Life is a competition.
Life hack (by Greg “RU Twisted” Drobny — from www.unapologeticallyamerican.com)! I’ve seen a lot of those lately—from brewing the best coffee to the coolest tricks you can do with your iPhone, there are articles floating about that tell you shortcuts to make some facet of your life better/faster/more-about-that-bass.
So naturally I figured, being the bandwagon jumper that I am, it was time for a UA-themed life hack list. Because although we may not be first, we’ll do it better and with more explosions.
1: Work hard.
Yeah, I know this one sounds really esoteric and pretty far out there, but hear me out. If you work hard at what you do, you’re going to go farther and accomplish more than by looking for some secret “hack” to life.
As I was told early on, there is no pixie dust. No magical fix-alls or slogans can ever replace hard work and no pyramid scheme, no matter how amazingly succulent it may sound, can change that. The sooner you accept that the better off you’ll be.
2: You’re not on a crusade
When I was in Iraq it didn’t take long to realize that what we were doing there was mostly pointless. I said then—and time has proven me right—that it didn’t matter if we left 5 years, 5 months, or 5 minutes from then, the result would be the same. So I dedicated myself to helping my guys out as much as possible and having a positive impact on the soldiers around me because the mission wasn’t going to solve the world’s problems—or even those in that country or ours.
We all grow up thinking we are going to change the world. But at some point you have to come to grips with the fact that by far the biggest impact you will have in this life is on those in your immediate circle. The consequences of your actions, be they good or bad, will be far more profound on your bosses, employees, and family than they ever will be on any kind of “mission” you think you’re on.
3: You can be wrong
As often as possible, I try to do some serious evaluation of the things I believe to be true in order to determine whether or not they hold up to scrutiny. I can think of three times, specifically, that I have had some pretty major revelations because of this approach. When I stopped working in politics it enabled me to say “hey, since I’m not being paid to argue for X, I can honestly assess whether or not X is even true,” and this lead to some rather profound changes in how I viewed the world around me.
The point being is that it is okay to be wrong, and this is not at all contrary to being “Unapologetically American.” In fact, coming out the other side of being wrong can lead to amazing things.
While this sounds cool to everyone in theory, we are stubborn as hell when it comes to actually admitting even the possibility we could be incorrect about what we hold dear. It’s a lot tougher to do than most of us are willing to confess—again because that means admitting there is a possibility we’ve been on the wrong path.
Honest evaluation of your position doesn’t mean learning better talking points. It means coming to grips with the fact that you, me, and even that guy in the clown suit who offered you vodka when you were 10 years old are probably wrong about some pretty important issues. Accepting that and moving forward from it can have truly wonderful consequences.
4: Life solutions can’t fit on bumper stickers
If 42 years on this earth has taught me anything it is that tequila and airplane glue leads to a bad night most of reality is simultaneously simple and astonishingly complicated. Though this doesn’t make much sense, hopefully you’ll let me confuse you further.
As an example, when I was coaching Muay Thai, I could explain every single technique a new student would need to know in under five minutes. But anyone who’s ever done it can tell you that it will take years to even begin getting a handle on the complexities of just the simplest martial arts. The process of learning, understanding, and developing a proficiency in a certain discipline is in many ways a never-ending quest.
A great deal of life is like that, but our culture is largely reflective of the exact opposite. Look at the average political slogan and ask yourself what in the hell does that even mean? Yet they are continually used because, lo and behold, they work.
Don’t let your life or the life around you be summed up by a bumper sticker. Bullet points are great for shortening that super boring corporate meeting, but the truly interesting facts of life are complex processes that involve getting your mental hands dirty—no, not that kind of dirty. Pervert.
5: Number 5 is easily the most profound and life changing hack you’ll ever see.
There is no notion that I find more dangerous to our way of life and more despicable than the idea that we are “owed” anything or that we “deserve” anything.
Life is competition. You need to look no further than nature. If a lion sits around all day and decides not to hunt, it doesn’t eat. If it doesn’t eat, it dies. Simple. Brutal. Reality.
We are no different, except we have compassion. We see others that will not work, will not put out effort, and we refuse to let them starve. We make sure they have what they need to survive. We, the capable, the workers, decide that we will not let another human being die while we have the means to prevent it.
I believe that is a good thing. I believe that is just.
The growing issue however, is when people who do not work, who do not contribute to society believe they are owed something more. They deserve cable. They deserve a car. They deserve that which the workers receive. We are teetering on the edge of a place where it is more beneficial to be on an entitlement program than it is to work a minimum wage job. But if the only issue was entitlement programs, then the issue would be minimal. For every five people who need welfare, there will always be one abuser. That simply comes with the territory. The bigger issue is that increasingly, this “entitlement disease” is spreading to working citizens. The occupy movement is a group of people who believe they deserve more – more opportunity, more money, more benefits, more whatever. They believe that life isn’t fair.
They are right. It never will be and it never has been.
Rich people have more shit. They get away with more shit. They control more shit. They keep their families rich. They get richer over time. Yeah, it sucks. So do something about it. Work hard. Start a business. Join a business. Fight and fight and fight until you get what it is that you want out of life. Will everyone get where they want? No. Some people who work harder than you do will never achieve your level of success and some people that work markedly less hard will blow you out of the water. And that will always be true because life isn’t fair, people have different skill-sets, and luck plays a huge role in life.
But what I can tell you is that you have to take responsibility for your life or you will become, and remain, a loser. Every success and every failure has to be yours. You can’t blame mom, dad, Obama, Bush, bad luck, the teacher that hated you, where you grew up, or multinational-piece-of-shit-scumbag-banks. You have to push every single day and carve out of life what it is that you want. You have to go over, under, or blast through obstacles. You have to never quit.
Contrary to popular opinion, no one owes you anything. Earn it.
ABOUT GREG DROBNY
Greg Drobny, aka RU Twisted is the Editor-in-Chief of Unapologetically American. A former Airborne Infantryman, PSYOP Team Chief, political tool, welder, bartender, and failed musician (to name a few), Greg holds a bachelor’s degree in American history and has contributed as a writer to The Rhino Den for several years as well as two published books; “Redeployed” and “War Stories.” Follow him on Twitter: @RU_Twist