This time last year I was hustling for $240 to pay my car payment. As of writing this, I just dropped $210 on new clothes.

I’m telling you this for two reasons.

One is to give you some type of encouragement. Whether you’re living paycheck to paycheck or simply want a better life.

The other reason is that I’m proud of myself.

You see I quit my job in 2016. I wasn’t sure what the hell I was going to do. My vision was so vague at that time.

All I wanted to do was “be my own boss” and be job free.

In my mind, I would finally be complete. But after quitting my job I quickly realized I was in for a ride.

I went from living paycheck to paycheck to hustling just to survive. In all honesty those days were some of my best memories.

Not because I like surviving, but because I overcame the odds. Through the many ups and downs, I kept moving.

Over the past year and a half, a lot has changed. It’s been the kind of ride where you keep your eyes closed the entire time.

Once you open them the ride is over and it’s time for the next one.

Two weeks ago as I was driving home it all hit me. It was as if I had been asleep since April 9th, 2016 and just woke up.

I couldn’t help but feel grateful for everything.

Take a second and remember the last time you had to use the bathroom badly. So bad that you didn’t feel like you could hold it in any longer.

As you approach the bathroom you feel relieved. Finally, you’ve made it!

You go to open the door and someone’s in there.

For the next thirty-five seconds, you pace back and forth. After an eternity the person walks out and you charge in.

It’s almost euphoric as you shiver with relief. You finish up, zip up, and go about your day.

That’s exactly how I felt the other day.

You see I ate a lot of shit to be where I am now. I can honestly say that I’m just getting started.

This whole success thing is all about gaining clarity on what you want.

YES, WHAT YOU WANT!

Not what you read about from me, watch from GaryVee, or see on TV. But what YOU want to be, do, and have in your life.

You see, gaining clarity is all about canceling out the noise. Most of what you think you want is nothing but 100% organic bullshit.

The playboy entrepreneur lifestyle pictures your favorite Instagram account posts are nothing but a facade.

They usually fund their lifestyle on maxed out credit cards.

Their endless daily motivation is empty. It lacks real depth and only moves you to buy more products.

All they are doing is getting you pumped up. Which is great in some cases. But where this gets bad is when they are just playing characters.

In other words, their real-life is chaotic. Yet they portray an image that gives you motivation in exchange for money.

Ask yourself if you need more motivational quotes. You already know the answer. Clearly, these quotes haven’t done anything for you.

What you need are practical ways to change your life. Not to be a facade, but to live the life that you want.

As a friend of mine said the other day on Twitter:

The game is to be sold, not told.

He didn’t come up with that quote but understand it. If you do, your eyes will open up to how this world works.

You’ll start realizing what you really want.

Instead of comparing your 9-5 life to some online persona, you’ll start taking action. As you start taking action the darkness will start to clear.

And this is the only way that anything will ever change for you.

It doesn’t matter how many magic pills that you take. It doesn’t matter how many records you break.

If you aren’t living the life that you truly want, you’ll never be happy. You’ll be no better than the persona’s many people play.

You see I could tell you that I make $20,000 per month. I could post pictures of me living the dream.

But that wouldn’t be as fun.

Calm and Collected is the site that you read on your come up.

While you’re on your lunch break.

At a cafe.

Or plotting your great escape.

It’s the rise that is always the best part. You’ll look back at where you are now a year from now with pride.

Not because you’re making more money.

You’ll have pride because you made your vision a reality. Once you realize this, your next vision will be waiting for you.

It’s your job to bring it into existence.

Your friends can come, but most won’t survive the trip. Just promise me right now that you won’t let this upset you.

If you do, you’ll be thrown off course. All of the work you’ve put in so far will be at risk of falling apart.

Instead push forward without hesitation.

You’ve made it this far through all of those ups and downs. Your friends can help you carry the flame but ultimately you’re the torch bearer.

It’s up to you to carry your torch through the darkness.

You’ll face money issues, lose friends, and have to make hard decisions.

In the moment they’ll seem like big problems. Your mind will tell you that you won’t make it.

But I stand before you as proof that you will make it.

You have no choice but to make it happen. The only other option is that you let down the people that you love.

Your God has put trust in you and gives you opportunity after opportunity. Not so that you can prove to the world, but prove to yourself.

That you have a story to tell.

What is that story you ask? Well, you’re already creating it.

You’ve been creating your story since you started reading this article. In time you’ll understand what I mean.

In the meantime just keep moving forward.

Your friend,

dylan madden

2 comments add yours

  1. Solid article homie. Mission comes first as men, EVERYTHING else is a distant second. I like what you said about realizing your first vision and then the next knew becoming clearer. True words. As the #1 salesman in my company, I’m happily working on side projects to unchain these shackles of modern mediocrity. Thanks for the reminder of a kick ads life being right within lie grasp.

    • Mission comes first as men, EVERYTHING else is a distant second.

      Few understand this.

      As the #1 salesman in my company, I’m happily working on side projects to unchain these shackles of modern mediocrity.

      Keep up the great work Ryan. I’ll see you in the game.

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