Keeping it Real

Young Depressed Man Lost In Sadness And Sorrow Holding Paper Wit

Keeping it real is harder than you may think.

Shola’s Note (4/2/2015): Since April Fool’s Day is now officially over, I’m adding this disclaimer. Please know that what you’re about to read below is an April Fool’s joke (and a good one too!) I don’t want any new readers who stumbled over to this blog for the first time thinking that I’ve lost my mind or something. With that said, enjoy! 

This blog post has been a long time in the making.

It’s hard to admit when you’re wrong sometimes, and it’s even more difficult when you decide to do so on a very public forum like a blog.

Even though all of that is true, I’m still going to do it anyway. As far as I’m concerned, I don’t have much of a choice.

Here goes nothing…

I’ve been wrong about everything.

Okay, maybe not everything, but it’s pretty damn close.

This has been a really tough couple of weeks for me, to be honest. I’ve spent a lot of time deeply examining what I’ve been doing here on The Positivity Solution, and I walked away with the realization that some serious changes need to be made around here.

Questioning everything that you’ve ever believed in is an incredibly humbling experience. It’s a lot more humbling when you realize that a great deal of what you believed in was totally wrong.

In some very private moments, a few of my closest friends/family became aware of how close I was to permanently shutting down this blog for good. I almost took the coward’s way out and bailed out on all of you without any explanation.

No matter what I’m going through, you guys deserve more than that from me.

In the words below, I’m going to do my best to “man up” by facing each of you and explaining specifically how I ended up getting so many things, so incredibly wrong on this blog. Admittedly, I’ve had quite a few private moments in the past few weeks where I struggled mightily to fight back tears as I sorted out the mess in my brain.

The words you’re about to read are intended to help sort out that mess in my brain. This won’t be easy for me, but I’ve already waited long enough to do this and I won’t wait a moment longer to share my thoughts with you.

Welcome to the most challenging post that I have ever written.

Welcome To The Real World

I launched this blog with the goal of creating a more positive world at work, at home, and every place in between. More than anything, I wanted to create a better world for all of us and I was willing to fight for this cause with every fiber of my being.

That’s because I believed wholeheartedly in that cause.

Well, I used to anyway.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been doing some serious soul-searching and I forced myself to take a deeper look at my beliefs. Looking back on it now, many of my beliefs were totally wrong. Some of them were downright embarrassing.

For example:

I believed that we could create a world where people treated each other with respect and kindness at all times.

I believed that it was possible to erase horrifically cruel and mean-spirited behavior (like this, for example) from the world, forever.

I believed that everyone needs to honor themselves enough to refuse being anyone’s doormat.

I believed that we actually have the power to overcome our fears.

Most importantly, I believe I know that I owe you an apology for all of the foolishness that I’ve subjected you to in the past few months.

I’ll admit that I believed (yes, past tense) that all of those things were true. I don’t anymore. It took me a while to finally wake up and say that I’m done looking at the world with rose-colored blinders on.

Let’s be honest with ourselves–this is a tough world that we’re living in. Bad things happen to good people. People fail more than they will ever succeed. Around every corner is someone or something who can (and in many cases, will) hurt you.

It took me a while to realize this, but optimism and positivity do nothing to prepare us for the real world. In fact, optimism and positivity will only get us hurt, horribly disappointed, and eaten alive by a cruel world that feasts on “nice” people.

Only tough people can survive in this world, and if you want to float around with your head in the clouds being a “nice guy/gal,” all that I will say to you is this:

Good luck with that.

Enough of the mindless fluff that you’ve been reading here on this blog–it’s time to keep it real on this blog from now on.

In the real world, kindness and generosity are rarely rewarded and often taken for granted.

In the real world, being consistently nice is the easiest way to get hurt by others.

Most importantly, in the real world, it’s a stone cold and inarguable fact that you can get more accomplished by being an asshole than you ever could by being nice to others.

It sucks that’s how things are in the world these days, but just because it sucks doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea to ignore the obvious truth of the world that we’re living in. Believe me, I want to ignore the cold, hard truth and wish for a world of unicorns and rainbows too, but I’ve done that for too long.

As of today, I’m done sticking my head in the sand and ignoring the truth that surrounds us.

This is the real world folks, and like I said earlier, I’m keeping it real from now on.

The Only Goal That Matters

Do you have a goal that you’ve always wanted to achieve?

Lose weight? Build up your savings account? Quit smoking? Get a better job? Find a healthy relationship? Start your own business? Be an overall happier person?

Sorry, but in reality those things probably aren’t going to happen for you. You know and I know it.

It’s time to stop feeding yourself lies and get real with yourself.

Setting big goals is a recipe for depression and failure. People who talk about “achieving big goals” have absolutely no clue about how things work in the real world.

I used to be “that guy” who talked about setting big goals, and I owe you all an apology for subjecting you to that stupidity for as long as I did.

So please allow me to set the record straight once and for all by giving you some much-needed real talk.

Real Talk:

  • Work is supposed to suck. Sorry, but it’s true. Searching for happiness at work is a fool’s errand. There’s a reason why you’re paid to “work” and not to “play”, right? Sure, I want work to be fun just as much as anyone else, but it’s time to grow up and stop expecting work to be like a Care Bears episode. People need to put on their big boy/girl undies and accept that work (just like life) is hard.
  • I might catch some flak for this, but true love and happiness in a romantic relationship is only for soap operas and romantic comedies. In the real world, if you can find someone who makes you happy 51% of the time and miserable only 49% of the time, then you’ve found a keeper. Quit wishing and hoping for a relationship where you are loved and treated with respect 100% of the time. This ain’t The Young & The Restless.
  • Believing that big goals are for everyone is ridiculous. Getting in shape, finding healthy relationships, and starting a business are completely out of reach for the average person. If those goals were things that everyone could achieve, then everyone would have achieved them already, right?

I’m sorry if this sounds harsh, but tough love always sounds harsh at first until it is eventually accepted as truth.

Speaking of the truth, the sooner that we stop chasing the dream of a “better life” and accept our excuses as truth, the sooner that we’ll have any chance of happiness.

In fact, even using the word “excuses” is a disservice to us. I hate that word. These are real reasons. 

For example:

We don’t have the time to make meaningful changes in our lives.

It is too late in our lives to make a major change.

It would require too much effort to achieve those big goals.

We have the wrong friends/family/job/hometown/etc to make our dreams a reality.

Most importantly, dammit we’re tired.

It’s a fact that pretty much all of our excuses reasons are completely legitimate. Anyone who says otherwise is simply exposing him/herself as an idiot who clearly has no clue about how the real world works.

However, even with that said, I do think there’s some merit to setting goals. The problem is that in the past, I’ve talked about setting our goals WAY too high.

I get it now.

No more talk about changing the world, being happier at work and at home, or doing the impossible.

From now on, our goal should come down to one thing:


For your sanity, I am pleading with you to give up on any big goal that you may have. You will fail and you know it. This will only lead to a lifetime of sadness, failure, and despair.

Instead, focus on simply surviving each day. That’s it. Nothing more.

This way, it doesn’t matter if we’re in a terrible job, a terrible relationship, or if we choose to eat 25 Big Macs every day for the rest of our lives. That’s because thriving and long-term happiness are no longer the goals.

And as added bonus, if we consistently expect the worst possible outcome, we’ll get to be pleasantly surprised if something good ever happens to us.

Let’s be real–truly thriving and being happy are for the people who are already happy (i.e., the movie stars, millionaires, and other special people). But for us, if we set a realistic goal of surviving each day until we die, then as long as we’re alive, we would have met our goal.

And that should make us happy.

The Most Important Point of All

Like I said above this has been the hardest post that I’ve ever written. Each word has been agony, but it had to be done.

Why was it so hard for me, you might ask?

The answer is hanging up on your wall. Seriously, take a look.

Specifically, take a look at your calendar.

It’s April Fool’s Day!

Ah, good times!

Come on people, you know me! I didn’t fool any of you guys into thinking that I had gone completely crazy, did I? (umm…I didn’t, did I??) There is not one word of this post that is even in the same universe of what I truly believe.

That’s why it was the hardest post that I’ve ever written.

If anything, this post should have been titled “Keeping it real weak” or “Keeping it real (the punk-ass coward version).”

We are here to do so much more than merely survive.

We’re here on this earth to live awesomely, work awesomely, and love awesomely. You deserve this. I deserve this. The whole world deserves this.

Consider this as your somewhat twisted, reverse psychology-filled reminder of how special you are. Equally as important, consider this a reminder of how critical it is for us to live our best lives while we’re alive and able to do so.

The real April Fools are the ones who believe that the “real world” is all about making lame excuses, complaining while doing nothing, and merely surviving when they are capable of so much more.

If I can keep it real with you (yes, I mean it this time), the real world is whatever we define it to be.

We can make our real world a world of positivity, kindness, real love, and truly thriving…or we can do the opposite.

But as always, the power of defining our reality always resides within us.

And that my friends, is no joke.



Founder of The Positivity Solution
Author, keynote speaker, and kindness extremist who is committed to changing the world by helping as many people as possible to live and work with more positivity.

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  1. Shola, you are one twisted puppy! But this was good! You wrote about all the things I keep trying to get out of my head! I’m glad to know I can still turn to you for the uplifting positivity I can always count on you for. Rock on dude!

    • Thanks Terri! I honestly can’t resist a good April Fool’s joke, so I hope that you can forgive me! And yes, you can always rely on me to bring the uplifting positivity, I promise :). The question is: What will I be able to do for an encore next April 1st?

  2. Hey Shola, I’m in Australia so I saw this on April 2nd not 1st!! You seriously had me planning major essays of how life can be tough but being good/kind/positive still makes a difference and that goals are still valuable but maybe break them down to smaller steps. I was all ready to be sending messages of encouragement and trying to get you to tell me who did this to you so I could give them a very stern talking to for hurting such an amazing inspirational person!! I am most relieved and amused that this was for April Fools.

    • Oh no, Natasha! I didn’t even factor in the overseas crowd…oops! You are SO sweet to consider offering me messages of encouragement and offering to give a stern message to my brain-washers too. One extra added bonus from this silly April Fool’s prank is that I know how many people truly believe in positivity and how much they have my back. For that, I am truly honored and humbled. Thanks for being there for me and thanks again for the very kind words!

  3. Migdalia says:

    Haha…definitely fooled me!

    Great post and reminder that life is what you make it!
    Love, light and blessings!

  4. OH. MY. GOSH. Shola! You legit got me. I can’t remember the last time I was fully taken by an April fool’s joke. I was sitting here with my mouth wide open reading in horror. Well done, sir. *tips hat*

    • Nice! I know that you’re a pretty sharp cookie, Mona–so if I was able to get you, then I must have been super convincing :). I hope that the scare was only a temporary one, and please know that I’m still the same guy that you’ve always known!

  5. I hate you know. That was not cool. I was actually worried about you and thought: This guy went crazy or this guy is going through something. We’ll I’m glad my beliefs and connection to myself are so strong I was about to stop following your blog but it also made me think twice about my beliefs and approaches 🙂 Best

    • Ha! Apparently Luis, you’re not the only person who thought that I was losing my mind. Besides the comments here, I got lots of calls, emails and texts checking to see if I was ok. Oh man, I absolutely LOVE April Fool’s Day and my gears are already turning, thinking about what I’ll do next year… 😉

  6. I don’t actually hate you but you get the idea 🙂

  7. Well, started doubting your sanity a bit there, until I realized what date it was! The sad part is that I know several people who actually view the world like you described in this article.

    Keep up the positivity!

    • Believe me Mathias, I know–I used to be one of those people too. That’s why it was so easy for me to find the material to create this twisted blog post! And I promise to keep up the positivity for as long as I’m alive and breathing 🙂

  8. Whew! Shola, you almost gave me a heart attack with this post! This post confirms the one thing I’ve learned over the past year. Positivity is not about “happy happy joy joy” and grinning like a Cheshire cat. Positivity is about embracing and living in the moment no matter what life brings us. We will have bumps and bruises along the way. Hell, we may be taken way off course. Life happens, regardless if we’re rich or poor. We have to decide how we are to handle what life gives us.

    • My apologies for the near heart attack, Melissa! At least I know that my practical joking skills are still on point 😉

      You are SO right that real positivity isn’t about the “happy happy joy joy” silliness that many pessimists and “realists” would try to lead the world to believe. Like you said, positivity is about staying present, embracing the current moment and finding the courage to change any less-than-desirable circumstances that you have the power to change.

  9. OMG – If I had read this on April 1, I would have burst into tears. This is truly messed up – but it is funny.
    Positivity and optimism rule!

  10. Thank heavens I was off from work most of last week and was on the 1st (worked in my yard/garden for 11 hrs.).. anyways, So happy I did not read this until today.. whew.. relief it was a joke all around. You are one gifted writer my friend, cause I would have believed you were for real if I had read it on the 1st! No one got me either.. since I worked on my yard all day! No one had the chance too! LOL

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