It’s no exaggeration to say that Loveline taught me more life skills than anything else in my life (at least from the ages of 19-24 or so). I listened to the show obsessively – sometimes 3 or 4 episodes a day – for years, and I soaked it all up like a sponge because every show helped one more piece of the puzzle called life click into place.
When it comes to life advice, in my opinion what makes it stick (as opposed to going in one ear and out the other) is that you trust the person you’re hearing it from – you listen to what they tell you because you believe that they understand you and where you’re coming from. And that’s why Adam’s words resonated with me so deeply: the way we grew up was scarily similar, with moderately-but-not-severely dysfunctional hippie moms and plenty of stories about being on welfare and generally having to figure out the rules of life on your own.
I could go on forever about all the shit I learned from Loveline, but there’s one particular moment that really rocked my wold– the moment in this video. Adam and Drew read his income statements from 1998-2000, and it’s not pretty: a lot of years where he made $2000-5000 and even a few years of $0 in there. Until finally – at the age of 31 – he gets his shit together, gets his first radio gig after literally a decade of grinding and eating shit, and starts making some decent money. Basically, he was a pathetic broke loser for the first 3 decades of his life, but eventually all his work paid off and everything came together.
When I heard this I was 23 or 24 and going through a lot of the same struggles as he was at the time. I had a burning passion to make something of myself and was working my ass off, but thanks to my upbringing (which didn’t exactly have a lot of models for how to be successful) I had basically no fucking clue HOW to do it.
I was grinding like hell but felt like I wasn’t really getting anywhere while I watched my friends who made smarter choices than I did get their careers off the ground- I felt like I was falling behind and I was frustrated as fuck, increasingly worried that I’d irreparably fucked up my life and doomed myself to being another broke-ass loser who ruined their life with stupid choices (like when I quit college after one quarter when I was 18).
But I heard this and it made me think differently. Sometimes you just need to hear the right thing from the right person at the right time, and that’s exactly what this was for me– if Adam, who grew up exactly like I did, can figure it out and get his shit together then I can too, right?
Listened to this song so many times when I felt like I couldn’t push any harder – the truth is that when you feel like you’re pushing yourself to the limit, you’re probably not even halfway to your real limit
And so I told myself that I had to do it by 31 – that I had to have my career on track by then, which meant that I also needed to go back to school. And to make a long story short, I fucking did it. It took 7 or 8 years of really goddamn intense grinding (many, many days I was at school from 6am-9:30pm suffering through calculus, stats, financial accounting, etc) but I did it. And less than a month after turning 31 I got a job as a designer at Abercrombie & Fitch, which I look at as one of the really key inflection points in my career and life.
The moral of the story is this: you control your fate. If you don’t have it figured out, that’s ok – don’t give up. Set a goal and keep at it day after day and year after year until you get to the top of the fucking mountain. It won’t always feel like you’re making progress, but you are.
Hard work ALWAYS pays off – ALWAYS.