The ends justify the means.
Commonly credited to Machiavelli, these famous words have been used several times across the history of mankind, although rarely on a good day for karma.
I personally disagree with it, but I recognize that focused and driven individuals tend to achieve success more rapidly than the more “passive” ones.
That’s why this excess/lack of focus is something that we should pay attention to and adjust whenever necessary, so we don’t fall too much for any of the extremes.
We shouldn’t walk over everything and everyone to achieve our goals.
We shouldn’t live life drifting, letting tides and winds carrying us away to nowhere.
It’s like Jack Welch said, “Control your own destiny or someone else will”.
So yeah, don’t screw up other people just to get what you want, either that be blackmailing some executive to get his 7-figure-salary job or trying to pass your 47 items on the express line at the supermarket because “I’m double-parked outside” – Not cool x2.
Be nice, take care of yourself and your family but in a way that you can later look back and say “I’m proud”. You’ll sleep well and the world will be a better place.
Basically, don’t be a jerk or a fool, find a sweet spot in between and be happy.
But this is only one side of the problem.
In fact, I think the real danger relatively to this dichotomy of ends and means in our modern society is the other way around.
Adapting The Ends to Justify Our Means
Nowadays we tend to deliberately adjust our ends so we can feel good with ourselves — and, especially, to look good to others — about the means that we are currently taking.
I’m pretty sure you’ve already used excuses to justify your actions — I surely have.
Eating junk food 7 days a week?
I’m bulking, next month I’ll join a gym!
Delaying the launch of your side hustle?
I want it to be a guaranteed success, and that’s not possible without a Facebook page, a full running blog, a mailing list, and printed business cards.
Not inviting that classmate for a date?
Yeah, she’s cute, but I want to focus on my studies, I don’t want to get distracted with a relationship right now.
Let’s be honest, 99% of these justifications are nothing but excuses and BS.
Getting out of our comfort zone, expose ourselves to other people’s judgment, showing our vulnerabilities, all this is really scary.
We hate being in the spotlight unless we’re sure we’re going to shine.
And if fighting our insecurities towards other people’s opinions wasn’t hard enough, we also need to battle our own biology.
Laziness is a natural and logical characteristic of human beings. If we spent the whole day on our couch watching Netflix we save energy and are more likely to be safe from external threats.
And then comes the mindset…
I wish I wasn’t fat!
No, what I really wish is to shovel down these 3 cheeseburgers and a coke!
At least I wish it harder than to lose weight.
I need to write a few more blog posts before starting announcing everywhere that I have a blog.
No. The truth is that I’m afraid of the reaction of my friends and family.
Will they mock me? Will they hate my writing and think I’m stupid? Could they be right!?
Worst than having less noble ends and use any means to achieve them is to garble our ends to justify our weaknesses.
Doing that is lying to the world and to ourselves. Is settling for the mediocrity of easy choices and live a minor life.
So, What To Do Then?
Well, for starters, Man Up!
Assume the control of your life and start being what you want to be. No excuses!
Easier said than done — believe me, I know — but there’s no one coming to save us from our own shit and we need to face that fact.
It might not be your fault, but it’s your responsibility.
I keep telling this to myself every day and you probably should too.
I know you have a million reasons that entitles you to disagree:
“I have no money”
“I have bad genes”
“I’m not pretty enough”
“I work 80 hours a week”
“My cat is deaf”
“Bla bla bla, random bullshit”
It’s hard, I know, I’ve done it so many times in my life and I still do it every now and then, but we’re no special snowflake, we’re really not!
I bet you know or have heard of incredible people that had everything against them and still were able to achieve amazing stuff in life.
That single mom that took 4 jobs to raise her 3 kids on her own, or the obese guy that finally decided to change his life and became fit and healthy.
What about Kyle Maynard? The guy was born with no arms and no legs and still was able to climb Mount Kilimanjaro! Without the aid of prosthetics!
For real, what can possibly be our excuse?
Life deals us our cards and we have to play them the best we can.
If you can read this story you are capable of doing everything that needs to be done to get yourself in a better place.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
We can be free and happy, we just need the courage to tell the truth to ourselves and do the work.
So let’s do this!