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Ask HN: Why do I have to struggle with everything?
111 points by jcrknow on Apr 5, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 84 comments
I am 29.5 yrs old and was born in poor family. First it was education , paying college fees. I had to work since 16 part-time for paying fees. Then landed a job. Worst professional environment one could imagine. Changed job last year. After marathon search ,apply, reject,re-apply landed a opportunity after 3 months. In personal life also I am yet to find girlfriend. Never had one. When I look at my colleagues, friends I feel like many of them have it quite easy. College, job, personal life but its me who has to try ( or repeat process 1000 times) for simple things. Why this is so? Its just makes me frustrated.

In math, every answer is made by a question. In practical reality, every result is made by clear causes in problems. One problem that we have as human beings is that we cannot see the causes that we keep inside ourselves. That's why it's not easy to recognize what makes the results we get in life. For this reason, a good teacher can be compared to a mirror – they simply show us ourselves, just as we are. Without such a mirror, how could we see ourselves?

That's why, in order to change the kind of results you can get in life, you first of all need to change your problems. Good problems have good results; bad problems have bad results. To change your life into one where you continuously get good results, you need to find out how to formulate problems, and then you need to start making good problems for yourself.

It's not easy, but even though you were born with your existent consciousness, it is certainly possible to change your consciousness so that you can guide your life to a better "destiny". However, in order to do so, you need to obtain an enlightenment (realization), and then you need to study what exists in the reality that you can see through your enlightenment. Be careful of falsehood. No religions have any helpful teachings when it comes to enlightening yourself.

“Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.” - Voltaire

“There are no right answers to wrong questions.” - Ursula Le Guin

“Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.” - Tony Robbins

All good words, but my opinion is that in order for them to have been complete teachings, they need to have also included the clear and concrete criteria of good and bad, right and wrong. Otherwise, judgement of good and bad are bound to be made arbitrarily by those who do not know the world, leaving your good quotes with too much possibility to be misused by others.

"No religions have any helpful teachings when it comes to enlightening yourself."

So you've studied them all and know with certainty that none could possibly be useful to the poster? Blithe anti-religious sentiment like this abounds on HN and it drives me crazy.

> So you've studied them all and know with certainty that none could possibly be useful to the poster?

Having looked at every one of them is not a necessary criterion for having proof that no religions have helpful teachings for enlightening yourself. We don't need to input every possible number into an equation in order to make true statements about the nature of the equation. My claim about the reality of religions is due to the fact that there is a fundamental disagreement between religious teachings and teachings from a real enlightened being.

How about looking in the most likely of places for a religion which should have some teachings from an enlightened being? After all, we can be quite certain that Gautama Buddha attained a perfect enlightenment. Only someone who did attain such a level would have been able to see what he could tell others about how the world operates. However, Gautama warned people about religions for a reason. Organizations and bodies of knowledge become religions when those who are not enlightened try to teach others what they do not actually know. The result is that they put their own words into the texts/scriptures, but use the name of the one who was enlightened in order to convince others and propagate their own words. Because they are just ordinary people, the only thing they can do is tell others their own knowledge (answers), but they cannot give others guidance on the basis of problems in the living reality. As a matter of fact, in order for something to be a teaching, it must include a problem/question. But religions only have answers that lack questions. The moment we have the questions, we do not need to remember or tell others to learn the answers. So it is certainly not the religions which have the helpful teachings, and the activities of the religions are not in any way contributive to the activities of the one who could see the reality, as they only contribute to mislead adherents.

That's why I'm quite certain that no religions properly transmit teachings that can enlighten people. People only engage in religions because they do not have the correct teaching. That's why anyone who can recognize what religions really are would never want to be tied to them and would never recommend the possibility that they can enlighten people.

> Having looked at every one of them is not a necessary criterion for having proof that no religions have helpful teachings for enlightening yourself.

Agreed, analytical proofs are possible without exhaustive examination. But you haven't provided one.

> My claim about the reality of religions is due to the fact that there is a fundamental disagreement between religious teachings and teachings from a real enlightened being.

The fundamental flaw -- well, at least a fundamental flaw, its not the only one -- in this argument is that it is about "teachings from a real enlightened being" but provides no justification for applying that to "helpful teachings for enlightening yourself."

It may be the case (though you have done very little to establish it) that no religion contains "teachings from a real enlightened being", but even if one assumes that is the case, it provides little support for your claim that no religions has "helpful teachings for enlightening yourself".

> However, Gautama warned people about religions for a reason.

But this warning has been transmitted -- through religions. And clearly this warning is a teaching that must be viewed as useful for enlightenment.

> That's why I'm quite certain that no religions properly transmit teachings that can enlighten people.

A stronger form of this -- that the things that must be understood for enlightenment cannot be properly transmitted -- is also a religious teaching. (see, e.g., the opening of the Tao Te Ching.)

> That's why anyone who can recognize what religions really are would never want to be tied to them and would never recommend the possibility that they can enlighten people.

There is a difference between arguing that religions enlighten people (an argument many active in religions I have known would oppose) and arguing that religions transmit teachings that, however imperfect, can be useful in the process of a person attaining enlightenment.

I'm guessing you've already made up your mind that you don't agree with me. But I've learned that it's important to defer belief and judgement until after having made a confirmation. So I'll answer as if you might be interested in a sincere discussion.

> The fundamental flaw -- well, at least a fundamental flaw, its not the only one -- in this argument is that it is about "teachings from a real enlightened being" but provides no justification for applying that to "helpful teachings for enlightening yourself."

That's incorrect. What you're missing is the fact that only an enlightened being knows how to make others be enlightened and only an enlightened being can give a teaching which can be practiced in order to obtain enlightenment.

Let's say you want to learn how to fix cars… how can you learn such a thing? There are only two possible sources of the necessary information. One of them is much faster: learn from mechanics. The second one is not usually possible for ordinary people to undergo: learn from the world. In both cases, you'll be looking at the principle and problems concerning cars.

Is it possible to learn how to fix cars from people who /only/ like cars but do not know anything about them? No. The best they can do is encourage you to find someone who really does know about how cars work and what kinds of problems and causes of problems they have. But encouragement from those who do not know anything is not an essential cause for enlightening oneself. If it were, wouldn't we have more than just one or two enlightened masters in our history? Please note my usage of the term, "cause".

To me, it's quite clear that people hear what they want. There were different types of people that had interest in Buddha while he was alive, but few of them were genuinely interested in his teaching, itself. Most people had their own, individual aims for associating with him, like curing their diseases or becoming wealthier.

You suppose that those who adhere to religions might know perhaps a small percentage about enlightenment. But if they did, they would be able to tell me what the basic teaching of the enlightened being is. That's like learning the number 1 when you start learning math. But the reality is that the only answers they can give are those they read in books written by others who are not enlightened. It's hard for you to believe me unless you travel with me and meet people. Unfortunately, if you have no intention to confirm the veracity of my words, I don't think you'll be interested in judging those cases with your own eyes either.

> But this warning has been transmitted -- through religions. And clearly this warning is a teaching that must be viewed as useful for enlightenment.

Have you ever heard of the telephone game? If not, have you ever tried to make photocopies of a photocopy? The fidelity of the signal degrades due to the inclusion of noise.

The level of any monks and religious adherents has not been high enough to preserve the quality of truth which was in the teaching of the real enlightened being. As a matter of fact, most of the teachings have been completely changed, and intentionally so.

In reality, spiritual teachings are rather like food for the consciousness. A fresh apple is quite nourishing, no? (Well, it used to be, a hundred years ago!) But if the apple goes bad, to eat it would be quite bad for you. Like eating a poisonous substance. Similarly, learning and practicing the deteriorated teachings will damage your consciousness. Perhaps if you've got quite a strong will, it will take up to a year. But those of weaker will fall into danger much more quickly upon contact.

So the problem is not that a person of sound spirit can't recognize that a rotten apple probably used to be a fresh apple and can then have a fair opportunity to judge whether or not they want to eat it. The problem is that a person of sound spirit can be harmed into losing their own consciousness through contact with religious teachings and they are not informed that such things are even bad for them. If you have a connection with religious teachings that claim to be about enlightenment, it is a direct cause to damage your ability to see and transmit the truth. They make you go in the exact opposite way of enlightening yourself and only generate more bad 'karma', rather than diminishing the influence of that karma. But it is absolutely imperative to be able to stop your karma in order to achieve an enlightenment, because you cannot enter samadhi if your karma can act. Its habit is to control you. Just because you do not want to have bad karma doesn't mean that it will disappear. Karma can only be suppressed by correctly learning and making yourself aware of 'what is' at all times. It cannot be suppressed by an escape into fantasy, nor by making attempts not to think about anything, regardless of how temporarily peaceful you feel after having done so. It constitutes an intentional lie on the part of monks that they leave out the result of practicing meditation when they borrow Buddha's name and teach meditation to others. Suppose that a living Buddha came to the world? Those who would be the most afraid of him are the monks. But they're comfortable with a Buddha's statue within their temple because a dead Buddha doesn't speak, and cannot make any critique of their behavior. He just smiles at them. This only reinforces and is interpreted of encouragement of their hypocrisy.

I mention modern Buddhism as an example. I hope that you can catch my meaning through the example, so that, suppose you're really interested, you can apply it to other cases which you think may exist in the world and check for yourself whether they do or do not have the same fundamental kind of problems.

> A stronger form of this -- that the things that must be understood for enlightenment cannot be properly transmitted -- is also a religious teaching. (see, e.g., the opening of the Tao Te Ching.)

I'm sorry to say that I can't verify whether Lao-tzu actually said or meant that. I would need his exact words, or closer to them, in order to check. But to tell you the truth, it's not the case that the things for understanding enlightenment can't be properly transmitted, as you have suggested.

It's quite simple for me to do it. I can prove it anytime, on the spot. However, even if I tell you the truth or teachings about enlightenment right here, can you understand them? Only a truthful person can recognize and understand the truth. Those who are untruthful don't want the truth revealed.

Have you heard of Lao-tzu's explanation on the three levels of people? He said that their level of cultivation of virtue can be seen through how they react when they hear the truth. Only those of a high level of cultivation of virtue react with delight when they hear the truth and try quite a lot to put it to practice. Those of the middle level seem to understand, but as a result, they don't really apply it. Meanwhile, those of low level can only ridicule the truth.

> I'm guessing you've already made up your mind that you don't agree with me. But I've learned that it's important to defer belief and judgement until after having made a confirmation. So I'll answer as if you might be interested in a sincere discussion.

I don't agree with the specific claims you've articulated as they are articulated, but that's not an immutable fact, merely a contingent one. But I think the discussion has value, even if we disagree. And I think we might agree on the substance more than is apparent through the disagreement on the particular expression.

> What you're missing is the fact that only an enlightened being knows how to make others be enlightened

Taking, for the sake of argument, this is true (I don't think that it has been justified, however), it doesn't follow that a teaching from another source might not be useful in the course of enlightenment, only that the source couldn't know that the teaching was useful.

> and only an enlightened being can give a teaching which can be practiced in order to obtain enlightenment.

Assuming that enlightenment comes from practicing something that can be reduced to a teaching, if any being achieves enlightenment, they must do so on the basis of a practice they engaged in prior to achieving enlightenment, which they could also have provided to others as a teaching at that time. Even if they could not have known, for whatever definition of knowledge you are using, that it was a practice that would lead to enlightenment.

So, the specific argument you make here is unconvincing.

In general, and in wider scope, your broader argument seems to conflate the essential truth of enlightenment with practices which are useful along the path from where people are to enlightenment, and to conflate the inability to fully and accurately relate the former with an inability to relate anything about the latter. I do not disagree with the claim that no religion can communicate what enlightenment essentially is. I do disagree with the claim that no religion can communicate practices which are useful to those seeking enlightenment on that path. (I would also disagree with the claim that such useful information is the exclusive domain of any one religion.)

And I'd also say that many of the observations you make are things that many religions already teach, and which are among the teachings that they teach which are useful to enlightenment. (Its also true that while they are in the body of teachings of many religions, they are also teachings that are also often de-emphasized by religious authorities, and that that is a real problem. But that fact, too, is often among the teachings of the same religions.)

You're right that there exist some flaws in my method of explanation and attempt to form a convincing argument for you. I'd like to thank you as I've learned something from you. However I would like to propose that any logical unsufficiencies in my explanatory efforts thus far do not at all implicitely indicate any diminishment of degree of truthfulness of my words. In plain words, I didn't try to tell others what I do not actually know, and I maintain that all my claims here are true and that anyone can verify these truths by proof that exists in reality. As a consequence of these qualities of what I've said, no proof will be found to contradict my claims, and yet my claims, to my knowledge, should be quite easily theoretically "falsifiable". My question for you is whether you would have an interest in the truth and try to verify these matters or maintain your existing knowledge and level of understanding.

You're right about equations---but you're far from convincing me that no religion in existence could be helpful to the OP. I'm not saying I know the right path for this person, but claiming that such a vast and varied body of ideas, philosophies, and practices as are included in religion as a whole cannot be helpful is a vast and sweeping claim that I don't feel you've substantiated.

If I tell you that you haven't understood my words, would you be able to go back and try to check my meaning again?

Ideas are not helpful for obtaining enlightenment, and no enlightened teacher tells others their own ideas. They only tell people 'what exists' in the world, just as it is. As it happens, there is a specific, and mandatory process which must be undergone in order to obtain enlightenment. You cannot gain enlightenment through the variety of spiritual practices promulgated by modern religions. I know this because none of them make the practitioner undergo that mandatory process. Additionally, there are no examples in the entirety of human history of people who have gained enlightenment through such practices.

Philosophies? I'd like you to show me any religions which have any true philosophy in them. Philosophy means the pursuit and revelation of what exists in the world. What religion can accurately reveal what exists in the world? You've only got to find one example of a religion which has 'truth' in it. In any case, no one can learn a precise 'truth' from a religion, because truths can only be seen and verified through specific problems. As a matter of fact, every religion only hinders you from opening your eyes to the reality of the religion. I think it will be important for you to understand that. This world already contains all the teachings that we need. Every truth is in the world. So what reason do religions have to exist? There's an important reason why the true teachers in human history did not want to start any religions. Some of them were killed by religious people for telling the truth about religions.

Practices? Those can be right or wrong, and to practice anything is not by any means limited to religious people. In that case, do you need to be part of a religion to perform whatever practice you refer to? If not, then it is not the religion which contributes the benefit of the practice. If so, then what practice are you referring to? If you don't want to have your knowledge verified, and you only are willing to make abstract claims, then it is not right to try to suggest your opinion to others. It's also not right to deny what someone says unless you have concrete proof –– and how much more so when it comes to such important matters as what we are discussing?

Would you possibly be able to explain "enlightenment" to me?

As far as I can tell, pretty much all of reality agrees with my understanding of it. Does that mean I'm already "enlightened"?

My guess is you mean something deeper? Perhaps a self-awareness capable of formulating thought/actions to (successfully) modify ones own disposition/situation? (which I guess often means influencing other people?).

Enlightenment means to open one's eyes to what is in reality. But the problem is that you can't confirm the degree to which you've opened your eyes. How do you verify whether you know or really do not know a given thing? How do you see and verify the precision of your eyesight?

The thing is that someone's 'eyesight' (of their individual consciousness) is a function of their own individual degree of truthfulness. I hope that's understandable. In other words, how much and how precisely we can see the world is determined by how truthful we are individually. Degree of truthfulness can be defined as the degree of exactness of confirmation. For example, I might have 65% truthfulness and therefore 35% untruthfulness. But we can't tell how truthful we really are - we don't know how precisely and how closely we are able to confirm things. That's why even if we make a confirmation about something, we can't just believe our confirmation, and we have to keep checking. Through this process we can improve our own individual wisdom. And it's through wisdom that you can find the way to whatever abilities you want to have for yourself. All the ways exist in the world. It's a question of recognizing what way has the result you want and then you need the willpower to correctly practice the correct way.

There are many enlightenments along the way to obtaining the supreme, perfect, final enlightenment. However it's only a totally enlightened master, i.e. the one who has opened his/her eyes completely to the world, who can tell how truthful we really are.

If you really think you've obtained an enlightenment, I'd like to confirm it. You can either tell me what you can see, and then we can check it through proof, or as an alternative I can also ask you some questions about very simple terms that we learn at a young age and check through your answer what you can see.

Wonderful answer - thank you so much!

No, I'm not enlightened: I was wondering what it means. While I do think my "world view" is remarkably complete and accurate, I am aware that I purposefully deceive myself (I enjoy building mental pictures of fantasy reality futures, like, "what if I invented an anti-gravity device", and the corresponding fun I'd have building fake space-ships to prank people; some of these get so intricate and awesome that I don't want to look too deep at the seed of the idea (anti-gravity)... )

I have what I call my inbuilt "bullshit filter", and I no doubt annoy rather a lot too many people by not simply swallowing their ideas. Unfortunately, reality is not something that many people seem able to grasp. By way of quick example: global warming (now called "climate change", on account of the "warming" not actually being "global"). Everyone worships one side or the other of this debate - there are few, if any, people in the middle. The problem, is that there are 7+ billion of us. Whether or not global warming is true is utterly irrelevant, because there is simply nothing possible that can be done about changing the overall direction of all those people that could make any measurable difference. Now - take that "truth", and apply it to local problems: Should I put my plastic in the recycling bin? Should I pay more for electricity? Should I suffer the annoying blueness of LED lights, instead of the nice warm glow of incandescent? Why should I do what all those lunatics are telling me, and all these new "green" laws are forcing down my throat, when it's all just a 100% waste of time?

Same goes for conservation (aka: the "fun police"), road rules (would it be more, or less, safe on the roads, if all rules were abolished? And no, I don't mean immediately, I mean after the inevitable carnage that takes place between the "end of rules" and the point where drivers understand about using their brains when they drive. We don't have "how not to bump into people on sidewalk" rules, do we?), religious rules (many which make it into real government rules), and so on...

So, back to my point: "totally enlightened master" - that's the bit that triggered my bullshit-alarm.

I'm doubting any such thing is possible, or at least, not in our modern world anymore. Knowledge is so vast, nobody could become "finally enlightened" without cutting themselves of from it all. [amusingly, seems I've worked out form 1st-principals the idea behind monasteries?]. Even if you do master enlightenment in one part of your life, that's going to conflict with the "stupid people" you inevitably have to interact with, so you then have to somehow master the manipulation and/or tolerance of them, and being, as there are, so many people out there, not all of whom you can reach or influence, and indeed, many of them running media empires or otherwise swamping the conscience of others with bogus crap, you are basically screwed. You now have to deal with "knowing", but also "tolerating" those who do not, who also make rules and laws for you.

This seems a majorly thorny meme.

I am though, super-interested in your "some questions about very simple terms". I wonder what you'd ask?

Good and well-written advice.

I would also suggest that the OP think of the steps taken towards any particular goal as planting seeds. If one plants enough seeds, a certain amount is bound to bear fruit. A former sales manager of mine called it "the pipeline", and he told me to always have several leads in the pipeline (ie, always be planting seeds). Not being a natural salesman, I found the same advice could be applied to life.

Thanks for the feedback. It's nice to find a person who recognizes what I had to say.

I also find farming to be one of the best systems to help us understand how to lead our lives. I don't know how you'll understand this, but I want to tell you that there's a fundamental principle by which the world exists and operates. If we can really open our eyes to this principle, we can recognize everything in the world, and we can also find the way to whatever result we want. I like the practical, living example of doing farming because the process in which plant life reproduces and can be cultivated is a very distinctive example of this principle. In the world, something that exists once has its will to keep existing, and it tries to make itself keep existing through its own activities. As a matter of fact, things in the world exist on the basis of what they keep inside of themselves. We can see this fact clearly through a simple plant, like a bean. A certain bean came from a previous bean. If we try planting a bean, whether or not it can sprout and yield new, viable beans depends on both the integrity of the bean we plant (the nature of which was made by past activities of the ancestor plants), and the environment (the quality of the farmland, and the care provided by the farmer). When we closely study how changing these two factors changes the quality of the result (fruit) we get, we can approach complete understanding of the system. I just wanted to say that farming is a great example because the same principle inside farming also exists in every other aspect of life. The problem is how we can improve our ability to see what exists in front of us in any given case. As you may already know, understanding something rationally is completely different from being able to see it with one's own eyes.

Your answer was brilliant. It made my day :-)

Thanks for letting me know. To be frank, it's quite rare to find people who can understand or who really want to know what I pointed out.

You are right because we love blaming factors beyond our control It helps us sleep better at night!

+1 to that.

As someone who also came from poverty and dealt with some of these feelings, I found it helped to consider things on a global scale. Just being born in America makes me (and you too?) extremely lucky.

All your limbs work? You can hear and see?

It's all relative. These self-pity parties are generally counterproductive.

No girlfriend by 30 and struggling very hard to get through interviews in an industry in such high demand suggests you may need to spend more energy developing your social skills. That's fine, it's a muscle you flex and develop over time. If you can filter the annoying "bro culture" out of PUA literature (like "The Game" by Neil Strauss) and just focus on the personal development, I'm confident you're going to have an easier time socially. In turn you'll have an easier time in your career.

We play the hand we're dealt and we're only here for a short time (at least until we solve aging). Which leads to my last point. Life purpose. It's much easier going when you have one. Dive deep and discover why you're here, what you can really contribute to humanity. Stay focused.

> Just being born in America makes me (and you too?) extremely lucky

Author is not a native English speaker. Sticking my neck out: Eastern European or Indian?

In Eastern Europe education is free.


> Just being born in America makes me (and you too?) extremely lucky.

Do you base that statement in your experience because you lived in other countries and can compare, or it is just what you have been told? ;)

Sure, I have lived in and visited some other countries.

Walking off the plane at the airport in Frankfurt and not being sniffed by dogs and treated like enemy of the state: qualitatively better.

Receiving free and needed medical attention in Cuba was heartwarming.

Hanging onto a laptop bag by a strap and narrowly avoiding a run-and-grab robbery in Antigua: lame. Offset by amazing geography, and a sense of Marley-style love and community.

Playing "gunshots-or-fireworks?" and watching cops throw down sandbags to soak up blood from a gang drive-by execution half a block from the apartment: pretty intense.

But I'm not walking miles to the well every day to fetch water. I don't have babies dying of Malaria. The situation for the destitute in America is bad, but I do believe intelligence can lead to upward mobility with less friction in this country than much of the rest of the world.

If I could chose from the entire menu, would I pick America? Probably the America I knew as a child, but probably not the America I live in now. But it would be far, far from my last pick. If I could take the known-quantity of America or be forced to roll the dice, yea I'll stay here.

>>These self-pity parties are generally counterproductive.

While this is true, life is an unfair game. And we are all humans. So no matter how hard you try you are going to frustrated when you are treated unfairly.

The bad news is that if you get your dream job and meet the love of your life tomorrow you're still going to feel like this.

The good news is that if you change yourself, your perspective, your thinking, and so forth, you'll be happy with what you have now, and with this happiness and self esteem, you'll find it much easier to accomplish things you want.

There's a lot of thinking on how to do so. Buddhists, the stoic philosophers, and modern psychologists will all tell you the same story.

I'm a recovering drug addict, so staying away from the kind of negative thinking you're engaging in is kind of a matter of life and death for me. This shit works.

Also, +1 to the folks suggesting improving your social skills: I started having decent social skills when I started feeling good enough about who I was that I honestly didn't give a fuck how others saw me.

Addendum: A huge problem for me was trying to approach this like a programming or math problem, and apply reason and intellect to it. Didn't work. You need a different set of cognitive skills to deal with it, but they're not hard to pick up if you try.

Interesting - can you please elaborate on those different cognitive skills?

(also, both your plight and the efforts you put towards getting out of it sound very serious - best of luck to you)

Learning how to perceive emotional states in greater detail/resolution both in quality and in change over time is a big one. So is being able to observe their effect on your behavior and if possible to intervene and do something healthier. There are also things that map very well to neurological processes that are known to get completely wrecked during addiction, such as the ability to put your prefrontal cortex in charge and pursue deferred rewards.

Hey, I feel the same way sometimes. You're not alone and everyone, I mean EVERYONE feels the same way from time to time.

I guarantee your friends look up to you as "that guy" who pulled himself up by his bootstraps, overcome a lot of obstacles to put himself through college, ground it out through a tough job and then found the courage to go out and get a better one, etc. They probably wish they had your work ethic and grit.

Everyone presents an idealized version of themselves to the world and even, to a lesser extent, their friends and loved ones. See through the facade and be happy with what you have: a lot of people would love to have a college education, a job, money, and friends.

What I do when I get frustrated with the world is to call up good friends and just talk it through with them. They always remind me that no matter how good you think other people have it, that everyone is going through the same shit. It's good to have perspective.

Everyone experiences failure in their life. I don't think you can measure "struggling" by looking at metrics like the quality of your first job.

I've also worked since 16, nobody covered my transportation or sent me to college. My childhood home was about the size of the garage for the home I now own as an adult. You are not defined by your family nor upbringing though they play a contributing role. But you're probably going to need some goals.

Think hard: What are you most passionate about in life? What are your aspirations?

Now think harder: Does the way you spend your time on a day-to-day basis match up against your passions? What are you doing to successfully achieve your goals and aspirations?

Don't compare yourself to other people. Just try to improve upon yourself. Set smaller goals, so you can feel a pattern of success and build some confidence (which you'll need with the ladies, and getting a job). A cover page on your resume with your sob story and some positive inspirational messages about how you don't give up might help get you in the door with prospective employers. Just try to be happy. If you're upset or depressed, it shows, and people don't want to be around that.

Where are you going? Its a weird question but it is one which might help. You have just written a hundred words with one consistent theme, you are travelling on a path that is painful. So one has to ask, why are you doing that?

The simple response is "Because I need a job stupid." And I understand that, but the question is deeper than that. What are you bringing to this journey?

I could try to be a professional musician, I could practice on my instrument, I could listen to other musicians, I could try out for various musical groups to secure a position. It would be very hard for me and I would no doubt have only limited success. That would suck for me.

But I find programming computers to just "make sense" to me, I somehow can "see" all the steps between what I want and where I am and then turn those into code. It is "easy" for me and so I enjoy doing it.

So here is the key, I'm the same person, on one road it is hard and I struggle to succeed, on a different road it is easier and success comes quickly. I like to think about "systems" which are inter-connected mechanisms where the operation of one part affects all of the other parts. That is what I bring to the road. So walking the programming road is aided by what I bring, walking the musician road I don't have anything to offer.

Where are you going? What do you bring to the journey?

Simply, you are comparing the "behind the scenes" of your life to other peoples "highlights reel". Other people very well may be doing the exact same thing with you in mind. If your life was constantly good, there would be no contrast. Its likely you would not appreciate it. Hardship provides us with that valuable contrast to properly appreciate the good.

Find and do what you love, and the rest will come naturally. Good luck and stay positive, the world is your oister.

People who had it easy don't have your resilience. You may think it's clichè, but I've seen it again and again: easy life makes for an unhealthily low stress-threshold. On the other hand, your experiences might leverage future feats.

This is an incredibly important point. I have seen many extremely successful people with easy lives crumble when confronted with failure / hardship. Easy success also makes people complacent and lazy.

The ability to strive through hardship is an undervalued skill which will pay huge dividends in the future.

I agree with both statements so much, I have seen this. I see it all the time in college, where kids fail a test or get a bad grade and just fall apart. I've had difficult time all throughout my education career, Ive had to bust my ass while others sail through everything, but this really has taught me a lot. If I fail I know its not the end of the world I just keep going and work even harder, but some people just crumble and give up. My roommate does this, he fails a class and instead of working harder at it he just drops the class because he was it to be easy.

OP, you have something a lot of people don't. Just Keep going.

Somewhere right now exists a person that has put in the least amount of effort and got out the maximum return.

Whether it's a dollar spent on a lottery ticket that yielded millions of dollars, or it's one resume that got noticed by the right person, or it's one hello that led to a storybook romance.

You, in comparison, will have it hard.

Likewise, a billion people right now wake up with no electricity, no water, no food. Or they have some, but not enough. Or they have enough but the amount of manual labor and effort they put in to getting said resources takes a lot.

Whether it's trading their health, their dignity, or their honor for said resources.

You, in comparison, have it better and easier.

You are in the middle of this game that's lasted for the entirety of humanity.

The game is also built upon perception and presentation. Meaning many others purposely spend themselves dedicated to presenting themselves to others as successful and happy while hiding the ugliness. It's conditioned into us from parenting, schooling, and advertising.

Any deviance is seen as something to run away from. Any failure seen as bad. Hard work and struggling itself isn't valuable, success from hard work and struggling is lauded.

Your choices are to focus harder and harder on what you don't have or to focus on adding to your life. One good strategy for adding to your life is helping others with no expectations. Detachment from expectations is most important, as that's what causes suffering when your expectations and reality do not match up.

The choice is yours.

You may not be as 'alone' in those struggles as you think.

* Bad professional environments are the norm. Good ones are the exception. As you have experience of the bad you will hopefully develop a set of filters to avoid getting another job at the bad ones.

IMO If you look for companies that are very profitable (good $ profit per employee) you won't go to far wrong. Lack of cash can make a company very perverse!

* Changing jobs always takes time. 3 months is fairly quick. It depends what city you are in and your specialty. Changing job isn't easy for anyone. Usually takes me 3 months actually.

* No girlfriend by 30? Maybe more common than you think, especially in IT. Once you have one you will find you have a lot less time for things you are passionate about. You need to manage your own time vs. time for the relationship. Let alone what having children does to that dynamic. Want to go travelling for a year? You can do it easily with no ties, no one to negotiate with.

Another positive spin is that you now have the wisdom at nearly 30 to make an excellent choice for your partner. I'm not sure what your M.O. is but I suggest if you are shy like me then don't try to chat up women in bars, or straight ask women out (then you have the pressure of a 'date') etc. but just make friends with women.

And at 30 your target are range for women means you have a lot of choice.

* You colleagues may not have had it easy. Even if they have they are at a disadvantage. Once you overcome your current obstacles you will be someone who is good at overcoming obstacles, and you will accelerate beyond what the ones that 'had it easy' will ever achieve.

You are not alone, there are many people like you. But imagine if after all the hard work this is where you are in life, what would happen if you stopped working hard. Things would be far worse.

There are some people who have to swim through this and fight it out in the hope they will better off in the future.

>>When I look at my colleagues, friends I feel like many of them have it quite easy.

A million things matter in these sort of things, unfortunately luck is one of them. Different people get launched into life from different launch pads. Out of sheer luck, people get born to rich parents. Such people are always going to have an edge over the rest of us. There are people who are going to be simply lucky to get a good boss, or ride a economic wave, or just be the right person at the right time at the right place.

If you haven't been that lucky so far, unfortunately merely hard work can't make up for all things in life.

I would suggest you work towards your own goals than comparing yourself with your colleagues. Because remember no matter how fast you go on the high way, there will always be vehicles ahead of you.

If you have a roof over your head, 3 meals a day and a family, You are already doing better that 60-70% people in the world. Be thankful for what you already have. I would like to recommend this article to you: http://johnnybtruant.com/the-universe-doesnt-give-a-flying-f... . Read A LOT. If you want success, read a LOT of books and articles that talk about success. Your situation will change surely.

Btw, I would like to redirect you to your original post. You are only talking about the things that you do not like. Starting focusing on things that you do like and your life will take that direction. :)

This is a false-equivalence. Just because many of us on this site have it better than 99.9% of the rest of the world does not mean we have a struggle and life is easy. I suggest you read this piece "The problem with rich kids today" - https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/201310/the-problem-...

As long as you are alive, you will have problems. Bill Gates once said, "life is not fair, deal with it". Some may call it a big problem, others will call it small. Focus on what is truly important, and you will move towards that.

I have all the things you're striving for and it feels like my colleagues, friends do much more than me much more easily. If you look around it's very easy to find people who have a much harder time. I'm beginning to suspect that it's relative.

I know this is probably not the best place to put this answer but I hope it finds its way to you and help you in your search.

I was born christian and 10+ years ago lost my faith and became a "non believer". I had a few scares during my wife's pregnancy a few months ago and I remember waiting outside the emergency room and wandering what to do. I didn't believe in God or anything, I had nothing to comfort me or give me hope. Then I realized "I am not strong enough to be an atheist". Don't get me wrong, I didn't overnight turn into a devout christian but I started doubting my doubts and my lack of faith and re-examining a few things.

Fast forward a couple of months and my twins were born and I wanted to baptize them. A good friend of mine told me why bother if you don't believe. When we baptize in our church we have to raise our right hand, face the alter and accept the trinity. I didn't want to be a hypocrite and do that knowingly that I didn't believe. So I went and talked to the priest and told him how I felt. I asked him to recommend books to help me "convert back", help me believe. Surprisingly, he told me "what's the point? anything you read, you will question, doubt and read with the intention to find holes" so his only recommendation is to pray once a day and read one chapter from the new testament every day. He told me I don't have to understand or believe what I am reading but he told me to do it for a month and see what happens. I am 2 weeks into it. It's hard. I still don't 100% believe. But there is something changing. I don't know what it is but I will continue with this journey and see where it leads me.

On a side note, I read a fantastic book that answered a ton of my questions - it is called The Reason For God by Timothy Keller. Very easy read and targets people like us - educated and secular with tons of doubt.

I know these are not solutions to your problems but maybe you will find comfort and hope in christianity.

PS: Please keep the "religion hate" speech to a minimum - I have heard it all - actually I have said it all :)

"belief is the source and solution of all problems" I believe Plato said that. I believe he also said that of alcohol.

Rather than the age old "either X exists or it doesn't" your entire thing unraveled right here:

"I am not strong enough to be an atheist"

Anything from that point on had a 'motivating circumstance' behind it, a bias, a solution being sought.

Now, the concept of 'pray once a day' will be accepted, because a certain belief is already had: that belief is the issue, not a certain state or mode of being. A certain "strength" -- I believe you hit that on the head. There is a certain quality of person, called atheism.

Some of the "best" religious people I know, while having a "faith" are what I could also call atheist, in the purest sense: not just in an ideological sense, but in an active one: did they do that "all by themselves" or were they rubbing the magic rabbit foot all the way there? When they wanted to reach out for help, did they do it? Or did they endure?

The thing that is changing is a different mode of being taking root: one of operating on belief, rather than on your own. The answer when you cannot cope is not to find a mechanism to cope, a crutch, but to just endure or execute the thing. It is about strength. Sometimes it's about accepting things without a reason: what if one of your twins died? Exactly why is that "bad" per se? It feels like shit, yes, but all you can really say is that you currently do not want that. Petitioning someone for your desire is pure and simple. Making it into "I couldn't take it anymore so I felt too weak to be atheist" is just covering over the fact that you really really wanted your wife and kids to be ok.

That is your religion then. It's strong enough of a source of desire that you'd reach outside yourself to manipulate the universe itself if you had to, to cause the outcome you wanted. It could be said that is what the deity concept is. It's a mutable global variable ( which is not threadsafe ) designed to circumvent your own individuality and provide a hack to route-around the system as it is, allowing you to not learn or grow, just have what you want. Confusingly, some people have a deathwish or a sense of inferiority, so they get what they want so much easier.

Religion is like cancer, ones it got to you, its very hard to get rid of it.

I think it's unfortunate this has been downvoted; I think that many people feel the same way you do. It's probably worth thinking about whether your colleagues' life is really as easy as you think it is. What you see of them is probably them at their best; you probably don't see their hidden financial struggles or family struggles or professional struggles. Most people don't talk about anything like this. So personally I think it is brave to ask this question and I wish I saw topics like this discussed more often.

What makes you think it has been "downvoted"? (There is no downvote for submissions. Submissions without URLs are automatically penalised. It might have been flagged, but what makes you think it has?)

It was gray. You may see that I am not very active here, so I made an assumption. Today I have learned something; thank you.

You ask a very important question but I don't think there is any correct answer to it.

Let me give you a little thought exercise.

Imagine you were born in a different country and time than the one that you are in right now. Imagine that country is under occupation by an oppressive regime and you have no voice, no rights, no freedom whatsoever. Imagine that every day your family, friends and those you know are living under threat of imprisonment or death. In addition to that imagine that you are at a time when the state of medicine hasn't advanced beyond blood letting and cupping as the most advanced techniques to fight disease.

Now stop and think. Other than the medicine part there are various parts of the world where this scenario is the daily truth.

Granted you feel poor and need to struggle through everyday life.

Can I ask you a few questions 1. Can you see, hear, smell and speak? 2. Do you have the use of all your limbs? 3. Can you afford a daily meal? 4. Do you have some decent shelter? 5. Do you have access to healthcare? 6. Do you have access to basic facilities such as clean running water and toilets?

I think if you can answer yes to most of those questions, you are probably not a 1 percenter, but you may be better off than 30% to 40% of the world's population.

You have every right to bemoan your fate but it's all relative.

There's always someone in worse shape than you.

Thank your respective deity if you are so inclined that you are not in worse shape than you are in. It could be a lot worse.

This is just not a good response and does not speak to the author's problem. Yes, you can indeed say "you should be happy! It could be so much worse!" but this is not a gratifying or helpful answer to the original poster. Logically reasoning that you should feel happier about your current situation when, on an emotional level, you do not, isn't helpful. I think the other responses, which addressed the idea that all of us struggle regardless of where we are from and our current situation, is perhaps a bit more helpful.

I've had some of the issues you've mentioned though I especially identify with the feeling that those I know have it much easier than I do. Due to the nature of things, it's obviously impossible to (really) know what other people go through mentally and emotionally but, in the least, I feel like the notion of talking about one's problems is a no-no. People don't seem to want to show the dents in their armor, and this makes it seem like everything is going fine with them. On the other hand, I have no issues talking about my problems when I need to or feel like it, but it's usually met with silence.

I can say this: most people I know have never been poor, and this is a large part of why they cannot identify with problems I have. Being poor is a life-changer in so many ways and it has so many secondary and tertiary effects that others just don't get it cause they haven't been there.

Try writing down the life you want, then break down the steps it would take to get there (or get somewhat close to where you can be satisfied), then ask yourself if you really want to be twice your age and still lamenting about all the same things. It may light a fire under you or, in the least, alter your perspective going forward.

You know it's all a matter of perspective really. Personally coming from a similar background i've felt the same way at times.

If you are coming from a mindset of lack then that's all you're going to notice and all you'll see is everything that you don't have and how everyone that has more than you.

Seeing people people that you think don't have to struggle for anything and watching them take their life for granted can be terribly frustrating and depressing.

As others have said though, you really don't know what is going on behind the scenes of the people that you envy. All you see is a very controlled facade that they put on in public.

There are many struggles in life but there are also many things to be grateful for and you can be grateful for what you have without thinking about how life could be worse.

even if it "could be worse" your feeling are still valid, just don't let yourself get to in your head though.

can you find any good from your situation?, have you built any positve characteristics from a life of adversity?.

I find when dealing with any struggle in life be it big or small, all you need is to look at things from a different angle(much easier said than done) but once you change your mindset in how you will deal with life then maybe things don't seem as bad.

The truth is we all struggle. We are absorbed in our own problems, so we don't often realize what others go through.

I came to the US for my undergrad and I am from Bangladesh. During my undergrad I realized that most of my good friends were from India, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, China, Africa and very few were actually Americans (Caucasians). I was also more attracted to white women and I wanted to date them; but I was often just ignored by them or looked down upon. It was awful, I continued to study hard, I got a good job in a reputed firm in Silicon Valley and moved to the bay area. Here I was able to move away from the corrupt background where I grew up and I found a lot more opportunities in the valley to network with top VCs and top engineers. Now I am on my way to starting my own company with my friends and past colleagues and I feel I can contribute a lot to the world. I am 31 and I still do not have a girl friend as I am still stereotyped by women and being brown with an accent does not help :P

Now I have the opportunity to achieve something in my life and share my experiences with the world with the hope that next generation is more kind to people from poor countries. It definitely helps to have girlfriend for emotional and physical needs. But racism is still present and affects dating also it is harder for men than it is for women. Unfortunately, being a brown male with an accent is just hard. You should continue to work hard and make a good career for yourself, do things that please you and make you happy. Happiness is contagious. If you are truly happy and passionate about what you are doing, its very likely you will be successful and attract women, money and much better personal life.

This is one of my favorite songs, listen to it when you are down:


I am sorry bro. But keep at it. Also try to communicate with yourself and understand why things are happening as such. There must a reason; meaning the hardship may be a consequence or a reason in itself for something greater in your future.

At any rate, I love that you are not giving up. Keep at it. The fact that you are asking means this is nothing you can't take with dignity. You will breakthrough. Keep at it.

I don't think your experiences are that unusual.[edit UNusual]

The paradigm of the present society seems to be ultra-competitive "meritocracy". By that token, it fails to value a substantial portion of its citizens.

Difficulties in Life come from a variety of sources:

1] Self (both inherent genetics, the fruit of prior decisions and difficulties which we seek out)

2] Your Circle (family, friends, coworkers, neighbors; think about the things those people do to you, the difficulties that you experience when someone close to you has their own life blow up, and difficulties that you willingly take on because you love someone close to you)

3] Society (your time and place in human history and culture, war & peace, societal level cycle of economic recession or boom times and more)

4] Nature (natural conditions such as storms, floods and drought may impact you)

5] Accidents (lapses in attention, stupid decisions by strangers and sheer randomness can dramatically change your life)

6] Controversial Category - Cosmic or Supernatural forces, ranging from notions of karma to spirits of the world, to ancestral spirits or monotheistic belief systems.

Understanding the sources of our difficulties does not make them go away but it can help us identify which ones we have leverage to change, which ones we can only change through relational cooperation, which ones will likely pass with time and those difficult circumstances over which we have no power and must come to a place of peace and acceptance.

Difficulties can be the key stimuli for personal growth or they can be the seed of bitterness which consume our mind, emotions and will with discouragement, anger, jealousy and despair.

Some would say that religion has nothing useful to say about these matters. I am not saying that every religion has something useful, in fact on various relevant points religions may disagree about sources and solutions. But we should not imagine that we are the first, or wisest in human history to have struggled with these hard questions.

Please don't give up. Search, work, try, experiment and grow.

Religion very often in the business of creating problems then providing ultimately unsatisfactory or even pernicious answers.

Where is the real problem? We are all walking towards death, and it is not very far away. Compared to this simple fact, the "problem" of once having a bad job for a time is pretty small.

In the case of OP, the main problem I see is perspective. Change that, and everything starts changing. There are no end of "problems" if you are looking for them. We are here right now. That's reality.... and it's pretty good.

This may sound cynical, but if you see life as a pyramid (inadvisable, btw), most people, including you, are not at the top or the bottom.

There are plenty of people who have a hard time finding a job they like or a partner they like. Your friends are just a small sample of the people of the world. You're lucky that you envy their position, actually. They sound like the kinds of people you can talk to about how to achieve what you want.

Another note: the more you manage to climb the greasy pole, the more it seems insurmountable. I've never met a high achiever who didn't think it was hard getting there.

As for specific things you can do, you need to take on an abundance mentality; there are plenty of both jobs and girls, there's no make-or-break moment with either. Everything flows from there. You have choice.

Yes you've struggled to get to where you are but you've made it this far. And well done! Quite frankly quite a few people in your situation might have given up already but you keep on moving forward. And that's a good thing. Look back on your achievements and be proud of yourself. Look forward to your next goal(s) and keep on fighting.

For inspiration you can read this article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/25/successful-people-o... and know that you're not alone in "the struggle".

Bon courage mon ami.

I think everyone feels like this at one point or another. With regards to your job situation, we have have what I like to call our "crappy firsts."

A bad first roommate, a bad first relationship, job etc. Why are these experiences bad? Well, mostly because we didn't know what we were looking for at the time. I think we all have some idea of what would make us happy, but a lot of the time, we need these experiences so we can appreciate the better things that come, if and only if we are willing to seek them and not give up.

So you've never had a girlfriend, its something to look forward to. You should also use the desire for companionship to put yourself into situations to make it possible. I was engaged at one point and it ended with the girl essentially cutting off contact without saying anything. It was only when I called her and told her I wanted to call of the engagement, she started making excuses. We hadn't talked for three months at that point -- she wouldn't call or return my calls.

My point of telling you that story is that I know my self worth has nothing to do with the way she treated me. And I continue to seek out a partner who will be more of a help than a hinderance -- as my ex was. But I'm still alive and motivated to keep going, I think that's all you need in life.

I'm also working on a dating app, I have been working on it for close to three months now and it hasn't been released because I keep getting to a certain point, scrapping it and starting over. Some API's I depend on don't work as I'd like, or I find myself unhappy with the design. But I'm at it again, and this time I hope to finish it and release it on the app store, because it will help other people out there.

This is getting kinda long, but my point is that in life, the most important qualities a person can have are hope and resilience. You obviously have both, otherwise you would never persist where others have failed miserably.

For all the success stories you hear in social media, there are countless others who give up and never try again. And for all those successes, they never tell you how many times they tried other ventures and failed. If I finished my app within the next month, you would never hear about the rest of the time where I wasn't sure it would ever see the light of day.

Keep on goin'

All we can hope for is a healthy body, sound mind, access to education, freedom of thought and expression, freedom from violence, a functioning job market, and perhaps a decent safety net for when things really do all go to shit.

All the rest, as they say, c'est la vie. Striving, wanting, yearning is absolutely a part of the human condition. Good luck in all your struggles.

Buddy, you are not the only one! Many of us have struggled with things that appear so easy to others, like job interviews or finding a girlfriend. I don't know you well enough, but like somebody else here has said, I think the key may be to continue to develop your social skills. My strategy has been to actively do things that make me uncomfortable. Does starting a conversation with that stranger at a meetup make me feel a little uneasy? That's a clear sign that I should go do it! I think if you follow this path you will find your life improving in many ways, as I have. Feel free to message me if you need any additional guidance or encouragement, email is in profile.

If you are feeling depressed or frequently anxious, which you may be, I would suggest finding a therapist who specializes in cognitive behavioral therapy. They use a scientific approach to help you deal with problems of depression or social anxiety, and they can also act as a coach to keep you motivated as you overcome these issues.

It doesn't matter how hard or how many times you try if you do the same thing with the same attitude over and over again. In this case, you're applying for jobs and looking for companionship with the mindset that this is the 1000th time you've been in this position and the universe owes you a break, whereas to the recruiter or potential date this is the first time they've met you. What kind of impression do you think they're forming of you when you approach them with this mindset? Is it fair to them that they're just another potential notch in the litany of life failures instead of unique individuals and roles?

If applying to jobs and making friends isn't any easier after thousands of failures, you're not using failure as a learning experiment and your situation will never improve unless you recognize what it is that you're doing that's preventing you from having the kind of success you want to have.

Recognize that everyone didn't get the same "standard happiness package". I am freakishly happy all the time. I did nothing to make myself this way. Conversely, I believe that some people, through no fault of their own, ended up with terrible a "brain chemistry package" i.e. depression. People who were born happy may tell you to do what they do, and you'll be happy too. IMO, they might as well tell you that if you eat what they ate, you'll be as tall as they are.

When you are happy, lots more things become possible. One of the greatest riches you can have is a good friend or two. Being happy makes friendships possible and that sort of feeds back on itself making you happier.

A couple of my closest friends suffered from depression (one of them was crying at work at least once a week). They got medication and it made a world of difference.

Consider seeing a doctor, especially if you find yourself "self medicating" to try and cope.

I think it will always appear that other people are better off. No one likes to share their struggles. Everyone tries to put their best foot forward if they can. That's why you shouldn't compare yourself to others. You never know how that person got to where they are know. Yes, some people have it easy or it came naturally; while others worked/struggled to get there.

Honestly, I have some of the same struggles as you. Work hard and you can fix most of problems. It takes time. Learn from your past.

Start with a couple of goals for the year. Like become more financially stable, make friends/find a girlfriend, or find a new hobby. If you're out of shape try to get in shape. Those things will give you boost. Think about what's important to you right now and prioritize that. Everyone moves at different paces; there aren't any hard rules for life.

> When I look at my colleagues, friends I feel like many of them have it quite easy.

The most difficult thing is Mastering one's own psychology. I'm sure if you surveyed your friends and colleagues, each of them is struggling with their own issues.

Horowitz talks about this in his recent book> http://techcrunch.com/2014/03/03/the-hard-thing-about-hard-t...

Success in life also requires a heavy repetition and grind-out quotient> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBG57W_qFMA

If you are frustrated and really feel you are struggling that much, I would suggest to look for a therapist.

Don't get me wrong. I don't think there is something wrong, but growing up in a difficult environment, shapes your view of your surroundings and judge it different than others. This are your experiences, you base your decisions on. If these judgments do not align with your surrounding, you will encounter disappointment.

A therapist will be able to ask you questions, which will open your mind to different point of views, which gives you the possibility to make different decisions.

Wish you all the best!

P.S.: I hope this is not offending, that's the last I want to express. English is not my mother tongue...

Just think about that you are not only one. In your circle or the people you are able to observe may have better life but it does not mean that you are the only one around who struggles. The solution is yet simple, don't compare yourself with others considered better than you. Because there will be always better than you and this will make you unhappy.

We are here to play the roles that is given to us. You may think that some people born lucky but in reality the luck is just relative. You may consider yourself unlucky or always struggling but what if you have live it and it makes you stronger for better life. Trick is just not quitting.

I won't give you long advice here...only want you to understand that there is such a thing as "spinning your wheels too much"...I am pretty sure that you have put the work, show the eagerness to reach your goals but if you are stuck in the sand spinning your wheels will just make you really tired and frustrated. Stop. Look down at your feet (metaphorically speaking) observe why you don't seem to get traction, pick any one thing you think should help and do it. Keep going from there. Do it for you and enjoy every moment.

It all depends who you compare yourself with. Sure, there are better looking and richer people around you. But being young, in good health and living in a developed country (?) makes you very privileged.

Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

> I feel like many of them have it quite easy.

A lot of them might be hiding their own struggles and problems.


I habe a similar background as you. in a nutshell, I can recommend to keep your focus on how to improve your situation. You get more of what you focus on, so focus on bettering your life, be nice and gentle to yourself, and things should slowly improve.

I can also recommend some of the techniques in this book here (albeit I don't sibscribe to the whole NLP field). Take it with a grain of salt, basically try it out and see if some of this works for you or not:

Know How: Guided Programs for Inventing Your Own Best Future


As cliche as it may sound, I'd recommend the book "7 habits of highly effective people" by Stephen R. Covey- teaches you to take responsibility for your life and to focus on things you have influence over (among other things).

I am pretty sure more than 1/10th of humanity will be super happy to have a life like you (food on table and roof over head).

When you need inspiration look up, when you need gratitude look down.

It's probably not helpful to point to, eg, waste pickers in Brazil or India and say "See, you don't have it so bad". While true it doesn't help people fix their views.




Here are some personal thoughts in no particular order:

- Most people are bound to be about average, that's how averages work. In life you've probably been through a couple of "selection procedures" (for lack of a better term) that redefine this average for you personally. Very early in life, the average is low. People with an intellectual disability get "filtered out" and end up in special care, and the average rises. After primary school (and I'm basing myself off of the Belgian school system, which I'm most familiar with), you start specialising. Some people choose a very hands on education (woodworking, mechanic, etc.) which doesn't require the same intellectual capabilities as, what we call, general education (lots of science, Latin, Greek, etc.). The average changes. Then you might go to higher education and choose between high school or university. The average changes. I hope you get the point by now: depending on how good (and I've focused purely on intellectual capability, you might focus on another quality) you are, you will find a very high or very low average. Whatever path people choose, they are bound to be around the about average in their path.

- Something that fits quite well with the previous point, is how high you've set your personal standard. I'm not here to tell you whether or not your standard is too high or too low, you have to decide that for yourself. But consider that someone aiming to be a top theoretical physicist is going to have a much harder time achieving his standard than someone aiming to have a family, dog and house, without struggling financially. This person is again going to have a much harder time achieving their standard, compared to someone living in a poor village in Africa, just wanting to not be starving. (And you might argue that person in Africa will have a much harder time not starving than an average male white American getting a house with a family and a dog, but that's besides the point)

- Keep this standard higher than your current personal level. It will keep you wanting to become better at whatever you're doing. But keep it realistic, that will prevent you from becoming hopeless about never reaching a certain standard.

- Just because people tell you you should be happy for not being that starving person in Africa, doesn't mean they're right. They're not entirely wrong either; there are people who have it a lot worse than you'll ever have. But someone else's struggles and troubles do not negate your own.

- There's also something that's known as selection bias[0]. This fits quite nicely with point one and two. Because of the standard you've chosen for yourself or the average you've ended up comparing against, you will have a tendency to see all the people doing better than you, and ignoring those doing worse than you. Again, this doesn't mean your struggle is irrelevant. It's just something to keep in mind when comparing yourself against others.

- But then again, is there any point in comparing yourself against others? A nihilist[1] might say it doesn't matter what you do in your life. That there is no inherent value to anything you do or achieve. That there is no particular meaning to life. Maybe you can find yourself in this reasoning?

- Think about relocating. Paying those college fees might not have been hard in Belgium. Up until this academic year, higher education cost about 650-700 Euro per year. Even less if your household earns less than a certain amount. Fees as low as 150 Euro are possible for a year of higher education.

- A silly example from my own life, incorporating some points I previously made: Take a look at my English. I wasn't born in an English-speaking country, never lived in one either. I think there is still a lot to be improved about my English. But compare my English to what you might see in the comments on certain websites. Is my English really that bad (especially when keeping in mind it's not my mother tongue). Then compare my English to what you might see in a work of Shakespeare. Is it even worth learning more if I'll never reach that level of English? But in the end: does it even matter how good my English is, as long as I can get my point across?



The answer to your problems is really boring and obvious (but far from easy to implementate):

Focus in the right things.

You do this and the world is yours.

Because you have been chosen as a best examiner of the GOD. Give your exam properly and swoon all struggles.

There are many complex factors contributing to your perceived socio-economic well being or lack there of, I don't have all the answers. I do have some advice though, stop running a pity party, I have fallen into this trap myself in the past. Here is some perspective, every 10 seconds a child dies from malnourishment. Moving forward there are beacons of hope, knowledge is becoming open, accessible and free for almost everyone instead of being sold as a commodity and I can't imagine fiat currency surviving the decade...I mean come on people lol(economics is pseudo-science)

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