#126 - 7 Things I Wish I Would've Learned Sooner

February 9, 2022

Life is full of valuable lessons that we've gotta learn. Here are 7 simple lessons for you to think about.

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Animated subtitles will appear when you press 'play'
You must be a community member to see the complete animated transcript.
Already a member? Log in
Key Vocabulary & Grammar Guide
Download the VIP
Key Vocabulary Guide

Transcript

[00:00:00] All right, my friends. What's up, everybody? You are listening to another episode of Life in English. I'm your host, Tony Kaizen. And in this episode, I'm going to share 7 simple things I wish I would have learned earlier in life. Let's do it!

[00:00:18] The Life in English podcast is designed to teach you the real American English that you won't learn in school. And it's made possible by our VIP community. By becoming a VIP member of the Life in English community, you'll get access to our Private Conversation Group, bonus podcast episodes, interactive transcripts, and vocabulary and grammar guides. If you'd like to join the community, you can visit lifeinenglish.net/vip.

[00:00:40] All right. The first thing I wish I would have learned earlier in life is that your mental health is more important than anything. I've told you before that achieving any goal in life starts with your mindset. If you ain't right mentally, you can create all kinds of unnecessary problems for yourself. You can lose money, lose focus, damage potentially great relationships, waste years of your life going in the wrong direction, let other people decide how your life plays out.

[00:01:10] The list of things that can go wrong in life is endless. And it's our job to develop a healthy mind so we can reduce the amount of problems we inevitably face in life. In other words, there will always be problems and suffering in life. But by keeping our minds healthy and productive, we can make sure that we don't have to suffer any more than what is absolutely necessary.

[00:01:29] And this applies to all aspects of your life. Like, who cares if you got a wonderful career when your home life is toxic? Who cares if you make a lot of money when you never have time to do things you enjoy? Who cares if you miss that party when you would have been miserable the whole time there? Who cares if you love him when all he tries to do is manipulate and control you? Who cares if you've got a beautiful girl when all she does is bring drama and frustration into your life? Who cares what your parents want you to do with your life when they're not the ones that have to live your life? Missing out on things is a part of life. Getting led down is a part of life. These things are always going to happen. But at some point, you got to realize that you can't keep letting yourself down just to please other people.

[00:02:15] So if taking care of yourself means letting someone down, then let someone down. If taking care of yourself means choosing a different career, then do that. If it means ending a relationship, do it. If it means letting go of a vice, then let it go. And don't get me wrong, sometimes sacrificing your wants and needs for someone else is a noble or even necessary thing to do. But the point is that it's going to be really hard to take care of other people if you never take care of yourself. It's going to be hard to do well at something that you don't really enjoy. It's going to be hard to cultivate a healthy relationship between unhealthy people. So if your mind ain't right, nothing else will be either.

[00:02:56] The second thing I wish I would have learned much earlier in life is that you should not or you must not attach yourself to a specific person, place, company, organization, project... Nothing like that. I'm sure we've all been here at some point, though. Whether it's a person, a place, or a thing it's really easy to end up getting attached to something and allowing it to consume your entire life or even become a part of your identity.

[00:03:20] Some people invest so much of themselves into a job or a career that it's all they know how to do. They neglect other aspects of their personality and their personal life because they're just so attached to their work. Other people invest so much of themselves into another person that they end up losing themselves. They get to a point where their entire life revolves around another human being. But the problem with getting so attached to a particular job is that you could wake up tomorrow and find out that your company is downsizing and you're going to be laid off. If you spent years making your career the main part of your identity, what happens when your career is taken away from you? It's almost as if you've lost a part of yourself, isn't it?

[00:03:59] And the problem with getting so attached to another person is they could wake up tomorrow and decide they don't love you anymore. They could lie to you, cheat on you, fuck your best friend, ask for a divorce, all types of shit. And if you decide to make this person the number one priority in your life above everything else, what happens when they leave? It's almost as if they take a piece of you with them, isn't it?

[00:04:25] Now, I'm obviously not saying you shouldn't work hard or fall in love. I'm saying that it's dangerous to develop an unhealthy attachment to temporary things. People, places, and things come and go. But your purpose in life, your values, the future you envision for yourself are things that will always be under your control. They'll never leave you. In fact, those are the things that will guide you forward in life when tragedy inevitably strikes. So if you're going to get attached to something, make sure it's something that can't be taken from you.

[00:04:59] The third thing I wish I would have learned easier in life is that love is a form of intimacy and you can't have intimacy without vulnerability. Vulnerability is a tricky one because a lot of us have felt the disappointment and the pain of opening up to another person only to be judged, made fun of, not taken seriously, or ignored altogether.

[00:05:21] That pain and disappointment are enough to make us believe that we shouldn't open up to anyone ever. So it's easy to go through life being emotionally unavailable and avoiding intimacy because we think of it as self-defense. We're trying to protect ourselves from pain and embarrassment. But the reality is that we're really just hurting ourselves in the long run because simply avoiding intimacy doesn't mean that you stop wanting intimacy. You could very easily spend your entire life alone suffering in silence because you keep making the conscious choice to avoid what you want

[00:05:54] Now, if you think of life without connection and intimacy is right for you, then by all means ignore everything I'm saying here. But if you do in fact want to share your life with other people and make genuine connections, then you must accept the fact that there's no intimacy without vulnerability. You can't just go through life playing defense, trying to protect yourself from perceived threats all the time. There's no way you're going to grow like that. You've got to accept the fact that opening up and being vulnerable is under your control, but people's response to your vulnerability is not.

[00:06:24] So stop focusing on how people are going to react to you and instead just focus on being you. If people judge you, make fun of you, don't appreciate you, you probably don't want them in your life anyway. Right? But by being the real you, the right people will naturally be attracted to you. Who cares about everybody else? I'm not saying that you should open up to everyone you meet. Like, you obviously have to use some kind of discretion here. But I'm talking about those of us who consciously choose to avoid interactions, conversations, and feelings because we perceive them as scary or dangerous. Running from something only makes it bigger and scarier. But at some point, you're going to have to turn around and face it.

[00:07:11] The fourth thing I wish I would have learned earlier in life is that 99% percent of your problems are caused in your head by you and your thoughts. Most of the time, the problem itself is not the problem, the way you think about the problem is the problem. And you can fix most of your problems just by changing the way you think, just by fixing your thought process. For example, have you ever 1noticed how two completely different people can experience the same situation at the same time and have two completely different reactions? You know?

[00:07:44] For example, like, let's imagine a man and a woman driving to work, two separate people, two separate cars going to two separate places, but they're both driving to work in the morning. So let's imagine, you know, the woman, she's an executive of a huge company. She's got a lot of responsibilities. She's got to worry about profit and loss and her employees and the managers and the customers and how we're going to make more money and all these things. Plus, in her personal life, she's got a husband and kids, her mother's sick in the hospital. She's got a bunch of stuff going on. All these things that need to be dealt with on a day-to-day basis.

[00:08:16] But right now, she's just going to work, just trying to get to work in the morning. On the way to work, she gets a flat tire. There was a nail in the road or something, it punctured the tire, and now she has to change the tire. And she chooses or impulsively reacts in a way that makes it seem like this is just the end of the world. She's like, "Oh my fucking God, my tires are flat. I don't know what I'm going to do. Now I got to find somebody to change the tire. I don't know how to change the tire. What the fuck! I got so many problems. I got my employees and the business and the profits and the losses and the investors breathing down my neck. And my mom is sick. I got to go see her after work. How am I going to do that with the flat tire? Fuck!".

[00:08:54] She just freaks out, just loses her shit all because she got a flat tire, now the entire world has to stop because of this catastrophe. She has to change her tire. When in reality, if she just changes the tire, she can keep going to work. Maybe she'll be 45 minutes late. Crisis averted. You see what I'm saying? But just by thinking about it in a way that's like, so dramatic, so catastrophic, you make the problem so much bigger and more serious than it is.

[00:09:23] And you can see in my explanation of the story I tried to tell, she started involving all these other things that she has to think about. And it's like, "Fuck! All that is going to get worse because now I got this flat tire". She brings all of her stress and problems that she had on her back into the present moment just because there's this new situation that needs to be dealt with.

[00:09:41] At the end of the day, the tire just needs to be changed. But in her mind, that one unexpected inconvenience is, like, a representation of all the problems going on in her life right now. And it's just like, "Fuck! I can never get a break. This is bullshit. Why can't I just get to work? This is some bullshit. It's always another problem" blah blah blah blah. See what I'm saying? That's one way of reacting.

[00:10:02] But now let's think about the man. He's also a CEO of a Fortune 500 company. He's got a wife and kids. His father is sick, his dog is sick. He's just got a bunch of shit going on, got a lot of debt. Whatever it is. Got a lot of problems, a lot of situations that need to be dealt with. He's also going to work, and he also gets a flat tire. But instead of losing his shit about it, he understands this is just a situation that needs to be dealt with. There's no need to start thinking about all the other issues that I have to deal with.

[00:10:30] There's no need to panic like, "Fuck! I'm going to be late for work. I got this big meeting and presentation" because he knows there's nothing he can do about that. Right? Here, right now he's got a flat tire that needs to be dealt with. So what does he do? He gets out of his car. He changes the tire. Or he calls roadside assistance and says, "Yeah, I got a flat. This is where I am. Please, come help me", he waits for them to come and change the tire. And then he goes to work. End of story.

[00:10:53] So maybe this isn't the best example, I'm just, you know, making this up as I go along. But hopefully you can understand, two completely different people, the same situation, just two ways of thinking about the same situation. And they have two completely different experiences. Same problem, different outcome. Same problem, same reaction. Or excuse me, different reaction. You see what I'm saying?

[00:11:14] So again, that's probably not the best example. But the point is a lot of times, a lot of situations that you see as this problem are really just situations that need to be dealt with. You know? And a lot of times when you have an unexpected problem, there's no need to start thinking about all the other problems that you have or how this problem is going to affect all the other things in your life. Just deal with the fucking problem and keep moving forward. You know? So many of us slow ourselves down just because of the way we think about shit. You know?

[00:11:46] So get out of your fucking head and see things for what they are. A lot of times problems are just situations that need to be dealt with. And if you get out of your head, stop talking to yourself and stop bitching about shit and stop freaking out and allowing your anxiety to take over and just do something, you'll see like, ah it wasn't that big of a deal. And you can apply that to so many of your problems that you have in life. If you just change the way you think about it, you might see it's not that big deal or actually can do something about that and it won't be a problem anymore. You know? So I'll leave it at that, man.

[00:12:22] The fifth thing I wish I would have learned earlier in life is that if you want to feed a problem, keep thinking about it. And this actually is just a continuation of what I just said, right? Get out of your head and take action. Because, you know, they say if you want to start a problem, take action. Because problems feed off of anxiety and fear. Right? And action kills anxiety and fear. And I really think understanding this concept is the key to learning how to use your anxiety to your advantage.

[00:12:54] Most of us with anxious personalities have or end up developing an automatic flight response to situations that make us feel anxious. When I say flight response, I'm talking about the concept of "fight or flight". So just in case you don't know what that is, the fighter... excuse me, the fight or flight response, also known as the acute stress response, refers to a physiological reaction that occurs in the presence of something that is terrifying either mentally or physically. The response is triggered by the release of hormones that prepare your body to either stay and deal with the threat or fight or run away to safety. Flee, you see what I'm saying?

[00:13:32] And according to the story, this idea, this term "fight or flight" is referring to back when our ancestors were literally in dangerous situations every day, whether it be fighting a lion or a tiger or an enemy tribe or whatever it is. Whenever they were faced with danger, they would have to make that decision. Do I stand and fight, or do I run away? And the way I understand it, those experiences that our ancestors went through over so many years are kind of like baked into us and we just know them as instinct.

[00:14:02] So in a moment where you feel anxious or you perceive a threat, you experience that same response, which is, do I stand and confront this thing? Do I deal with it or do I run away because it's too scary? It's the same thing. Obviously, we're not fighting lions and tigers and bears or enemy tribes in the same way that our ancestors used to. You know? Things are relatively safer and simpler today in terms of surviving and stuff like that. We deal with different kinds of threats today or most of us do.

[00:14:29] So anyway, getting back to the actual point. Now you should understand what fight or flight means, right? We developed this flight response to things that make us anxious. We developed this automatic reaction to run away from the things that we think are scary or threatening or things that makes us or things that make us anxious. You know? Whenever we feel anxiety, we subconsciously think "That's scary, that's dangerous. I should stay away from it. I must avoid that thing". You know what I'm saying? And that's subconscious thought manifests itself in our behavior. We start to overthink and question everything. Like, what if this happens? What if that happens? We get so deep in our heads and we create this endless loop of anxiety. Because, you know you need to make a decision, but you're afraid of making the wrong decision so you feel anxious about it.

[00:15:21] That anxiety makes you feel like you don't know enough to move forward, so instead, you just think about it. You start analyzing these imaginary scenarios, which also gives you anxiety because you know that there's an endless amount of scenarios to imagine. And you'll never really know what's going to happen until you stop thinking and take action. But you're not going to take action until you feel ready. And you're never going to feel ready because you believe that you don't have everything you need to get started. And then you feel anxious because you know that something needs to be done, but you're just sitting there thinking about it or avoiding it altogether. And the cycle repeats itself, endlessly.

[00:15:54] You've given so much time and emotional energy to a problem or situation, but you're not actually doing anything. With each day that passes, the problem just gets bigger and bigger until it gets to a point that it's too big to deal with on your own. What you don't realize is that your anxiety is your friend. Your anxiety is there to tell you what it perceives as a threat to your existence. Now the reality is most of us nowadays don't experience many things that are actually a threat to our existence.

[00:16:24] So nowadays I think your anxiety is there to tell you which areas of your life you need to be more secure in. So instead of looking at your anxiety as something you need to conquer, you can use it like a tool. Because it's not the anxiety that needs to be conquered here, you need to conquer the thing that's making you feel anxious. So whenever you're feeling anxious about a decision or feeling anxious about another person, understand that you got two choices. Fight or flee? Now, obviously, I don't mean physically fighting your problems or other people. I mean, confronting the thing that makes you anxious. Right? Taking action.

[00:17:01] So maybe you want to start a business or something like that, but you're afraid, you feel anxious because you think you don't have enough money and you're not sure if people are going to like what you have to offer, you're not sure if it's going to be a success. You don't really know what to expect. And naturally, that makes you feel anxious. Right? It's totally normal. But what you don't understand is like you won't know if people like what you have to offer, you won't know if you have enough money to get started until you actually get started. There's no other way to know what's going to happen. There's no other way to know, you know, what the outcome will be until you stop thinking and you do something. Period. Period.

[00:17:43] I mean, like, I really don't know how else to say it. You're not going to know until you try. It's the same thing with people like, maybe that cute girl you want to talk to at the coffee shop. You see her every single week. But you're just so afraid... or that cute guy, it doesn't really matter. Just cute person that you see every week. You just want to talk to him, but you're so afraid. It's like, what if she doesn't like me? What if he thinks I'm ugly? What if she thinks I'm boring? What if I say something stupid to him and he thinks I'm weird? Like, whatever, just all these irrational fears and thoughts because you don't know what's going to happen after you speak to this person. See what I'm saying? But you won't know until you try. You see what I'm saying?

[00:18:19] Like, you're you feel anxiety because you don't know what to expect, you don't know what's going to happen. Right? That's really what anxiety is, just the fear of the unknown. And this thing, this challenge, this project, this person, whatever it is, the issue is that you're not seeing it for what it is. When you haven't interacted with it yet, when it's completely unknown, it's just darkness and chaos. It's something that induces fear. You don't see it for what it is. You see it for this dark, scary, unknown figure. That's a threat to your existence. When really it's just a threat to your ego. You know what I'm saying? And by doing that, by seeing it in that way, by keeping it at a distance and not interacting with it, it's like you put it up on this pedestal. You see what I'm saying?

[00:19:05] It's not a person anymore, it's not a thing anymore, it's this figure, this unattainable figure that you don't understand. You know? And the longer you keep it on that pedestal, it's like it gets higher and higher and higher until the point where you're just looking up at this thing. And now that it's above you and it's big and scary, you feel inferior to it. You see what I'm saying? And that only causes more anxiety and makes you feel even more like, "I could never talk to that person. I could never start that business. I could never be successful at that thing" because you just let it get so big and grandiose and scary in your mind that you can't see it for what it is. It's just another person, it's just the business, it's just the project, it's just this thing.

[00:19:46] And by going over there to interact with it, let's use the person as the example, I feel like that's universal. By going over there to interact with that girl or that guy, then you can see what happens if I go interact with this person. You'll very quickly see it's just another person. Just another human being, you might see that this person is the most amazing person you ever met and that they're glad that you came over to say something because they were thinking the same thing about you. Now you guys are married, you got kids beautiful family, all because you decided to go talk to him instead of just thinking about it. You took action.

[00:20:18] Or you might realize they're a fucking asshole. He's a dick. She's a bitch. I don't want somebody like that in my life. But you won't know that until you go talk to them. Just go talk to them. You see what I'm saying? Just go say hello. Stop thinking about it. Get out of your fucking head and just take action. Go say hello. You don't even have to start a conversation. Just go pay the person a thoughtful compliment or just say "hello" and walk away. That's it. You know?

[00:20:46] A perfect example of this... again, I didn't write all this down, I'm just kind of thinking and talking at the same time. So sorry for rambling. But another good example of this that I experienced personally was when I was doing street portraiture a couple of years ago in Brazil. I think I talked about this on the podcast before, but when I was down... I love photography, specifically portrait photography, like taking pictures of people. So when I was down in Brazil, there was this main street called Paulista Avenue, like this super long main street that ran right through the middle of the city. All the businesses and shops and restaurants were on the street, so thousands, probably hundreds of thousands of people walk down the street every day.

[00:21:24] So since I didn't know very many people, I didn't have any models to take pictures of, and I really don't like photographing models. I decided I'm going to go into the street and ask strangers if I can make portraits of them, for two reasons. One, I just want to take pictures of people, and there's thousands of people here, so I'm going to start here. Number two, I was very anxious in social situations, I was afraid of interacting with strangers. It was something that made me uncomfortable, and I felt like I didn't know how to do it correctly, whatever the fuck that means. So it was kind of like exposure therapy for me. Because I was afraid to approach these people and be rejected or seem weird or not know what to say and not have a positive interaction. Whatever. I was just afraid of a negative outcome.

[00:22:05] And I would get so deep in my head like I would be on the street with my camera, just looking at people like afraid to pick one and go talk to them. It was like, what if they say no? What if it doesn't go right? What if... And I'm in Brazil. I got to speak in a foreign language and make myself understood and be charismatic and like, concise and get to the point because I'm stopping this person on the street. They're just trying to get to where they're going. All these things are running through my head and it kept me from taking action until I just got tired of it. And I was like, "Fuck it, I'm going to just stop somebody and see what happens. See what happens". And what I realize is, like again, anxiety is just fear of the unknown, bro. That's all it is.

[00:22:39] So when you go approach this person and you talk to them, it's not the unknown anymore. You don't have time to be in your head thinking about what if or what would happen. It's happening right here, right now. It's happening. Because you took the time to take action to approach this person. We're here now. The anxiety just disappears because it's not unknown anymore. Now you know what happens if I approach this person because you approached them and it's fucking.. We're here. We're talking. You see what I'm saying?

[00:23:06] What I realize with that experience as well is that most people are not like judging you or they don't want to see you fail when you approach them as a stranger on the street. They just want to know why the fuck did you stop me, bro? So if you can learn how to communicate that clearly and concisely, most people don't really mind. I got a few no's, but most people said, "Yeah, sure. Go ahead, take my picture". And then they become curious about what you're doing and why you're doing it. And now you guys are talking and having an interaction, you know? Maybe you make friends, maybe you meet up for drinks later or whatever. You just never know what's going to happen.

[00:23:36] And maybe the interaction is negative. Maybe they tell you to fuck off. Maybe they tell you you're a weirdo or piece of shit, whatever. But like, who cares? Who cares? Go do it again and again and again and again and again until it's just so natural to approach strangers that you don't even think about it. That is how you conquer what you think of as anxiety, but it's not the anxiety that's the issue. The anxiety is there to tell you like, man, this thing is scary, you're not secure in this area. So you can use the anxiety as your friend, as a tool to put your focus on what needs to be improved. Your anxiety is telling you, "Hey, we're weak in that area. We need to change that". So go and change that, take some action, and stop thinking about it. You know?

[00:24:17] I probably should have wrote what I thought so that I could deliver this message in a much more concise way. But hopefully, you get my point, man. Like, just stop thinking about shit and just do it. That's the only way to know what's going to happen. That's the only way to gain confidence because when you take action you get feedback. When you get feedback you know what you need to change, how you can do it better, how you can do it differently. You can't know any of that if you don't take action, if you're just sitting there thinking about it. Thinking, thinking, thinking, nothing ever happens, bro. But time keeps on passing. The world keeps spinning without you.

[00:24:50] So, I could... each one of these things, each of these 7 things I can make an entire episode about. I could talk for days about all these things, so I'm just going to leave it at that. You know? Hopefully it sparks some interest in your mind, give you something to think about. Or maybe we'll start a dialogue and a conversation about these subjects in the future. But for real man, if you want to feed a problem, just keep thinking about it. If you want to solve it, do something. Take action. All right? Let's leave it at that.

[00:25:19] So the sixth thing that I wish I would have learned earlier in life is that nobody is as successful as social media makes them seem. And nobody looks as good as those social media filters make them look. Now, this is... This topic, this subject, this idea is really nothing new. We've had social media in our lives for a few years now, and you know, we've seen the effects that it has on people's confidence or self-esteem. And we've seen how easy it is for people to make it seem like they're living this amazing, wonderful, extravagant, successful life. When really, their life, their actual life is not much different from yours. And even if it were, like, it has nothing to do with you, it doesn't really matter.

[00:26:00] The only person that you should be comparing yourself to is who you were yesterday or who you were last week or who you were last year. You can't compare yourself to somebody else because it's an unfair... You can't compare apples and oranges. You can only compare apples with other apples. You see what I'm saying? Your life is not somebody else's. Your starting point is not somebody else's. Your history is not someone else's. So how could you compare your current position in life to somebody else's when you didn't start at the same exact place or go through the same exact things? You weren't born with the same exact talents. You know? Parents.

[00:26:32] Like all... There's no way you could compare yourself to another person. Realistically, there's no way. So like, there's no reason, there's no logical reason to get lost in the idea that somebody else is further along than you are or more successful than you are, more money than you have or prettier than you are, taller than you are, funnier than you are. Like, who gives a shit? You can't compare yourself to somebody else.

[00:26:57] And getting back to the actual statement, like nobody's as successful as they seem online. Even if they are, it has nothing to do with you. But in the case that they're not because most of the time they're really not, you just got to understand like, social media is just like a highlight reel. Most people are not going to willingly show you the negative parts of their life, the things they're struggling with, the failures, their insecurities, you know, all the shit that's going wrong. Because that's not sexy, that doesn't sell. It doesn't give views, likes, shares, comments, subscriptions, and all that shit.

[00:27:31] And unfortunately, a lot of people that do try to show you the negative side or whatever are just looking for like sympathy, they just want you to feel bad, which is also a way to increase viewership and likes and all this type of stuff. I'm not saying that's always the case, but it does happen.

[00:27:44] Either way, the point is when you're looking on your phone... Where's my phone? It's over there, it's too far to grab. But when you're looking on your phone, it's nothing more than a window. The phone is literally just a window into a different world. A computer screen, it's just a window. A TV is just a window into a different world. That's it. What you realize is like, even in a house, it has four sides. Right?

[00:28:05] So I'm looking out this window and I see this image. But what I don't really think about too much is that there's a whole bunch of stuff just out of my field of view that I can't see that makes part of that entire image. So I'm only seeing a little piece of it. Only what the... What I can see through the window, that's all that exists to me. But in reality, there's 360 degrees. You know what I'm saying? And a large part of that, I'm not even getting to see or consider. So don't get caught up in the way things look or the way things seem. You know what I'm saying? Because perspective is everything. If you looked at the same situation or person through a different or from a different perspective, through a different window, you might see it completely differently and understand like, there's so much more than what you just see.

[00:28:54] So getting caught up in how beautiful this girl is or how good this guy looks, how much money this person has, or how successful these people are. Like, you'll never really know what's going on in their lives. Unless you spend every day with them and really see. You never really know that's what she really looks like unless you're in the same room with her and she just got out of the shower and all the makeup is gone, all the filters are gone. You never really know what she looks like. And even if you could, who gives a shit? There's some girls prettier than you. Who gives a shit? Some dude looks better than you. Who cares? Who cares? Has nothing to do with you, bro.

[00:29:32] Focus on yourself. And realizing the dreams and visions that you got in your head. Focus on like, changing the things that you can actually change, the things under your control. Accept the things that you can't. Accept the things that like, have nothing to do with you. And keep moving, bro. You don't have time to waste. You really don't. Stop getting caught up in other people's lives and what they got going on and how good they look, and this, this, and that. It does nothing for you, bro. If you can't take it and use it as inspiration, it does nothing for you. Let it go. Focus on yourself. Focus on your life. You know what I'm saying?

[00:30:06] Again, this idea is nothing new, I'm sure it's been talked about like, thousands of times over the last few years. But I wish I would have learned that sooner. It's like even the people you look up to, even the people you admire and want to be like, even they are not all that they seem to be, or they're so much more than what they seem to be. And that could be good, bad, neutral, whatever. But there's so much more than what you see. It's so much more than what you perceive from a distance. So don't get caught up just in what you see. Understand that there's always so much more than that. You know? I don't know if that makes sense, but I'm gonna leave it at that. All right?

[00:30:43] So the seventh, and final thing that I wish I would have learned earlier is that you cannot trust another person's words if those words don't align with their actions. A person's words will tell you what they think, what they believe. But a person's actions will show you what they really think or really believe. This one is really important, man. It's really, really important. Because people just, people who love to talk. Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk. They just talk and talk and talk and talk.

[00:31:19] It's easy to talk, right? It's easy to lie, is easy to exaggerate, all these things. It's easy to talk. You know what I'm saying? So easy. What I'm going to do, what I really think, what I believe and this, this, and that. What's not so easy, though, is to show it with your actions, or it's easy if what you're saying is true. But I guess what I'm trying to say is it's easy to talk, but it's harder to find somebody who is living what they talk, doing what they say they're going to do.

[00:31:50] And the reason you can't trust people who are not living in that way is because you're just opening yourself up to all kinds of disappointment, manipulation, like problems. Or putting your trust in somebody who says they're going to do A, B, and C, and then they go do an X Y Z. You just open yourself up to the problems, frustration, disappointment, all these negative things. You know what I'm saying? Because I mean like, saying you're going to do one thing and then going to do another thing is the same thing as lying. Right?

[00:32:20] Somebody who's always saying these things but doing those things, it's no different than a liar, in my opinion. If you're saying this is who I am, this is what I'm about. And then you go live something else, you're lying. You're not telling the truth. You're not living the truth. All right? So you can't trust people like that, bro. It's very easy to like, get enchanted by the way someone speaks, to the word that they choose. You know?

[00:32:45] There's a lot of silver-tongued salesmen out there. And it's very easy to get, you know, lost in their way of speaking. Right? They're charismatic, they know what to say, they know when to say it, they know how to say it and all these things. They get you feeling good. They make you laugh and smile when you're around them. You know? They make you believe whatever it is that they're saying.

[00:33:05] But, you know, you really got to remember to stop, take a step back and ask yourself, are they doing what they're saying? Do their words match their actions? You know what I'm saying? And that's in any situation. It could be in business, in a relationship or friendship, whatever. This person is saying all these things, but if they're not proving it with their actions, they're not living it, it's just words, bro. It doesn't mean anything. You know what I'm saying? Words are just words, but actions are real. Actions show you. You know what I'm saying?

[00:33:36] What a person really thinks and believes, what's really important to them. You want to know what a person really thinks, believes, what's important to them, what they really care about, pay attention to what they do. Because just naturally, without really thinking about it, we focus on what's important to us at the moment. We invest our time and energy into what's important to us. Everything else we don't really care about, even if we say we care about it.

[00:33:57] Like, I want to be fluent in English, but I'm not practicing my English. You don't really want to be fluent. Right? Because you're not doing the things that are going to get you to where you say you want to be. So obviously you don't really want that because if you did, you would just do it. The same way you go to get some food when you're hungry. You see what I'm saying? I'm hungry. I want some food. I want to satisfy my hunger. I get up and I go get food. I just do it because that's what I really want. You know? It's easy to say "I want to be fluent in this language", but then every day I'm not doing anything to become fluent in the language because that's not really what I want. You see?

[00:34:32] I can give you a million examples like, again, I probably should have prepared better for this episode. I'm just like, speaking off the cuff. But I'm sure you get my point, is that the actions don't match the words do not put your trust in that person. Trust me on that. As ironic as that sounds. But yeah, for real man, for real. You can't... I shouldn't say you can't fuck with people whose actions don't align with their words, you can do whatever you want. That's just something I wish I would have learned earlier, especially in the context of like relationships. You know what I mean?

[00:35:08] I'll probably do like an in-depth episode about each of these topics in the future because I want to say so much but like, this episode is already so long. And my plan was to just give you 7 quick little things to start to think about. But since I didn't write everything I wanted to say, like, I'm going off and just like, you know, in my thoughts, I don't really know exactly what I think. I just have an idea of what I want to say.

[00:35:31] So again, my bad. Sorry for rambling. If you are still with me at this point, I want to close out by just asking you, what are some things that you wish you would have learned, you know, earlier in life? I don't care how old you are, you could be 18, 85. I really don't care. All of us have gone through things, all of us have learned, hopefully, from our experiences. And I think the lessons that we learn from our experiences can and should be shared with other people. That's the reason I'm making this episode.

[00:35:55] So let me know. What are some things you wish that you would have learned earlier in life that maybe you can help somebody else to learn from without having to go through? You know what I'm saying? Let me know. If you're a Life in English VIP shoot me a message on the Discord server, or you can shoot me a DM on Instagram at @englishwithkaizen. If you're watching this on YouTube, you can leave it in the comments below. Whatever you got to do. Let me know.

[00:36:16] But that's it for this episode, man. I hope you enjoyed it. Hope you learned something new or got something new to consider. For real, I mean that. You know? And that's it, man. This is Life in English. I'm your host, Tony Kaizen. And I will talk to you later. Peace.

[END OF EPISODE]

Continue learning

Become a member and get access to the complete transcript, vocabulary guide, and writing prompts.

Become a member

Already a member? Log in

[00:00:00] All right, my friends. What's up, everybody? You are listening to another episode of Life in English. I'm your host, Tony Kaizen. And in this episode, I'm going to share 7 simple things I wish I would have learned earlier in life. Let's do it!

[00:00:18] The Life in English podcast is designed to teach you the real American English that you won't learn in school. And it's made possible by our VIP community. By becoming a VIP member of the Life in English community, you'll get access to our Private Conversation Group, bonus podcast episodes, interactive transcripts, and vocabulary and grammar guides. If you'd like to join the community, you can visit lifeinenglish.net/vip.

[00:00:40] All right. The first thing I wish I would have learned earlier in life is that your mental health is more important than anything. I've told you before that achieving any goal in life starts with your mindset. If you ain't right mentally, you can create all kinds of unnecessary problems for yourself. You can lose money, lose focus, damage potentially great relationships, waste years of your life going in the wrong direction, let other people decide how your life plays out.

[00:01:10] The list of things that can go wrong in life is endless. And it's our job to develop a healthy mind so we can reduce the amount of problems we inevitably face in life. In other words, there will always be problems and suffering in life. But by keeping our minds healthy and productive, we can make sure that we don't have to suffer any more than what is absolutely necessary.

[00:01:29] And this applies to all aspects of your life. Like, who cares if you got a wonderful career when your home life is toxic? Who cares if you make a lot of money when you never have time to do things you enjoy? Who cares if you miss that party when you would have been miserable the whole time there? Who cares if you love him when all he tries to do is manipulate and control you? Who cares if you've got a beautiful girl when all she does is bring drama and frustration into your life? Who cares what your parents want you to do with your life when they're not the ones that have to live your life? Missing out on things is a part of life. Getting led down is a part of life. These things are always going to happen. But at some point, you got to realize that you can't keep letting yourself down just to please other people.

[00:02:15] So if taking care of yourself means letting someone down, then let someone down. If taking care of yourself means choosing a different career, then do that. If it means ending a relationship, do it. If it means letting go of a vice, then let it go. And don't get me wrong, sometimes sacrificing your wants and needs for someone else is a noble or even necessary thing to do. But the point is that it's going to be really hard to take care of other people if you never take care of yourself. It's going to be hard to do well at something that you don't really enjoy. It's going to be hard to cultivate a healthy relationship between unhealthy people. So if your mind ain't right, nothing else will be either.

[00:02:56] The second thing I wish I would have learned much earlier in life is that you should not or you must not attach yourself to a specific person, place, company, organization, project... Nothing like that. I'm sure we've all been here at some point, though. Whether it's a person, a place, or a thing it's really easy to end up getting attached to something and allowing it to consume your entire life or even become a part of your identity.

[00:03:20] Some people invest so much of themselves into a job or a career that it's all they know how to do. They neglect other aspects of their personality and their personal life because they're just so attached to their work. Other people invest so much of themselves into another person that they end up losing themselves. They get to a point where their entire life revolves around another human being. But the problem with getting so attached to a particular job is that you could wake up tomorrow and find out that your company is downsizing and you're going to be laid off. If you spent years making your career the main part of your identity, what happens when your career is taken away from you? It's almost as if you've lost a part of yourself, isn't it?

[00:03:59] And the problem with getting so attached to another person is they could wake up tomorrow and decide they don't love you anymore. They could lie to you, cheat on you, fuck your best friend, ask for a divorce, all types of shit. And if you decide to make this person the number one priority in your life above everything else, what happens when they leave? It's almost as if they take a piece of you with them, isn't it?

[00:04:25] Now, I'm obviously not saying you shouldn't work hard or fall in love. I'm saying that it's dangerous to develop an unhealthy attachment to temporary things. People, places, and things come and go. But your purpose in life, your values, the future you envision for yourself are things that will always be under your control. They'll never leave you. In fact, those are the things that will guide you forward in life when tragedy inevitably strikes. So if you're going to get attached to something, make sure it's something that can't be taken from you.

[00:04:59] The third thing I wish I would have learned easier in life is that love is a form of intimacy and you can't have intimacy without vulnerability. Vulnerability is a tricky one because a lot of us have felt the disappointment and the pain of opening up to another person only to be judged, made fun of, not taken seriously, or ignored altogether.

[00:05:21] That pain and disappointment are enough to make us believe that we shouldn't open up to anyone ever. So it's easy to go through life being emotionally unavailable and avoiding intimacy because we think of it as self-defense. We're trying to protect ourselves from pain and embarrassment. But the reality is that we're really just hurting ourselves in the long run because simply avoiding intimacy doesn't mean that you stop wanting intimacy. You could very easily spend your entire life alone suffering in silence because you keep making the conscious choice to avoid what you want

[00:05:54] Now, if you think of life without connection and intimacy is right for you, then by all means ignore everything I'm saying here. But if you do in fact want to share your life with other people and make genuine connections, then you must accept the fact that there's no intimacy without vulnerability. You can't just go through life playing defense, trying to protect yourself from perceived threats all the time. There's no way you're going to grow like that. You've got to accept the fact that opening up and being vulnerable is under your control, but people's response to your vulnerability is not.

[00:06:24] So stop focusing on how people are going to react to you and instead just focus on being you. If people judge you, make fun of you, don't appreciate you, you probably don't want them in your life anyway. Right? But by being the real you, the right people will naturally be attracted to you. Who cares about everybody else? I'm not saying that you should open up to everyone you meet. Like, you obviously have to use some kind of discretion here. But I'm talking about those of us who consciously choose to avoid interactions, conversations, and feelings because we perceive them as scary or dangerous. Running from something only makes it bigger and scarier. But at some point, you're going to have to turn around and face it.

[00:07:11] The fourth thing I wish I would have learned earlier in life is that 99% percent of your problems are caused in your head by you and your thoughts. Most of the time, the problem itself is not the problem, the way you think about the problem is the problem. And you can fix most of your problems just by changing the way you think, just by fixing your thought process. For example, have you ever 1noticed how two completely different people can experience the same situation at the same time and have two completely different reactions? You know?

[00:07:44] For example, like, let's imagine a man and a woman driving to work, two separate people, two separate cars going to two separate places, but they're both driving to work in the morning. So let's imagine, you know, the woman, she's an executive of a huge company. She's got a lot of responsibilities. She's got to worry about profit and loss and her employees and the managers and the customers and how we're going to make more money and all these things. Plus, in her personal life, she's got a husband and kids, her mother's sick in the hospital. She's got a bunch of stuff going on. All these things that need to be dealt with on a day-to-day basis.

[00:08:16] But right now, she's just going to work, just trying to get to work in the morning. On the way to work, she gets a flat tire. There was a nail in the road or something, it punctured the tire, and now she has to change the tire. And she chooses or impulsively reacts in a way that makes it seem like this is just the end of the world. She's like, "Oh my fucking God, my tires are flat. I don't know what I'm going to do. Now I got to find somebody to change the tire. I don't know how to change the tire. What the fuck! I got so many problems. I got my employees and the business and the profits and the losses and the investors breathing down my neck. And my mom is sick. I got to go see her after work. How am I going to do that with the flat tire? Fuck!".

[00:08:54] She just freaks out, just loses her shit all because she got a flat tire, now the entire world has to stop because of this catastrophe. She has to change her tire. When in reality, if she just changes the tire, she can keep going to work. Maybe she'll be 45 minutes late. Crisis averted. You see what I'm saying? But just by thinking about it in a way that's like, so dramatic, so catastrophic, you make the problem so much bigger and more serious than it is.

[00:09:23] And you can see in my explanation of the story I tried to tell, she started involving all these other things that she has to think about. And it's like, "Fuck! All that is going to get worse because now I got this flat tire". She brings all of her stress and problems that she had on her back into the present moment just because there's this new situation that needs to be dealt with.

[00:09:41] At the end of the day, the tire just needs to be changed. But in her mind, that one unexpected inconvenience is, like, a representation of all the problems going on in her life right now. And it's just like, "Fuck! I can never get a break. This is bullshit. Why can't I just get to work? This is some bullshit. It's always another problem" blah blah blah blah. See what I'm saying? That's one way of reacting.

[00:10:02] But now let's think about the man. He's also a CEO of a Fortune 500 company. He's got a wife and kids. His father is sick, his dog is sick. He's just got a bunch of shit going on, got a lot of debt. Whatever it is. Got a lot of problems, a lot of situations that need to be dealt with. He's also going to work, and he also gets a flat tire. But instead of losing his shit about it, he understands this is just a situation that needs to be dealt with. There's no need to start thinking about all the other issues that I have to deal with.

[00:10:30] There's no need to panic like, "Fuck! I'm going to be late for work. I got this big meeting and presentation" because he knows there's nothing he can do about that. Right? Here, right now he's got a flat tire that needs to be dealt with. So what does he do? He gets out of his car. He changes the tire. Or he calls roadside assistance and says, "Yeah, I got a flat. This is where I am. Please, come help me", he waits for them to come and change the tire. And then he goes to work. End of story.

[00:10:53] So maybe this isn't the best example, I'm just, you know, making this up as I go along. But hopefully you can understand, two completely different people, the same situation, just two ways of thinking about the same situation. And they have two completely different experiences. Same problem, different outcome. Same problem, same reaction. Or excuse me, different reaction. You see what I'm saying?

[00:11:14] So again, that's probably not the best example. But the point is a lot of times, a lot of situations that you see as this problem are really just situations that need to be dealt with. You know? And a lot of times when you have an unexpected problem, there's no need to start thinking about all the other problems that you have or how this problem is going to affect all the other things in your life. Just deal with the fucking problem and keep moving forward. You know? So many of us slow ourselves down just because of the way we think about shit. You know?

[00:11:46] So get out of your fucking head and see things for what they are. A lot of times problems are just situations that need to be dealt with. And if you get out of your head, stop talking to yourself and stop bitching about shit and stop freaking out and allowing your anxiety to take over and just do something, you'll see like, ah it wasn't that big of a deal. And you can apply that to so many of your problems that you have in life. If you just change the way you think about it, you might see it's not that big deal or actually can do something about that and it won't be a problem anymore. You know? So I'll leave it at that, man.

[00:12:22] The fifth thing I wish I would have learned earlier in life is that if you want to feed a problem, keep thinking about it. And this actually is just a continuation of what I just said, right? Get out of your head and take action. Because, you know, they say if you want to start a problem, take action. Because problems feed off of anxiety and fear. Right? And action kills anxiety and fear. And I really think understanding this concept is the key to learning how to use your anxiety to your advantage.

[00:12:54] Most of us with anxious personalities have or end up developing an automatic flight response to situations that make us feel anxious. When I say flight response, I'm talking about the concept of "fight or flight". So just in case you don't know what that is, the fighter... excuse me, the fight or flight response, also known as the acute stress response, refers to a physiological reaction that occurs in the presence of something that is terrifying either mentally or physically. The response is triggered by the release of hormones that prepare your body to either stay and deal with the threat or fight or run away to safety. Flee, you see what I'm saying?

[00:13:32] And according to the story, this idea, this term "fight or flight" is referring to back when our ancestors were literally in dangerous situations every day, whether it be fighting a lion or a tiger or an enemy tribe or whatever it is. Whenever they were faced with danger, they would have to make that decision. Do I stand and fight, or do I run away? And the way I understand it, those experiences that our ancestors went through over so many years are kind of like baked into us and we just know them as instinct.

[00:14:02] So in a moment where you feel anxious or you perceive a threat, you experience that same response, which is, do I stand and confront this thing? Do I deal with it or do I run away because it's too scary? It's the same thing. Obviously, we're not fighting lions and tigers and bears or enemy tribes in the same way that our ancestors used to. You know? Things are relatively safer and simpler today in terms of surviving and stuff like that. We deal with different kinds of threats today or most of us do.

[00:14:29] So anyway, getting back to the actual point. Now you should understand what fight or flight means, right? We developed this flight response to things that make us anxious. We developed this automatic reaction to run away from the things that we think are scary or threatening or things that makes us or things that make us anxious. You know? Whenever we feel anxiety, we subconsciously think "That's scary, that's dangerous. I should stay away from it. I must avoid that thing". You know what I'm saying? And that's subconscious thought manifests itself in our behavior. We start to overthink and question everything. Like, what if this happens? What if that happens? We get so deep in our heads and we create this endless loop of anxiety. Because, you know you need to make a decision, but you're afraid of making the wrong decision so you feel anxious about it.

[00:15:21] That anxiety makes you feel like you don't know enough to move forward, so instead, you just think about it. You start analyzing these imaginary scenarios, which also gives you anxiety because you know that there's an endless amount of scenarios to imagine. And you'll never really know what's going to happen until you stop thinking and take action. But you're not going to take action until you feel ready. And you're never going to feel ready because you believe that you don't have everything you need to get started. And then you feel anxious because you know that something needs to be done, but you're just sitting there thinking about it or avoiding it altogether. And the cycle repeats itself, endlessly.

[00:15:54] You've given so much time and emotional energy to a problem or situation, but you're not actually doing anything. With each day that passes, the problem just gets bigger and bigger until it gets to a point that it's too big to deal with on your own. What you don't realize is that your anxiety is your friend. Your anxiety is there to tell you what it perceives as a threat to your existence. Now the reality is most of us nowadays don't experience many things that are actually a threat to our existence.

[00:16:24] So nowadays I think your anxiety is there to tell you which areas of your life you need to be more secure in. So instead of looking at your anxiety as something you need to conquer, you can use it like a tool. Because it's not the anxiety that needs to be conquered here, you need to conquer the thing that's making you feel anxious. So whenever you're feeling anxious about a decision or feeling anxious about another person, understand that you got two choices. Fight or flee? Now, obviously, I don't mean physically fighting your problems or other people. I mean, confronting the thing that makes you anxious. Right? Taking action.

[00:17:01] So maybe you want to start a business or something like that, but you're afraid, you feel anxious because you think you don't have enough money and you're not sure if people are going to like what you have to offer, you're not sure if it's going to be a success. You don't really know what to expect. And naturally, that makes you feel anxious. Right? It's totally normal. But what you don't understand is like you won't know if people like what you have to offer, you won't know if you have enough money to get started until you actually get started. There's no other way to know what's going to happen. There's no other way to know, you know, what the outcome will be until you stop thinking and you do something. Period. Period.

[00:17:43] I mean, like, I really don't know how else to say it. You're not going to know until you try. It's the same thing with people like, maybe that cute girl you want to talk to at the coffee shop. You see her every single week. But you're just so afraid... or that cute guy, it doesn't really matter. Just cute person that you see every week. You just want to talk to him, but you're so afraid. It's like, what if she doesn't like me? What if he thinks I'm ugly? What if she thinks I'm boring? What if I say something stupid to him and he thinks I'm weird? Like, whatever, just all these irrational fears and thoughts because you don't know what's going to happen after you speak to this person. See what I'm saying? But you won't know until you try. You see what I'm saying?

[00:18:19] Like, you're you feel anxiety because you don't know what to expect, you don't know what's going to happen. Right? That's really what anxiety is, just the fear of the unknown. And this thing, this challenge, this project, this person, whatever it is, the issue is that you're not seeing it for what it is. When you haven't interacted with it yet, when it's completely unknown, it's just darkness and chaos. It's something that induces fear. You don't see it for what it is. You see it for this dark, scary, unknown figure. That's a threat to your existence. When really it's just a threat to your ego. You know what I'm saying? And by doing that, by seeing it in that way, by keeping it at a distance and not interacting with it, it's like you put it up on this pedestal. You see what I'm saying?

[00:19:05] It's not a person anymore, it's not a thing anymore, it's this figure, this unattainable figure that you don't understand. You know? And the longer you keep it on that pedestal, it's like it gets higher and higher and higher until the point where you're just looking up at this thing. And now that it's above you and it's big and scary, you feel inferior to it. You see what I'm saying? And that only causes more anxiety and makes you feel even more like, "I could never talk to that person. I could never start that business. I could never be successful at that thing" because you just let it get so big and grandiose and scary in your mind that you can't see it for what it is. It's just another person, it's just the business, it's just the project, it's just this thing.

[00:19:46] And by going over there to interact with it, let's use the person as the example, I feel like that's universal. By going over there to interact with that girl or that guy, then you can see what happens if I go interact with this person. You'll very quickly see it's just another person. Just another human being, you might see that this person is the most amazing person you ever met and that they're glad that you came over to say something because they were thinking the same thing about you. Now you guys are married, you got kids beautiful family, all because you decided to go talk to him instead of just thinking about it. You took action.

[00:20:18] Or you might realize they're a fucking asshole. He's a dick. She's a bitch. I don't want somebody like that in my life. But you won't know that until you go talk to them. Just go talk to them. You see what I'm saying? Just go say hello. Stop thinking about it. Get out of your fucking head and just take action. Go say hello. You don't even have to start a conversation. Just go pay the person a thoughtful compliment or just say "hello" and walk away. That's it. You know?

[00:20:46] A perfect example of this... again, I didn't write all this down, I'm just kind of thinking and talking at the same time. So sorry for rambling. But another good example of this that I experienced personally was when I was doing street portraiture a couple of years ago in Brazil. I think I talked about this on the podcast before, but when I was down... I love photography, specifically portrait photography, like taking pictures of people. So when I was down in Brazil, there was this main street called Paulista Avenue, like this super long main street that ran right through the middle of the city. All the businesses and shops and restaurants were on the street, so thousands, probably hundreds of thousands of people walk down the street every day.

[00:21:24] So since I didn't know very many people, I didn't have any models to take pictures of, and I really don't like photographing models. I decided I'm going to go into the street and ask strangers if I can make portraits of them, for two reasons. One, I just want to take pictures of people, and there's thousands of people here, so I'm going to start here. Number two, I was very anxious in social situations, I was afraid of interacting with strangers. It was something that made me uncomfortable, and I felt like I didn't know how to do it correctly, whatever the fuck that means. So it was kind of like exposure therapy for me. Because I was afraid to approach these people and be rejected or seem weird or not know what to say and not have a positive interaction. Whatever. I was just afraid of a negative outcome.

[00:22:05] And I would get so deep in my head like I would be on the street with my camera, just looking at people like afraid to pick one and go talk to them. It was like, what if they say no? What if it doesn't go right? What if... And I'm in Brazil. I got to speak in a foreign language and make myself understood and be charismatic and like, concise and get to the point because I'm stopping this person on the street. They're just trying to get to where they're going. All these things are running through my head and it kept me from taking action until I just got tired of it. And I was like, "Fuck it, I'm going to just stop somebody and see what happens. See what happens". And what I realize is, like again, anxiety is just fear of the unknown, bro. That's all it is.

[00:22:39] So when you go approach this person and you talk to them, it's not the unknown anymore. You don't have time to be in your head thinking about what if or what would happen. It's happening right here, right now. It's happening. Because you took the time to take action to approach this person. We're here now. The anxiety just disappears because it's not unknown anymore. Now you know what happens if I approach this person because you approached them and it's fucking.. We're here. We're talking. You see what I'm saying?

[00:23:06] What I realize with that experience as well is that most people are not like judging you or they don't want to see you fail when you approach them as a stranger on the street. They just want to know why the fuck did you stop me, bro? So if you can learn how to communicate that clearly and concisely, most people don't really mind. I got a few no's, but most people said, "Yeah, sure. Go ahead, take my picture". And then they become curious about what you're doing and why you're doing it. And now you guys are talking and having an interaction, you know? Maybe you make friends, maybe you meet up for drinks later or whatever. You just never know what's going to happen.

[00:23:36] And maybe the interaction is negative. Maybe they tell you to fuck off. Maybe they tell you you're a weirdo or piece of shit, whatever. But like, who cares? Who cares? Go do it again and again and again and again and again until it's just so natural to approach strangers that you don't even think about it. That is how you conquer what you think of as anxiety, but it's not the anxiety that's the issue. The anxiety is there to tell you like, man, this thing is scary, you're not secure in this area. So you can use the anxiety as your friend, as a tool to put your focus on what needs to be improved. Your anxiety is telling you, "Hey, we're weak in that area. We need to change that". So go and change that, take some action, and stop thinking about it. You know?

[00:24:17] I probably should have wrote what I thought so that I could deliver this message in a much more concise way. But hopefully, you get my point, man. Like, just stop thinking about shit and just do it. That's the only way to know what's going to happen. That's the only way to gain confidence because when you take action you get feedback. When you get feedback you know what you need to change, how you can do it better, how you can do it differently. You can't know any of that if you don't take action, if you're just sitting there thinking about it. Thinking, thinking, thinking, nothing ever happens, bro. But time keeps on passing. The world keeps spinning without you.

[00:24:50] So, I could... each one of these things, each of these 7 things I can make an entire episode about. I could talk for days about all these things, so I'm just going to leave it at that. You know? Hopefully it sparks some interest in your mind, give you something to think about. Or maybe we'll start a dialogue and a conversation about these subjects in the future. But for real man, if you want to feed a problem, just keep thinking about it. If you want to solve it, do something. Take action. All right? Let's leave it at that.

[00:25:19] So the sixth thing that I wish I would have learned earlier in life is that nobody is as successful as social media makes them seem. And nobody looks as good as those social media filters make them look. Now, this is... This topic, this subject, this idea is really nothing new. We've had social media in our lives for a few years now, and you know, we've seen the effects that it has on people's confidence or self-esteem. And we've seen how easy it is for people to make it seem like they're living this amazing, wonderful, extravagant, successful life. When really, their life, their actual life is not much different from yours. And even if it were, like, it has nothing to do with you, it doesn't really matter.

[00:26:00] The only person that you should be comparing yourself to is who you were yesterday or who you were last week or who you were last year. You can't compare yourself to somebody else because it's an unfair... You can't compare apples and oranges. You can only compare apples with other apples. You see what I'm saying? Your life is not somebody else's. Your starting point is not somebody else's. Your history is not someone else's. So how could you compare your current position in life to somebody else's when you didn't start at the same exact place or go through the same exact things? You weren't born with the same exact talents. You know? Parents.

[00:26:32] Like all... There's no way you could compare yourself to another person. Realistically, there's no way. So like, there's no reason, there's no logical reason to get lost in the idea that somebody else is further along than you are or more successful than you are, more money than you have or prettier than you are, taller than you are, funnier than you are. Like, who gives a shit? You can't compare yourself to somebody else.

[00:26:57] And getting back to the actual statement, like nobody's as successful as they seem online. Even if they are, it has nothing to do with you. But in the case that they're not because most of the time they're really not, you just got to understand like, social media is just like a highlight reel. Most people are not going to willingly show you the negative parts of their life, the things they're struggling with, the failures, their insecurities, you know, all the shit that's going wrong. Because that's not sexy, that doesn't sell. It doesn't give views, likes, shares, comments, subscriptions, and all that shit.

[00:27:31] And unfortunately, a lot of people that do try to show you the negative side or whatever are just looking for like sympathy, they just want you to feel bad, which is also a way to increase viewership and likes and all this type of stuff. I'm not saying that's always the case, but it does happen.

[00:27:44] Either way, the point is when you're looking on your phone... Where's my phone? It's over there, it's too far to grab. But when you're looking on your phone, it's nothing more than a window. The phone is literally just a window into a different world. A computer screen, it's just a window. A TV is just a window into a different world. That's it. What you realize is like, even in a house, it has four sides. Right?

[00:28:05] So I'm looking out this window and I see this image. But what I don't really think about too much is that there's a whole bunch of stuff just out of my field of view that I can't see that makes part of that entire image. So I'm only seeing a little piece of it. Only what the... What I can see through the window, that's all that exists to me. But in reality, there's 360 degrees. You know what I'm saying? And a large part of that, I'm not even getting to see or consider. So don't get caught up in the way things look or the way things seem. You know what I'm saying? Because perspective is everything. If you looked at the same situation or person through a different or from a different perspective, through a different window, you might see it completely differently and understand like, there's so much more than what you just see.

[00:28:54] So getting caught up in how beautiful this girl is or how good this guy looks, how much money this person has, or how successful these people are. Like, you'll never really know what's going on in their lives. Unless you spend every day with them and really see. You never really know that's what she really looks like unless you're in the same room with her and she just got out of the shower and all the makeup is gone, all the filters are gone. You never really know what she looks like. And even if you could, who gives a shit? There's some girls prettier than you. Who gives a shit? Some dude looks better than you. Who cares? Who cares? Has nothing to do with you, bro.

[00:29:32] Focus on yourself. And realizing the dreams and visions that you got in your head. Focus on like, changing the things that you can actually change, the things under your control. Accept the things that you can't. Accept the things that like, have nothing to do with you. And keep moving, bro. You don't have time to waste. You really don't. Stop getting caught up in other people's lives and what they got going on and how good they look, and this, this, and that. It does nothing for you, bro. If you can't take it and use it as inspiration, it does nothing for you. Let it go. Focus on yourself. Focus on your life. You know what I'm saying?

[00:30:06] Again, this idea is nothing new, I'm sure it's been talked about like, thousands of times over the last few years. But I wish I would have learned that sooner. It's like even the people you look up to, even the people you admire and want to be like, even they are not all that they seem to be, or they're so much more than what they seem to be. And that could be good, bad, neutral, whatever. But there's so much more than what you see. It's so much more than what you perceive from a distance. So don't get caught up just in what you see. Understand that there's always so much more than that. You know? I don't know if that makes sense, but I'm gonna leave it at that. All right?

[00:30:43] So the seventh, and final thing that I wish I would have learned earlier is that you cannot trust another person's words if those words don't align with their actions. A person's words will tell you what they think, what they believe. But a person's actions will show you what they really think or really believe. This one is really important, man. It's really, really important. Because people just, people who love to talk. Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk. They just talk and talk and talk and talk.

[00:31:19] It's easy to talk, right? It's easy to lie, is easy to exaggerate, all these things. It's easy to talk. You know what I'm saying? So easy. What I'm going to do, what I really think, what I believe and this, this, and that. What's not so easy, though, is to show it with your actions, or it's easy if what you're saying is true. But I guess what I'm trying to say is it's easy to talk, but it's harder to find somebody who is living what they talk, doing what they say they're going to do.

[00:31:50] And the reason you can't trust people who are not living in that way is because you're just opening yourself up to all kinds of disappointment, manipulation, like problems. Or putting your trust in somebody who says they're going to do A, B, and C, and then they go do an X Y Z. You just open yourself up to the problems, frustration, disappointment, all these negative things. You know what I'm saying? Because I mean like, saying you're going to do one thing and then going to do another thing is the same thing as lying. Right?

[00:32:20] Somebody who's always saying these things but doing those things, it's no different than a liar, in my opinion. If you're saying this is who I am, this is what I'm about. And then you go live something else, you're lying. You're not telling the truth. You're not living the truth. All right? So you can't trust people like that, bro. It's very easy to like, get enchanted by the way someone speaks, to the word that they choose. You know?

[00:32:45] There's a lot of silver-tongued salesmen out there. And it's very easy to get, you know, lost in their way of speaking. Right? They're charismatic, they know what to say, they know when to say it, they know how to say it and all these things. They get you feeling good. They make you laugh and smile when you're around them. You know? They make you believe whatever it is that they're saying.

[00:33:05] But, you know, you really got to remember to stop, take a step back and ask yourself, are they doing what they're saying? Do their words match their actions? You know what I'm saying? And that's in any situation. It could be in business, in a relationship or friendship, whatever. This person is saying all these things, but if they're not proving it with their actions, they're not living it, it's just words, bro. It doesn't mean anything. You know what I'm saying? Words are just words, but actions are real. Actions show you. You know what I'm saying?

[00:33:36] What a person really thinks and believes, what's really important to them. You want to know what a person really thinks, believes, what's important to them, what they really care about, pay attention to what they do. Because just naturally, without really thinking about it, we focus on what's important to us at the moment. We invest our time and energy into what's important to us. Everything else we don't really care about, even if we say we care about it.

[00:33:57] Like, I want to be fluent in English, but I'm not practicing my English. You don't really want to be fluent. Right? Because you're not doing the things that are going to get you to where you say you want to be. So obviously you don't really want that because if you did, you would just do it. The same way you go to get some food when you're hungry. You see what I'm saying? I'm hungry. I want some food. I want to satisfy my hunger. I get up and I go get food. I just do it because that's what I really want. You know? It's easy to say "I want to be fluent in this language", but then every day I'm not doing anything to become fluent in the language because that's not really what I want. You see?

[00:34:32] I can give you a million examples like, again, I probably should have prepared better for this episode. I'm just like, speaking off the cuff. But I'm sure you get my point, is that the actions don't match the words do not put your trust in that person. Trust me on that. As ironic as that sounds. But yeah, for real man, for real. You can't... I shouldn't say you can't fuck with people whose actions don't align with their words, you can do whatever you want. That's just something I wish I would have learned earlier, especially in the context of like relationships. You know what I mean?

[00:35:08] I'll probably do like an in-depth episode about each of these topics in the future because I want to say so much but like, this episode is already so long. And my plan was to just give you 7 quick little things to start to think about. But since I didn't write everything I wanted to say, like, I'm going off and just like, you know, in my thoughts, I don't really know exactly what I think. I just have an idea of what I want to say.

[00:35:31] So again, my bad. Sorry for rambling. If you are still with me at this point, I want to close out by just asking you, what are some things that you wish you would have learned, you know, earlier in life? I don't care how old you are, you could be 18, 85. I really don't care. All of us have gone through things, all of us have learned, hopefully, from our experiences. And I think the lessons that we learn from our experiences can and should be shared with other people. That's the reason I'm making this episode.

[00:35:55] So let me know. What are some things you wish that you would have learned earlier in life that maybe you can help somebody else to learn from without having to go through? You know what I'm saying? Let me know. If you're a Life in English VIP shoot me a message on the Discord server, or you can shoot me a DM on Instagram at @englishwithkaizen. If you're watching this on YouTube, you can leave it in the comments below. Whatever you got to do. Let me know.

[00:36:16] But that's it for this episode, man. I hope you enjoyed it. Hope you learned something new or got something new to consider. For real, I mean that. You know? And that's it, man. This is Life in English. I'm your host, Tony Kaizen. And I will talk to you later. Peace.

[END OF EPISODE]

Writing prompts

  • Which of the 7 lessons was most significant to you?
  • What's a life lesson you wish you would've learned sooner?
  • What's the best advice you've ever received?
  • What's a lesson you could teach to the world?
Key Vocabulary & Grammar Guide
Download the VIP
Key Vocabulary Guide

Transcript

[00:00:00] All right, my friends. What's up, everybody? You are listening to another episode of Life in English. I'm your host, Tony Kaizen. And in this episode, I'm going to share 7 simple things I wish I would have learned earlier in life. Let's do it!

[00:00:18] The Life in English podcast is designed to teach you the real American English that you won't learn in school. And it's made possible by our VIP community. By becoming a VIP member of the Life in English community, you'll get access to our Private Conversation Group, bonus podcast episodes, interactive transcripts, and vocabulary and grammar guides. If you'd like to join the community, you can visit lifeinenglish.net/vip.

[00:00:40] All right. The first thing I wish I would have learned earlier in life is that your mental health is more important than anything. I've told you before that achieving any goal in life starts with your mindset. If you ain't right mentally, you can create all kinds of unnecessary problems for yourself. You can lose money, lose focus, damage potentially great relationships, waste years of your life going in the wrong direction, let other people decide how your life plays out.

[00:01:10] The list of things that can go wrong in life is endless. And it's our job to develop a healthy mind so we can reduce the amount of problems we inevitably face in life. In other words, there will always be problems and suffering in life. But by keeping our minds healthy and productive, we can make sure that we don't have to suffer any more than what is absolutely necessary.

[00:01:29] And this applies to all aspects of your life. Like, who cares if you got a wonderful career when your home life is toxic? Who cares if you make a lot of money when you never have time to do things you enjoy? Who cares if you miss that party when you would have been miserable the whole time there? Who cares if you love him when all he tries to do is manipulate and control you? Who cares if you've got a beautiful girl when all she does is bring drama and frustration into your life? Who cares what your parents want you to do with your life when they're not the ones that have to live your life? Missing out on things is a part of life. Getting led down is a part of life. These things are always going to happen. But at some point, you got to realize that you can't keep letting yourself down just to please other people.

[00:02:15] So if taking care of yourself means letting someone down, then let someone down. If taking care of yourself means choosing a different career, then do that. If it means ending a relationship, do it. If it means letting go of a vice, then let it go. And don't get me wrong, sometimes sacrificing your wants and needs for someone else is a noble or even necessary thing to do. But the point is that it's going to be really hard to take care of other people if you never take care of yourself. It's going to be hard to do well at something that you don't really enjoy. It's going to be hard to cultivate a healthy relationship between unhealthy people. So if your mind ain't right, nothing else will be either.

[00:02:56] The second thing I wish I would have learned much earlier in life is that you should not or you must not attach yourself to a specific person, place, company, organization, project... Nothing like that. I'm sure we've all been here at some point, though. Whether it's a person, a place, or a thing it's really easy to end up getting attached to something and allowing it to consume your entire life or even become a part of your identity.

[00:03:20] Some people invest so much of themselves into a job or a career that it's all they know how to do. They neglect other aspects of their personality and their personal life because they're just so attached to their work. Other people invest so much of themselves into another person that they end up losing themselves. They get to a point where their entire life revolves around another human being. But the problem with getting so attached to a particular job is that you could wake up tomorrow and find out that your company is downsizing and you're going to be laid off. If you spent years making your career the main part of your identity, what happens when your career is taken away from you? It's almost as if you've lost a part of yourself, isn't it?

[00:03:59] And the problem with getting so attached to another person is they could wake up tomorrow and decide they don't love you anymore. They could lie to you, cheat on you, fuck your best friend, ask for a divorce, all types of shit. And if you decide to make this person the number one priority in your life above everything else, what happens when they leave? It's almost as if they take a piece of you with them, isn't it?

[00:04:25] Now, I'm obviously not saying you shouldn't work hard or fall in love. I'm saying that it's dangerous to develop an unhealthy attachment to temporary things. People, places, and things come and go. But your purpose in life, your values, the future you envision for yourself are things that will always be under your control. They'll never leave you. In fact, those are the things that will guide you forward in life when tragedy inevitably strikes. So if you're going to get attached to something, make sure it's something that can't be taken from you.

[00:04:59] The third thing I wish I would have learned easier in life is that love is a form of intimacy and you can't have intimacy without vulnerability. Vulnerability is a tricky one because a lot of us have felt the disappointment and the pain of opening up to another person only to be judged, made fun of, not taken seriously, or ignored altogether.

[00:05:21] That pain and disappointment are enough to make us believe that we shouldn't open up to anyone ever. So it's easy to go through life being emotionally unavailable and avoiding intimacy because we think of it as self-defense. We're trying to protect ourselves from pain and embarrassment. But the reality is that we're really just hurting ourselves in the long run because simply avoiding intimacy doesn't mean that you stop wanting intimacy. You could very easily spend your entire life alone suffering in silence because you keep making the conscious choice to avoid what you want

[00:05:54] Now, if you think of life without connection and intimacy is right for you, then by all means ignore everything I'm saying here. But if you do in fact want to share your life with other people and make genuine connections, then you must accept the fact that there's no intimacy without vulnerability. You can't just go through life playing defense, trying to protect yourself from perceived threats all the time. There's no way you're going to grow like that. You've got to accept the fact that opening up and being vulnerable is under your control, but people's response to your vulnerability is not.

[00:06:24] So stop focusing on how people are going to react to you and instead just focus on being you. If people judge you, make fun of you, don't appreciate you, you probably don't want them in your life anyway. Right? But by being the real you, the right people will naturally be attracted to you. Who cares about everybody else? I'm not saying that you should open up to everyone you meet. Like, you obviously have to use some kind of discretion here. But I'm talking about those of us who consciously choose to avoid interactions, conversations, and feelings because we perceive them as scary or dangerous. Running from something only makes it bigger and scarier. But at some point, you're going to have to turn around and face it.

[00:07:11] The fourth thing I wish I would have learned earlier in life is that 99% percent of your problems are caused in your head by you and your thoughts. Most of the time, the problem itself is not the problem, the way you think about the problem is the problem. And you can fix most of your problems just by changing the way you think, just by fixing your thought process. For example, have you ever 1noticed how two completely different people can experience the same situation at the same time and have two completely different reactions? You know?

[00:07:44] For example, like, let's imagine a man and a woman driving to work, two separate people, two separate cars going to two separate places, but they're both driving to work in the morning. So let's imagine, you know, the woman, she's an executive of a huge company. She's got a lot of responsibilities. She's got to worry about profit and loss and her employees and the managers and the customers and how we're going to make more money and all these things. Plus, in her personal life, she's got a husband and kids, her mother's sick in the hospital. She's got a bunch of stuff going on. All these things that need to be dealt with on a day-to-day basis.

[00:08:16] But right now, she's just going to work, just trying to get to work in the morning. On the way to work, she gets a flat tire. There was a nail in the road or something, it punctured the tire, and now she has to change the tire. And she chooses or impulsively reacts in a way that makes it seem like this is just the end of the world. She's like, "Oh my fucking God, my tires are flat. I don't know what I'm going to do. Now I got to find somebody to change the tire. I don't know how to change the tire. What the fuck! I got so many problems. I got my employees and the business and the profits and the losses and the investors breathing down my neck. And my mom is sick. I got to go see her after work. How am I going to do that with the flat tire? Fuck!".

[00:08:54] She just freaks out, just loses her shit all because she got a flat tire, now the entire world has to stop because of this catastrophe. She has to change her tire. When in reality, if she just changes the tire, she can keep going to work. Maybe she'll be 45 minutes late. Crisis averted. You see what I'm saying? But just by thinking about it in a way that's like, so dramatic, so catastrophic, you make the problem so much bigger and more serious than it is.

[00:09:23] And you can see in my explanation of the story I tried to tell, she started involving all these other things that she has to think about. And it's like, "Fuck! All that is going to get worse because now I got this flat tire". She brings all of her stress and problems that she had on her back into the present moment just because there's this new situation that needs to be dealt with.

[00:09:41] At the end of the day, the tire just needs to be changed. But in her mind, that one unexpected inconvenience is, like, a representation of all the problems going on in her life right now. And it's just like, "Fuck! I can never get a break. This is bullshit. Why can't I just get to work? This is some bullshit. It's always another problem" blah blah blah blah. See what I'm saying? That's one way of reacting.

[00:10:02] But now let's think about the man. He's also a CEO of a Fortune 500 company. He's got a wife and kids. His father is sick, his dog is sick. He's just got a bunch of shit going on, got a lot of debt. Whatever it is. Got a lot of problems, a lot of situations that need to be dealt with. He's also going to work, and he also gets a flat tire. But instead of losing his shit about it, he understands this is just a situation that needs to be dealt with. There's no need to start thinking about all the other issues that I have to deal with.

[00:10:30] There's no need to panic like, "Fuck! I'm going to be late for work. I got this big meeting and presentation" because he knows there's nothing he can do about that. Right? Here, right now he's got a flat tire that needs to be dealt with. So what does he do? He gets out of his car. He changes the tire. Or he calls roadside assistance and says, "Yeah, I got a flat. This is where I am. Please, come help me", he waits for them to come and change the tire. And then he goes to work. End of story.

[00:10:53] So maybe this isn't the best example, I'm just, you know, making this up as I go along. But hopefully you can understand, two completely different people, the same situation, just two ways of thinking about the same situation. And they have two completely different experiences. Same problem, different outcome. Same problem, same reaction. Or excuse me, different reaction. You see what I'm saying?

[00:11:14] So again, that's probably not the best example. But the point is a lot of times, a lot of situations that you see as this problem are really just situations that need to be dealt with. You know? And a lot of times when you have an unexpected problem, there's no need to start thinking about all the other problems that you have or how this problem is going to affect all the other things in your life. Just deal with the fucking problem and keep moving forward. You know? So many of us slow ourselves down just because of the way we think about shit. You know?

[00:11:46] So get out of your fucking head and see things for what they are. A lot of times problems are just situations that need to be dealt with. And if you get out of your head, stop talking to yourself and stop bitching about shit and stop freaking out and allowing your anxiety to take over and just do something, you'll see like, ah it wasn't that big of a deal. And you can apply that to so many of your problems that you have in life. If you just change the way you think about it, you might see it's not that big deal or actually can do something about that and it won't be a problem anymore. You know? So I'll leave it at that, man.

[00:12:22] The fifth thing I wish I would have learned earlier in life is that if you want to feed a problem, keep thinking about it. And this actually is just a continuation of what I just said, right? Get out of your head and take action. Because, you know, they say if you want to start a problem, take action. Because problems feed off of anxiety and fear. Right? And action kills anxiety and fear. And I really think understanding this concept is the key to learning how to use your anxiety to your advantage.

[00:12:54] Most of us with anxious personalities have or end up developing an automatic flight response to situations that make us feel anxious. When I say flight response, I'm talking about the concept of "fight or flight". So just in case you don't know what that is, the fighter... excuse me, the fight or flight response, also known as the acute stress response, refers to a physiological reaction that occurs in the presence of something that is terrifying either mentally or physically. The response is triggered by the release of hormones that prepare your body to either stay and deal with the threat or fight or run away to safety. Flee, you see what I'm saying?

[00:13:32] And according to the story, this idea, this term "fight or flight" is referring to back when our ancestors were literally in dangerous situations every day, whether it be fighting a lion or a tiger or an enemy tribe or whatever it is. Whenever they were faced with danger, they would have to make that decision. Do I stand and fight, or do I run away? And the way I understand it, those experiences that our ancestors went through over so many years are kind of like baked into us and we just know them as instinct.

[00:14:02] So in a moment where you feel anxious or you perceive a threat, you experience that same response, which is, do I stand and confront this thing? Do I deal with it or do I run away because it's too scary? It's the same thing. Obviously, we're not fighting lions and tigers and bears or enemy tribes in the same way that our ancestors used to. You know? Things are relatively safer and simpler today in terms of surviving and stuff like that. We deal with different kinds of threats today or most of us do.

[00:14:29] So anyway, getting back to the actual point. Now you should understand what fight or flight means, right? We developed this flight response to things that make us anxious. We developed this automatic reaction to run away from the things that we think are scary or threatening or things that makes us or things that make us anxious. You know? Whenever we feel anxiety, we subconsciously think "That's scary, that's dangerous. I should stay away from it. I must avoid that thing". You know what I'm saying? And that's subconscious thought manifests itself in our behavior. We start to overthink and question everything. Like, what if this happens? What if that happens? We get so deep in our heads and we create this endless loop of anxiety. Because, you know you need to make a decision, but you're afraid of making the wrong decision so you feel anxious about it.

[00:15:21] That anxiety makes you feel like you don't know enough to move forward, so instead, you just think about it. You start analyzing these imaginary scenarios, which also gives you anxiety because you know that there's an endless amount of scenarios to imagine. And you'll never really know what's going to happen until you stop thinking and take action. But you're not going to take action until you feel ready. And you're never going to feel ready because you believe that you don't have everything you need to get started. And then you feel anxious because you know that something needs to be done, but you're just sitting there thinking about it or avoiding it altogether. And the cycle repeats itself, endlessly.

[00:15:54] You've given so much time and emotional energy to a problem or situation, but you're not actually doing anything. With each day that passes, the problem just gets bigger and bigger until it gets to a point that it's too big to deal with on your own. What you don't realize is that your anxiety is your friend. Your anxiety is there to tell you what it perceives as a threat to your existence. Now the reality is most of us nowadays don't experience many things that are actually a threat to our existence.

[00:16:24] So nowadays I think your anxiety is there to tell you which areas of your life you need to be more secure in. So instead of looking at your anxiety as something you need to conquer, you can use it like a tool. Because it's not the anxiety that needs to be conquered here, you need to conquer the thing that's making you feel anxious. So whenever you're feeling anxious about a decision or feeling anxious about another person, understand that you got two choices. Fight or flee? Now, obviously, I don't mean physically fighting your problems or other people. I mean, confronting the thing that makes you anxious. Right? Taking action.

[00:17:01] So maybe you want to start a business or something like that, but you're afraid, you feel anxious because you think you don't have enough money and you're not sure if people are going to like what you have to offer, you're not sure if it's going to be a success. You don't really know what to expect. And naturally, that makes you feel anxious. Right? It's totally normal. But what you don't understand is like you won't know if people like what you have to offer, you won't know if you have enough money to get started until you actually get started. There's no other way to know what's going to happen. There's no other way to know, you know, what the outcome will be until you stop thinking and you do something. Period. Period.

[00:17:43] I mean, like, I really don't know how else to say it. You're not going to know until you try. It's the same thing with people like, maybe that cute girl you want to talk to at the coffee shop. You see her every single week. But you're just so afraid... or that cute guy, it doesn't really matter. Just cute person that you see every week. You just want to talk to him, but you're so afraid. It's like, what if she doesn't like me? What if he thinks I'm ugly? What if she thinks I'm boring? What if I say something stupid to him and he thinks I'm weird? Like, whatever, just all these irrational fears and thoughts because you don't know what's going to happen after you speak to this person. See what I'm saying? But you won't know until you try. You see what I'm saying?

[00:18:19] Like, you're you feel anxiety because you don't know what to expect, you don't know what's going to happen. Right? That's really what anxiety is, just the fear of the unknown. And this thing, this challenge, this project, this person, whatever it is, the issue is that you're not seeing it for what it is. When you haven't interacted with it yet, when it's completely unknown, it's just darkness and chaos. It's something that induces fear. You don't see it for what it is. You see it for this dark, scary, unknown figure. That's a threat to your existence. When really it's just a threat to your ego. You know what I'm saying? And by doing that, by seeing it in that way, by keeping it at a distance and not interacting with it, it's like you put it up on this pedestal. You see what I'm saying?

[00:19:05] It's not a person anymore, it's not a thing anymore, it's this figure, this unattainable figure that you don't understand. You know? And the longer you keep it on that pedestal, it's like it gets higher and higher and higher until the point where you're just looking up at this thing. And now that it's above you and it's big and scary, you feel inferior to it. You see what I'm saying? And that only causes more anxiety and makes you feel even more like, "I could never talk to that person. I could never start that business. I could never be successful at that thing" because you just let it get so big and grandiose and scary in your mind that you can't see it for what it is. It's just another person, it's just the business, it's just the project, it's just this thing.

[00:19:46] And by going over there to interact with it, let's use the person as the example, I feel like that's universal. By going over there to interact with that girl or that guy, then you can see what happens if I go interact with this person. You'll very quickly see it's just another person. Just another human being, you might see that this person is the most amazing person you ever met and that they're glad that you came over to say something because they were thinking the same thing about you. Now you guys are married, you got kids beautiful family, all because you decided to go talk to him instead of just thinking about it. You took action.

[00:20:18] Or you might realize they're a fucking asshole. He's a dick. She's a bitch. I don't want somebody like that in my life. But you won't know that until you go talk to them. Just go talk to them. You see what I'm saying? Just go say hello. Stop thinking about it. Get out of your fucking head and just take action. Go say hello. You don't even have to start a conversation. Just go pay the person a thoughtful compliment or just say "hello" and walk away. That's it. You know?

[00:20:46] A perfect example of this... again, I didn't write all this down, I'm just kind of thinking and talking at the same time. So sorry for rambling. But another good example of this that I experienced personally was when I was doing street portraiture a couple of years ago in Brazil. I think I talked about this on the podcast before, but when I was down... I love photography, specifically portrait photography, like taking pictures of people. So when I was down in Brazil, there was this main street called Paulista Avenue, like this super long main street that ran right through the middle of the city. All the businesses and shops and restaurants were on the street, so thousands, probably hundreds of thousands of people walk down the street every day.

[00:21:24] So since I didn't know very many people, I didn't have any models to take pictures of, and I really don't like photographing models. I decided I'm going to go into the street and ask strangers if I can make portraits of them, for two reasons. One, I just want to take pictures of people, and there's thousands of people here, so I'm going to start here. Number two, I was very anxious in social situations, I was afraid of interacting with strangers. It was something that made me uncomfortable, and I felt like I didn't know how to do it correctly, whatever the fuck that means. So it was kind of like exposure therapy for me. Because I was afraid to approach these people and be rejected or seem weird or not know what to say and not have a positive interaction. Whatever. I was just afraid of a negative outcome.

[00:22:05] And I would get so deep in my head like I would be on the street with my camera, just looking at people like afraid to pick one and go talk to them. It was like, what if they say no? What if it doesn't go right? What if... And I'm in Brazil. I got to speak in a foreign language and make myself understood and be charismatic and like, concise and get to the point because I'm stopping this person on the street. They're just trying to get to where they're going. All these things are running through my head and it kept me from taking action until I just got tired of it. And I was like, "Fuck it, I'm going to just stop somebody and see what happens. See what happens". And what I realize is, like again, anxiety is just fear of the unknown, bro. That's all it is.

[00:22:39] So when you go approach this person and you talk to them, it's not the unknown anymore. You don't have time to be in your head thinking about what if or what would happen. It's happening right here, right now. It's happening. Because you took the time to take action to approach this person. We're here now. The anxiety just disappears because it's not unknown anymore. Now you know what happens if I approach this person because you approached them and it's fucking.. We're here. We're talking. You see what I'm saying?

[00:23:06] What I realize with that experience as well is that most people are not like judging you or they don't want to see you fail when you approach them as a stranger on the street. They just want to know why the fuck did you stop me, bro? So if you can learn how to communicate that clearly and concisely, most people don't really mind. I got a few no's, but most people said, "Yeah, sure. Go ahead, take my picture". And then they become curious about what you're doing and why you're doing it. And now you guys are talking and having an interaction, you know? Maybe you make friends, maybe you meet up for drinks later or whatever. You just never know what's going to happen.

[00:23:36] And maybe the interaction is negative. Maybe they tell you to fuck off. Maybe they tell you you're a weirdo or piece of shit, whatever. But like, who cares? Who cares? Go do it again and again and again and again and again until it's just so natural to approach strangers that you don't even think about it. That is how you conquer what you think of as anxiety, but it's not the anxiety that's the issue. The anxiety is there to tell you like, man, this thing is scary, you're not secure in this area. So you can use the anxiety as your friend, as a tool to put your focus on what needs to be improved. Your anxiety is telling you, "Hey, we're weak in that area. We need to change that". So go and change that, take some action, and stop thinking about it. You know?

[00:24:17] I probably should have wrote what I thought so that I could deliver this message in a much more concise way. But hopefully, you get my point, man. Like, just stop thinking about shit and just do it. That's the only way to know what's going to happen. That's the only way to gain confidence because when you take action you get feedback. When you get feedback you know what you need to change, how you can do it better, how you can do it differently. You can't know any of that if you don't take action, if you're just sitting there thinking about it. Thinking, thinking, thinking, nothing ever happens, bro. But time keeps on passing. The world keeps spinning without you.

[00:24:50] So, I could... each one of these things, each of these 7 things I can make an entire episode about. I could talk for days about all these things, so I'm just going to leave it at that. You know? Hopefully it sparks some interest in your mind, give you something to think about. Or maybe we'll start a dialogue and a conversation about these subjects in the future. But for real man, if you want to feed a problem, just keep thinking about it. If you want to solve it, do something. Take action. All right? Let's leave it at that.

[00:25:19] So the sixth thing that I wish I would have learned earlier in life is that nobody is as successful as social media makes them seem. And nobody looks as good as those social media filters make them look. Now, this is... This topic, this subject, this idea is really nothing new. We've had social media in our lives for a few years now, and you know, we've seen the effects that it has on people's confidence or self-esteem. And we've seen how easy it is for people to make it seem like they're living this amazing, wonderful, extravagant, successful life. When really, their life, their actual life is not much different from yours. And even if it were, like, it has nothing to do with you, it doesn't really matter.

[00:26:00] The only person that you should be comparing yourself to is who you were yesterday or who you were last week or who you were last year. You can't compare yourself to somebody else because it's an unfair... You can't compare apples and oranges. You can only compare apples with other apples. You see what I'm saying? Your life is not somebody else's. Your starting point is not somebody else's. Your history is not someone else's. So how could you compare your current position in life to somebody else's when you didn't start at the same exact place or go through the same exact things? You weren't born with the same exact talents. You know? Parents.

[00:26:32] Like all... There's no way you could compare yourself to another person. Realistically, there's no way. So like, there's no reason, there's no logical reason to get lost in the idea that somebody else is further along than you are or more successful than you are, more money than you have or prettier than you are, taller than you are, funnier than you are. Like, who gives a shit? You can't compare yourself to somebody else.

[00:26:57] And getting back to the actual statement, like nobody's as successful as they seem online. Even if they are, it has nothing to do with you. But in the case that they're not because most of the time they're really not, you just got to understand like, social media is just like a highlight reel. Most people are not going to willingly show you the negative parts of their life, the things they're struggling with, the failures, their insecurities, you know, all the shit that's going wrong. Because that's not sexy, that doesn't sell. It doesn't give views, likes, shares, comments, subscriptions, and all that shit.

[00:27:31] And unfortunately, a lot of people that do try to show you the negative side or whatever are just looking for like sympathy, they just want you to feel bad, which is also a way to increase viewership and likes and all this type of stuff. I'm not saying that's always the case, but it does happen.

[00:27:44] Either way, the point is when you're looking on your phone... Where's my phone? It's over there, it's too far to grab. But when you're looking on your phone, it's nothing more than a window. The phone is literally just a window into a different world. A computer screen, it's just a window. A TV is just a window into a different world. That's it. What you realize is like, even in a house, it has four sides. Right?

[00:28:05] So I'm looking out this window and I see this image. But what I don't really think about too much is that there's a whole bunch of stuff just out of my field of view that I can't see that makes part of that entire image. So I'm only seeing a little piece of it. Only what the... What I can see through the window, that's all that exists to me. But in reality, there's 360 degrees. You know what I'm saying? And a large part of that, I'm not even getting to see or consider. So don't get caught up in the way things look or the way things seem. You know what I'm saying? Because perspective is everything. If you looked at the same situation or person through a different or from a different perspective, through a different window, you might see it completely differently and understand like, there's so much more than what you just see.

[00:28:54] So getting caught up in how beautiful this girl is or how good this guy looks, how much money this person has, or how successful these people are. Like, you'll never really know what's going on in their lives. Unless you spend every day with them and really see. You never really know that's what she really looks like unless you're in the same room with her and she just got out of the shower and all the makeup is gone, all the filters are gone. You never really know what she looks like. And even if you could, who gives a shit? There's some girls prettier than you. Who gives a shit? Some dude looks better than you. Who cares? Who cares? Has nothing to do with you, bro.

[00:29:32] Focus on yourself. And realizing the dreams and visions that you got in your head. Focus on like, changing the things that you can actually change, the things under your control. Accept the things that you can't. Accept the things that like, have nothing to do with you. And keep moving, bro. You don't have time to waste. You really don't. Stop getting caught up in other people's lives and what they got going on and how good they look, and this, this, and that. It does nothing for you, bro. If you can't take it and use it as inspiration, it does nothing for you. Let it go. Focus on yourself. Focus on your life. You know what I'm saying?

[00:30:06] Again, this idea is nothing new, I'm sure it's been talked about like, thousands of times over the last few years. But I wish I would have learned that sooner. It's like even the people you look up to, even the people you admire and want to be like, even they are not all that they seem to be, or they're so much more than what they seem to be. And that could be good, bad, neutral, whatever. But there's so much more than what you see. It's so much more than what you perceive from a distance. So don't get caught up just in what you see. Understand that there's always so much more than that. You know? I don't know if that makes sense, but I'm gonna leave it at that. All right?

[00:30:43] So the seventh, and final thing that I wish I would have learned earlier is that you cannot trust another person's words if those words don't align with their actions. A person's words will tell you what they think, what they believe. But a person's actions will show you what they really think or really believe. This one is really important, man. It's really, really important. Because people just, people who love to talk. Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk. They just talk and talk and talk and talk.

[00:31:19] It's easy to talk, right? It's easy to lie, is easy to exaggerate, all these things. It's easy to talk. You know what I'm saying? So easy. What I'm going to do, what I really think, what I believe and this, this, and that. What's not so easy, though, is to show it with your actions, or it's easy if what you're saying is true. But I guess what I'm trying to say is it's easy to talk, but it's harder to find somebody who is living what they talk, doing what they say they're going to do.

[00:31:50] And the reason you can't trust people who are not living in that way is because you're just opening yourself up to all kinds of disappointment, manipulation, like problems. Or putting your trust in somebody who says they're going to do A, B, and C, and then they go do an X Y Z. You just open yourself up to the problems, frustration, disappointment, all these negative things. You know what I'm saying? Because I mean like, saying you're going to do one thing and then going to do another thing is the same thing as lying. Right?

[00:32:20] Somebody who's always saying these things but doing those things, it's no different than a liar, in my opinion. If you're saying this is who I am, this is what I'm about. And then you go live something else, you're lying. You're not telling the truth. You're not living the truth. All right? So you can't trust people like that, bro. It's very easy to like, get enchanted by the way someone speaks, to the word that they choose. You know?

[00:32:45] There's a lot of silver-tongued salesmen out there. And it's very easy to get, you know, lost in their way of speaking. Right? They're charismatic, they know what to say, they know when to say it, they know how to say it and all these things. They get you feeling good. They make you laugh and smile when you're around them. You know? They make you believe whatever it is that they're saying.

[00:33:05] But, you know, you really got to remember to stop, take a step back and ask yourself, are they doing what they're saying? Do their words match their actions? You know what I'm saying? And that's in any situation. It could be in business, in a relationship or friendship, whatever. This person is saying all these things, but if they're not proving it with their actions, they're not living it, it's just words, bro. It doesn't mean anything. You know what I'm saying? Words are just words, but actions are real. Actions show you. You know what I'm saying?

[00:33:36] What a person really thinks and believes, what's really important to them. You want to know what a person really thinks, believes, what's important to them, what they really care about, pay attention to what they do. Because just naturally, without really thinking about it, we focus on what's important to us at the moment. We invest our time and energy into what's important to us. Everything else we don't really care about, even if we say we care about it.

[00:33:57] Like, I want to be fluent in English, but I'm not practicing my English. You don't really want to be fluent. Right? Because you're not doing the things that are going to get you to where you say you want to be. So obviously you don't really want that because if you did, you would just do it. The same way you go to get some food when you're hungry. You see what I'm saying? I'm hungry. I want some food. I want to satisfy my hunger. I get up and I go get food. I just do it because that's what I really want. You know? It's easy to say "I want to be fluent in this language", but then every day I'm not doing anything to become fluent in the language because that's not really what I want. You see?

[00:34:32] I can give you a million examples like, again, I probably should have prepared better for this episode. I'm just like, speaking off the cuff. But I'm sure you get my point, is that the actions don't match the words do not put your trust in that person. Trust me on that. As ironic as that sounds. But yeah, for real man, for real. You can't... I shouldn't say you can't fuck with people whose actions don't align with their words, you can do whatever you want. That's just something I wish I would have learned earlier, especially in the context of like relationships. You know what I mean?

[00:35:08] I'll probably do like an in-depth episode about each of these topics in the future because I want to say so much but like, this episode is already so long. And my plan was to just give you 7 quick little things to start to think about. But since I didn't write everything I wanted to say, like, I'm going off and just like, you know, in my thoughts, I don't really know exactly what I think. I just have an idea of what I want to say.

[00:35:31] So again, my bad. Sorry for rambling. If you are still with me at this point, I want to close out by just asking you, what are some things that you wish you would have learned, you know, earlier in life? I don't care how old you are, you could be 18, 85. I really don't care. All of us have gone through things, all of us have learned, hopefully, from our experiences. And I think the lessons that we learn from our experiences can and should be shared with other people. That's the reason I'm making this episode.

[00:35:55] So let me know. What are some things you wish that you would have learned earlier in life that maybe you can help somebody else to learn from without having to go through? You know what I'm saying? Let me know. If you're a Life in English VIP shoot me a message on the Discord server, or you can shoot me a DM on Instagram at @englishwithkaizen. If you're watching this on YouTube, you can leave it in the comments below. Whatever you got to do. Let me know.

[00:36:16] But that's it for this episode, man. I hope you enjoyed it. Hope you learned something new or got something new to consider. For real, I mean that. You know? And that's it, man. This is Life in English. I'm your host, Tony Kaizen. And I will talk to you later. Peace.

[END OF EPISODE]

Scroll to top