Ask Adrienne: Billy 1

Welcome to the first ask Adrienne post. This is actually the conversation the sparked the desire for this series. So, thanks Billy!


This conversation originally appeared on The Steve Pavlina forums . It is posted here with permission from Billy. Because of the length of the conversation, I have spread this across a couple post. Billy originally posted this commenting on a blog entry by Steve Pavlina.



The idea to observe your actions and that they will reveal your true beliefs. I can understand how this is true, but what I do not understand is how this is suppose to help us/me change into the person I want to be and to believe and do the things that I want to do.

By looking at my actions I can see clearly what my beliefs actually are, and I can see that they are not the beliefs that I would like to have, or the beliefs I feel would most greatly benefit me.

I guess my question is once I’ve identified my actual beliefs by observing my actions, how can I begin to change my beliefs and actions to be the ones I actually want and not the ones I currently have?




If you wish to change your beliefs, change your actions to match the beliefs you want to have.

For example. say you once held the belief that you are selfless and do a lot for others. Then as you observe your actions, you notice the following
- You have no volunteer activities
- You don’t give money or time to people or places you thought you wanted to support
- Heck, you don’t help someone who dropped papers in front of you.

Now, you noticed you live incongruently with your belief. You think you are selfless but you really aren’t. Everything you do has a gain for you. So, there is where it is your choice. Do you:
A) accept that you are aren’t as selfless are you thought, embrace that and try to get ahead.
B) Change your actions to BE more selfless.
As your actions change to match your beliefs, your beliefs get stronger because you are living them.

Back to the example, lets say you chose option B (what can I say, I am an optimistic realist :) ). What can you do to bring your beliefs and your actions closer together?
· Give money or even better give time
· Volunteer at a hospital, a shelter, a fire station, hospice, community events, adopt a child, etc.
· When someone needs help, give it without the thought of how it impacts you.. (At first hard, but it gets easier)
There are lots of options from the easy (giving money) to harder ones (adopting a child, working with special needs kids etc)

I hope that helps. If you want, if you post your specific example your wrestling with, it might be easier for people to explain things they would do to alter their beefs to match instead of my hypotheticals.



Adrienne (or whoever else)-The specific problem I have been having, for I don’t know the past ten years or so , I am 28, is that I have never known what I wanted to do with my life. I have severely lacked direction. I guess other people lack direction and they say ‘oh well’ and they just look to enjoy their lives or whatever and get on with it, but for whatever reason I made it into this life or death situation, totally blew it out of proportion, I guess, caused great depression, anxiety, shame, etc; to list a few of the negative emotions and thoughts that I have had originating from this issue.

My parents just told me to go to college and get a job, but this never suited me. All the jobs I have ever worked or even thought about working seemed so pointless to me. The goals of the job always seemed to be in direct opposition to the values I have held in esteem and the beliefs I have had about the world. It just seemed to be a struggle towards something which I didn’t believe in anyways. Even journalism, which is what I got my masters degree in, seemed utterly pointless to me.

In any case it was very appropriate that you brought up the value/belief of selflessness. I am not trying to claim to be this selfless individual; look at what I have done for the past ten years, completely obsessed about myself, my direction, my purpose, etc.

In any case your, Adrienne’s, response really hit a chord with me. Monday morning I am volunteering at the Foodshare in my hometown and have talked to them about a possible internship. A 28 year old intern, never would have predicted that one when I was growing up. In any case I think it could be a great opportunity to getting involved in something I see as worthwhile.


I thought about what I wrote and it brought to light a specific belief or question I have. A lot of my problems come from the fact that I ultimately see everything as pointless. I see the benefits of working out, contributing, trying to be rich, or being in a relationship but ultimately I question the worth of this or that activity or goal.

When I look at my actions I see someone who is probably scared, but also someone who questions the point or value in everything in this world. Possibly you could help me address this belief, which is probably not serving me.



Lacking direction is a common issue many people deal with. It can also be a tough one to handle.

I have never figured out what I want to be when I grow up, I just know I want to be me.
Since I love examples, (and because I think people understand showing more then telling), let me use one :)

When I was younger, at least in the USA, schools always make a big deal about what are you going to be when you grow up. Ever year you can look forward to at least one paper or project that is all about what you want to be when you grew up.

I never understood this. Why would I want to be anything but myself?

When I was in kindergarten everyone wanted to be a police officer, or fireman, or a doctor. When I got a little older, everyone wanted to do whatever they could to make a lot of money so they no longer had to do anything (again a concept I never understood).

Every year my project was never anything special. I would make something up just to get by. But it was a question I really wrestled with for a long time. And I finally figured out why when I was about 18 or so. The people around me focused on what they wanted to be to enable them to have money. I observed people. And this is what I saw.
People wanted to have lots of money so they did not have to do anything. They just wanted to watch tv, spend whenever they feel like it, and have someone to sleep with at night. That was all they wanted. And I totally did not get it.

So I made a list (in my head) of everything I can do and want to do. If I can do it, but I don’t enjoy it, I did not write it down. The list was long, and I found I do take joy out of everything I do. For example some of the stuff on my list was:
Helping People
Helping animals
Helping the Earth

I looked at my thought about my list and thought “I can do anything… I can do everything.. I can change the world.” But then the thought came of, well what do I want to do to change it? I know then whey I die, I want to come back to a place that is better because I had lived here before.
So then I thought some and made a yet another list of what changes in the world I want to see, which was no small task and included things like:
Everyday kindness is a normal occurrence
No such thing as war or starvation
Schools kids like, people having a passion for learning and making the world a better place
World Peace / Tolerance and love for everyone and everything
No such thing as animal shelters because all the animals have homes
Animals aren’t killed or hurt for food
The earth is happy and clean and the trees reclaim their land
Clean energy
Space Travel

There is a lot more… :) I have high aspirations lol. So then I started thinking, what can I do now to start making a difference even in just a little way towards all this?

So I found things I can do now, on a much smaller scale, to set in motion a better world. I will never be content to come home every night to watch tv. And I call a life like this, the life I lead to be far from ‘pointless’. (Bill, your word about how you feel that so many ‘jobs’ in life are pointless). Between work, my business which will one day fund the businesses I need to help the world on a much larger scale, and volunteering I am on the go over 90 hours a week. I volunteer over 40 hours a week on average, from being a volunteer EMT to dressing up as an elf to give presents to kids who have none.

Make your life worth living for yourself and for others.

Whatever you chose to do with your life, is ultimately a choice you make. You have a few choices:
Let life pass you by, and when you are 80, the only thing worthwhile you have done is watch 80 years worth of tv OR
Take charge of your life, so when you die, no matter the age, the world is better because you lived and loved, and had a great time.

Now, I am an odd sort of person. If there is a mountain in front of me and a nice grassy path to walk up, I will chose to get some ropes and scale it. Because the view from the top is the same no matter how you got there, but the journey which will be what takes most of your time, for me is much grander if I climb then if I walk. Because I want the journey to be fun and enjoyable.

Now, this is not advice I would give anyone or everyone but since you talked about wanting to add value, that is why I brought up all that.

You sound like the kind of person who needs a challenge. Something to work for that is not pointless. Set some goals that make a difference. Set an ultimate goal that to you is so outrageous and work for it. (I have a few, see world peace, and world hunger above). And last but not least, have fun with everything you do, vary what you do enough that it never gets boring, and make everyday the best day ever, because today, this moment is all you have.


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3 Responses to “Ask Adrienne: Billy 1”

  1. ethan says:

    awesome good job

  2. Bill F says:

    It may be 2 years old now, but it’s great to hear such unbridled optimism again. I miss the daily doses at work.

  3. Adrienne says:

    Ah thanks Bill. I miss you outragously! i still talk about you every day. I am going to have to see you soon so i can add more Bill stories to my repertoire :)

    Adrienne :)

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