The Attention Detention

I spent virtually all of my childhood staring into space and day dreaming about all kinds of stuff. It was only when playing sport that I was present and focused because that was competition time. I was someone that just had to win at everything I did. If I didn’t score the most goals or win the most races I felt as though I wasn’t good enough. Sport was my outlet for external validation.

In my adulthood I seem to have carried on that same desire for external validation, only this time I have applied it to a career perspective. When I hear people talk about great pioneers of the world and the super elite, I feel as though because I don’t match up to the same level of success that I am still not good enough. It has always really bothered me that I am not talked about in that same manner.

Even to this day, I castrate myself for not being perfect. Yet I really cannot seem to figure out why perfection is so important to me. Am I just very insecure? I am beginning to shed some light on what might be going on in my very weird and wonderful mind. And it has to do with a very complex asset that we have. In fact, in my opinion, it is the only asset we have.

I am talking about our attention. If I were to donate money to a charity then of course it would be appreciated and used accordingly. If I were to donate my time then, again, it would very much be appreciated, I am sure. However, those two forms of energy I have used may not necessarily equate to me actually caring about the cause itself.

In my view, the only thing that shows care is our attention. One partner in a relationship may express a desire to spend time together but if the other person is spending that time looking on their phone then it is not quality time at all because there is no attention on the other person. Likewise, a parent may think they are showing love to their child through finances but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the child will feel loved at all.

So I continue to ask myself what my attention is on and even though it is very much split across several things, they all point back to the same thing. The approval of others. For whatever reason I just need people’s attention to be on me. I need acceptance, and on a very large scale it would seem. I do admit that I feel somewhat lonely and isolated in this world as a result of this desire.

The strange thing is that as a kid I hated attention, unless I was trying to show off in front of a girl, of course. I couldn’t bare it when adults would look at me with that expression of “ahhh” if I said something amusing or wore something that made me look ‘cute’. It drove me mad and so I kept finding ways of staying out of the spotlight.

Then came the other end of the spectrum in adulthood. I had to buy a nice car when I passed my test in order to stand out. I had to be out all the time living the high life, being the life and soul of the party. Earlier today I was looking through some old photos and reminded myself of just how lairy I tried to dress in order to get noticed.

I’m not quite sure what I ever hoped to achieve. Some kind of celebrity status, maybe. Being adored by many. All it is is just fantasy thinking that keeps me trapped in a cage in my own mind. Having been very closed and shut down emotionally for most of my life I know that it is connection I long for. A real connection, that is.

In this day and age we are able to connect with virtually anyone in the world. It really is quite incredible. In my attempt to connect with many people I would use the usual methods such as social networking for example and build a big friends list whereby I could upload photos of me living the so-called ‘perfect’ life. When in reality it was just a lie.

My long running foray into online dating only cements my belief that I am still playing at the surface level despite trying to tell myself that I want something ‘real’. I tend to jump the gun a bit with the matches that I get by being honest from the outset. When I say honest, I mean being open about myself, but it goes down like a lead balloon.

I tend to assume that by being open and honest from the off gives the girl a chance to see both sides of me. Yet they seem to have found it very off-putting. Which, now I think about it, I can understand. At the same time, however, would I truly want to start dating someone that I think may not be very supportive in the long run? And conversely, would I even want to burden anyone with my current incessant need to figure myself out? It is all a very confusing process that I would be best to remove myself from for the time being.

With my quest for connection, it appears that my attention is very much fear based. Since going self-employed some years back I realised just how insecure I am about fending for myself in the world. My attention started gearing towards potential disasters. Before I knew it I was very much a doomsday protagonist.

In all honesty, I always have been. I have always lived in fear, it just intensified when I first stepped out into the world on my own. Being sycophantic and somewhat Machiavellian were very much my default behaviours. If I could talk others down behind their backs then I might get the connection of those I was trying to impress. It was as if my survival depended on the approval of others and by any means necessary. By trying to destroy the trust that may be had in others, I felt as though that would promote me to the top.

Asking for help is something that I am just too proud to do so in order to get ahead I will typically bitch and moan. Recently I went to Dr John Demartini’s Breakthrough Experience seminar and towards the end of the first day I was getting quite frustrated. I wasn’t able to think straight and he was being quite pushy to everyone which I instantly put up a rebellion against.

Quite immaturely, I was hoping he would pick on me so that I could argue with him and get kicked out. When I had a chance to calm down a little I still wouldn’t ask the facilitators for help. I remember thinking that I would rather die than ask for help. I have always felt that asking for help makes me weak.

Is vulnerability a strength though? Is it ok to be open now? There is still such a stigma around mental health unfortunately, despite a great breakthrough occurring in recent times. From my own experience, comparison is what has always held me back for so long. I was always comparing my life to a fantasy of perfection and unrivalled success. Yet it was merely so that I would be accepted.

It is a common belief that acceptance starts from within. And that the relationship we have with ourselves is the most important one we’ll ever have. Yet how do I get there? How do I start loving myself for who I am as an individual? How do I stop comparing myself to others? How do I move away from fear based thinking?

I was reading an article about a retired footballer than had had some rough patches throughout his career. Having come through it all, the article talks about how he is now comfortable in his own skin. The author made reference to the idea that it can come across as arrogance to have achieved that state. It really took me by surprise because isn’t that the place that we all deserve to be?

Most of my time is spent studying multiple topics. I am a very curious being. I have such a desire to know more and more and it can sometimes become very overwhelming. One topic I study is wealth building. Having gone through debt struggles I managed to get my finances in order and got myself started on the path to financial freedom. The operative word there is ‘freedom’.

What may be construed as being money driven is actually freedom driven. Yet I now know that freedom is a state of mind. It is easy to criticise the so-called money hungry people in society yet when you look a little deeper, maybe they operate from a fear based mentality just like me. Do we really know the underlying reasons for someone’s behaviour without actually asking them?

If freedom is a state of mind then it becomes so apparent that being a slave to the opinions of others is what I have imprisoned myself with. It has dictated my thoughts and behaviours for as long as I can remember so now it is time to let go.

And it all starts with me.

Less complaining about people in order to propel myself up a fabricated chain of command. Less moaning about events or circumstances and take full and complete responsibility for myself. Being aware of behaviours that I make in order to impress others and instead opting for ones that serve me. Choose thoughts that empower me and enrich me as a person rather than those that keep me trapped.

My default behaviours only serve to create baggage. An accumulation of things. Possessions, ways of thinking and a constant cry for attention. The paradox is that this type of abundance only brings scarcity. With my attention and focus being so split over how best to act in order gain approval, I lost sight over what is most important.

Being so shut down and guarded for all these years has blocked me from such expression. The one thing that makes everything else pale into insignificance. John Lennon said it best.

All you need is love.

So Near, Yet So Far…

Among my group of mates we have a tradition of booking what we call ‘Secret Holidays’. The idea is simple; one person books flights and accommodation and the rest all find out the destination when we arrive at the airport. It has thrown up some interesting places and the one I have us all booked for in October is somewhere the others wouldn’t even have heard of. Should be interesting.

This will be our eighth excursion under this format and I’m looking forward to seeing their little faces light up upon the revelation. I only hope that this trip lives up to laugh fests that we have encountered previously. I’m sure it will.

As quite often the only single one of the group, I am requested to download Tinder and start making connections. This became a tradition on our Gothenburg trip in an attempt to find out the best places to go in the area. And it worked. We had a brilliant night.

I have carried this habit on any time I have gone away, only this time it is out of curiosity for who might be out there. I am so pulled in by the idea of meeting ‘Mrs Right’ yet I feel in no way prepared to be in a relationship. It turns out that this apprehensiveness has its roots stemming from shame.

Social media is great advertising. You can make anything look great if you know how. From personal experience I often used Facebook status updates as a way of telling the how many hundreds of ‘friends’ I had how good life was. All the while I was dying inside. This has me wondering if this is happening for anyone else.

With endless choice in everything in life now, we have lost our patience. If something isn’t going our way we can sack it off and do something else. I did this with jobs in my younger age every time I got the hump about something. However, the biggest problem here might be a trust issue. If we’re telling the world how great life is with our pictures, interests and hobbies, then we’re not revealing the full truth.

I followed my manic, hedonistic mentality and it catapulted me into depression quicker than I could say “let’s do shots!”. Before I knew it I was £45k in debt, in a miserable relationship and I made the Cookie Monster’s eating habits look quite reserved.

So if we paint this fabulous picture of ourselves then what happens when life’s inevitable struggles come along from time to time? We’ve been sold bliss from someone’s profile and now all of a sudden we’re having to get our hands dirty. We didn’t sign up for that. And there lies the issue regarding trust. We’re not trusting ourselves to put the real ‘us’ online. Why? Fear of ridicule and judgement, perhaps? I would say because it doesn’t promote this desire for perfection.

This is why I don’t trust social media as a platform to meet ‘the one’. I know many married couples that have met online and good luck to them. It just isn’t something that I can get to grips with myself. Through extensive work on myself I have learned to open up more, however, from what I have been learning about lately, that may not be such a good idea.

Recently I have been studying the works of Brené Brown. She’s a researcher that studies topics such as vulnerability and shame. She tells a great story about a guy that approached her after a talk telling her that he feels as though his wife and three daughters would rather see him die on his white horse than fall off it. That hit a nerve with me.

I know from my own pervious experiences in relationships that women want their men to be more open but we stay locked down. However, according to Brené’s research, women seem unable to handle it when a guy opens up. So, as a guy, I personally would find myself caught in this perpetual cycle of wanting to express how I felt but at the same time not wanting to. And it was my issue, not theirs.

Being willing to show vulnerability, by admitting in certain moments that everything wasn’t ok, would cripple me. Therefore I would keep my stiff upper lip and plod along as normal. Whether it is a guy way or the British way or whatever I have no idea. The truth is I wasn’t courageous enough to open up during times of struggle. To accept that at times maybe I’m not a mountain after all would feel as though I was admitting defeat.

Aside from having a coach I don’t have anyone in my life that I feel safe with showing the real me. The positives and negatives. That is an incredibly tough pill to swallow. Only now am I realising just how messed up that is. This blog is my platform to open up and be honest which I am sure many people would consider to be brave. It isn’t that brave because I know that nobody reads it so I still remain in my safe zone.

As I mentioned at the start, all of this comes down to one thing; shame. I’m ashamed of myself because it is me that hasn’t accepted the negative parts of myself while at the same time ignoring the positives. None of my previous girlfriends ever stood a chance in all fairness.

My coach told me recently about our three main fears. Poverty, loneliness and illness. Oh how these three things have had a stranglehold on my consciousness for quite some time. Having started my journey into self-employment with low self esteem I started to let the fear of poverty take over and ironically winded up in all that debt. This meant that I cut myself off even further from society whilst increasing my stress levels. It is fair to say that I was on the path to experiencing all three to some degree.

Recently I started putting together a list of things I was critical of myself for but have now come to love. Firstly, I don’t handle pressure. Not one bit. As someone with a disdain for authority I have no problem telling someone to go fuck themselves. Yet I was always at the mercy of other people’s opinions or it may have been a work scenario that I desperately needed so I kept my mouth shut on more occasions than I should have. Now I feel as though I am coming into my own and beginning to align my behaviours with my values.

Another pressure I can’t handle is time. Which is great because, for one, it makes me more organised and efficient, and two, it means I am now taking on less. Taking on so much was as a result of fear of missing out (FOMO). This doesn’t just apply to the fun stuff in life. In my case it was work. And I am now in a position to start claiming my life back, for example by transitioning out of working weekends.

The third thing on my list is my over-thinking. I consider myself to be somewhat philosophical and so I am always pondering something. I am convinced that as a society we have built a lie and so I want to look deeper. I want to explore consciousness and not be confined to the belief systems and social ‘norms’ of the masses.

I am excited for where this list will take me because for each addition I get ever closer to that estranged feeling of unconditional love of myself. I have put so much time, energy and effort into my development and I am amazed at the progress I have made personally, I just never expected the journey to be so long. I guess good things come to those who wait.

Curiosity will continue to get the better of me. I feel as though in a world of instant connection that we are further apart from one another than we realise. We are social beings after all and we seem to be replacing the ‘love hormone’ Oxytocin, accessible by something as simple as hugging, with dopamine, the brain’s pleasure chemical. Every time we get a match on Tinder we get a quick dopamine hit. This becomes addictive and all of a sudden we become more interested in clocking up the matches than we do with the original purpose.

This just leads to conveyor belt dating. Well one thing is for sure; I don’t do auditions. Why is it that we all of a sudden have the chance to pick from a parade of people instead of sourcing out the right person in real life that we can genuinely connect with? I can’t be the only one to find this epidemic so perverse. Surely?

Perhaps I am sounding like an old fashioned git and ignoring evolution in full flow. Who knows, maybe I get it wrong about online dating? Based on what I have seen so far from the typical profiles of listing out expectations along with likes: “Gin, Wine, Coffee, Brunch, Travel…”, it would seem that the idea of being ‘perfectly imperfect’ has little room for manoeuvre. My idea of changing the world is to bring people closer to love, not as far away from it as possible.

The Dark Side of Money

Back when I was 15 I was approaching the last few days at school and I was given a heads up by my mum that a limo was coming to pick me up and take me in. Given that I feared embarrassment of any nature I thanked her for the warning and got out the door quick to take a different route to school by foot.

Back when I was 16 I began a long love affair with boozy nights out followed by donner kebabs, dodgy taxis and an attempt at womanising. That last one took a while to get off the ground. Of course, I also became quite accustomed to the ‘day after the night before’ feeling and a hearty serving of the good old English fry-up.

Back when I was 25 I began developing feelings of sadness and subsequently depression. I was feeling the strain of a relationship that was rife with insecurity and anger on both parts and a job that kept me on red alert for trouble every single night. I started becoming more aware of where exactly I was in Australia and seeing first hand what I wasn’t seeing up until that point.

These three particular times in my life have only one common denominator.

Why the limo? Well, it was in reward for being present for every single day of Key Stage 4 (years 10 and 11). Though it was quite ungrateful of me to make a run for it, I just couldn’t handle any pointing and laughing that may have come my way for being ever present at a school that had quite low standards.

My mum served on the board of governors at my secondary school and was once asked by the Head why I never missed a day. She wanted to know in the hope that she could find a solution to the ever growing absence rates. I loved school. I loved every minute of it. Getting towards the end of Primary school I started to develop an apathy. Secondary school was different, I was itching to get started and bounced out of bed every morning ready to go.

Sixth form was an even better experience as I started to develop a greater amount of freedom. There was less class time, bouncers of local nightclubs never checked ID and my part time job at McDonalds funded plenty of Smirnoff Ice. To top it off, I would soon be able to drive. Life was good.

Upon leaving school I started working in banking and insurance which would take me to branches and offices all over London and the South East. It opened me up to even more nights out in new places with new people. I was starting to grow up. Well, kinda.

After 5 years of office work I deemed there to be more to life than the standard 9-5 routine and so I set sail to Australia to backpack to my heart’s content. Even to this day I have people ask me why on earth I ever came back. The answer is very simple and it ties in with that one common thread that you have been reading about so far: Socialising. In the case of coming back home from Oz it was more a case of lack thereof.

I had an absolute blast in Australia and met some great people. In fact, I am soon to be ‘best man’ for one of them. However, one by one people were starting to head home or to other places to travel while I found myself quite settled in the Queensland city of Townsville. I had a good job that offered to sponsor me and I was leasing a house with my then girlfriend. Sounds like a dream of a life, right? Nope.

I couldn’t shake this downbeat feeling that had swept over me. I had experienced mania and now the inevitable depression was starting to kick in. It was taking a stranglehold of me and I had no idea why I was feeling this way. All I knew was that I just had to get out of there and focus on heading in a new direction in life.

As part of my obsession with studying human behaviour and potential I have become increasingly informed about values. I had no idea back then just how much I valued socialising. It is so true when people say that it is not where you are that matters, it is who you are with. It is what you make it.

My mum’s response to the Head teacher that day was that I just needed to be around my friends. It was like an addiction. She was right. Lessons were boring. I would sit in every class and day dream my way to the end. Despite lessons accounting for most of the time each day I lived for morning breaks, the lunch time kick-about and the walks home.

School was a laugh. Clubbing was a laugh. Travelling was a laugh. Reality sucked. I returned home in late 2010 from Australia at the time when the Credit Crunch had a tight grip on things in the UK. Jobs no longer existed, at least not for unqualified schmucks like me. Never fear, I was enrolled for my PT course before I had even left Australia.

Now here is why reality sucked. I now had to build a business. In a new industry. With zero confidence. And a complete lack of self esteem. Oh, and in a recession. My survival became my fixation and I couldn’t think of anything else. I needed clients in order to make money. I went from viewing people as companions and connections to money and opportunities. People. Actual real life people.

It is only now that I have figured out that I struggled so much in the beginning, not because I was bad at sales but because I didn’t have the belief in myself that I could provide adequate value for what I was expecting people to pay. And so my feelings of unworthiness led me to take course after course in the hope that I would figure out what I needed to. It didn’t work. It got me in debt. A lot of debt. Now the pressure was really on.

I have nothing against Capitalism. In fact I love it. It has just become apparent how much it has been taken out of context from it’s origins. Providing a service that meets the genuine needs of the people. Brilliant idea. Only, greed took over when Generation X were given everything their parents never had. Yet it is Generation Y that are labelled the entitled ones. Not at all. Only now it is Gen X in all the powerful positions that the set behaviour is now to tread all over each other in order to get what you want.

For the last 7 years I have put so much time, energy and effort into making something of myself. With a few lucky breaks here and there lately I have found myself in a position that I never in a million years would have dreamed of back when I started out. Debt free and earning a pretty penny. It just doesn’t feel like I have found what I went searching for.

I had made money my driving force. Self interest was the go. Attachment to my own ego telling me that I lived in a state of perpetual lack. I was caught up in this whirlwind of striving to survive. When I became debt free I had a profound shift to a greater level of consciousness. I discovered that I had disassociated myself from my default mindset of constantly needing more and began seeing how so many people live this way. I was becoming free and being able to observe the trappings of so many others.

My amygdala was starting to quieten down and as the dust settled I saw more and more just how I had let money control me. Bemoaning all the while that my youth had slipped away from me. Only my youth wasn’t gone at all. I just had prioritised money over health instead of finding a balance. The stress hormone cortisol flowing through my veins kept draining my energy and leaving me fatigued. Not wanting to exercise and making me binge on pack after pack of biscuits, cookies and anything else I could get my hands on.

My coach, Martin, recently made a interesting comment about money. He said that he loved money as it enabled him to do things. Although at what cost do you allow it to take. What he meant by this is that he would always opt for 4 clients a day instead of 8 if ever given the choice. This is because he knows that having 8 clients a day would take him way from other things that he wants to do.

Simon Sinek, in his book Leaders Eat Last makes a very compelling argument for how we are so gripped by self interest yet biologically we are not equipped for it. Our human nature dictates that we are designed to cooperate instead of compete to the degree we are currently doing so. In times of hardship we pull together. In what he terms as ‘Destructive Abundance’ we have a throw-away attitude that makes us value things a lot less.

As someone that has always been neat and tidy I have found a love for minimalism. I no longer seek the material possessions that I once did and even though I now own very few items, I am still looking for where I can further de-clutter. Truth be told, it starts in the mind. We have been conditioned with the idea that we need more and more. We don’t. We are already enough.

Another great book, Minimalism by Joshua Fields Milburn and Ryan Nicodemus gave me further insight into this new movement occurring in the developed world. Particularly on the subject of work. They state that you can have either a job, a career or a mission. To me, a job and a career fuel self interest whether we realise it or not. Of course we all have bills to pay. It is ‘mission’ however that brings us fulfilment. Something we can do that is so big that can change the world. A cause that inspires us to get up and make a difference.

I’m one of those crazy people that believes they can change the world. And of course, all change starts from within. My mission is and always has been to educate the world. I am a seeker of truth and am on a journey to find it and share it. Us Gen Y and Millennial types aren’t so much as entitled as is made out. We are impatient (and constantly distracted) according to Simon Sinek. I am inclined to agree with him.

I want to make a difference in the world. I want to make a impact for the good of humanity. I have discovered first hand just how unfulfilling my self serving attitude was. What I have now realised is that at 32 years of age, I am not expected to have changed the world yet. In Gary Keller’s book The One Thing he asks what is the ‘one thing’ you can do right now that would have the biggest impact on your biggest goal. For me, if you haven’t already guessed by now, is studying.

My iPhone has stayed on my bedside table and I have stepped up my already high consumption of information. Either side of getting all this off of my chest, of course. (And an increase in gym time). The thing is, study or no study, I already know what the truth is. I have already found it. And I keep working towards finding it within myself, each and every day.

The truth eradicates all beliefs that we have been conditioned to store in our subconscious minds. It goes beyond judgement and ego. It goes beyond even our own value systems. The truth transcends our emotions, taking us out of the limbic system and into the frontal lobe, connecting us to a higher state of consciousness.

The truth, is love.

Now What?

Back in January 2004, aged 18 I started working for a well known High Street bank. It was my first step out of blue collar and straight into supposedly white collar. Though retail is retail at the end of the day. Only this time I was wearing a tie. I’ve always been about the grit. If I ever wanted something I would do what it took to get it. In this case it was interview after interview. I knew I just needed an in then I could gain experience and work my up.

The concept of wanting became all too intense when I started learning about how loans and credit cards worked. Well, I say learning how they worked, however, what I really mean to say is that I now found out they existed and that I could buy whatever I wanted right there and then. Building up a credit rating subsequently led to other companies wanting to give me credit cards and so began the slippery slope.

I remained at the mercy of my flexible ‘friends’ until the age of 23 when I had planned to go to Australia and needed to shift £5000 of credit card debt. That was the first time I ever really grasped the power of intention and somehow managed to forget its lesson ever since. Knowing that I wanted to take £5000 away with me, I had a year leading up to my flight to go from the red to the black. A £10,000 swing in my favour.

Sacrifice was my middle name. First time for everything, I guess. I stopped going out drinking as much, I bought fewer clothes and consumables. I was completely committed to getting rid of the debt and freeing myself up to having money to take away with me. The feeling I got when I made that last payment was incredible. Being free from debt for the first time in five years was truly liberating.

Despite having $AU 14,000 I asked my mum to ship my credit card over because I drank most of my travel money. As well as rocking a lot of fancy coloured board shorts! And then it began all over again. Drawing out 500 bucks here and there as cash advances soon added up. Before I knew it, my credit card debt had risen to almost £4000 again.

Leading up to coming home I was putting away around 800 dollars a week and brought what equated to be around £8,000 back home with me. Given that I was going to be studying for 3 months and then not guaranteeing an income after that, I decided to use that money to live off of. However, I could never just live conservatively for some reason.

The money started to dwindle. On Adidas attire, gym equipment and needless business costs. Before I knew it, the money had run out, I was paying rent to a commercial gym and I had sod all in the way of clients. Oh and I still had a £4000 credit card bill hanging over me. You would be forgiven for thinking that I am a bit of a schmuck when it comes to money. And it only gets worse.

Fast forward a couple more years and we’re in 2013. The place of work was Covent Garden and I was working 60-80 hour weeks delivering Personal Training and teaching fitness qualifications. Every ounce of energy I could muster up went into working. I could never just relax and chill out. I had this fear that work would eventually die up yet I wasn’t saving anything and I wasn’t paying anything other than the minimum payments off of my credit card.

The only thing I could exchange for money was my time so I felt the need to try and get a business off the ground that would generate me a huge tonne of money. I didn’t quite think that one through. I went on course after course trying to get the ins and outs of the business world. I was going to seminars, business coaching programmes, online programmes. You name it.

Mid way through 2014 I realised that I had to finally face up to how much debt I had gotten myself into. I was actually impressed by my own courage in this moment. So I started adding things up and taking into account everything I owed. At its highest point it was close to £45,000. I couldn’t believe how I had let myself get so out of control.

There have been, in my view, three ‘crushing’ events in my life that have turned out to be the most amazing blessings I could ever have wished for. This was one of them. Being in so much debt, feeling completely helpless and crying myself to sleep more nights than I care to remember taught me to wake the hell up and start learning how to manage money and build wealth.

This week marks the first time in 14 years that I have become consciously debt free. What I mean by that is that I am debt free with the awareness of how I managed to get myself into debt in the first place. The time leading up to going to Australia was only short lived because I still had that consumer mindset which got me back into debt. Now I feel I have greater wisdom to make to more calculated buying decisions. I have certainly learned the hard way.

For the first time in a long time I feel as though I have choices. And I keep asking myself what it is that I would really love to do to earn a living. I have a great thing going on at the minute with teaching fitness qualifications yet I can’t help but think that it has a shelf life as the industry starts to evolve.

Going forward I know that finding something I love doing is of the most importance as opposed to doing things just for the money. For the last 7 years I have said yes to everything purely because I felt that I needed the money. Debt will do that to you. It will make you live in fear and can ultimately control you. I don’t have anymore energy to give to that.

The most disturbing thing about my sorry experience with money, especially in the last 7 years is that it all could have been avoided. Though I cannot argue with the lesson it gave me. You see, every episode I had with money involved giving it away. Buying consumables and depreciable items that would go down in value. In regards to the courses, I got great value but I didn’t have the self awareness at the time to make them work.

And that is the answer. Self awareness. I had made my approach to self employment so difficult because I had such low self-esteem. Feelings of not being smart enough to be able to help people. Feelings of unworthiness as a result of such contempt for myself which I kept projecting onto others.

Contempt is an interesting emotion which I have been looking into quite a lot lately. I found some very interesting blogs which highlighted a lot in myself. Certain characteristics kept popping up such as narcissism for example. This I can most definitely relate to as since being in debt and being self employed I made everything about me and have no doubt given less value than I could have a lot of the time.

Relationship insecurities is another one. Always thinking that my girlfriends would eventually see right through the worthlessness that I am and so I would become distant, cause arguments and then just leave. This pattern kept repeating itself over and over all the while I was blaming the other person.

Expecting perfection from other people ranks high on my list of douche-bag tendencies. I always prided myself on being a perfectionist but all it was doing was covering up insecurity. Then bemoaning when others don’t act in the same way. A lot of frustration, anger and inner conflict just kept pouring out.

The one that really sunk in and hit me hard was that of a ‘Machiavellian’ personality. Truth be told, I’ve always been a shit stirrer because it was how I could get people to like me in the short time. If I could find a way to side with them then it would be by any means necessary. I’m not proud of it and I have begun to stamp it out of my behaviour.

Needing to be liked is a classic case of low self-esteem. Not being able to like or love the self results in us seeking it from the external. This then creates attachment. My attachment all this time was money. I was attached to the promise of abundance, the fear of scarcity and the fantasy of acquiring it with ease. My initial relationship with money caused me nothing but stress. Now I see it for what it is. An incredible tool that can enable one to live according to their highest values.

So what are my highest values? Every few months or so I sit down and take myself through a values determination process. It is no surprise that learning comes out on top and has done every time since I have been doing it for nearly 4 years now. Only this time I looked a little closer. I looked at the topics I study, the way I apply my new knowledge and where I see myself going with it. It all points to one thing in particular. Raising consciousness.

I’m fascinated with human potential. I can’t get enough of studying it and speaking about it. My mates and ex-girlfriends have always thought I was deluded since I got into the field of personal development. Which is totally fine because I know I am right. We’re here to lead fulfilling and magnificent lives. There is no two ways about.

I can’t deny that as I continue to build wealth there will be a Jaguar and the odd Rolex perhaps. Perks of the journey I would say. I now know just how unfulfilling it is to work solely for the money. Knowledge, awareness and intelligence have always been a bigger void than money ever could be. Money is simply a vehicle that can enable me to keep filling that mental void for myself and hopefully others that are on a similar path.

We’re seeing major changes in the way we lives our lives. The knowledge of humanity doubles approximately every ten years according to self-esteem expert Nathaniel Branden. Forbes predict that by the year 2020 (less that 3 years away!) over 50% of the American workforce will be freelance and I wouldn’t be surprised if those figures were mirrored here in the UK.

Now more than ever, I am convinced that we need to find out what is truly in our heart’s mission and start living accordingly. Latest figures show that productivity rates are down meaning less pay rises and less taxes going into the system. A crash is coming and in all truth it is long over due. The world needs each of us to be authentic to who we really are. Not how much ‘stuff’ we have bought using credit.

I thank my lucky stars that I have a clean slate. I have learned my lesson and am now much more aware of my impulses. The key to life is to find what you love that serves people. I have always known what I have wanted to do I just have never allowed myself to accept it because I have always doubted my ability for it.

I want to raise consciousness. And the next phase of my journey is to figure out how to monetise it.