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Survive Vs. Thrive: Beating Homelessness

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In the maze of my life, where my insight and clarity towered above average, I still stumbled in shadows of immaturity and arrogance.

This led me to an even darker abyss.

I crawled through nearly three years of homelessness, pushing me to the brink of suicide, and I struggled to survive it.

Each day my nervous system was overwhelmed with stress, and I had a twisted pride at just ‘enduring.’

I tried getting out through self-made productivity, like society & parents taught me, rather than doing what would really ‘light me up.’

Until one day –after failing to kill myself– I surrendered to failure, loss, and to a slow death that I couldn’t control. And in that surrender, I made a seemingly insane choice: to step out of survival mode and into doing whatever the hell I wanted.

I stopped caring about life or death, about societal expectations, about success or failure.

Instead, I resolved to fill my own cup, no matter what.

If this was to be my final chapter, I might as well fill it with my desires.

So, under the scorching summer sun, I laid on a bench for 36 hours (literally) until my back blistered, with a big “f*ck you” to everything society taught me.

I stopped worrying about paying rent, finding shelter, or even eating.

And in that defiance, inspiration began to trickle in.

My first impulse was boredom, easily dismissed. My second, thirst, I ignored that as well. But when the third whispered that I “needed to cool off,” I finally listened.

Dragging my overstuffed backpack to the nearest library, I plugged in my laptop, pretending to work, and was inspired to kill time by offering advice in entrepreneurship forums.

Note: These were impulses from my body, or soul, arising only once I had filled my cup by embracing my desires and making peace with the specters of death, loss, and any ‘worse’ consequences on that park bench.

And this felt like a better way to spend my last days before starvation killed me, so I fasted and kept dishing out advice by helping others, agenda-free.

I wasn’t doing it to get anything, and I honestly assumed I’d die doing it.

But at least I’d die helping hundreds of humans who had questions about life and biz.

So I kept at it, ignoring any haters or unreceptive folks.

And as I continued following my impulses, life took an unexpected turn.

I found myself truly surviving.

Not by actively pursuing survival, or running my business, or hunting for clients, but by prioritizing what felt fulfilling to me.

I was like a wild animal, performing death-defying acts because I no longer feared death, focusing solely on following my instincts.

Eventually all the insight I was giving away, caught the attention of Evan Carmichael.

He invited me to dinner and we closed out the restaurant talking.

Just a homeless wise man and a savvy entrepreneur discussing business, branding, and life.

By collab’ing with him, I moved beyond surviving and flourished, leaving homelessness behind.

(The key to this wasn’t reading business books or obeying societal expectations.)

I was thriving by doing what felt natural, energizing, and fulfilling to me.

And I did that by sharing my insights without expectation –like it was my job– because it was the thing that energized me.

I took it for granted most of my life, but turns out, it was a superpower that others valued.

And I believe everyone has a superpower that energizes them, but it’s usually hidden by societal obligations and expectations. Unplugging from external influences, I went on a quest to commune with my true self.

I’d already taken the key step of physically distancing from everyone and everything except for my own thoughts.

Most folks have lost touch with themselves and what they truly love.

Most people need to unplug from “society.”

They need to hide away from people, the media, and their phones. Perhaps hide in a bathroom, or go lay on a park bench for a few days, somewhere they can be alone with their thoughts!

‘Cause it’s hard to get in touch with your soul…

…when you’re interacting with everyone but yourself.

We used to have vision quests as a rite of passage to become an adult, because we knew they were paths to discovering what superpower, purpose, or contribution that would light us up.

But now everyone’s spoiled with comfort, inundated with information, and distracted by devices. Everyone’s disconnected from their heart’s desires, and unable to find their superpower, let alone prioritize it over ‘survival.’

Yet, life gives us all only two choices:

Settle for ‘survival’ or ‘thrive’ by finding & leveraging our superpower. And most of us choose to settle for survival then wonder why we’re full of depression and anxiety.

If my superpower were crafting, I’d have crafted until my last breath. If it were gossip, I’d spill every last bit of tea. If my superpower was being a jack-of-all-trades, they’d find my corpse in the midst of doing exactly that.

Trusting survival needs to the universe, and being willing to die doing whatever energizes us, results in contribution and love that fosters true thriving.

But this doesn’t just mean ‘doing what we love…’

…it also means learning to love ‘whatever it takes.’

If you look at any goal you’ve ever had, you’ll notice the following:

When you’re willing to do ‘anything’ to get your goal, your goal often manifests much easier than you expect, but when you’re unwilling to do ‘what it takes,’ then your goal is unlikely to manifest at all.

Limiting our lives to only what we currently love is ‘surviving,’ expanding our lives to love whatever it takes, is ‘thriving.’

So I expanded my love to include death, and to include boredom, and to include fasting.

It’s a daring, experimental choice we all must make.

It boils down to choosing between a life of stress, scraping by in survival mode, or trusting life, filling one’s own cup, and thriving…

…even if it feels like you’re marching towards death or loss in the process.

Choosing the latter results in your cup overflowing.

It results in a natural impulse to give freely to others, agenda-free.

It summons an energy inside you of truly feeling alive.

And that energy makes it easy to give happily and often.

And by touching other’s lives in this way, the universe rewards you by taking care of your ‘survival’ in whatever ways you’re most open to.

Which frees us to give even more.

Because any time we’re worried about survival

…we stop thriving.

But whenever we trust that our survival needs are taken care of

…we thrive.

You’re free to choose a survival focus, resulting in a forever empty cup.

You’re also free to choose to fill your own cup, overflowing it to countless others, creating a life of thriving.

So which are you choosing now?

And choosing now?

And now?

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