Taking Control

"Man is nothing else but what he makes of himself." - Sartre

Jean-Paul Sartre, an early 1900's French philosopher, playwright, and novelist was a proponent of Existentialism, the doctrine that man creates his life himself. In 1946, he gave the game changing lecture "existentialism is a humanism".

"The idea of freedom occupies the center of Sartre's doctrine. Man, born into an empty, godless universe, is nothing to begin with. He creates his essence— his self, his being — through the choices he freely makes (existence precedes essence)"

In other words: we're born, we exist, and we define ourselves by our actions.



My Past Existence: How I defined myself

I used to coast through life. Taking the easier path whenever I had the opportunity. I wasn't growing. In terms of actions towards a rewarding life, I wasn't taking any. In terms of actions towards a regretful life, I was taking many:


  • Victim Mentality: When things didn't go my way, I complained. This victim mentality trained me to not take responsibility for my actions. It was much easier to blame external variables than to own up to my shit.


  • Fear of Uncertainty: I ran away from many opportunities to grow. I let other people's opinions have control over my life. I paralyzed myself.


  • Reactive: I waited for life to happen to me. Waiting for that ideal job to land in my lap, that perfect girl to walk through the door. I thought of myself as a good person so I thought I was entitled to have good things happen to me. It took me 25 years to realize that life doesn't work that way. I was ruining my life waiting on the bench for coach to put me in. Instead, I should have been busting my ass like Kobe and become a player/coach that put myself in the game whenever I wanted.
A coward isn't a coward because he thinks he's a coward, he is a coward because he does cowardly things. 

My actions defined me as someone afraid and complacent. Unsurprisingly, I never thought of myself being that way. Since we discover who we are through our actions - not our thinking, my actions were facts revealing who I really was.


My first step to turning my life around.

My first step to turning my life around.

"Reality exists only in action." - Sartre

Not wanting to go back to that life was enough reason for me to want to change. I knew if I didn't change my actions, I'd continue to get the same results. By letting discomfort be my compass, I started to make moves towards what I believed was the right direction. 



My Current Existence: Rebuilding my reality

  • Pursuing an enjoyable career: Prior to film editing, my family had a big influence on my career choice. They wanted me to stay close to home and get a steady job, regardless if I liked it or not. They had good intentions but they were just projecting themselves onto me. I let them steer my career choices for a long time. It wasn't until I made the choice to move to NY to pursue a career in film editing that I finally broke that chain. 8 years later, it was one of the best decisions of my life. That is why my recent career change to camera operating doesn't scare me. I believe that as long as I'm making progress, I'll be okay.


  • Turning death into growth: When I got Lymphoma my oncologist told me that no one knows how you get it. I interpreted that as bad luck; something that was out of my control. I took this uncontrollable experience as a way to grow; to take control of a terrible situation. 10% of life is what happens to you, 90% is how you react. Said differently, 10% of life is out of your control, 90% of life is in your control.


  • Not getting friend-zoned: My track record of getting friend-zoned was as reliable as Lebron's hairline receding. I took major steps not to get in the zone with Paulina. It was extremely challenging and I learned a lot about myself in the process. I envisioned a certain type of relationship with Paulina and worked to make it happen. Luckily for me, she felt the same way.


Through my actions, I proved to myself that I have some control. It's taken a very long time and is one of the hardest things I've ever had to do, but it's an invaluable tool I now have in navigating through life. Knowing that I have some control over how my life gives me the confidence and track record to work towards a fulfilling life.

It makes me feel like Kyrie Irving when he took control of the Spurs in 2015.

This is what it feels like to have control of your life.

This is what it feels like to have control of your life.


"Man is responsible for what he is." - Sartre

I am responsible for how my life turns out. Me and me alone. My actions define who I am. I had let my life go bad because I took bad actions. Now, my life is on the upswing and it's been, largely, a conscious effort. It's liberating.

I think this is what freedom feels like.