego while keeping the fortitude to drive on?

Ryan Holiday: I love that line, too; it’s actually from Marina Abramović, the performance artist. There is another quote from UFC champion Frank Shamrock that I try to think of on a regular basis: “False ideas about yourself destroy you.”

The second you start gloating and letting success get to your head—that you’ve figured it all out—that’s precisely when you make some critical mistake or miscalculation. In that moment of self-satisfaction, learning grinds to a halt. What I love about writing, actually, is that those feelings are constantly elusive. You can’t get a big head with a craft which requires decades and decades of work before you even begin to approach mastery. There is no “graduation.” If you think like a craftsman, become an eternal student, and adopt a beginner’s mindset, ego is suppressed and you can go on working and working.

The problem is when you start to listen to other people. My last book has started to sell very well, so I could let that puff me up. I’ve gotten some very kind and generous reviews. It would be a mistake to listen to those things too closely. For the next book, you have to continue to approach it with humility and self-awareness. Essentially you have to start from zero.

And in the book I talk about how ego separates us from reality—we start living in our heads. This sort of intoxication with positive feedback and success makes us forget that there are people in our field who are infinitely more successful than we are. Someone recently mentioned that one of the best things about attending TED is how humbling it is to be in a room with all these people. It doesn’t take away what you’ve accomplished, but it puts things into perspective—it grounds you back to reality.

Raul Felix: You also mention the incubation process, that period where you must trudge through a long period of obscurity as you wrestle with a topic or a paradox. What would the incubation process look like for the normal person, who can’t really drop everything and live in a cabin cut away from society as they hone their skills?

Ryan Holiday: I’ve mentioned the incubation process, which is what the strategist John Boyd called his ‘draw-down’ period. It is the time after we’ve had what we think is a brilliant idea and then take the time to process it and think it through before we embark on it.

I do not think it requires you to drop everything and go live in a cabin away from society—I certainly didn’t do that (although living on a ranch helps!). It’s simply the moment after you’ve had the idea, after you’ve put the first round of thinking into the project and then have to step back and say: “OK, what do I really have here?” “Do I actually have something?” “What is this really going to be?”

Otherwise, we have ego telling us that we have the best idea ever and blinds us to all the components that we need to work on. Ego Is the Enemy ended up being different from the initial book proposals precisely because there was time between conception and execution.

And wrestling with a topic or a paradox requires you to invest a serious amount of time in a state of what the author Cal Newport calls “deep work”—that place of intense concentration and cognitive focus where real progress is made. Two examples for me are walking and running, during which I wrestle with ideas. I also have an article on this site on how to accomplish more deep work in our lives where I give some other examples that can be helpful.

Raul Felix: You made an a sharp distinction of how the ego affected two Civil War generals: Ulysses S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman. Grant sought the high office of the presidency and chased after big money, causing him to have one of the most corrupt administrations in our nation’s history and going publicly bankrupt, while Sherman chose to be content and lead a private life afterwards. How can a person distinguish if what they’re chasing after is genuine or if it’s their ego yearning for more?

Ryan Holiday: It’s funny because I really admire both of them. This country we live in would not be possible without the personal heroism and bravery of both of them—probably Grant most of all. At the same time, I find the end of his life to be very sad. I wish he could have enjoyed the success he had.

In my view, the main reason doing that is so hard is because we try to have it. We want what we want and what other people have, too. We want to do our own thing but not be left out, either. We want a quiet life but also want to be the center of attention.

It’s our ego telling us to always say yes to more things, more projects, events, meetings. It will also always say yes to more money if given the opportunity. (Ego doesn’t care whether that’s the right decision for us.) Ego rejects trade-offs. It wants it all. It’s incredible how hard it is for us to say no to anything—again, especially money.

The solution? Really ask yourself: Why do I do what I do? What is important to me? What is the one goal or thing I want more than any other? That’s the question you need to answer. Stare at it until you can. It’s not easy by any stretch, and I am telling you that from my personal experience. I’ve had to do so in my own life and it’s why I have an entire chapter dedicated to that idea. Understand what’s important to you and know your priorities.

The goal is to make decisions with clarity and purpose—not ego. Only after spending time alone and asking ourselves these tough questions can we know which way we are swaying.

Raul Felix: Hitting rock bottom, whatever that may be for a person, is one of those humbling experiences that can make or break you depending on how your ego responds to it. I’ve been through a couple of hard times in my life where I needed to fight for every bit of progress while I got back on my feet. Along the way I learned some lessons. Yet I remember being warned that my actions would lead to that. What do you feel it is about our nature that makes it so we don’t always learn from others but have to fuck up big time in order to drive consequences of our actions through our skull?

Ryan Holiday: Nobody gets very far or lives very long without getting their ass kicked a few times. It’s not pleasant at the time when in retrospect we tend to appreciate those experiences—because we learned so much from them. The problem is that those lessons tend to fade over time, because we start to feel like we’ve moved past them—that we’ve got it. When I got Ego Is the Enemy tattooed on my forearm it is exactly this part of human nature that I wanted to warn myself against on a daily basis. It is this part of us that says that we know better, that makes us unwilling to listen to others, to remember to be objective and clear-headed and honest. I have made those mistakes myself, and having a daily reminder is one way to prevent it from happening again.

And it will always be the case that the hardest lessons are learned from direct experience. Plutarch says that we don’t “so much gain the knowledge of things by the words, as words by the experience [we have] of things.” That shouldn’t be an excuse to not study and learn to prevent those from occurring. Reading books—especially biographies—becomes helpful here. Whatever situation you are currently facing, others have gone through that and written about it.

There’s a quote from Bismarck that says, in effect, any fool can learn from experience. The trick is to learn from other people’s experience. It is why the book is full of cautionary tales—so that we see what ego-driven choices and decisions others made in history and how that led to their downfall. Still, though, I understand that we’re often going to need to experience some of that directly. I wish it wasn’t true, but it is.

~Raul Felix

Read: Teaching Men How To Mate: An Interview With Tucker Max
Read: Keep Moving, Young Man
Read: An Army Ranger Interviews A Navy SEAL On Resilience

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Buffalo Hill Will Make A Man Out Of You

“I’m a fucking beast,” I say to myself,
I take those first steps running up Buffalo Hill.
There is always some college student slowly walking up it,
Occasionally, it’s a chick whose glorious ass I get lost in,
I’m reminded of what I want in my life.
More often, it’s a scrawny nerd unaware of the world around him,
I’m reminded of what I don’t want to become.
Buffalo Hill will make a man out of you.

When the body is in pain, it’s best to let the mind wander.
Halfway up, my mind runs rampant.
Thoughts of women past, family, friends, war, motorcycle trips,
Parking tickets, writing, money, and schemes for pussy.
Buffalo Hill will make a man out of you.

I’m approaching the final incline,
My stride becomes faster, eyes focus, bellowing grunts.
I reach the peak, smile as I stare down on conquered land.
Nice warm up. I continue my run.
Buffalo Hill will make a man out of you.

~Raul Felix

Read: She Was Traveling Through My Country
Read: Becoming A Beast May Help You Win The Beauty
Read: Keep Moving, Young Man

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I Look At Your Dead Blog

I look at your dead blog,
Not a single update in over two and a half years.
You were so avid about it,
Writing those juicy sex stories,
Some fact, some fiction,
Other’s a combination of the two.
Writing was your dream.

I look at your dead blog,
As I am reading over your old entries,
I am reminded of how much more talented I thought you were than me.
The biting jokes,
The shameless sultriness of your words,
The glorification of promiscuity,
Your potential still glows.

We began exchanging e-mails,
Instant messages and video chats.
We would talk every morning.
You believed in my writing,
You would proof read my posts,
You taught me the difference between than and then.

I fell hard.
We made plans for me to fly out to Toronto to see you.
You grew angry with me when I told my ex-girlfriend I was going to see you.
Your unreasonable, female jealousy took hold.
You told me you wouldn’t see me.
I went anyway to prove how serious I was.
Your Eastern European coldness was unmoved.

I walked the streets of that fucking city a broken man,
Holding my hand out, imagining I was holding yours.
Every moment felt like a fucking waste.
I ate those lonely, silent meals.
I drank beers at bars staring into my glass,
I smoked weed at the Hot Box Cafe while writing shitty poetry.
I cried myself to sleep in my cheap hostel room.

I returned to California,
With a tattered heart,
Embarrassed that I was so naive to believe I could prove myself.
A bit of my romantic innocence forever lost.
I wrote motivational pieces to give myself hope.

I hated you for a long time.
I was quickly forgotten by you.
I couldn’t even look at your pictures without the pain returning.
Now when I open that folder,
There’s the merciful feeling of indifference.

A picture of your first baby is your default on Facebook now.
Your priorities have changed.
You have found your happiness.
I look at your dead blog.
Writing was your dream,
Yet, I’m the one who is still pounding away at the keyboard.

~Raul Felix

Read: Empty Chair
Read: She May Have Given Up On You
Read: Heartbreak

Read more of my work at Thought Catalog
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Onward To 2016!

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Sometimes all you need to fix your soul and situation in life is to pop smoke and get the fuck out of Dodge. In the latter part of 2014, I found myself in Upstate New York because of a temporary job that I couldn’t turn down. After working the gig for a few months, cuts occurred and I was out of purgatory. I then traveled around the North East for a month and settled into a lovely little town that caught my heart named Ithaca.

I arrived on a bus from New York City a little after midnight on a blistering cold February night, toting only a backpack and a small duffle bag. With no friends or family in the town, I set off to start a new chapter in my life and put into place some life principles and habits I’ve been pondering around in my head.

“It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.”
-Bruce Lee

I asked myself: What professional principles do I need to ingrain into myself in order to take my writing to the next level and move up the ladder of professional success? What kind of habits do I need to develop in order to become the kind of man I want to be? I figured I needed to do at least two out of four of the following every day:

Work, Work out, Read, and Write.

When I wasn’t sure what to do on a day, I just figured out what I can do in order to make two of these things happen. Did I work my bar job today? Mind too fried to write? I’ll just work out. I need to let my body rest, and I don’t work at any of my jobs today. I’ll read and write.

As simple as it seems, I didn’t always hit the mark. Dates with pretty ladies, random nights of debauchery, riding my motorcycle to visit my Ranger buddies, and at times, the laziness dragon caught me. Yet, those days when I did I hit the mark happened more often than not.

My output with pieces this year was pretty low compared to 2014 when I was pissing off people with sand in their vagina on Thought Catalog and making a name for myself. I began to read and write more poetry and gain a deeper understanding of it. The few articles I did write for Thought Catalog this year I was very proud of.

For This One Day, She Made Me Forgot was one of the hardest pieces I’ve ever written. While other pieces have been tough to write, this one was a deep knife cut per word and each sentence caused tears to pour down my face. I was emotionally drained upon completing it and had one of the deepest sleeps in my life.

29 Things I Learned By 29 showed that I have more going on my head than my quest for fame and pussy. It also has generated the most fan mail for me since The Division of Generation Y. Thanks to Ryan Holiday, I got to interview one of my favorite writers, Tucker Max. It was pretty fucking tits to interview a man I looked up to since I was 19.

“To be an artist means: not to reckon and count; to ripen like the tree which does not force its sap and stands confident in the storms of Spring without fear lest no Summer might come after. It does come. But it comes only to the patient ones, who are there as if eternity lay in front of them, so unconcernedly still and far. I am learning it daily, learning it through pains to which I am grateful: patience is all!”
-Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters To A Young Poet

Those of you who have followed me since my early days have noticed how dramatically my writing style has changed. Those of you who are new, probably have noticed how different a lot of my pieces are from one another. I have never wanted to remain static as a writer. I want to throughly learn, explore, experiment, and develop myself in this art form. Only through constantly pushing myself in new avenues and approaches will I become the versatile, honed, and unique writer I need to be in order to be placed among the greats.

I love writing my panty-wetting, heart-wrenching poetry and essays as much I love writing my politically incorrect, misogynistic asshole rant pieces. They’re just different aspects of my personality.

Women have been the light and bane of my existence. That sums up my attitude toward the fairer sex for this year. I’ve been on dates and had some flings with some very lovely women and have had my heart stomped by a couple.

I have made a good, little life for myself in this small town. A lot of people know my name and face. I have a few cool friends that I hang out with regularly, and I’ve been to a few random college parties. Also, I got fired from one bar job because some chick recognized me while I was working behind the bar and told the owner I wrote a bunch of articles online that are offensive to women. She did me a favor because the owner is a worthless sack-of-shit who was jerking me around and not following through on the promises he made me. I found a better establishment to work at afterwards with an awesome manager who actually does what she says she is going to do.

Solitude was the main theme of this year. Most of my time, I spent alone. I started the process ingraining the principles of success into my life: Running the hills of Ithaca in the snow, reading poetry by Charles Bukowski and Edgar Lee Masters, watching every single documentary on war I could find on YouTube, putting my mind at peace by riding my motorcycle, swimming in Cayuga Lake, slinging drinks, and writing.

“You cannot repress anger or love, or avoid feeling them, and you should not try. But you should be careful about how you express them, and most important, they should never influence your plans and strategies in any way.”
-Robert Greene, The 48 Laws Of Power

You can expect more output from me in 2016 than in 2015. I needed to take a step back and reconsolidate my life. I have also been working on a project that I will I announce when I feel appropriate. I have found a serenity within myself that has allowed me to tame some of the demons that have held me back. Thank you for your continued support, and I cherish every single one of you for reading my words. Onward to 2016!

~Raul Felix

Read: Onward To 2014
Read: Onward To 2013
Read: 28 Things I’ve Learned By 28

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A Few Maxims On Writing

Keep the ugly,
Find the beauty in the ordinary,
Find the ordinary in the extraordinary.

Write what you know,
Write what you don’t,
Make up the rest.

Take what an academic says with a grain a salt,
What a troll says with a smirk,
What a fan says graciously,
What a lover says as flattery,
What a best friend says with a shot of whiskey.

You’re not special,
Give it time.
No one is waiting for your genius,
Your genius is waiting on you to do the work.

Show up everyday,
Write something great,
Write something good,
Write something mediocre,
Write a ton of terrible pieces.

Struggle,
Hate yourself,
Feel like a failure.
Learn from those greater than you.
Struggle some more.

Lose all hope.

Show up everyday,
Write a ton of terrible pieces.
Write something mediocre,
Write something good,
Write something great.

Feel great.

Check your spelling and grammar.
Be scared to share your work.
Do it any way.

Know the rules,
Fuck the rules.

~Raul Felix

Read: Keep Moving Young Man
Read: How To Find The Greatness Within You
Read: The Witch In My Dream

Read more of my work at Thought Catalog
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How Much More Do I Need To Bleed?

They say that it’s easy to write,
That all you have to do is bleed on the page.
After feeling the blade of that knife so many times,
One begins to wonder…

How much more do I need to bleed?
Until my fucking soul can be at ease?
Until all those fucking thoughts in my mind are laid to rest?
Until I can at last be fucking content?

Each time cutting yourself,
Reliving memories, events, conversations,
Long since forgotten by others.
Picking apart, dissecting, and analyzing,
In search of that moment of raw humanity.

Eventually the blood stops flowing,
The cut scabs over.
Yet, the soul grows restless,
Needing to expose more of itself to the world.

The bleeding becomes addicting,
The emotional pain becomes a validation of your worthiness as an
Artist.
A benchmark which you judge yourself by,
To see if you truly pushed yourself.

The words are bouncing around in your head,
But it needs your blood to come to fruition.
You cut yourself open once again,
Bleeding out slowly.
As you are reminded of how painful it is,
You begin to wonder…
How much more do I need to bleed?

~Raul Felix

Read: What It Is To Write
Read: She Was Traveling Through My Country
Read: Why Should I Write About Her

Read more of my work at Thought Catalog
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29 Things I Learned By Age 29

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A couple of months ago I turned 29. Another year passed where I read a ton of books, had new adventures with different women, made new friends, traveled, wrote, and kept trying to be a better man. In celebration of another year of beating the Grim Reaper, I have put together a new list of lessons that made their way into my baboon mind. While I still don’t know jack shit about life, I’m probably qualified enough to give you my subjective opinion in list format.

1. It’s OK to have separate groups of friends for different aspects of your personality. Not all of your friends or acquaintances are going to click with one another.

2. If you’re a writer who is published online and you don’t make your entire living off your writing, keep that shit separate from your day job. Don’t ever tell anyone at your place of employment whom you don’t sincerely trust that you write. All it takes is one freedom-of-speech-hating coworker with a fragile ego to fuck you over.

3. The moment you think you have women all figured out, you don’t.

4. The right guy doesn’t always get the girl; sometimes it’s just the guy who happened to be at the right place at the right time.

5. It seems that no matter where I go to in the world, people feel trapped in their hometown.

6. Yet people always seem to have a sense of pride about where they grew up. Be mindful before you talk shit about it.

7. A cute chick’s #selfie that is pretty much the same as every other #selfie she took will get 100X more likes than whatever deep, intellectual shit you have to say.

8. A 19-year-old said to me upon hearing that I’ve been to New York City, “Don’t you think it’s the most amazing place ever?” I said, “No. Because I’ve actually been to other places around the world.” You can insert whatever city you wish into that statement. I’ve been to enough places to know that each city has its beauty, its unique quirks, its culture, its one-of-a-kind food, its slums, its overpriced tourist traps, and its hidden treasures. Quit trying to compare one iconic city to another. Just enjoy the city you’re in and explore as much of it as you can while you’re there.

9. “Normal” is subjective. From ages 18-22 I didn’t consider training and going to war to be anything special because everyone I interacted with on a daily basis did it. It was just what we did. Looking back on it, I think to myself, “Holy fuck, I used to do that shit?”

10. Everyone you meet in life has something to teach you. Listen to what they talk about and ask questions. Most people have one or two things they are passionate about, whether it’s sports, food, gambling, music, drugs, money, books, guns, cars, history, fitness, video games, motorcycles, sex, or writing. The list of possible knowledge is endless. Even the lowest, most worthless piece-of-shit human being you meet can teach you how not to act.

11. Hard work does not always equal success, but success is not possible without hard work.

12. Though I am not religious, I have a statue of the Virgin Mary in my room. As a Mexican-American, it’s a symbol of my culture. It gives the place where I live a true feeling of home. You must embrace whatever gives you comfort.

13. There is no glamour in being poor. You know who glamorizes the starving-artist lifestyle? Middle-class suburban kids who can count on a check from their parents when the bohemian life gets too tough. Then there are those of us who know that if we borrow money from our parents, they may not be able to pay their bills. Or some of us don’t have that safety net at all.

14. When you’re a writer, it creates an emotional imbalance with any person you are dating if they have read your work. They know more about you than you do about them at the beginning stages of courtship. It feeds into your ego that they know things that take the average person weeks, months, or even years to reveal, and yet they still like you. Yet you fail to realize that you’re the one who is more emotionally invested. You’ve shared your heart and soul to a person who may only have a passing curiosity in you.

15. Don’t let politics and religion get in the way of friendships. I have conservative friends who can’t believe I am friends with tree-hugging, fetus-killing, smug-ass libtards. I have liberal friends who can’t believe I am friends with gun-toting, women-rights-oppressing, Obama-hating conservatives. I simply don’t care how another person chooses to live their life if it doesn’t affect me. Part of being an open-minded person is accepting other cultures’ ways of doing things, even if it goes against your own belief system.

16. Treating someone with respect is the best way to start a relationship with them. Either that person will prove you right and will keep your respect or they will turn out to be a piece of shit and will lose it. Yet it’s better to respect someone who doesn’t deserve it than it is to disrespect someone who deserves your respect.

17. Time equals love. Judge a potential mate by their actions, not their words. If they’re not giving you any of their time, they don’t really care about you.

18. The mainstream media gives the populace outrage porn, and a majority of people are masturbating to it.

19. One of the best compliments a soldier can get from his comrades is “He’s a good dude.”

20. It’s human to feel jealous—of someone’s success, girlfriend, and good luck. You don’t have to let it negatively affect you. You can use the jealousy as fuel to make yourself chase after what you want.

21. People who constantly talk about how America is losing its values or how life was simpler and easier in those golden days have no understanding of history and view it through rose-colored glasses. The 1950s was an age of the nuclear family, wholesome American fun, and economic prosperity. There was also the Korean War, the impending fear of a nuclear destruction, and the Jim Crow South.

22. Find a place that makes you feel insignificant. One of my favorite things to do is swim at Cayuga Lake three or four times a week. Not only is it ridiculously beautiful, it also reminds me that whatever problems I have aren’t that significant or whatever I am working on isn’t that big of a deal. It humbles me. This body of water has been here way before I was and will be here way after I am gone. That’s some Zen shit right there.

23. Lots of people are cowards—emotional, physical, or moral. If you’re able to muster up the courage and show strength in these aspects, you’re doing way better than 90% of people.

24. Be honest with yourself about your weaknesses. Mine is women. I have an almost insatiable lust for them. Once I accepted this about myself, it made it easier for me to control my emotions and not fall and melt for whatever little cute thing who batted her big, brown eyes at me. I still fuck up on occasion, though.

25. It’s OK to not be accepted. Find the people who accept you. Thanks to my crude sense of humor and my machismo, I find it hard to connect to most people in general. Yet I found that by being myself, I was able to attract the kinds of people—both civilian and military types—who dig how I am and what I have to say.

26. There are two types of people in this world: those who do what they say they’re going to do and those who don’t.

27. If you have a dream, start small in whatever way you can. When I started as a writer, I knew no one in online media. It all seemed like this big exclusive club of people. They were obviously smarter than me. How the fuck was a nobody like me going to break in? I didn’t really know how to go about it, but I knew I had to produce quality work. I’m still not a big name, but I accomplished more in a couple of years than most. Now I have a plethora of contacts and learned that not everyone is as smart as I thought they were. Also, a lot of the writers I looked up to and thousands of people know my work.

28. Life does get better for men who spent time developing their minds and their bodies. While I haven’t found the love of my life yet, I have gone on dates and at times have hooked up with more women than I can remember—beautiful, smart, and ambitious women who three or four years ago wouldn’t even give me the time of day. The fact that’ve I read a ton of books, traveled, am self-sufficient, and have worked out consistently most of my life has put me above a lot of my peers.

29. Having an amazing mother is one the best things a man can have. While it’s “cool” to have mommy issues and not like your mom these days, I harbor none of those feelings. My mom gave me a good example of what a strong, hardworking, courageous, and caring woman is. As my uncle once told me: “You know who has the biggest balls I’ve ever met in my life? Your mom.”

~Raul Felix

Read: 28 Things I’ve Learned By 28
Read: 3 Life Lessons An Old Man Called “Wild Bill” Taught Me

Read more of my work at Thought Catalog
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