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Existentialism: The Philosophy That Changed My Mindset

I had an existential crisis at 18.


I was working in my dad’s business while studying at university.


On the surface, it looked like I had it all together, a promising future ahead.


But on the inside, I felt lost. Like I was coasting through life.


I started to question the nature of my reality. I struggled to know my place in the world. I would stay awake at night worried about my future.

It became a dark time for me.


I would begin to ask myself “Who am I?” And “Why am I here?”.


Surely my life isn’t wake up, go to work, come back, and sleep.


You repeat the cycle and think to yourself — “Is this it?”.


I felt in my heart that there was more to life. That something greater was out there for me.


That life couldn’t be as mundane as it is. But I kept beating myself up because I felt like I should have figured it out by now.


I felt like I had no one to turn to, no one that could understand the pain I was going through.


All I wanted was some guidance. Someone or something to help guide my path or show me another way.


So I tried to seek help online.


I searched as any 18-year-old would. “What is the meaning of life?”.


It led me down the rabbit hole. I stumbled my way into the world of philosophy.


I never thought much about philosophy. I used to think it was a bunch of old guys talking about their experiences.


In a time that is so much different to the one I am currently living.


But because I was hurting, and seeking answers, I decided to give it a go.

I stumbled across Existentialism and my life changed forever.


What is Existentialism?


Existentialism preaches that life has no meaning.


It is up to each individual to create their meaning through their choices and actions.

Man is Condemned to be free.; because once he is thrown into the world he is responsible for everything he does. It’s up to you to give life meaning - Jean-Paul Sartre

Some of the key ideas in Existentialism involve:


  1. Existence Precedes Essence:


This is a fancy way of saying that you exist first, and then define who you are.


Unlike objects that are made with a purpose in mind (like a knife is made to cut).


You are born without a set purpose. You spend your life defining your essence through actions and choices.


2. Freedom and Responsibility


Because there is no pre-determined meaning to life. Existentialists believe that you are free to choose your own path.


This means that you have to take responsibility for your actions. Your life is your life. You can't blame anyone else for the choices that you make.


3. Authenticity


Existentialists believe a good life is one where you are true to yourself.


In a meaningless world, you should choose based on your true self and beliefs.


Not just based on what society expects or wants you to behave.


Here is How It Helped Me


I used to think that my life had a pre-determined trajectory.

That I was powerless.


That my path was set.


That life was happening to me, and I could do nothing about it.


I felt like there was no way out. No light at the end of the tunnel.


But that's all changed. I no longer think like that anymore.


I now see that I am the creator of my reality.


That I am free to choose the path that I want in life.


That I’m responsible for how I am feeling at any given moment.


That the results in my life are the direct result of the choices I've made.


Life is happening for me, not to me.

But as much as that realization saved me. It also made me crippled with anxiety.

With this newfound freedom came plenty of choice.


I started to become overwhelmed with the amount of choice I had in life. It was too much responsibility for me to handle.


A part of me felt free because I could be whatever I wanted.


But the other part of me felt confused because I didn't know what I wanted to be.


I found out that I didn't know who I was.


I had yet to learn what my values were.


I faced uncertainty about whether the thoughts I held were truly my own or influenced by others.


I grappled with questions about who I was and who I wanted to be.


It led me on a journey of self-discovery. I started to date myself.


I delved into exploring the aspects of myself that felt genuine and true.


As well as the parts that felt fake and dishonest.


I asked where I saw myself in 5 years.


  • What was the life I wanted to live?

  • If I could do anything, what would I do?

  • What was the impact that I wanted to have on the world?


I realized that by answering these questions I was also defining my purpose in life. That I was carving the direction that I wanted my life to head.


I also started to realize that I had gifts. That I loved helping people. I could see the light in others when they couldn't see it in themselves.


I discovered that I valued my freedom. I wanted to be independent, and own a business one day.


To use my gifts in the service of others and make a living doing so.


9 years later, I now own a therapy business, and I just hit my first 80k month.


I share how much I make not to brag but because at one point in my life, I felt like this was impossible for me.


I share it because I want to show you that you can create the life you want. The life your heart wants more than anything.


If you want to know how I did it and need help, you might enjoy the Peak Performer System 


But Can This Help Me?


Can this help me? That's great it worked for you Stefan but my life is different from yours.


“I’ve had a rough start in life”


“This will never work for me”


My question to you would be this.


What do you have to lose?


You already know what result you will get if you don’t;


  • Struggle to get out of bed in the morning

  • Dragging yourself to work every day wondering ‘Is this all there is’.

  • The feeling of constant dread and anxiety every day.


This is because you are uncertain about your future. You’re only aware of one path in life and it is not the one you want.


But you continue to walk it because you don’t know any other way. You’re scared to make a change because it is uncertain.


When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change - Dr Wayne Dyer

What if I told you that you are one perspective away from changing your life?


  1. Life happens for you, not to you.

Understand that you control the meaning of whatever happens to you in life.


If you're having a bad day, it is because you are choosing to believe you're having a bad day.


Nothing that happens to you has a pre-determined meaning. It’s neutral. Only when you assign a label ‘this is bad’ does it become so.


Begin to change the meaning you give to events that happen in your life.


Start to adopt the lens: “How does this serve me?”.


Consider why the ‘bad’ things that happen to you are actually ‘good’.


You begin to understand that all the bad things are helping you grow to become the person you desire to be.


2. Take Responsibility


Because you choose the meaning you give to life. Your life is your responsibility and no one else’s.


Your thoughts, feelings, choices, and actions are the stepping stone. They lead to the life you want.


When you begin to blame other people for why you are not where you want to be.


You are a victim - and victims live miserable lives.


They are powerless to change because they don’t take ownership of their decisions.

With great power comes great responsibility - Uncle Ben

Start to be the captain of your life. To have a life of purpose, you must take responsibility for your choices.


Own your decisions. This empowers you to steer your life as you desire.


3. Be Authentic


Authenticity is the gateway towards the life you desire.


Your uniqueness is screaming to come out. It's eager to express itself.


You are a one-of-one. There will never be another person like you in this universe again.


Begin to find the value in your unique perspective.


You have strengths that are specific to you. A genius lives within you dying to be shared with the world.


But you hide your authentic self because you fear judgment. You're scared of what other people will think of you.


It causes you to play small. To crawl back into the mold of what other people want you to be.


Into a life that feels like a betrayal to your highest self.


Have the courage to be yourself. Trust that you have what it takes within you to create your path.


Closing Thoughts


Life makes philosophers of us all, so the saying goes.


If you are to take anything from today, let it be this:


  • Create your purpose and rules to live the life you want.

  • Don’t let setbacks and fear keep you from pursuing your dreams.


Read widely. Think deeply. Live mindfully. Choose wisely.


No one else can do this for you.


Love,


Stefan


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