This is My Life.

I turn 21 in the next few days. Friday was the day I was supposed to graduate from college. Writers live interesting lives, I remember Tucker saying a couple years ago. That’s what I’ve been trying to do since.

It’s funny how stuff comes together. Nature’s inadvertence. How it all lines up. You get lucky. You get fucked. Get so worked up about something and it just fades away. In two or three days, it goes a direction you couldn’t even have even considered. When you space that over a year, the distance you can travel is almost incomprehensible. If you can just have a little faith in yourself and the ability to get lost a little in the present.

I’ve been fired. Twice. Promoted. An Executive. Thought about going back to school. Met some celebrities, cashed a big check. Been humbled, a little. Tried to listen more than I talk – failed. Started to know what I need to be happy.

But if I were a start up, my valuation would just be starting to accelerate. I haven’t turned Pro yet, but I’m starting to know what that means.

Which, by the way, is exactly how I’m starting to look at developing yourself. Like a start up. You are start up. Don’t worry about monetization. Or a safety net or health insurance or an office. Aim for critical mass and pick up support wherever you can. Woo every customer. Find something that no one else does and do it better than they ever can. Invest in yourself. Sweat equity. What are you doing? Do you love it? Start ups run on love. Read the books. Look for the angel investors. Have an exit strategy.

Most of my friends are moving home for the summer. Or they’re graduating and moving home again anyway. Apparently, that’s something to be admired. Fuck That. This is your life. All the tools and opportunities and chances that you’re supposedly waiting for, you can leverage now. And not only will you be rewarded for doing so, but people are desperately hoping that you will.

I’m in so unbelievably above my level that I can’t articulate it, but you know what – it’s working. It’s working so well that I’m having to seriously thinking about learning how to say “no.” Whatever skills I have, there are a lot of people who not only have them too, but in addition to a cadre of others that I will never be able to call mine.

Like I said, this is your life. I can only speak about mine. That’s all I really try to do here. I’ve been extremely lucky to meet people who’ve giving me the freedom to develop myself on their tab. But they’re a different breed of people and they’re only going to invest in you when you make the conscious decision to be different yourself.

So I did it. You should do.

Written by Ryan Holiday
Ryan Holiday is the bestselling author of Trust Me, I’m Lying, The Obstacle Is The Way, Ego Is The Enemy, and other books about marketing, culture, and the human condition. His work has been translated into thirty languages and has appeared everywhere from the Columbia Journalism Review to Fast Company. His company, Brass Check, has advised companies such as Google, TASER, and Complex, as well as Grammy Award winning musicians and some of the biggest authors in the world. He lives in Austin, Texas.