Don’t Be Bitter, Be Better

Did you know that life comes with an instruction manual? It’s free, directly accessible to everyone and automatically saved to your brain. It’s called your past.

Days come and go, evolution takes place and time marches on despite anything we do. It’s frustrating and exciting, because on one hand it can feel like you’re falling behind, but on the other, new opportunities present themselves without us even being involved in the process. Life is a never ending data stream that can be interpreted and taken advantage of by anyone who tries. Babies are an easy example. A baby is born into the fast paced, changing world, and they know absolutely nothing about it. Yet, somehow, they figure out how to walk, how to talk, how to scream and get what they want. Babies are adaptation machines. Yes, natural biological processes are responsible for a large portion of development, but a young person adapts and grows as a result of the experiences they go through. There’s no other way.

How long does a mother give the average baby to start walking? Until they do. You don’t shut a baby down at the age of 1.5 years if they haven’t walked yet. Assuming no abnormal developmental issues, the baby will figure it out with a bit more time. It’s a constant process of attempt followed by failure, followed by re-attempt until they get it. Jim Rohn describes this phenomenon as the “until formula”. Tom Bilyeu calls it “the physics of progress”. The point is that failure leads to another opportunity to succeed. However, once a baby grows up into a full grown human, the necessity to continue this process disappears.

If you have a job that pays you, you could argue that you have no need to continue to develop your skills and become a better human. That said, the people who think like that are the most bitter people you could ever meet because their failure to continue to progress beyond adolescence leaves them constantly wanting. They live their lives bitter because they refuse to get better. 

What if everyone was like that? What a horrible world it would be if nobody tried to get better after failure. Sports would suck. Imagine if every NHL team who didn’t win the Stanley Cup didn’t try to get better. Imagine if a new coach gets hired for the last place team was bitter about starting from the bottom and didn’t bother trying to get better? What a boring league that would be. Top performers always try to get better because they can’t afford not to. A new coach gets hired because they assume they can make things better. A professional athlete always goes into the game assuming they’re going to win, but when they lose, they can only afford to be bitter for a moment before focusing on getting better. Wayne Gretzky and the Oilers lost in the Stanley Cup final before they won. Nobody would be talking about one of the greatest dynasties of all time to this day if they couldn’t get over the bitter feeling of losing. In fact, Gretzky has spoken about losing in the 1983 final and how his team was only motivated to keep going after failing to win. He said that the next season couldn’t come soon enough because based on the information that they had collected in the previous 4 seasons, they knew exactly what needed to be done to win it all. They knew because of the experience of losing.

If you’re not exactly where you wish you were in life, you know that the reason why is because of your actions so far. Whatever you’ve done to this point has led you to your current position. I know a lot of people who don’t like that spot, but I also know a lot of people who don’t do anything about it. The world around you is going to get better whether you’re bitter about it or not, so why not make some changes? Don’t pretend that you don’t know what changes to make. As I said at the beginning, we have an instruction manual to tap into.

What you do leads you to where you’re going. What you’ve done has led you to where you are. If you don’t like where you are, I suggest not doing what you’ve always done. Take stock on your routines. Who do you spend time with, where do you go, what do you do? It’s essential that you take the time to look back on your days, weeks, months and years to see what’s actually going on in your life. You’ve tried many things before. How did they go? Did you succeed or fail? Why? Why not? Are there patterns? Have you done things multiple times with less than desired outcomes? Did you change anything between attempts? Be honest with yourself and be your own judge from 30,000 feet. Could you have done anything differently to get a better result? I bet the answer is yes.

Your instruction manual continually adds pages as you experience more. The more you do, the more you find out how much you don’t know. Every new experience is more data to pull from to determine your next move. Just don’t get caught neglecting all the new pages in your manual. You’ve heard it before. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. If you want different results than you’ve always gotten, you have no choice but to do things that you’ve never done. What if we constantly took in experiences and applied the lessons that are always there to what we do next? How good a version of yourself could you be if you used your failures and shortcomings to improve. It would be scary. The good kind of scary. You’d scare yourself and you’d love it. 

Stop being bitter and start being better.

- Cody