I officially hit the big Three-Oh on Thursday the 12th. I thought it would be nice to take some time and reflect on what that means for me and my life.
To assess where I was in relation to my goals, and determine what I’ve done with the last 3 decades that were given to me. I also realized it was probably a cool thing to post for you guys.
So with that, here are 30 reflections I’ve had on 30 years.
God Is Very Important
I think every man needs a faith to fall back on. I’m personally a Christian and I can’t imagine my life without the love and assurance of God.
There are so many things that are stressful and harmful in today’s society, so many things in life that seek to tear you down, and so many situations that look to actively destroy you.
I couldn’t get through this thing without being able to lean on my Father, to know that He’s there protecting, guarding me.
Everything is My Fault
Personal responsibility has been entirely lost on a generation.
I was speaking with a coworker (who happens to be an emotional vampire) about why he’s always so sick. He said, “Stress in my life makes me sick.”
I said, “What can you do to decrease your stress?”
He laughed and said, “Make more money!”
Naturally I responded, “So how can you make more money?”
He said, “Make my spouse get a better job.”
And therein lies the problem with everyone these days. I didn’t ask him how his spouse could make more money, I asked how he could. It all comes down to you. Everything is your fault.
Are you doing great? That’s because you worked for it. Are you doing poorly? It’s because you didn’t work for it. Everything is your fault. Stop blaming racism, sexism, unjust courts, and other existential boogeymen.
Take responsibility for your existence.
College is actually pretty fucking important
I dropped out of college. It is probably one of the biggest regrets of my entire life and I’m working on going back to school.
All of these people on the internet that are telling you that college is a waste of time? They’ve all been to college. Isn’t that interesting?
I have a friend, one of my closest friends, and he talks about what a waste college is, but he has two masters degrees.
“Oh yeah,” He’ll tell me, “These were such a waste of time and money.” And yet he has so many more doors open to him, professionally, than I have at the same age.
I have to claw my way up from entry level, he’s stepping in to executive positions.
College is only a waste if you waste your college on a shitty degree. Any degree that’s an “arts” degree is worthless. Bachelor of Arts in History? Shit. Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering? Valuable.
You have to grind
No matter what you do, no matter where you are, and no matter where you want to be, you’re going to have to work hard. You’re going to have to grind.
Have you ever played video games? Specifically RPG games? There’s a concept called “grinding” in those games where you go out into the woods and fight a bunch of low level enemies for small amounts of experience points.
The goal being that you – eventually – get enough experience from the tedium to level up to a place where you can take on a real boss in the game.
Life works the same fucking way, kids. You’ve got to do the low level shit over and over until you’re ready to do the big stuff.
Man I tell you what, I wish I had figured this out so much sooner than I did. I realized this around 24 or so, but if I could go back and tell 13 year old me this I would have saved on some serious mistakes.
Nothing matters. This is all just a giant game, and the winners are the people that play it the best until they die.
The number of things that actually truly matter in life are so vanishingly small. Stop worrying about the insignificant and just enjoy the ride.
Work at Everything with Divine Purpose
Going along with “grinding” from earlier, it isn’t enough to just work hard after what you want. You have to work like it’s the greatest thing to ever happen to you.
You have to be a fount of joy in your work, and commit a certain amount of vigor to it.
To put it simply: You gotta go to your job at the subway and refill those damn mayonnaise containers like it is your life’s purpose.
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Be Patient with Others
People don’t always see what you see, they don’t see how you see. Sometimes you just have to be patient with them.
Smile when they’re getting on your nerves, and remember that sometimes you just have to be loving. Let that love flow through you when others get on your nerves.
Physically Touch People, Regardless
Never ignore the power in a physical connection. People crave it, especially in our technologically segregated society.
Eye contact and physical touch will make you instantly intimate with people and give them a feeling of genuine connection. This will benefit you immensely.
Psychopathy is the Key to Happiness
Complete emotional detachment from people, objects, and events is the key to remaining happy.
Your wife is leaving you, how can you remain so happy? Because I don’t give a fuck!
You’re being fired from your job, how can you be so happy? Because I just don’t care!
When you’re not emotionally invested in the outcome of anything, you can remain optimistic about everything. You can’t make a stone sad.
Emotional Connection is the Key to Fulfillment
The counter balance to that is that you need emotional connection to be fulfilled as a human. We were built to connect emotionally. It’s a vital component of our survival, and you will die without it.
Make sure that you understand what situations are appropriate for psychopathic response, and what situations require empathetic response. You can only learn this through experience.
You Have to Define Yourself
You have to take time to hammer out what you believe and define yourself. Then you have to hold fast to that definition when you go into the world.
If you do not do this, work out who you are in quiet solitude, someone else will tell you who you are. You will act in accordance to the will of others, and not to the will of your Father or yourself.
Define yourself, before the T.V. defines you for you.
I Don’t Read Enough
I read a lot, and I still know I don’t read enough. The average person reads something like a book a year, and that average includes people who read sixty books a year, and people like me who read closer to 30, and it’s still only 1.
That means most people just don’t read.
And no matter how much I read, I’m sure I still won’t be reading enough. If I consumed books half as vigorously as I consumed Netflix Marvel shows I’m sure I’d be in a much better position in my life than I am currently.
Someone is Always Watching
I don’t mean FBI guy meme, or Zucc meme. I mean whenever you think you’re alone, you aren’t. Someone is always watching you and (consequently) judging you.
Just driving alone in your car? Someone sees you picking your nose. They saw you cut that old lady off.
You never know who sees what and what impact that will have on them. Always make sure you’re putting your best self forward.
It’s so easy to be nice to people. It’s just as easy to be nice as it is to be mean. So just be nice. I’ve never regretted being nice in my life.
Excessive Vulgarity is Overrated
Yeah it can be funny, but no one appreciates over-the-top vulgarity. Just look at every floundering female comedian! Girl comedians, for some reason, think humor means being vulgar.
Instead of telling funny jokes that rely on wit and observation, they talk at length about vaginal secretions and sex noises.
Vulgarity for its own sake is never appreciated. Avoid it.
Focusing on External Differences is Pointless
I’m white. You’re black. He’s Asian. That other guy over there is gay. When it comes to day-to-day interaction, these differences don’t matter.
When you build your tribe, you have control over who is in it. Don’t want any gay guys? Any Muslims? Whatever. That’s up to you.
But when you have interact with different people out in public, the differences don’t matter too much unless you make them matter. It’s childish to get hung up on these sorts of things.
And to that point, individuals matter more than group statistics. I know a lot of people that get hung up on the group identity thing, and they fail to realize that individuals matter more than groups.
When you meet someone, approach them as a blank slate, as an individual. Start there and get to know them, learn to see from their perspective. You may just even learn something.
Assume Someone Is Worth Your Time (Until They Aren’t)
People are important. You should assume someone, when you meet them, is worth your time. And give them your time freely.
Do this until they prove that they are not worth your time. If they prove they aren’t worth your time, then you need to cut them off. Otherwise, treat them kindly. Give them your time.
Assume No One Is Worth Your Resources
No one is worth your resources. Period. Give them your time, be kind and show them love. Get to know them as an individual. But do not give them your resources.
You work and bleed and hunt and strive and grind for what you have. They are not entitled to it. They do not deserve it.
As a general rule, I keep my resources for my family and rarely, if ever, approve sharing my resources with others. This is simply because they are not my tribe, and push comes to shove I know that they won’t look out for me. It’s nothing personal.
Put Blood First
Your blood comes first. Always. Your direct relatives, and those with whom you have a blood oaths. These people are the ones you need to take care of, and the ones that will take care of you.
Always put their interests and priorities high on your list. I have never regretted looking out for my own. They will be there for you, and you should return that favor in kind.
Know Your History
It is so important to know who you are and where you come from. Having knowledge of your history will help you understand your present.
It will also give you a greater perspective and understanding of yourself. You should invest some serious time into your ancestry and the historical practices and beliefs of your people.
One of the greatest things I’ve taken away from my self-improvement journey over the years is to know myself completely.
Stagnation Leads to Aging
People often die because they get old. And they often get old because they quit moving. They quit activating.
You have to be mobile, you have to move, and be active, in order to be strong and young. Look at old people in nursing homes, sitting around all day waiting to die. Contrast that against a cattle farmer I know who is in his seventies, but looks and acts like he’s in his fifties.
He’s out on the farm every day by 5am, working a 12 to 16 hour day. He’s staying young because he’s staying active.
Compare that to men you know in their 50s who look like complete shit because they retired and now just sit around and do nothing. Stagnation leads to aging, and aging kills everyone, every time.
The Best Time to Plant a Tree was 20 Years Ago
This is the single best advice I’ve ever heard, and it comes from a Chinese proverb that is so old God only knows.
The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is right now.
It took me so long to realize how right that was. Time is going to pass, regardless. Twenty years is going by no matter what. It will be summer in 3 months, no matter what you think. The only question is what you’re going to look like when you take your shirt off.
You’re going to retire one day. Regardless. No matter what. It will happen. The only question is how much money will you have in the bank when you do.
Go ahead and start that side hustle. Start that blog. Start that podcast. It’s never too late. Just get started so that tree can get growing.
Stand Strong in What You Believe
If you believe something, you will receive push back on it. Humans are contrary creatures and we love to fly in the face of others. This post, I’m sure, will generate some push back – though maybe not immediately because no one reads this blog.
It’s fine. People can disagree with me. They’re free to do that. They’re also free to go fuck themselves up a rope.
Once you know what you believe, you have to stand strong in it. Your beliefs are only as valuable as your willingness to stand by them.
People will try to tear you down, they’ll try and get you to recant. You cannot. Stand strong. Be firm.
Lift. Fucking. Weights.
No man has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.
Just go lift weights. Get strong. Running and being a thin, and sickly man isn’t the way to be. Lift.
Pray Every Single Day
Start every day with prayer and meditation. You have to draw from a well deeper than yourself to remain full. I’m not sure how people who don’t believe in God do this, but I do it through prayer.
I spend time each morning praying for 15 to 20 minutes to start my day off right. I also meditate on good things, cool things, heroic things. These are the qualities I want to have – righteous qualities – so I focus my mind on righteous things.
I consider this to be an integral and unchangeable part of my day. It is vitally important, and notice the hurried panic of the days where I leave it out.
Physical Cancer is Less of a Problem Than Spiritual Cancer
I would rather have a physical cancer than a spiritual one. Colon cancer is much easier to cut out and recover from than a pornography addiction.
A prostate can be removed, but a drug addiction is hard to overcome.
Breast cancer can be cut away, but it’s hard to pare hatred from the heart.
You Can’t Change Someone Without Empathy
You will never be able to change someone with facts. Facts don’t matter. What matters is human connection and empathy. You cannot change people without first understanding them.
Once you understand someone, you can meet them where they are and from there you can bring change to them. Look at Christ, who spent years on this Earth understanding us and meeting us where we were.
He ate with prostitutes and tax collectors, he hung out and drank with the unwashed. He didn’t give people what they wanted, he took time to understand what they needed and gave them that instead.
Try New Things
You know that Mexican restaurant in your town that you go to rather infrequently? You always go there and get the combination plate number 7 – two tacos, a burrito, rice, and guacamole.
Try changing it up and getting the cow tongue tacos next time. Worst case scenario you don’t like it – and now you know!
Never be afraid to try new things that put you outside your comfort zone. You won’t always like the new things you try, but who knows, maybe you will!
Grab a type of book that you’d probably never read on your own (like this one) and see what you can glean from it. Take part in a group activity that you would normally avoid.
When you go to those stupid corporate meetings where everyone acts like they give a shit about the company, why not try to actually give a shit about the company? Get invested! See how it works for you.
Be Bold And Courageous
Finally I’ve learned to never be afraid. There is nothing to be afraid of. The Almighty God is my refuge, so what should I fear?
Is someone going to find out that I’m Remy Sheppard and that this is my blog where I say things like “shit,” and “cunt,” and “women shouldn’t be allowed to vote”? Oh no.
They can’t take my life because it isn’t theirs to have nor mine to give. They can’t take my livelihood because they do not provide it – He does. They cannot rob me of my wife because God has put us together and no man can tear us apart.
The worst thing that could come from being bold is I decide to be super bold and try to bungee jump and fall to my death instead. Life is great, but if I die I’m just going to go on to eternal perfection, wealth, and glory. When my state after death is a vast improvement over living, why would I fear it?
In the end, nothing is worth worrying about. There are only things worth doing, and things not worth doing. And if its worth doing, then it’s worth doing well. So that’s what I’m going to do.
I’m not concerned with negative outcomes, opinions, or people. I’m only concerned with myself, and doing what is right. Doing what is needed.
And that’s all you should be worried about, too.