Preparing For Your Journey

Get ready to start your quest to seriously grow some!

Of course, this wants some preparing. First thing we need is some ground rules…

Rule #1: No excuses.
Everything comes at a price. Self-reliance is something earned the hard way. It’s why it feels so good. We’ll talk about how your own brain tries to screw you out of that feeling later.

Rule #2: No thumbscrews either.
Then again, don’t overdo the badass routine. You’ll set yourself up for failure if you constantly push yourself too fast too far. Balance is the key.

We’ll get back to the concept of balance a lot, as it’s one of our running themes.

Rule #3: No miracles.
Any book or web page promising miracles was written by a thieving bastard trying to cash in on your situation. I promise no miracles. I do promise lots of nice surprises though, and the occasional miracle is certainly possible. Just don’t expect one.

Apple cart

The occasional miracle (artist’s representation)
Source: Tell me if you know

Rule #4: No dicking around.
Self-improvement may come with a sense of pride (okay if well-dosed) or over-entitlement (bad). Do not look down on people still at a level you think you’ve left behind. You were there once. Self-satisfaction is the fast track back to the starting line.

Right! Let’s flesh these out a bit.

Rule #1: No Excuses

Like I said above: Everything comes at a price.


Can you put a price tag on balls? Turns out that yes, you totally can.

Self-control. Discipline. Mental exercise. These are tough-as-shit tasks, which is why overly simple advice like “Just pull your arse together” won’t do. Zen monks can pull off mental magic in their sleep, but if you’re reading this you’re either no Zen monk or you should seriously talk to your sensei about your career options.

You should have no problem being your own most severe judge because that’s what you’ve been doing all your life. Turn that into an asset then! You’ll catch yourself trying to bail out a lot. You win a crucial battle every time you’re not letting yourself get away with it.
Let me beat you over the head with it (you’re welcome): Unless you’ve got both of your legs in a cast or you are currently in jail or in a mental asylum, pretty much everything you say to postpone changes is a fucking excuse.
And people have turned themselves around in amazing ways while locked up and forced to wear pink girls’ knickers, so even that won’t count.

But let’s not jump in blindly. Getting your life in order involves some planning.
Trying to reach all your goals and sort out every problem at once will only make matters worse because that’s plain impossible. The human mind is the most complicated machine ever, and it’ll take an incredible amount of trial (and error) runs to make it purr like a cat. Also, it’s bloody invisible, so this involves a lot of groping around in the dark. Finding our way around and hammering away at things we sense more than see takes a lot of patience.

Which is not what we’re hard-wired for. We want instant gratification.


And we want it now, dammit!

Which conveniently leads us to…

Rule #2: Go Easy.

Seriously, after all that manly warm up-talk, don’t forget to cut yourself some slack.

Move ahead, but do it slowly, in measured amounts.

If you join a gym they may show you a graph depicting your muscle growth. After every session, it’ll go down a bit, then jump up; but if you put in the next session too fast, while still in the “valley”, you’ll start a downward spiral.
About a year after I being shown that graph I noticed myself growing weaker again at an alarming rate. I’d piled on too many weights far too fast while half-assing myself through the exercises. Did I remember the graph? Nope. I blamed work stress until the day I almost failed to push the gym doors open on my way out. I’m not kidding.
Why am I telling you this? Simple: Don’t set yourself up for failure by burning through your resources like there was no tomorrow.

On a less physical, more abstract level: Find your balance (yup, there’s that word again) between storming ahead into your new life and forgetting who you are. You change too much too fast, you’ll not only be uncomfortable and slightly unstable; your new You also won’t be convincing. You’ll look just like a poser daydreaming about the badass he’d like to be. Like the idiot in gym clothes who needs help walking through the door.

Teenagers do that a lot. They can get away with it because re-shaping your personality till it fits comfortably is what the teenage years are all about.


It’s the only time in your life when you can celebrate instability. Anyone older doing it will just look like a tool.

Ease into your “new” personality. Think of it as a new pair of boots that want cautious molding to fit your feet. Try running a couple of miles with brand-new running shoes and socks. You’ll have a lot of blisters to show for it but little else.

Also, think about if the kick-start into a new life is what you need right now. Quite often it is, but sometimes it’ll just drive you deeper down (I’m looking at you, clinical depression). If this happens, that doesn’t mean you’re not meant to go the way of awesome. You may just have to detour and sort out something else first, then come back for this.

Rule #3: No miracles

That’s right, curb your enthusiasm. Nobody deserves a birthday cake.

Society doesn’t owe you anything. Leaving aside the fringe of lucky lottery millionnaires, anything – anything – we want has to be earned. The hard way.
That includes our social standing. We’re usually in charge of our own reputations. This ties in with the “no excuses” rule above – and it means that we build up acceptance, good standing and popularity little by little, over years.

Lasting confidence beyond the occasional sweet boost comes in little drops, at an excruxiatingly slow rate.
To me, it sometimes feels like I’m trying to piss a swimming pool full.
Battling severe prostate trouble.
And several kidney stones.


While being watched and judged.
Source: Tell me if you know

But you’ll reap the first rewards pretty fast, don’t worry about that. You’ll feel it. You’ll see it in how people act towards you. You can see progress in a thousand little things you’ll easily miss while looking out for the grand miracle.

Rule #4: No Dicking Around

Do not let your successes become a trap.
Seriously, you risk becoming an asshole if you let your advances get to your head. Believe me, it’s damn easy, especially if looking down on people has helped you so well in the past. Are you a nerd? In that case you may be a bit smarter than the average – or at least think you are. This will often ease the geek’s loneliness by giving him a false sense of superiority. Eases the pain of rejection and all that.
Except that everyone – everyone – of us has a few special powers and lots of everyday “idiot” moments. Even the jocks.

What we tend to do is twist our perception – we inflate the good stuff the better to deal with the crappy rest.


Everybody has something to inflate.
Some true bastard of a neighbor

Also, playing the asshole card may just kick you back where you were: to the fringe of your peer group.
If there’s one thing none of us need reminding of it’s that society will punish missteps swift and hard. True assholes may not care about rejection but you and I do.

By the way, the fact that those assholes live longer shouldn’t deter us. It just gives us more time to show them their place.

Let all this sink in now. Gear up and be ready, we’re on our way!

Source: Tell me if you know

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