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I’ll be honest with you. I’m in my thirties and still find life hard.

I still feel like a beginner.

I still feel mostly clueless.

I still get scared and dread things.

For the most part, things are hopeful. I’m productive, I’m exercising enough, feeling positive, and I am grateful for what I have.

I can experience moments of brilliance, where I feel like I’m on fire, bursting with ideas.

But there are times when I allow things to affect me too much, to push me back, to drain the life from my chest until it is hollow.

It’s like losing my footing in the big climb of life, my grip has slipped, and…

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Think for a moment right now about all the things in your life you wished were different.

Of those things, which truly matter?

What of those things are out of your control?

What of the things you wish was different can you feasibly have any influence in?

What do you desire that you don’t have?

(Don’t tell me it’s a Lambo)

How might you feel if you realised that you didn’t need to pine or wish for these things?

At all.

Aikido founder Morihei Ueshiba (a wise Japanese fella with a penchant for spotless dressing gowns) has this to say…

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A brilliant thing I learned from one of my mentors was to ‘test’ rather than ‘trust.’

Most of us feel resistance to taking action, particularly when it comes to something new. This is because it isn’t something we’ve tried. We haven’t associated ourselves with that thing — whatever it is.


And so we come up with ideas about what we need to do to deal with the fear.

These are, of course, clever little lies: excuses.

We say we need to first ‘trust’ the process. Or we need to trust ourselves first.

(Come on, Nathan! Get real).

‘How can…

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It’s funny.

I study more now at thirty-six than I did at school or university.

I remember that learning was fun and occasionally intriguing during those times, but there was an undercurrent of resistance to what learning entailed.

It always felt like a bit of a push.

I think it was because we were obligated to learn so that we’d pass tests and avoid punishment.

Not always, but often.

Fear-based, rather than for love.

And it was that sense of learning out of fear that often drained it of enthusiasm. …

Seems alluring, doesn’t it?

The safe life.

The life of comfort and feel-good vibes.

Follow your bliss and all that.

Safety first.

Except nothing was created in safety.


Life springs out of risk realised.


Safety is where we perch between risks.

Devoid of creativity.

Rich in rejuvenation and rest. Yes.

But devoid of growth.

And so, if we get real with ourselves, we begin to see that our lives are in continual, beautiful transition.

Transition from safety to danger, and back again.

Yin and Yang encapsulated.

We can’t live if we only embrace the Yin.

Sometimes, and more…

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Do you know what our most significant source of ongoing hardship is?

It is the driver behind all wars, all suffering, all murder, even physical disease.

It is the pernicious and societally-pushed belief that our personal happiness and sense of fulfilment relies on other people.

‘My happiness relies on how others treat me.’

I am the taker.

‘Your happiness relies on being loved by another.’

You are the taker.

‘Our well-being as a nation relies on taking from others so that we can have more well-being as a group.’

We are the takers.

Our strategy for happiness is in the…

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If I had a magic ingredient that allowed you to reach all your goals, would you read on?

If I knew exactly why we ALL fail to see things through to completion and fruition, would you perk up and take note?

Well, I may be able to shed some light on the matter.

(I know, I am seriously cool by saying this).

We set our sights on something we’d love to make happen.

Maybe you had an insight while scrubbing your behind in the shower, and you thought that it would be so cool to write a novel featuring telepathic…

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Every morning I sit down and plan the day.

This means writing down the five or six priorities that I will check off as I go through the day.

I noticed, over time, that I would often get frustrated at the growing number of tasks that kept showing up on a new list day after day.

The same things.

Often these were things like marketing my work, or writing, that I knew I needed to do daily…

But I still allowed a day to go by without doing it.

The guilt and annoyance of avoiding my important tasks — only…

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It took me most of my 36 years to realise I was operating on outdated software.

I had downloaded a program into my mind as a boy.

As we all do.

It is the software that guides us in our early years. Most of us never see a system update before we hit the grave.

What’s its name?

‘People-Pleasing V 1.0.’

As children, we are programmed to please the giant, scary, all-powerful adults around us.

Most of them tell us to behave. They tell us to be good. …

What the hell am I doing?

I put a finger to my neck to feel my pulse.

My heart was doing a drum and bass beat.

This can’t be healthy.

Should I just abort? Am I even ready for this?

Maybe I’ll send a quick group email to say I had a family emergency. I got snowed out of my apartment. Something. There’s still time.

Deep, slow breath.

I’m doing this. It’s been on the calendar for weeks. I said I’d do this. I told hundreds of people about this. I can’t let them down.

And so I cleared my…

Alex Mathers

Coach and Illustrator. Helping entrepreneurs lead with confidence. More: ; Illusory book:

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