“Larry, my life is a mess! I have screwed everything up!”

I get hundreds of e-mails every month just like this. People who have money problems, job problems, relationship problems, and health problems. When I get them, I'm glad to at least see that these folks admit they have a problem. You can't take responsibility for a problem until you admit you have one.

Let's get this straight: Of course you have problems. Everyone does. I have problems too. If you reach the point you don't have any problems, know that you are dead! So stop thinking you are special because you have a problem. Shut up about it. No one wants to hear it (unless you pay them to listen). Besides, they have problems of their own to deal with.

Besides, your problems are your fault. Yes, your fault. For the most part, your actions created the mess you are in. And even if something horrible happened that you honestly had nothing to do with, your reaction to that problem is still your fault. The key is to deal with your problem as a problem so you can move from problem to solution until the next problem comes along.


Believe me, I want you to beat yourself up for being stupid. I want you to feel bad. I want you to cry and add some emotion to your stupidity. I want genuine remorse. But not for long. Taking responsibility isn't about wallowing in your stupidity. It's about recognizing that you have made mistakes, admitting to yourself and the other people ...

Get Shut up, Stop Whining, and Get a Life: A Kick-Butt Approach to a Better Life, Second Edition, Revised & Updated now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.