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Final article – wrapping things up

The ultimate answer

Feeling like you fit in

How my life is currently

The building blocks of self confidence

What if you start to doubt yourself?

Talking to the opposite sex

4 steps to talk to women successfully

Misc Tips and Tricks

Believing in Yourself

Public speaking isn't so bad

The "old me" vs the "new me"

Actions that I took

Q and A

Putting your past behind you


Social Anxiety Assist Australia

Sign my Guestbook

Read my Guestbook


(August 2006)

This is August 2006, and I'm doing as well as I've ever done. Life is very good.

As I've gotten older (I can't believe I'm 28), I've had these "Ooooooooooooh. This is what life's about". You see the big picture, you see what's important.

I've organized my thoughts into a checklist of sorts, "How to get your life back on track". If I had read this when I was 18, 19 or 20, it would have had a great impact on my life. I hope it can have the same impact for everyone else.

I wanted to write it in such a way, so you got it. It clicks.

A lot of stuff on the net about shyness, talking to girls, meeting goes over your head. It's well intentioned advice. Join a club. Meet people. Start doing this or this.

But you think to yourself after reading it, "but I can't do that!" I'm a loser. I don't fit in. In 8th grade, my god, I had this happen to me. I didn't have any friends. You just don't understand.

If you're in a real serious hole, if you're 18, 19, 20, 21 and haven't dated, gone out, if you haven't had friends in a while, or just felt "normal" or "healthy", I'm worried about that. I know how quickly things can stack up. Before you know it, you're 22, 23, 24 (and out of college) and life is passing you by and you don’t know how to catch up.

When I look back on my life, one of the things that's suprised me is just how bad my social skills were not that long ago (from age about 15/16 to my early 20's).

The thought of going to a party was impossible. Going to an informal group like Toastmasters and meeting 20 or 30 new people (of different ages) would have been very very awkward. There's a 15 minute break during each meeting and you're expected to engage in small talk and kind of mingle. I would have cringed and felt like hiding in the corner.

I remember talking on the phone to a girl for the first time when I was 18 or 19...filled with awkward pauses, lots of anxiety. I look back on it and want to cover my eyes.

You're not aware of it, but you're living life very sporadically. It's optional whether every day, every week or every month really "counts". Today, maybe I'll be outgoing. Maybe I'll say hi to someone. But for the rest of the month, who knows how I'll feel.

You dig a tremendous mental hole for yourself and it can be very hard to get out. It feels like you're in a very deep dark maze. There's miles of complicated passage ways in every direction. There's all this stuff that you bump up against as you try to escape. There's self help, Tony Robbins, there's shyness drugs, shyness/confidence books, message boards, there's different peer groups that you bump up against.

There's all these obstacles in your way. No wonder it takes people awhile to change! But I can't change, I'm ugly. I can't change, I'm a "nice guy". I can't change, I'm too fat, too skinny, too tall, too short, too many freckles, I don't have the right car, I'm not rich and girls are attracted to rich guys. Girls are attracked to jerks. I don't drink, I don't smoke, I don't do drugs. I'm not popular. I never fit in....and on and on and on. Then you just get more depressed, you sink deeper in your hole. You don't believe anything positive about yourself anymore. You're convinced no one likes you. That's it. I'm a loser. I have no life. The book of your life gets shut closed.

IMO, that cycle explains about 95% of the people on shyness/social anxiety sites.

I compare it to my childhood and I just can't believe it. It's like two different worlds. My childhood wasn't perfect by any strech, but it felt really normal. Everything seemed to flow. I think it's true for most kids. Every kid has gone to a birthday party, or they played outside with their action figures.

I remember going to a birthday party in the 6th grade (we stayed up til 2am, a big deal!), and we just kind of goofed around and did what 6th graders do. I remember the "chubby kid" being there, the smart alek, the smart one (yours truly, hey hey :) ), the responsible one. Like in the movie the Goonies; there's Mouth, Chunk, Data, the jock, the cheerleader. Everyone acts natural at that age. You're not on the internet for a year debating about what to say to a girl.

I've thrown out a lot of different ideas on this site. If I was at the bottom, no dates, no past girlfriends, not comfortable around people, afraid of groups, afraid of parties, deep in this maze, trying to get out and be "normal" again, I don't think I'd know what to do first.

I'm going to create a checklist of things that you can do to immediately improve the quality of your life; I've used it to really improve my own life and become a different person:

-Remember the good times. Take out old photos of yourself as a kid. Everyone has been normal at some point in their lives. I have a photo of my birthday party at an amusement park (I was about 10 or 11), and I was acting like a complete goofball in front of the ticket counter with my friends. Laying on the ground with a crazy expression on my face. It's amazing, I didn't care what others thought of me in that moment. I wasn't self conscious! That was me! People came to my birthday parties. People wanted to be around me.

I'm sure I was rejected at some point during this time; some kid didn’t make it to my party, but I survived and went on my way. It's funny what you forget about when you’re in a really dark hole.

I would bet that you've got a lot of things in your life that you've forgotten about. Places you've gone. Trips. Hobbies. Nobody was on the internet at age 10, 11 or 12. What are some good memories that come to mind?

Remember who you use to be. Remember your best traits. Remember the best compliments you got. Remember things that you’ve completely forgotten about.

-Take pride in your accomplishments. If you have a highschool or college diploma, put it up on the wall. Take care of your momentos. If you collect something (baseball cards, toys, stuffed animals), take care of them. If you have toys on display, dust them off. These things don't sound like much, but I think how you take care of what you own is fairly indicative of how you take care of yourself and how you feel about yourself.

-Be comfortable with others seeing your room. Even if you live with your parents. Be comfortable with it if a cool girl comes over to visit. It sounds small, but I know when I was at the bottom, there's no way I would have been comfortable with people seeing my room. It was a mess. I would have wanted to hide things.

You're the only person that you can pick yourself up. No one else is going to do it.

-Invest time and energy into finding a really comfortable wardobe. If you're super self conscious, wearing clothes you don't like will only make it 10x worst. Find a style that you really, really like and enjoy.

-Redefine your life in a way that's benefical for you.

For a long time, I let the wrong things define who I am. I was bullied some in middle school and highschool. Great, I'm weak. In highschool, I was thin, had braces, didn’t look so hot, didn’t talk to girls……..boom, that makes me a loser. I never had a girlfriend, never really went out, and things just started to stack up. A few years goes by, you think it’s too late to change, and you’re even more depressed. It keeps building on itself and that becomes who you are.

I think for 98% of the people on shyness/social anxiety message boards, they have a very fuzzy definition of who they really are. You’re not really sure. On the one hand, you’re smart, you’re funny, you’re a good a person…you’re all these things. But on the other hand, you were picked last for basketball in 7th grade. Someone called you a name in 11th grade english class. Well, which one wins? Which one am I?

Lots of things have happened in my life…..why should I hang onto stuff that doesn’t serve me? I thought about this for a long time. I mean I’ve thought about it A LOT. Stuff that’s happened years and years and years ago.

The incredible thing is that no one else is keeping score. There’s not a person in this world that is keeping tabs on your every move and your every thought and saying…yep, that’s who he is.

I think of myself now as….




-A good person

-Well adjusted

-Good with kids

-Well travelled

-Well read (I’ve read probably close to 100 books in the past 5-7 years)

-Up for new things (like Toastmasters)

-College grad

-I have hobbies, like watching movies, watching basketball, collecting old toys I use to have, being interested in new things, new trends, I play around with Google Earth, stuff like that. I think wikipedia is a brilliant site, I like learning new things on there.

I think a lot of things start to fall into place once you have a good definition of who you are. Your confidence and self esteem will go way up.

But wait a minute!! What if I see someone from high school? What if they remember me not talking much? What if this happens…..I can’t fool people?

No one has ever analyzed it as much as you have. You’re not disqualified from life because of whatever that’s happened in your past.

It’s like you’ve got this deep dark secret that’s the most shameful thing in the world. No exaggeration..…it’s like you’re a War Criminal and you’re hiding all these horrible things you’ve done. Everyone has had awkward moments in their life, they were rejected, they were this and that. You’ve got to move on. I wish I moved on years ago. Move on and say, this is who I am…...I’m not going to let someone else define my life for me.

I made it happen, piece by piece. I cleaned up my place, and got it looking the way I wanted it to. I think it represents my personality well and I have no problem with others seeing it. My wardrobe got a little bit more focused and on point. It’s where it should be. I got rid of some stuff that wasn’t for me. There’s some websites I stopped going to; it wasn’t me. I have photos and momentos that I really identify with and I think define who I am accurately.

This will sound corny and silly, but I want to be able to look back on my life as if I was showing someone a photo album. As I open up the first page, here’s me at age 5. Here’s my birthday party at age 9. Here’s a fun family trip at 12. This is me, doing ___ at 18, etc. This “photo album” shows a happy, healthy, and well adjusted young man.

You get so trapped in your own mind when you’re really down and isolated. You think you’re the only person in the world that feels so bad, and everyone else is out enjoying this carefree life. They have a “photo album” that’s happy, healthy, productive. And you’re the only one that’s screwed up. You’ve got pages missing, or you’ve got some kind of defect with your book.

You’ve never done anything that bad. Really. It seems like the end of the world, but people move on.

-If you’re past age 18, 19, or 20, you’ve got to become more independent from your parents. Your confidence will suffer if you don’t. Maybe you have a great relationship with them, maybe you don’t want to move out, maybe you can’t afford it, maybe you want to be a kid forever (I want to be a kid forever…I’m 28 wishing I was 10 or 12 playing with my GI Joes). Push that to the side for a minute. Maybe you can have fun balancing between being an adult and being a kid, coming up with cool ways to juggle the two. But you’ve got to start getting independent financially and psychologically. Get your own savings account, your own checking account.

Maybe you’re in college and don’t have time to work. Maybe you’ve got all these other responsibilities. But you still have to advance the ball ahead gaining more independence. You should be more independent at 18-21 than you were at 14-16.

-Take care of your personal hygiene. Again, sounds super super basic. What’s this guy talking about? But there was a time and I’m sure some of you could relate, where I would have been embarrassed if my parents saw me putting on cologne or doing anything fancy and grown up like. Oh my gosh!! Look, our son is wearing cologne. Oh, I have to call everyone! (Calling my grandmother, ring, ring). Oh my word. My son is growing up. He just wore cologne……ya ya. Maybe a slight exaggeration, but you get the gist of it.

Your parents would be proud of you. It’s just moving on in life. No big deal.

-What are you moving towards in life? If you started with a blank slate at 18 years of age, what do you want to create? You don’t have to figure it out all at once. What’s the vision? What’s the goal? What do you want to look back on? What are your hobbies? What kind of skills do you want to develop? What kind of people do you want around you?

Keep asking. If you keep asking and you get the same kind of answers back every time, that’s a pretty good clue about what to do.

What kind of experiences do you want to have? That’s a big one for me. There’s no experiences online. IM’ing somebody isn’t going to create a fond memory. Computer screens don’t create memories.

I want experiences with people, with women, I want experiences where you lose track of time with the person you’re with. You’re so engrossed in what you’re doing, you’re not even thinking about anything else. Where everything just flows. Experiences going out, seeing new things. Experiencing great moments.

At this point, you’ve built up a certain level of comfort in your life. You’re not hiding out from the world. If you want friends or a girlfriend, you need something to bring them into. You need a certain level of transparency in your life.

You’ll know you’ve hit your comfort level when you wake up in the morning and realize, life is in motion and moving forward. Things are in play. You’ve got something to talk about with others.

I think this is what holds a lot of people back on shyness/social anxiety messages boards. You read the same tips over and over. Be confident. Go talk to girls. Try something new. It’s well intentioned advice, but you’re putting the cart before the horse. You can’t run out and say you’re confident 1,000 times to get a girl if you’re embarrassed about bringing her back to your bedroom.

-Here’s the holy grail of secrets when it comes to understanding other people and how to interact. Everyone that you’ll ever meet goes through life thinking, “what’s it in for me.” What’s in it for me. What’s it in for me. How do I benefit. What’s in it for me.

You surf the internet asking, what’s it in for me. You browse through message boards, searching through tons of titles of threads, evaluating them in a mili-second. You only click on the threads you like. You found this website because you asked, what’s it in for me. You saw the title, “Overcoming Shyness”, you think…..aghhhh…..ok, I’ll click on an article.

You flip the TV on looking through 500 channels for something good on. Something catches your interest, boom you’re there. An exciting NBA game, yeeeah!! A Superbowl commercial that I just read about? Cool. CSPAN? Uhhhhh!! My eyes hurt. I gotta change the channel.

To a lesser degree that’s what people do in social situations everywhere. It’s not as abrupt. Everyone is taught to be polite and courteous. But that’s pretty much how you go through life.

If a homeless guy walks up to you and starts rambling on, you kind of ignore it and move away. If a hot girl grabs your hand and asks you for directions somewhere, you’re going to react very differently.

If you’re a guy, put yourself in womens shoes. Do you want to talk to someone that makes you feel uncomfortable, that looks away all the time, has nothing in common with you, doesn’t make any jokes, that isn’t friendly, that never asked any questions about you?

Now what if you met someone that was friendly, that smiled, made you laugh, that made you feel comfortable and at ease, asked questions about your life, and that just made you feel good?

Every second that you’re online, you’re jumping around…..oooooh, that looks interesting. Cool, let’s check this out. It’s the same thing that happens at a party. It’s the same thing that happens at a dance. People are attracted to smiles. People are attracted to those having a good time. People are attracted to those that make them feel good.

I met a really cool girl seated next to me on an airplane about 2 years ago. We had this great 5 hour conversation (it lasted the whole flight). We talked about the food on the plane, we played cards, we found out we were both left handed, I cracked some silly jokes, we talked about highschool…it was really fun. Very natural and real.

In natural conversations, you both get something out of it. You don’t remember every conversation you have. But you remember how people make you feel.

You don’t have to be manipulative or go out and try to dazzle people and overwhelm them trying to be funny, smart and talented…like some kind of performer trying to get applause from an audience.

What’s in it for me. What’s in it for me?

Be natural. Make people feel at ease. Find a connection, something in common with them. You don’t have to be doing something all the time.

It’s not rocket science. It’not like trying to think up e=mc2. You just enjoy each others company, you like being around someone, you spend more time together, and you’re friends. You can make tons of friends that you care about. Give them a reason to be your friend.

Become genuinely interested in other people. You can add little conversational tips that I talked about in other articles. You can go to sites like and add bits and pieces to your “game” with women, if that’s what you’re into. I would caution you though about getting too deep into that seduction/get girls world. I don’t think it’s the healthiest of lifestyles; things are extremely black and white in that world.

I would also throw up a caution about Tony Robbins, self help, and going into this guru-esque “someone is going to save you” kind of culture. It can get very addicting; you can’t be happy until you buy another book or get another tape set. You’re putting your life on hold in some ways.

It’s funny, no one has an incentive to tell you that you can be fine right now, without having to buy anything. Could it be, that’s the reason so many people have problems? No one wakes you up in the middle of the night and says…man, get going in life. You could be out enjoying all these things. You’re never going to read a book, an article, a thread, a website….that just says, stop! Go out and enjoy the rest of the day. If you’re in this cycle of spending months and months (years and years) on the net, realize you can stop at any point and get off the ride.

We live in a society that’s very quick to tell you there’s something wrong with you. You don’t fit in? Well, you have social anxiety disorder. Your brain chemistry is out of whack. It’s genetic.You can’t change it. There’s just nothing you can do about it. You can hope and pray…maybe you can improve a little bit…but that’s it, that’s who you are.

That’s some dangerous sh*t to buy into. I’ve got photos of me from age 8-12/13 socializing, I had friends over, I had birthday parties. I’m sure I got rejected at some point, but I lived, I’m still here to talk about it. Have my genes mutated since I was 10? Has my brain chemistry changed so much, that I can’t enjoy life the same way that I once did?

That’s insanity IMO. The vast majority of people on shyness/social anxiety sites want some kind of contact with other people. You wouldn’t be posting if you didn’t.

That’s the problem that’s always bugged me. You’ve got a personality, you’ve got some interests in life. You’re smart, you’re a good person, you’re all these things. You can talk on the computer for a long time. Your buddy list might be pretty big.

But there’s something missing. There’s something you’re uncomfortable about, or something in the way, and it’s blocking you from getting out and moving on.

I think that’s why a lot of shyness advice on the web doesn’t stick. You know all the advice. Go out and meet people. Join a group. Try something new. Invite someone out. You know it, but there’s all these objections in the way. You’re just conviced that there’s something wrong with you.

I think for a lot of people, the problem isn’t “shyness” or that there’s something wrong with you. Maybe you’re just self conscious. Maybe you haven’t developed the right social skills. Maybe you’re finding your place in the world.

The more I think about it, the more I just can’t believe how quick the world is to judge someone. You’re weird. You don’t fit in. I don’t think he fits in.

How often do you hear that vs, “maybe he’s just finding his place in the world”. Maybe he’s just discovering who he is. I hope everyone reading this takes a deep breath, and says to themselves….there’s nothing wrong with me. Nothing is permanent or absolute. Things will move on.

-Start to reduce irrational fears. You’re going to make it in life. The average life expectancy in the US is about 77. If you’re healthy, if you’re a good driver, if you don’t smoke, etc….you could live into your 80’s, 90’s, maybe even 100.

My guess is that a lot of people with shyness/social anxiety (so bad that it hurts your quality of life) are fearful of the world in some sense. Afraid of confrontation, afraid someone is out to get you, afraid this is going to happen, afraid that’s going to happen.

The internet and the media can really amplify your fears. The net can be really dark, and weird when you’re down (it’s dark and weird anyways). You end up finding reasons to back up your fears and it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.

TV and the media have just gone insane with negativity. I don’t see how anyone can take it seriously, it’s not reality. It what sells. The #1 rule in journalism is, “if it bleeds it leads”.

If you took this stuff seriously, it’s like the end of the world out there. Bird flu is going to wipe everyone out, the hackers are out to get you, the identity thieves and scammers are going to ruin your life, the scary looking murderer on the 11 0’clock news is going to get me….Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh (I’m under the covers as I type, who can take any chances out there??). Joking aside….all this can severly limit your life if you’re already in a hole.

It assumes you can’t handle anything. If I can handle the problem, why do I even need to hear about it? Of course news directors don’t think like that. Why would they?

Stop taking everything as a personal attack on who you are. Develop a core belief that says everything is going to be ok. This is a mental muscle that you’re going to have to flex.

Nothing should be attacking you. Nothing should be threatning you. Your self esteem shouldn’t be on the line every time you talk to someone.

If you want to feel better socially and around people, remember, there’s nothing wrong. Nothing is out of place.

I’m sure you’ve noticed this when you’re around really outgoing people. There’s nothing wrong.

I’ve learned this so much but, people follow your lead. If you don’t think there’s anything wrong, there’s nothing wrong.

When I was a kid, I didn’t have many negative influences in my life. If you guys are 23-28, and grew up in the 80’s, early 90’s, things were generally positive and optimistic. I use to watch Mr Wizards World, Double Dare, all these cool Nickelodeon shows, I watched Alf, Silver Spoons, Saturday morning cartoons, Little Rascals, you’ve seen all these. The toys I had were positive; good vs evil, with GI Joe, Transformers, MASK, Muscle Men, Lego’s.

When I compare that to how dark things got for me in the late 90’s, I don’t even believe it. It makes you look crazy, it just doesn’t make any sense. My attitude is, well, whatever….let’s get on with the game. I’ve cut down my internet use a lot. The real world comes first, internet second.

I can’t even describe how bizarre it all is; sitting here typing this, it’s hard to put into words. I’ve got these vivid, vivid memories of my childhood and I was doing normal stuff. I bought baseball cards with my friends at a liquor store 10 minutes from my house. I had a birthday party at McDonalds. I blew my weekly allowance at the local arcade. I can remember in the 3rd grade, I went to a friends house and we traded Garbage Pail kids in his bedroom. That was like the coolest thing in the world at the time. I took some cool trips, I traveled. Everyone has done this stuff. And yet here I am, 18, 19, 20 and I’m lost in life. What?!?! WHAT?!! Can you really believe it?

Again, it goes back to what’s your dream. What’s your vision? What do you want to look back on? What do you want to wake up to? I want to wake up to blue skys, greenery, optimism, nice things in my bedroom, I want to recreate some of the great memories I had as a kid (I’ve been buying a lot of old toys and things on ebay).

I can remember waking up on a Saturday morning, with this cool sense of adventure. Yeah! Saturday morning. I use to love watching the Little Rascals. I watched wrestling at 12 o’clock. My whole experience of life was so different then. It was a much richer and deeper experience. It was more vivid.

I wanted to draw a line between those days and now. Where would I be? What would I be doing? I thought about it a lot. Where would I be?

I wanted that optimism again. I wanted that sense of doing stuff and just living life. Not messing around with the internet, wondering what to say to a girl, am I doing this right, oh my gosh, I’ve got to do 34 things right for her to like me, and oh my.

There’s an old Twilight Zone episode about the “bewitching pool”. It’s about these kids that grow up with a family that they hate. The parents are always fighting. They dream about escaping from their reality and being transported somewhere else (sound like anyone you know?). They dive into their swimming pool and swim to the very bottom, and then they get transported into this other world. It’s like a fantasy land; there are no problems in this world. Every kids dream. That’s pretty much how I felt about where I currently was and where my dreams were.

My dream socially was to feel normal, healthy, at ease, and developed. I don’t have to have things planned all the time. I don’t have to be out partying every weekend. Healthy and well adjusted are the two words that kept coming up for me over and over.

Nothing else matters. You could be going to the most prestigious school, you could have the coolest car, you could have the biggest DVD library and the coolest gadgets…but who cares. What’s your day to day quality of life like?

Suppose I was 20 again. I’m in college, going through the motions. I’ve got classes a few days a week. I’ve got a few things to work on. Then, maybe I get the courage to ask a girl out to the movies.

What would I do? What’s the gameplan? How many days til I call her? What’s she going to think of this? Wait…I’m going to go look it up on the internet…I’ll get some tips, that’s it, that’ll help me.

I wouldn’t even go into that world. Just stop. Stop taking everything so seriously. Stop making everything so permanent and absolute. Stop assuming everything is so either or, either she loves me, or she won’t like me. Stop making it so difficult and complicated, like you’ve got to do 32 things right to “win” and if you do one thing wrong, you “lose”. That’s a tough way to go through life.

Go out and have fun. Make her laugh. Talk about cool stuff that goes deep, like this article. There’s nothing “wrong” or out of place. You take care of yourself. You’ve “got something in life” (college, hobbies, different interests and things you do). I think you’ll find that your conversations and interactions with people are going to go way up. You’re in a place where you’re real, you’re not trying so hard.

You’ll land a girlfriend. It’s not going to be that hard. Now whether you want a girlfriend is a different story. I never wanted to settle down early (say in my 20’s), so I never gave a long term relationship much thought. I’ll go out, I’ll talk to girls here and there. I wanted to play a game where, I can meet different people, I can have different experiences. And then, eventually down the road I could settle down (now it’s looking like early 30s). That was ok with me. It just depends on what you want.

-Visualization is very very underrated IMO. It sounds so new age and so out there. You know Madonna and how she’s into this mystical Kabbalah religion? It’s suppose to be some divine spiritual thing. That’s how I’d think of visualization. It’s some magical, mystical thing. Smoke appears and you do something……and whatever. In highschool, I wouldn’t have believed it all. “Visualize going out with women.” “Visualize being comfortable with women.” And somehow it magically changes you into some stud.

Visualization is nothing more than seeing a target in front of you. It’s like seeing a baseball being thrown down the middle of the plate. You can’t hit a target that you can’t see.

See yourself in your mind doing the things that you want to do. If you’ve never asked someone out before, see the scenario in your mind…”do you want to go out this friday night?”………”lets have lunch sometime”……..replay it over and over and over. “Sure, I’d love to”……”that sounds great”…….with a big smile on her face. See yourself holding hands, see yourself giving great hugs.

-Finally, I’ll wrap this up by saying, remember the good stuff. I want to define my life by the good stuff. In the last few years, I’ve…

Graduated from college with a pretty decent GPA (3.4).

Talked to lots of girls in college. Great memories in class. Had dinner with this nice girl on the last day of class. Overall, a 180 degree shift from high school.

Went out, went to Christmas parties, went to the movies, etc. Met lots of people.

Pursued my career ambitions, hobbies and interests.

My day to day life is MUCH better off.

I realized that nothing is that bad. That’s not motivational Tony Robbins talk. It’s reality. Maybe you’re convinced that you’re different and that somehow the rules that everyone else follows don’t apply to you.

But people move on. People deal with things.

Most people get married. Most people settle down. Most people have kids. People go to the movies. People go on vacation.

I really liked watching the NBA Finals this year, and as I watched some of the games, I got to thinking about what the players go through. These guys have a lot of pressure to deal with. They’ve got the media, the fans, the coaching staff, their family and friends to deal with. With their wealth and status, these guys have a lot of responsibility. Some are the same age as you and me. Somehow they make it and life just moves on.

I always like keeping this in mind. And keeping in mind, everything is ok.

Overall, I wanted a transition phase for my life. I’m not a kid anymore (mentally, maybe, physically no). The toys are put away. If you’re the past the age of 18, you’ve got certain responsibilities in life. It may not seem like it. Your parents may be very easy on you (i.e. live at home, you don’t have to get a job, etc). But you’ve got certain responsibilities if you want to be healthy, well adjusted and lead a fairly happy life.

Most of the work for me was figuring out what I wanted. Who do I want to become? Where do I go? What road do I go down?

I’ve got a pretty clear picture at this point in my life. I don’t want to settle down until my early 30’s. I could look back on that and be comfortable with it. I’m 28 now (a young 28) I plan on going out for another few years. I want different experiences and different things to look back on. In the meantime I’ve got other things to pursue.

I realized (and this may sound silly), but my life is important. At the end of the day, I want to be able to decide what my life is about. I don’t want everyone else deciding it for me.

I would encourage everyone reading this to make some type of effort to help others with the same problem. Even if you’re not sure what the response would be, ask yourself, would the information have helped you when you were really down?

If the answer is yes, go for it. It’s not going to hurt. Something to think about…

I think once you start doing these things, you’ll find yourself opening up and your real feelings will bubble up to the top. You’ve got to geniunely care about your life and your well being. That’s going to take care of your finances, your hobbies, your clothes, a lot of stuff.

I hope everyone can get something out of this. Much success everyone.