From Dead Inside to Being Ghost No More

Since early on in my life, I was always told one specific thing : “ Don’t make yourself to be a target”. Growing up, I took that advise to the heart and maybe too literally. All the times I would tell myself to take no space, and make no wave. I tried not to draw attention, extinguishing my own voice so that no one noticed me. I trained myself to disappear, essentially becoming a ghost in a crowd.

At the same time, I also quietly equipped myself with layers of protection for the case when I got noticed. Like a ninja, I harnessed my skills in different ways. From mastering new technology, polishing my finance knowledge and learning other things, I did all that in the effort to convince myself of my own worth and uniqueness. To tell myself that I’m different than the rest of the world.

After a while, everything that I thought made me special, quickly sizzled out. Like decaffeinated coffee, all the taste but none of the punch. I had It soon drove me crazy and set me back for many years trying to make this work out. Trying to do two opposite extreme way turned out to be difficult to master. Having been molded all this time, it was so hard to go against my own true self. But one day I decided, I didn’t want to be a ghost anymore. One single approach from now on, and be honest with myself.

Moving Forward

So one day in January 1993, more than 30 years ago, I quit my safe boring job and started my own business. It was not exactly a smooth-sailing venture, and to say that I was anxious or terrified would be an understatement. I failed so many times, to a point that I told myself to just screw it and have fun! At least, I was no longer contradicting myself all the times.

Fast forward to 30 years later, I now looked back to those memories and realized how each of them taught me countless invaluable lessons. Those experiences are crucial in shaping who I am today, a person who is more content and confident than before. And I have to say, I like to come to such moments of contemplation and find myself comforted somehow.

So instead of writing a list of resolutions like I typically do at every beginning of the new year, I want to try something different.

This time, I want to reflect on the last 30 years and write down all the life lessons I have accumulated. I’m gonna consider it a note to my future self, and maybe it could even be useful to someone else. One can always hope.

12 Pieces of Advice to Myself

Here is the list of New Years Advice to myself for 2023

  1. Focus on what you already have, not on the things you don’t have.

  2. Don’t fear negative feelings such as anxiety, sadness, or discomfort. They often go hand in hand with love and your passions.

  3. Find the things that excite you, bring a smile to your face and make you lose track of time. Do more of those!

  4. Things don’t have to be perfect to be amazing

  5. When you’re feeling down, take a moment to smile at yourself. That’s gonna be one of the most powerful 60 seconds ever.

  6. Always remind yourself that you have a 100% success rate of overcoming challenges and avoiding death. So far, so good!

  7. The biggest lie you tell is the one you tell yourself. Why? because you are the easiest one to fool.

  8. Getting old sucks, but it’s so much better than the other alternative.

  9. You may occasionally disappoint others, but make sure to never disappoint yourself.

  10. The biggest risk you can take is not taking any risks. The regret from inaction is always more painful than regret of action.

  11. Never let a good friendship dies. Send a text, make a call, or visit. Good friendships require efforts.

  12. The “good old days” are happening right now.

Honesty is Everything

From all the advices I have compiled above, there is an essence that lies behind them all : Honesty. When you are honest with yourself, you will find your true self. It’s so important to me that I’m gonna make it my personal life mission.

Your only obligation in any lifetime is to be true to yourself.

Richard Bach The Reluctant Messiah

The point of all our life experiences is to lead us to who we truly are. And to get to that point, honesty is key. Only when we open ourselves up to vulnerability, discomfort and criticism will we understand our identity. In that process, try to not care as much of what others think of you.

Just remember that there are ugliness, imperfection and negative sides to all of us - that is natural. Like nature that’s made of good and bad things, they are all the necessary parts in becoming a strong and resilient environment against the ravage of time.