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How Passivity Is Killing a Generation

Do you ever find yourself holding back, afraid to come off as pushy or try-hard? If so—I’d love to tell you “Don’t worry. It happens to the best of us.” But in my experience, it doesn’t happen to the best of us. At least not for long.

And it’s definitely something to worry about.

In fact, I’d take it a step further and say this: The best of us achieve their status exactly because they don’t hold back. Think of the Elon Musks, Joe Rogans and Jordan Petersons of this world. They have grand followings of dedicated fans. They have successful businesses, wealth, and complete freedom of time. And a big part of the reason why? They don’t try to placate their haters.

They express themselves, speak their minds and be themselves without restraint. They don’t worry about those who don’t agree, even those who vehemently and loudly disagree. This is because they believe in themselves. They believe in the validity of their message. They feel, deep down inside, one specific and impactful truth that basically makes everything else fall into place. We’ll get into this later.

But for now, the most important thing that you’ll take away from this letter, is this:

Believing in yourself and your abilities is key to achieving success. More importantly, being passive and non-confrontational by default will ensure that you never realize any significant level of success.

How Passivity Will Kill You

Passivity has a different meaning to everyone who hears the word. Here’s the meaning we’ll be working with today:

Acceptance of what happens, without active response or resistance.

Passivity is a major challenge of the 21st century, especially among young people. It is a habit that has grown over the years and can have serious repercussions on both physical and mental wellbeing. You’ve met people like this, I’m sure. You probably exhibit this tendency yourself from time to time as well. But why might people become passive in the first place?

Passive behavior can stem from a variety of causes, ranging from biological to psychological factors. On one hand, individuals may be predisposed genetically to lack ambition or motivation. On the other hand, they may be more inclined towards passiveness due to their upbringing. In many cases, passivity can also result from experiences such as trauma or abuse which limit an individual’s capacity for self-expression and assertiveness.

Passivity is also linked to an individual’s beliefs about themselves and their ability to influence the world around them. For example, someone who had little control over their own life as a child may feel as though they have little control over their life as an adult. Those with this issue (and often the related self-esteem issues) are more likely to resort to passivity as a coping mechanism, often unintentionally.

“Unintentionally” is exactly the problem.

A passive person has no intention of taking control over their life, and thus they never do. In many cases, it may never even occur to them that they CAN take control.

There is a famous anecdote about a baby elephant who is chained to a post. The story goes that when the elephant is young, it is tied to a post with a strong chain. Despite its efforts to break free, the elephant is unable to escape. As it grows older, it realizes that it is not strong enough to break the chain, so it stops trying to escape. Even when the chain is later exchanged for a rope, the elephant doesn’t try to move away from the post, as it has come to believe that it is unable to. This persists through the elephant’s life, even when it becomes large enough to snap the rope (or even the chain) with a single tug of its massive leg. This story is often used to illustrate the power of learned helplessness and the importance of breaking free from limiting beliefs.

Not standing up for ourselves and our beliefs leads to a number of negative consequences, both for the individual and for those around them.

  • Loss of self-esteem and self-worth: When we don’t stand up for ourselves and our beliefs, we may start to feel like our opinions and feelings don’t matter. Over time, this can lead to a loss of self-esteem and self-worth.
  • Resentment and anger: If we don’t speak up when we feel wronged or disrespected, we may start to resent the people who have treated us poorly. This can lead to feelings of anger and bitterness, which can be difficult to overcome.
  • Allowing others to take advantage of us: When we don’t stand up for ourselves, we may become easy targets for people who want to take advantage of us. This can include everything from being taken advantage of at work to being taken advantage of in personal relationships.
  • Loss of control over our own lives: When we don’t stand up for ourselves, we can easily fall into the trap of allowing others to make decisions for us. This can lead to a loss of control over our own lives, which can be difficult to regain.
  • Missed opportunities: If we don’t speak up and assert ourselves, we may miss out on opportunities that have the potential to change our lives.

To me, there is no greater hell than to live like a ghost in this world of abundance. To see all the joy, wealth, adventure and happiness that is freely available, but feel like it’s so tantalizingly out of reach. To see every obstacle as insurmountable, and to operate with the default assumption that even the smallest obstacle is just a part of life that we’ll have to deal with. 

Here’s The Alternative: How to Find Your Passion, Enthusiasm and Earnestness

Imagine living a life where you are constantly holding back, afraid to speak up and assert yourself. You allow others to make decisions for you and go along with what they want, rather than pursuing your own dreams and passions. As a result, you feel unfulfilled and unhappy, constantly wondering what could have been if you’d only had the courage to take control of your life. You watch others around you succeed and achieve their goals, feeling envious and regretful that you never took the chance to do the same.

Many people don’t even have to imagine this life. They live it every day.

Now imagine the inverse.

Imagine living a life where you are confident, self-assured, and fully engaged in everything you do. You believe in yourself and your abilities, and are not afraid to speak up and assert yourself when it matters. You pursue your passions and goals with enthusiasm and dedication, and as a result, you achieve great success and fulfillment. You are respected and admired by those around you, and you inspire others with your drive and determination. You live a life that is meaningful and fulfilling, always striving to improve and achieve more.

That life is achievable for all of us.

The best part? The feelings that come with that life are not only available for those of us who have already achieved great success. They are available to anyone who is willing to let go of their limiting beliefs, their desire to be correct, and their need to feel like they understand life.

6 Steps to Profound Self-Assuredness

In today’s society, young people are facing a crisis in self-assurance and passivity that is holding them back from achieving their fullest potential. The importance of being passionate and enthusiastic about life—and taking proactive steps towards success—cannot be understated. From understanding your own goals to developing healthy relationships with others, it can be difficult to know where to start when it comes to building self-confidence and agency. 

Earlier, I mentioned one feeling that successful people have, deep down inside, that makes everything easier. I know that I read about this feeling somewhere, but I can’t remember where, so if you know, please hit me up with it. But that feeling is this:

“It’s okay for me to be here.”

Unsuccessful people feel, subconsciously, that most other people are their superiors, and that they are encroaching on other peoples’ lives just by existing. They constantly worry when they find any indicator of success. They worry that they’ll be “found out,” that other people will realize that they don’t know what they’re doing. They are afraid to ask for what they want or need, and they feel like the best thing to do is to just remain quiet and stay in their lane, and hope nobody figures out they don’t really belong.

Successful people, on the other hand, feel that their success is justified. The feeling of “it’s okay for me to be here” is what kills imposter syndrome. And in my experience, the way to get that feeling is to constantly be trying. To constantly be pushing. To constantly be giving generously of yourself, your knowledge and your energy. The rest of this letter will be dedicated to finding your courage—the courage to give generously of yourself, and the confidence to know that what you have to give is valuable.

Step 1: Identify the weaknesses behind your excuses

When it comes to achieving our goals and living the life we want, we often find ourselves making excuses for why we can’t. In order to move past these excuses and make real progress, it’s important to identify the underlying weaknesses that are holding us back. This means taking a hard look at ourselves, our beliefs, and our habits, and being honest about what is really holding us back.

Keep asking “why?” until you can’t anymore

Once you’ve identified your weaknesses, it’s important to keep asking “why?” until you can’t anymore. This means digging deep and getting to the root cause of the problem. For example, if you’re making an excuse about not having enough time to exercise, you might ask “why” you don’t have enough time. If the answer is “because I’m not willing to make the time,” then ask “why” that is, and so on. By asking “why” over and over, you can get to the underlying cause of the problem, which is the first step in finding a solution.

Step 2: Create a vision for your life without them

Once you’ve identified your weaknesses, it’s important to create a vision for your life without them. This means imagining what your life would be like if you didn’t have these weaknesses holding you back. For example, if you’re struggling with procrastination, imagine what your life would be like if you were able to work consistently and efficiently. By creating a clear and compelling vision, you’ll automatically motivate yourself to take action and start making real changes.

Step 3: Take reckless action against your weaknesses

Once you’ve identified your weaknesses and created a vision for your life without them, it’s time to take action. The key here is to take reckless action, meaning that you take bold and decisive steps to overcome your weaknesses, even if you don’t know that your action will take you in the right direction.

This might seem counterproductive, but it’s important. If you stagnate in life for too long, you start to forget what taking action feels like. It becomes difficult to predict the outcome of your actions, and it becomes profoundly tempting to continue doing nothing. Remember Isaac Newton’s first law: “An object at rest tends to remain at rest.” You have to get moving, regardless of the direction. You can always adjust course later, but if you’re not already moving, any course adjustment will just be you spinning in a circle.

So take reckless action. This might mean signing up for a new class, forcing yourself to go out on the weekends and talk to strangers, or making a big change in your life. The important thing is to take action and start making progress, even… no, especially if it feels difficult or uncertain.

Step 4: Re-evaluate. Find what works and what doesn’t

As you take action to overcome your weaknesses, it’s important to re-evaluate your progress and find out what works and what doesn’t. This means taking a step back, looking at what you’ve done, and assessing whether it’s working or not.

This is the course correction I mentioned earlier. You might find that some of the things you’re doing are helping, while others are not. By re-evaluating and finding what works, you can make adjustments and optimize your approach for better results. Be sure to keep moving forward as you adjust your course, though. For the first few months, it’ll be horribly tempting to sink back into old habits. Don’t let yourself.

Step 5: Refine your positive actions into repeatable habits

Once you’ve found what works, the next step is to refine your action into repeatable habits. Habits are powerful because they are automatic. You don’t have to think about them, you just do them. By turning your reckless action into habits, you can make sure that you’re making progress consistently and that the changes you’ve made will stick.

Step 6: Focus on these habits long-term

The final step is to focus on these habits long-term. This means making a commitment to yourself and your goals and being consistent with your habits. It’s important to remember that change takes time, and it’s easy to get discouraged if you don’t see immediate results. But by focusing on your habits, you can trust that progress will happen and that you will eventually achieve your goals. Do the little things, and the big things take care of themselves.

For further reading on habits, I recommend “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg and Atomic Habits by James Clear.

More Tips For Building Self-Confidence

3 Strategies For Finding and Pursuing Your Passions

If you’ve been stuck in a rut for so long that you don’t even know what gets you excited about life anymore, here are three things you can do to rediscover yourself.

Consume different types of content

Another strategy to find your passions is to consume different types of content. This can include books, articles, podcasts, videos, social media accounts, and other types of media. NOTE: If you already have a habit of consuming content, do these two things: 1) ensure you’re consuming intentionally, and 2) explore different types of content that you don’t normally see. The point is to shake things up.

By exposing yourself to a wide variety of content, you can discover new ideas, perspectives, and interests that you might not have otherwise considered. Consuming different types of content can also help you learn about different hobbies, careers, and missions that you might be interested in pursuing. This can give you a better understanding of what’s out there and what you might be passionate about.

Write, creatively or otherwise, every day

One of the strategies to find your passions can be writing. Writing can help you explore your thoughts and feelings and it can help you clarify your ideas. Writing can take different forms: journaling, writing fiction, blogging, or even writing poetry. Writing can help you understand your values, goals, and interests. It can even help you discover a passion for writing itself.

It’s especially powerful when you find yourself reaching a flow state. When you get in the flow behind the keyboard, your subconscious mind can start shining through. Giving your subconscious a creative outlet is always healthy, but it becomes infinitely useful when you can read what it wrote afterwards.

Writing can be a powerful tool for self-discovery, and it can help you identify your passions, understand yourself better and make sense of the world around you.

Experiment with new things regularly

You’ve learned about the world by consuming new types of content. You’ve learned more about yourself by writing. Now it’s time to get out in the world and DO things. Go experiment with different activities and hobbies. Try new things, whether it’s a new sport, a new hobby, a new class, or a new job. The more you expose yourself to different experiences, the more likely you are to discover something that you’re truly passionate about.

When you’re out in the world experimenting with different activities and hobbies, make sure to keep an open mind and be willing to try new things. Don’t assume that you know what a given activity will be like. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try something that might be a little bit scary or intimidating. Remember, the goal is to discover something that you’re truly passionate about, and that might require taking some risks and pushing yourself to try new things.

Advice For Maintaining Enthusiasm in the Face of Challenges

Keep your goals in mind

When you’re facing challenges, it can be easy to lose sight of why you’re doing what you’re doing. Remind yourself of your goals, and remember why you’re working so hard. This will help you stay motivated and focused. Also remember, people are much more likely to move away from pain than they are to move towards pleasure. Sometimes, it helps to remember what you’re working to avoid as well as what you’re working to achieve.

Celebrate small wins

As you make progress towards your goals, take time to celebrate small wins along the way. This will help you stay motivated and remind you of the progress you’ve made. There will be a thousand things that happen that could serve to dissuade you from taking risks. But these things are not worth focusing on. Exceptional people focus on their victories, not on their defeats.

Find a support system

Surround yourself with people who understand your goals and can provide you with encouragement and support. Talking to friends, family, or a mentor can help you stay motivated and inspired when you’re facing challenges.

Additionally, it’s important to surround yourself with people who have similar goals, interests, and beliefs. Joining a group or club that is focused on your desired outcome can be a great way to meet like-minded individuals and work towards your goals together. Remember that the people you surround yourself with have a big impact on your mindset and attitude, so choose wisely. There’s a reason capitalists and socialists don’t get along.

A Quick Plug

I wasn’t exactly sure how to plug my own services in this context, so I’ll just do it here:

I help people refine their offers and present them online to capture more customers. I do this by writing, designing, and building websites.

The big benefit that I usually bring to my website clients is a feeling of confidence. It helps them to see their value proposition written on paper and displayed online, and it helps raise confidence in their customers too. If you want to talk about doing the same with your offer, hit me up.

A Final Note: Give Yourself Permission to Make Mistakes, Look Foolish, and Be Confused.

Giving yourself permission to fuck up is an essential step in personal and professional growth. Many of us have been taught to strive for perfection and to avoid making mistakes at all costs, but this mindset holds us back from reaching our full potential. When you’re constantly focused on avoiding failure, you’re less likely to take risks and try new things. This makes it all but impossible to learn and grow.

By giving yourself permission to make mistakes, you’re allowing yourself to experiment, explore, and learn, regardless of your environment. Failure is a natural part of the learning process and it’s important to embrace it rather than fear it. It’s also important to remember that everyone makes mistakes, and that the people who are successful are the ones who learn from their mistakes and move forward.

It’s also okay to look foolish and be confused in the process of learning something new. Being in a state of confusion is often a sign that you’re on the cusp of understanding something important. Embrace this state of confusion and work through it. Allow yourself to ask for help. Don’t be afraid to admit that you don’t know something. Apologize when you hurt someone through your ignorance, and then let it go. It’s a sign of strength, not selfishness or weakness.

Give yourself permission to be imperfect, and don’t categorize yourself as a failure when you fail. Instead, go fail again, and again, and again. This mindset will empower you to take risks, learn from your failures, and ultimately achieve your goals.

Until next time,

—John Kakuk

Panama City, Panama

I'm John Kakuk.

I’m a brand designer, web developer and marketer working with architects, engineers and construction companies. My purpose is to help others achieve the best versions of their businesses and themselves.

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