Last summer, my cousins and I went paintballing. While gearing up, I talked to a guy named Nipon. Nipon worked at the arena. He passed me my gun and told me that life is a game and for a while he seemed to be winning.
When he was 8, Nipon wanted a cricket bat. He got a job delivering newspapers and within a year he had the money. When he was 12, he wanted to beat his friends on the math test. He studied. He aced it.
At 17, he wanted success. He enrolled in an engineering program. By 21, he was working for a tech company and earning more than his parents’ friends. He was wearing better clothes, eating expensive food. His house was huge.
This time, he wasn’t sure if he had gotten what he wanted.
His job was paying for a lavish life, but he was at a computer for 70 hours a week. When he got home, he was too tired to do anything but sleep. He missed the sun. He told his friends he was thinking of quitting. They told him not to be ridiculous.
Nipon stayed at his job. It made him miserable. Thinking as an engineer, he realized his life had entered a positive feedback loop. The more misery he put in, the more miserable he became. More and more. And it wasn’t going to slow down any time soon.
There was no choice. He had to go.
Today, he’s 35 and making a fraction of what he used to. He works at a paintball arena because he loves games. He’s one of the happiest guys I’ve met. He had a life full of negativity and he ended it. He started a new life. He responded to his situation by doing.
Respond by doing.
I don’t usually get life lessons when I go paintballing. But this one I’ll remember.
Rather than throwing tears and angry words at the issue, he approached the problem head on.
When ending something that’s a constant in daily life, there comes the daunting task of starting anew.
In Nipon’s case, the feeling of being a beginner again was liberating. He traveled the world, met new people and started really living. During this period, he regained a connection with his inner child and his love for games. He fell in love with paintball and opened a paintball business and started a team in India – his home country.
At 35, he’s achieved what he wanted 18 years ago. He is successful – he’s happy.
There’s no need to succumb to negativity. Actions and words will be criticized. There’s no changing that. Everyone’s a critic, but you don’t have to be. Respond to criticism and negativity with positivity. Respond by doing.
There may be a culture of negativity and we may be negative beings by nature, but the human spirit is larger than that. We’re beings capable of responding with action to words. You have the courage, you just need to act on it.
Take a leap of faith and be happy you did.