Turn Anger Into Fuel: How to Use Your Anger and Frustration to Achieve Everything You’ve Ever Wanted (Without Destroying Yourself)
Just like you, I’m nowhere near where I want to be in my life. There are plenty of reasons for why that is, causes and explanations we can both point to, but regardless of how we got here, the responsibility is on us to transcend our current challenges.
My twenties were nothing if not exciting. I’ve fought heavyweight boxing matches in Russia, gone to raves deep inside the Costa Rican jungle, and I’ve been kicked out of India. Seriously, like…India. The country. I mean, how many people do you know who have been kicked out of a sub-continent!?
That’s a story for another time — or perhaps my first book — but my point is this:
I have wasted SO much time (which none of us will ever get back), I’ve made SO many dumb fucking choices, and I’ve set myself back in so many different ways. In fact, you might even be curiously impressed, in a weird way, with how many ways I’ve been able to fuck myself over. I’m exceptionally creative when it comes to courting disaster.
From starting businesses that were destined to fail — and, really, that I had no business even entering in the first place — to delaying taking action on my dreams; racking up huge, stupid debts, paying exorbitant interest fees on credit cards and high-interest sucker-loans that I desperately needed at the time — which took me years to pay off — I have done so much damage to my own life that it’s positively sickening.
In a word, I’m fucking angry. At least, I’m angry when I look back and take stock of all the time and opportunity I’ve wasted.
Maybe you’ve fucked your life up worse than I have mine, or maybe you’re just getting started in that whole self-destructive process (you can avoid it, by the way, by taking advice from now-competent people who have been there before), but I hope to save you a little bit of time and a lot of unnecessary anguish.
You and I need to start getting fucking LIVID about how we’ve let ourselves down.
We need to get so insanely ANGRY at what we’ve let slip through our fingers that we pledge never to let ourselves down ever again. We’re talking about an unbreakable self-promise, a commitment to always have our own back — and this starts Today.
We need to get really, really serious about going ALL IN on our goals, and taking our lives to the outer fucking limits of what we’re capable of accomplishing. This requires a balancing act of sorts, and yes, a certain level of well-purposed anger is one side of that scale.
The other side, perhaps paradoxically, is self-love.
“Constructive anger” helps, but we also need to treat ourselves like we would a really good friend, someone we’re responsible for taking care of, and someone we really want to help and to see succeed. We have to be our own biggest fans and supporters and never stop pushing ourselves to tough it out, fight back, take our lives back, and make a massive dent in our own personal universes.
An important part of this is to not blame anyone else for our present circumstances. We can’t control other people (we can barely even control ourselves most days), and fate’s scope constantly has its red dot in the center of our foreheads. No one is coming to save us, bad things happen to good people, and sometimes our best effort isn’t going to be enough.
But you need to be on your own team.
You absolutely MUST be a positive force for good in your own life.
You need to believe so strongly in yourself, banish doubt so fully, and commit so deeply to succeeding that you cannot HELP but move forward. Anger is a big part of this, and self-love is a big part of this. If you can have those two elements working together without destroying yourself, then you just might make it.
Another thing that I absolutely have to mention is that it is downright IMPERATIVE that you don’t let anger color your entire worldview, or let your resentment see the light of day, except when you use it to fuel your most productive and positive actions.
There are always going to be people standing in your way (besides yourself, of course), there are always going to be people who don’t understand your vision (you do have a compelling vision for your one and only life, right?), and there are always going to be people who are so scared that you’re going to succeed — thereby casting doubt on their own life choices — that they will do and say anything to dissuade you from taking action to change your life.
That’s the reality. Those people have existed ever since that first man or woman ever attempted something positive in their lives, and those people will probably always exist, perpetually trying to drag other people down in order to justify their own life’s failures to themselves.
Those people are none of your concern. Your anger is not for them. Your anger is too GOOD for them. Your anger is reserved for how stupid you were in the past, how much of your own precious time you’ve wasted, how much further ahead you could have been if only you hadn’t been such a fucking moron. I’m speaking to myself here too, of course. Hopefully (probably) you’re less moronic than I’ve been.
Your anger is NOT directed at who you are as a person, and it does NOT mean that your mistakes are permanent or unfixable. We are talking about using anger and frustration for GOOD in your life, not for the purposes of making you feel worse. You need to be on your own team, remember?
While we’re on the subject, here’s what I think is an excellent book recommendation: Anger and Forgiveness, by Martha Nussbaum
You need to remember how awful it felt to have let yourself down in the past; how bad it felt to be there, living some sort of half-life that you weren’t really present for, instead of taking responsibility for your own upward trajectory. Then, you need to make a self-promise, a COVENANT with yourself to never, ever go back there for as long as you grace this gorgeous green globe.
I’ve been there. I woke up one day in my late twenties living a life that was “OK” I guess, I mean it wasn’t bad; I certainly had a lot to be grateful for. But there were parts of it that I absolutely fucking hated, and I made the life-changing promise to always play for my own team, to stay really pissed off about the mistakes that I made but without letting that anger make me hate life itself — and I also made the self-promise to always do my best and have fun (my dad’s advice).
Life isn’t just one big “problem” that you’re stuck with. It’s an incredible opportunity, a vast and expansive joy, and it can be a spectacular adventure.
So hold on to your anger, and, at the EXACT SAME TIME, pour it into your love of life itself.
Use your anger and frustration about the PAST to make some much-needed changes TODAY, so that you can create your own future.
Your anger is a reality — it can’t be suppressed without coming out in other ways — but it doesn’t have to destroy your life. It can help you CREATE your life. I’m right there with you.
All the best,
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