How to Stop Living in an Alternative Reality and Start Accepting Life’s Hard Truths
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How to Stop Living in an Alternative Reality and Start Accepting Life’s Hard Truths

Published 09/02/2022

We spend a lot of time sheltering ourselves from the truth.

Subconsciously, we know reality isn't always a happy place where everyone gets what they want or need. But most of us choose to ignore reality. 

We take the "blue pill" and live in a world of expectations.

Always seeing the glass as half-full sometimes leads to failing to see the world as it is. Our willful ignorance results in poor decisions and missed learning opportunities.

How can we start accepting life's hard realities and creating life-changing opportunities?

We're not here to spout doom and gloom. Life is hard, but it doesn't need to be as challenging as we make it.

"Hard choices, easy life. Easy choices, hard life." - Jerzy Gregorek


Chasing money leads to unhappiness.

People with money are often the most unhappy people in the world.

Money correlates with happiness up to a point, but it's lower than you believe. The accumulation of more of anything has diminishing returns.

We fall into the wanting trap of "If I can get to X, all my problems will go away." It's a lifelong hedonic treadmill of always needing more to be happy, especially as Americans chase the American dream.

The problem with money is that you'll always want more, no matter how much you have. Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk have enough money for generations to live a life of luxury. But, they constantly chase more.

Happiness is an emotion. Stop treating it like a goal.


Life has no shortcuts.

There's simply no replacement for hard work and consistency. 

The hardest worker in the room beats lazy talent any day of the week.

Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James are among the greatest ever to play the game of basketball. They were all immensely talented, but their work ethic is legendary. If you asked them for a hack or secret to their success, their collective answer would undoubtedly be "unrelenting hard work."

Unfortunately, the follow-up to this hard truth is that hard work isn't always enough.

Consistency and hard work may pay off, but sometimes you'll lose regardless of effort. Make sure you lose because someone is more talented. Don't assume your best is always enough.


Failure doesn't always lead to growth.

It's often said that failure leads to growth. Well, sometimes failure just leads to pain.

If you're a college athlete with dreams of being drafted by the pros, a bad workout that blows out your knee is not growth. It sucks, plain and simple.

The glamorized version of failure isn't always right. Growth may not come from failure itself but from enduring the pain of the circumstance.

Sometimes you're knocked down and can't get up. You're not alone. Get some support. Be that friend to someone else.


Few people notice you.

It's called the Spotlight Effect, and it's how much we overestimate the degree to which others notice our appearance or actions.

We think people care a lot more about us than they actually do.

Do you remember what the receptionist at your office wore yesterday or how much your coworker tipped the server? Probably not. So, why do you focus so much on how other people look at you?

We judge ourselves much harsher than others judge us. In fact, they're hardly noticing us.

Liberate yourself from judgment by living according to your own set of standards and values.


You'll not leave a legacy.

At some point, everyone will be forgotten, and an extremely rare few are remembered more than a few years after their death.

Remember that amazing person you met ten years ago? What was their name? Oh, you forgot. So did everyone else.

Even the most remarkable people are forgotten when you expand out far enough.

Who was the most famous person in the world fifty years ago? How about 100? You get the point.

Legacy, like fame, is fleeting. Who or what can you impact today?


Most of the people you call friends are merely acquaintances.

The meaning of the word "friend" has expanded exponentially with the creation of Facebook.

How many people do you have as friends on social media that you've never met or had a conversation with? Are they friends? They barely qualify as acquaintances.

And it's not just social media where we have a bunch of fake friends.

Do you refer to the guy that checks you in at the gym as a friend? He's as much your friend as the attractive woman on the treadmill that you nod to and say, "What's up?" is your girlfriend. 

In its simplest term, true friends are the ones that show up. They're there when you get married, lose your dog, and need help moving. They have your back, good or bad, no matter what. 

We have a limited amount of true friends. They're around when you have nothing to offer. Choose them wisely. 


You may not see your family many more times.

If you live several hours away from your friends and family, how many times do you see them in a year - once or maybe twice, including holidays?

How old are your parents? If they're in their early 60s and life expectancy is late 70s. You may see them 15 times for the rest of their lives.

We don't realize our time is limited until it's too late. Father Time doesn't care that you were too busy to visit.

The hard realities of math can be cruel but accepting the numbers enables you to take action.

Identify those that you care about most and prioritize your time with them. You won't regret it.


Life is unfair

We come into this world with a set of advantages and disadvantages. Not everyone plays the same game, and luck significantly affects our successes and failures. Some people are lucky and born on third base.

We don't like to consider the outsized impact of luck on our lives, but how many times has making a left turn instead of a right affected your results?

Have you driven after a couple of drinks even though you shouldn't have? How different would your life be if you got pulled over or hurt someone? That's luck, whether you believe it or not.

Life isn't a movie. The good guy doesn't always win, some cheaters do prosper, and not everyone reaps what they sow. 


While the realities of life may not be ideal, understanding these hard truths allows us to make the best of what's in front of us. 

Sometimes we need to tilt our heads a bit and peer over the top of those rose-colored glasses.


Anther. Male wellness where it counts