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How to Find Self Worth When You’re at Rock-Bottom?

What is Self Worth?

“Quitters never prosper”

I don’t remember exactly when and from whom I heard that phrase. It was most likely from grade school as I’m pretty sure I heard it from an adult. Most likely, it was taught in class.

This one phrase could have killed me if I hadn’t smartened up.

Summer of 2017.

It was an unforgettable summer for me because, by the end of it, I had hit rock bottom. Man, I got to stop spoiling the story. But luckily, you need context, so we’ll rewind to the beginning of the story.

Self Worth vs. An Inflated Ego

Right at this point, life had gone very right for me. Compared to my peers back home in Vancouver, Canada, I was living a bachelorhood to the fullest and experiencing everything life had to offer (or so I thought). 

I had a software engineering job that paid me handsomely at $90,000 (or so I thought). I had the chance to travel to different cities every other weekend for dance competitions as a competitive swing dancer. You won’t be wrong at all to say that I had an inflated ego.

Since I got tired of airplanes and hotels, I decided to do something more local. I had done all sorts of hobbies before: windsurfing, motorcycling, ice skating, dancing, etc. but I’ve never done anything in the skies before.

So, as the smartass I was I googled for aerial sports. I looked up hang gliding first because it looked cool as hell. But after reading into it, you need a lot of preparation to get into the sport. Like transporting the hang glider. Thus, that ended my hang gliding dreams.

The close sibling of hang gliding is paragliding. I looked it up and it looked cool. Seeing paragliders fly over trees, mountains, and ocean… (It’s cool until you’re flying over shit, then you’re freaking the fuck out).

“That is badass,” I told myself.

I read up more on it and it looks like as long as you’re certified, you can pretty much just grab your gear which is a little “backpack” with your paraglider and paraglide anywhere in the world with a drop zone. That’s how my naïve self understood it.

So, the next thing you know, I am signed up for a paragliding course (P1 course) in Dunlap, Tennessee. 

Honestly, I am not made for flying. The whole experience from the get-go sucked. If you’ve not tried it before, they will take you out in the fields and have you run around trying to get the paraglider up. It helps if you have a natural feel for the glider and the wind – I had none of that.

To make things better, I think my instructor watched too many military movies. I never heard a word of encouragement from him. It was just constant yelling and berating. 

“I don’t think you’re going to get this today! You’re doing it all wrong!” yelled my instructor constantly.

There is something wrong when all of your students are thinking, “God, I don’t want him to come over to me.” – I don’t think he ever got the memo.

I only went up to train on weekends, because I had worked on the weekdays. And you know how people look forward to the weekends? Well, I dreaded it. 

Because I had to go do paragliding training. Well, I didn’t have to. I chose to be there! Every. Single. Weekend. For. All. Of. Summer.

I wasn’t even good at it. But eventually, I was able to get off the mountain and fly. Did I like it?

Well, it was cool. It was OK. Every liftoff felt like I was going to die. 

The reality was that I was more focused on getting certified than flying because I would see that as an “accomplishment”.

Little did I realize, a certain phrase was running in a loop in my subconscious like a broken record: 

“Quitters never prosper.”

That damn phrase kept me going back every single weekend to do something I dreaded and it damn near killed me! (We’re going to get to how that happened soon)

If I had quit, then I would have thought myself to be a loser! And all my self-worth would have evaporated like water on the asphalt under the sun in the summer. 

That’s the biggest mistake anyone can make – TYING YOUR SELF WORTH TO A CERTAIN CONCLUSION OR ACCOMPLISHMENT. 

Because if that conclusion or accomplishment fails to happen. Your self worth gets buried six feet under in what I call rock bottom.

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According to Wikipedia, self worth and self-esteem are synonymous. 

And according to Google, the definition of self-esteem is 

“Confidence in one’s worth or abilities; self-respect.”

My definition of self worth is …

“How you identify yourself and how closely you align yourself to that identity.”

Our identities can be defined by the values and beliefs that we hold. They are incredibly difficult to change. Try to tell anyone religious that their religion is wrong; you’ll know what I’m talking about. 

Because when you do that, you’re attacking their beliefs, which is their identity. People get defensive and angered when you do that. So, don’t do that!

I identified myself as an all-rounder, a jack-of-all-trades, as someone that never quits and always ends up winning or accomplishing whatever crazy goals he’d set for himself. 

That identification made me so fragile because as soon as I fail or lose, I’d lose my identity along with my self worth…

That’s self worth defined for you.

Losing Self Worth

Let’s tie what we know about self worth back to my story.

So, how did I almost die paragliding?

Reporters always get the location, glider, and gender details wrong…

The dew was still on the grass. It was early morning and we were already on top of the mountain at the launch point. I had an unsettling feeling all morning while driving up the mountain. I was three flights away from graduation.

I’m going to graduate today! But, what’s this unsettling feeling in my stomach.

That thought looped in my head.

PROTIP: Listen to your gut. Trust your instincts. When you’re gut tell you something is off. Something is off. Over many years of evolution, humans have lost their instinct as they’ve come to depend too much on their intellect and reasoning.

At the top, I prepared my paraglider and with my instructor, I took off into the skies. He encouraged me to fly over some trees to try to get more lift. I thought it was a bad idea, but I followed his command.

When you’re gut tells you it’s a bad idea, it’s a BAD IDEA!

I approached a line of trees and saw that I was leveled with the treetops. I was going to crash. I scooted my legs up in an attempt to scrape by those treetops. I barely made it over. 

I refocused my eyes to the front after that narrow escape only to see another row of trees right in front of me. I’m not going to make it.

I crashed hard into the trees. My mind jarred and went blank. Before I knew it I was hanging on the treetops. My paraglider got caught in the branches and held me up. I looked down. I’m 100 feet above the ground. A drop would mean death. I look to the side.

Great, I’m right next to the edge of a cliff.

Like the picture above, a rescue was called and I escaped from death with only a few scrapes and bruises. But that was the end of my paragliding experience because my gut was telling me that if I tried to fly again, it would be the last time I would be in this world.

And what was the protip I kept preaching? Always trust your gut.

How to Find Self Worth?

How did that experience leave me feeling? 

When my identity was wrapped up around “all-rounder, a jack-of-all-trades, as someone that never quits and always ends up winning or accomplishing whatever crazy goals he’d set for himself.”

If I hadn’t made it clear above, I made the tough decision to quit. That destroyed my sense of self worth and confidence, as my identity was that of never quitting and accomplishing whatever goals I’d set for myself.

Because two things happened:

  1. I decided to quit paragliding
  2. My goal of finishing the P1 Paragliding course was never completed.

Tying my self-worth and confidence to such external outcomes is dangerous because those outcomes might be out of your control.

My self-worth evaporated like water on the asphalt under the sun in the summer.

For the next few weeks and months, I had to come to terms with the outcomes. I had nightmares over the ordeal. What made things all the better was that things did not work out with the girl I was seeing over that same time. 

That’s a low blow for someone already down and out.

Someone could argue that I had complete control over the outcome and that I was just a quitter. That could be true. If I had got back up and flew again, I may have completed the course. But, the lessons that I learned from quitting and hitting rock bottom were so valuable that I would not have traded it for anything. Besides, on the morning of the accident, my gut told me that something was off and “something” would happen and it did. After the accident, my gut told me overwhelmingly, that if I flew again, that would be it. Instead of my self worth and confidence being down under, I would be six feet under in a body bag. I decided not to take another chance, to fight another day. But in any similar situation, the choice is always there for you to make.

What determines self worth?

To dig myself out of the pit of my own despair, I began to look for resources. The one resource that I follow, LIKE A RELIGION, is set by Impact Theory and is hosted by Tom Bilyeu who is also one of the founders of Quest Nutrition

Much of what I know, I attribute to him, and here’s a tweet from him around what to center your self worth and self-esteem around.  

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That’s what I’ve been saying for this entire post, that self-esteem is built around something and that something is your identity.

By adopting the identity of a learner, I climbed out from rock bottom. By becoming a learner, I can tell myself that it is OK to quit and fail because you learn something from mistakes. 

That also helps if you’re in a relationship because if your relationship failed, chances are you made mistakes. Instead of pointing fingers and blaming your ex-partner, you can learn and grow by asking, “Okay, I fucked up. So where did I go wrong?”

In essence, that is just my long-winded way of saying that what you place around your identity determines your self worth

If your self worth is centered around external outcomes, like winning a football game or being the smartest in the room, then you’re in for a rough ride because those are outcomes that are, more often than not, out of your control.

However, by identifying yourself as a learner, you reinforce your self worth. Every time you fail at something, every time you’re attacked, you learn something. 

As a learner, when someone tells you you’re wrong, you actually go, “Really? I could be wrong! Please tell me more!” and in that situation, your self worth does not take a nosedive, but rather, it actually climbs.

PROTIP: Center your identity on something that you control. That’s the way to bulletproof your self worth. Identifying as a learner is a good one.

The Importance of Self worth

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I got this from an article by Mentalhelp. It’s amazing to see how much our self worth is tied to our outcomes and results. It can LITERALLY translate to life and death!

You’ve probably experienced it yourself. 

You’ve probably had that one friend or person that you know that you can say is an extrovert and is outgoing. They always attract people; people just naturally gravitate towards them. They are popular in school or at work, and it seems like they can just get what they want without trying.

They are warm and fun to be around, and you just wish you were a little bit more like them.

And then there is probably that one person that nobody likes. That one person that everyone picks on or bullies. They are closed off and withdrawn. They are defensive and get irritated if you tried to talk to them, so you leave them alone. People seem to avoid them wherever they go and you do too.

You try to avoid them at all costs at school or work because they might reflect on you as a person. Their poor self-esteem might rub off on you and you don’t want that.

That is the importance of self worth; it is the difference between a life well led and a life where you wish you were dead. 

P.S. Things for You To Do For How to Find Self Worth

Here are some things I want you to do to help you with your self worth (don’t worry, they’re easy and quick):

  1. Revisit your identity and identify something that you control because your self worth is tied to your identity (identifying as a learner is a good one).
  2. Get on my mailing list at coursehack.club where you get more content like this to help you evolve and get to the next level.
  3. Get my FREE BOOK LEVERAGE to dominate your personal finance game. Believe it or not, money does go a long way when it comes to self worth.

Alright, I hope you enjoyed this post on self worth, be sure to subscribe to my newsletter and I’ll see you in the next one.

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