Adam Piggott

Gentleman adventurer

The art of change.

I’ve done a lot of changing in my life, and I’m not talking about clothes. Or jobs, or homes, or girls, or anything that is external. I’m talking about internal change. I’m talking about personality. I’m talking about ego. If I look back on my life and consider what I am then I would have to admit that I am that. I am change.

My change came from dissatisfaction and frustration with how I behaved and reacted to the world around me. The change was incremental. Tiny steps every day, and only if I was actively working on it. Change is hard. It is so challenging that the majority of people do not attempt it. Even if they do attempt it most people falter at the first hurdle. They then revert to the safe and cozy mantra of declaring that they didn’t fail – “that’s just who I am, bro.”

A young man that I know called me last night. He is attempting to change. He has spent the first ten years of his adult life in suspended animation. This is not uncommon among young people. It’s not uncommon with people in general. He began his attempt to change about a month ago and yesterday he hit his first really big block. He told me that he couldn’t find any motivation. He just wanted to be happy and feel good.

Feeling good and being happy. If ever there was a blot on our society from new-age bullshit and media lies then surely it is this, particularly the idea that you can be happy all of the time. Drug addicts are happy all of the time until the cumulative dose needed to stay happy ends up killing them. Our natural state is not to be happy, whatever that means.

Understand this – every great moment in human history, whether it was an invention or a discovery or an exploration or a creation, every great moment was born from a struggle. The term struggle is not synonymous with happiness. Struggle is hard work. Happiness is laziness. Happiness is at best a temporary illusion. If your goal in life is to be happy then understand that you have no tangible goal.

The young man asked me for some sort of of sign that would show him that he was on the right path. I told him that if he was feeling miserable or depressed or frustrated then that was the sign that he was on the right path. Because your ego hates change. To your ego, change is death. Literally death. Because change represents the unknown, and your ego would rather have you stay with what it knows even if those behavior patterns are extremely detrimental to your well being. From the 19th trait of the modern man – the modern man is not I:

An attempt to change your personality is an immediate threat to your self-ego. Your ego is the defense mechanism you have built up over the course of your life to protect you from injurious thoughts and comments from others. It is formed over your first few years and it solidifies into adulthood. It is who you are, or so you believe. But it is not.

It is merely a tool that has outlived its usefulness. But by the time you realize that it might be an idea to change it the tool has become the master. It will protect itself to the death. More than that, it will have projected itself to the egos of your family and friends. They are all symbiotic in nature. A threat to one becomes a threat to all.

Read the entire link. It is the most important trait from my list.

Your ego is devious. It will use nebulous methods to get you to stop trying to change. It will wear you down bit by bit. Like when you begin going to the gym – you start off full of enthusiasm and you stick rigidly to your program. But then your enthusiasm begins to wane. You skip one workout here and one workout there, and all with a perfectly reasonable excuse at the time. And then six months later you discover that you haven’t stepped foot in the gym for eight weeks.

“Oh that’s just me, bro. That’s just who I am.”

This is the same process that your ego uses to defeat you when you are attempting to change yourself. Why was I able to succeed? Because I have reasonable willpower but mostly because I was so desperate. My own circumstances were so intolerable for me that I just had to do something. I hated myself and I had to change. But it was not easy. One aspect of how I had to change I outlined in this post titled I was once an approval addict. The process that I describe in that post took me about ten years. I had to constantly work at it. This shit ain’t easy. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it. Ten fucking years, man.

But the rewards, oh man, the rewards. In ten years I went from someone who hated myself to not wanting to be anyone else in the world but me. That’s what real happiness is – a satisfaction with who you are. And it gives you a tremendous advantage over everyone else because the vast majority of people spend most of their waking hours caught up in their own mental shit. To say it just gives you an advantage is really underplaying how much of an advantage it is. Clear thinking and decision making free from self-inflicted doubt and anguish.

That last sentence describes Donald Trump. Watch some of the videos when he was in the Republican candidate debates. Him and ten other guys up there on the stage. Trump was on another level and one of the reasons is because he has dealt with all of his internal shit. You could just hear the ego voices in Jeb Bush’s head as he flailed away in desperation.

Change is growth. If you don’t grow then you stagnate. Change is life. We are here to learn and to evolve. If you don’t do it now then you’ll probably have to come back and do it all over again. I hope to hell there is no such thing as reincarnation. It was hard enough doing it once but it was worth it.

By the way, it’s not over. I haven’t arrived. This will go on until the day that I die. That’s life, baby. That’s life. The art of change.


Robert Gottliebsen has no business being a business columnist.


You know you want it – Friday links & hawtness.


  1. kit

    The Stoics, Buddhists, and Christians knew that the path to fulfilment lies not in the indulgence of our egos.

    I can relate massively as I too hated myself in my younger years. And it was through understanding the ego and its trappings that I came to better understand the world. From personal reflection, I now see that lefties – as I once was – are attracted to that ideology because of ego. It’s free candy for anyone who isn’t feeling adequate or self-assured. For zero cost/effort, it offers a an alternative narrative to life, a moral high ground for someone who unconsciously senses deep within that they don’t measure up.

    In effect, leftism becomes a religion that fills their void. It becomes them. They freak out when confronted with reality because accepting the truth means admitting their sense of self is based on a mountain of lies.

    • MarkT

      I think you’ll find generally those religions are about service to god; not for fulfilment in this life, but rewards in the afterlife – which is a bum deal if there is no afterlife. Post enlightenment Christianity is perhaps the biggest (partial) exception to that, but that’s only because Christianity was forced into compromise with Enlightenment values to stay relevant. Christianity left to its own devices (eg: Middle Ages) was similar in barbarity to modern radical Islam.

  2. Daryl Ladd

    And just when i needed it

    Thank you

  3. MarkT

    There’s some great observations and reminders there, and I agree with most of it – except for the suggestion that struggle and happiness don’t go together. I think I get your point, but I would frame it differently: if you just try to be ‘happy’ without any sense of purpose, or aren’t willing to struggle for your goals; you’ll end up being unhappy most of the time. If instead you set yourself goals and are prepared to struggle in achieving them, and focus on those goals rather than the emotional state of happiness per se; you’ll end up being happy most of the time.

    Happiness is the emotional reward that comes from purposeful action in pursuing and achieving your goals, and it requires struggle. The US founding fathers understood this when they proclaimed the right to *pursue* happiness. If you focus too much on the end reward though (happiness), you won’t enact the means to getting there. Just like a sporting team that focuses on the trophy, rather than playing the game well will probably never get the trophy.

  4. Brandon

    Great Post.

    To be a man is to possess agency. To do s***.

    No real accomplishment is possible without internal struggle.

  5. rick steves

    This has nothing to do with the post…or maybe it does…

    You said you liked this player:

    Maybe that’s her change. Instead of contributing to the pay gap (i.e. women make as much as men in tennis, which is unfair), she just flaunts that blondie body!

    • Adam

      She’s a lovely girl, no doubt about it, but she needs to stop playing professional sport. Her female form has been stunted from fully developing by all of the hard athletic labor that she has forced on herself. Thus she has no boobs. If she took a year off I reckon we would see a glorious bursting of womanhood. But until that moment comes, I pass.

  6. MarkT

    You’re right that change and self-improvement is a never-ending process, and after reading numerous posts of yours over the past few days, I’ve gained some new perspectives and goals of my own. So thankyou for that. To return the favour, here’s a suggestion from me I urge you to consider: Learn that it is possible to reject the relativism of the Left, without adopting the dogmatism of the Right.

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