Even though I work construction and have a six-figure income, I was told in high school that I’d never amount to more than a construction worker. The majority of my graduating class went on to college and white-collar careers. I carry the shame of being an underachiever in comparison to my peers. Eight-figure income or bust! Go pro, or go home! I work harder than anyone I know personally. I’m hyper-focused and have my goals set. It’s go time!
My shame comes generally from the age of 16-24.
At age 16, and for many years after, the only way I had to get around was to hitchhike. A car drove by and threw trash at me and I responded with an obscene gesture. It was some guys (5) from school who were all older than me. They drove down the block and turned around to give me a ride, acting all friendly and such. I knew the driver and thought I would be safe. They said if I wanted a ride I’d have to sit front seat and center. “Yeah, OK”.
I wasn’t very streetwise back then. I took the ride and off we went. Within a few minutes the backseat boys started smacking me in the back of the head. I thought about grabbing the steering wheel and causing a wreck, or grabbing the shotgun passenger and rolling out the door on the next left-handed curve, but I did nothing (shame).
When we got to our destination the main thug of the group exited the car with me. It was just me and him face to face, the best odds I’d had during the whole ride. The only problem I had was I didn’t know how to fight. He berated me and gave me a couple of fist smashes to the mouth. I walked away bleeding, whimpering, and in shame for not even trying to defend myself.
As a result of that episode I bought myself a speed bag and learned how to box. For many years I had revenge on my mind and couldn’t wait to come across some of those same guys. I vowed to take them down, one at a time.
Eventually I realized that revenge would accomplish nothing. I learned some great principles:
- Poor decisions limit future options.
- We are responsible for our own decisions.
- All friends are not friends, some are merely acquaintances.
- We can choose to turn a bad experience to our benefit.
Other acts of shame have been lying to my parents, lying to save my ass, running from my problems instead of facing them, being a rogue, a rake and a scoundrel. That was me back then, but that is not who I am now. I’m thinking that’s how it is for most of us as we get older.
DAY 78 – Shame is living life in the past when we can have a blameless present…
I was really stupid when I was younger. Drank a lot and made an ass of myself. For a while I forced myself to stop drinking to make sure I could. I usually have a few a week now, if I feel like I am getting to a part where I ‘need’ I dont drink for a week, Ensuring I stay in control of my actions. Learning how to manage and control your life is key and this was a mere step to my self improvement.
My biggest shame and force of motivation was late last year when I began thinking about my health. At one time I ran 13 plus miles every Saturday with a friend. Then I began thinking that I could not even run 1/4 mile now. So I embraced the shame and got to work. 10 strait months and counting I have not missed a day on my routine. Its one of the best disciplines I have now, and It bleeds over into so many other things.
I feel shame when I think about how long I’ve aloud myself to be stuck. Both in jobs and in physical location… I’ve tried certain job changes and nothing has sicked, but for the first time in a long while I am chasing something with purpose and intention. I am building and growing too forge my brighter future.
One of my biggest shame is not finishing college. However that was my choice to not be in debt and be a slave with high debts. So still a slave with a lot smaller debt not as nice of job but it is what it is. I have a burning desire to make it with no college just for another fuck you to the system.
Right now, My shame is not pushing through a string of failures and not showing up to work. I show up to my day job, but my side hustle was put on the back burner. I stopped doing the B90X (the very thing that keeps me motivated) and just watched DCTV to stay connected in some small way. I hate myself for not pushing through the bad times, and just loosing ground.
You made the right choice. Cant wait to party with you on the moon. Keep grinding.
I literally talk about my shame in every post. This is a great retrospect moment.
i have never thought about shame from this perspective and I totally agree with what you are saying. I can now think of many scenarios where shame has led to will and for me to take action to get up and do something about things i was shamed about.
I think a major one for me was when i was over weight, I saw myself almost at 100kgs and decided enough is enough i can’t go on like this. I turned that right around and dropped over 20kgs in one year. The power of will through shame is real.