From being in endless debt and seeking a financial advisor, to working long hours while attending school on the side, people share the fastest way theyve seen someone improve their life.
[Sources can be found at the end of the article]
A guy I know constsantly looked so tired and napped all the time during the day. He would nap so hard that you would have to shake him to wake him up, and he could fall asleep anywhere super fast. I asked him about it and he told me he felt tired all the time because he couldn’t sleep at night, he figured he just had insomnia or something but refused to go to a doctor about it. One day he had a legit mental breakdown after a few drinks, we basically had to babysit him all night and I’m convinced it was because of his constantly exhausted state.
Not long after that incident he went to the doctor about his sleep and it turns out he had been living with sever sleep apnea for years. The doctor told him he was basically on the verge of a heart attack or stroke because of it. Now he sleeps with a special mask at night and he has completely changed for the better. He visibly has way more energy and his performance in school went through the roof.
I knew a guy in my Masters program who was over-worked to the point of exhaustion. He had to keep a job as well to pay for all his bills and student loans, on top of taking five high level classes per quarter. We had an e-mail chat group with me, him, and 5 others. One day, we all get an e-mail from him saying he was sorry he wasn’t going to be able to help us finish our project and that he was dropping out of school and we wouldn’t see him again. All of us really liked the guy and we told him as such. We also told him things he probably didn’t hear too much, like “you are a vital part of our group,” and that we relied on him for not only his work but his general input as well. A few hours later, he e-mailed us back saying he thought it over and was not going to drop out, and he was sorry for clogging our e-mail feed with his stuff.
A year or so later, his girlfriend (who became a mutual friend) told us that not only was he simply thinking about dropping out of school at the time of the e-mail, but actually walked to a bridge to end his life that day.
He’s a high level Manager at Amazon now with a wife and two kids. It’s fun to check up on him time to time and see how happy he now is. I don’t know if us just showing him gratitude that day helped him step away from the edge, but I’m sure it helped at least a bit.
My coworker dropped out of high school and basically just became a junkie until he was about 21. He worked odd jobs and was occasionally homeless. After that he decided to take a brief web development course (I think it was an intense 9 month course or something, basically a full-time job) and now he works in web development with me.
He’ll sometimes mention how he thinks my 4 year degree is impressive, how he regrets wasting all his time, etc. But I think it’s pretty impressive to go from where he was to being in the same career as me.
I worked with a guy at AutoZone that had two set of kids and two sets of child support payments. He worked 40 hours with us and then 30-40 at a grocery store just killing himself to survive. Turns out that he was like 9 hours away from a degree he had begun a decade earlier and he just randomly mentioned it to a coworker while they were stocking things. The managers at both stores knew his situation and worked his schedule together to get him the hours he needed. They started a tuition fund that anyone could donate to and both sat him down to say he needed to finish his school. The school put together a pre-req class for him, which he made an A in, and off he went one class at a time. One year later he walked the stage with a marketing degree and turned his whole life around at 41 or 42.
My dad left my mom and she was solidly depressed for a year and then suddenly she exploded with self improvement. She joined a bunch of volunteer positions, met a bunch of new people, became part of the ‘in’ crowd in her city, literally goes out every night with her friends and has a lover that pays for her trips to Europe where they travel around on a motorcycle. Also, she joined a gym and lost a bunch of weight, started taking care of her appearance. It’s strange to think just a couple years ago I would hear her sobbing in the shower and now she’s this powerhouse!
My lifelong friend went down the jail path in his early 20s. His personality was always to “go with the flow,” for better or worse. He became part of a terrible group of people that routinely did awful things in order to score. Imagine robbing your own grandmother, that caliber of desperation. After a stint being locked up and getting clean, he stopped talking to anyone from that group. No communication whatsoever, cold turkey. He lived with his mom, found a job he could walk to since his driver’s license was long gone, and started getting in shape physically. He did counseling and got into martial arts as a positive outlet for his energy. Talking to him now, he says breaking contact with all those people was the only way he made it out.
My sister was in a really toxic relationship with a complete basket case. The guy was a wannabe tough guy and was always putting her down. She is a very outdoors-ey person and loves going on hikes, working in the forest and is studying to become a forestry biologist. He had zero of her interests, never went with her on hikes, hated the forest, not very fond of animals. They never ever got a long but refused to break up because it’d leave him with nothing.
One day she meets a nice guy at her new job, who’s super into hiking, loves working in the forest, loves animals almost as much as she does and genuinely enjoyed her company. Not to mention he bought his own truck with money he saved up. I think that was a wake-up call for her. I think she realized there are decent men out there and she could have one if she wanted to. She immediately broke up with her old boyfriend and started dating the new guy the same day. We were a little worried at first because breaking up with one guy and immediately going to another is usually a bad sign. But after getting to know him, he ended up being a nice guy with a sense of humor and decent social skills. They’ve been together three or four years now and so many of the issues my sister was dealing with have dissipated. She’s more financially independent, doing well in her classes and has a better outlook on life.
About 10 years ago, a guy walked in to my credit union, sat down at my desk and said, “I need help.”
He sure did. The guy had thousands and thousands of dollars in high interest, unsecured debt. This debt was costing him over a thousand dollars a month in payments. He and I got to work. We consolidated, we refinanced, and we had a fun little credit card execution ceremony.
All said and done, we saved him about $500 a month in payments. We put together a plan to use half the savings to continue putting toward the debt for a snowball effect, and to save the other half in an account I would lock up for him.
Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago, I saw him at a community event. He told me he is completely debt free (including his house), and has savings for his children to go to college. We hugged and chatted. He never did give me a secret gold coin or grant me three wishes, but I was beaming! so that’s good.
In middle school there was a guy who was always goofing around in class. He would get in trouble a lot, and didn’t seem to care about school at all. Once high school came around, he was suddenly taking advanced calculus classes and ended up getting into a really good school after graduating. I always wondered what caused the change, until one year there was a little snippet in the yearbook about him where he said that his cousin basically just told him to stop messing around and start caring about school or else he wouldn’t end up in a good place in life, so that’s what he did.
I got into a car accident on my drive to work. It was terrifying, I still remember everything happening in slow motion like a movie.
I realized I could’ve died. I realized I didn’t want to die in my twenties without ever having done anything I really wanted. I didn’t want to have died working a job that I wasn’t really thrilled with.
I didn’t want to die without ever really traveling and seeing the world. Or while being stuck “friends” with people I didn’t particularly like.
It was a bit of a wake up call. I started putting more effort into my job search. I made new friends and cut out my old toxic ones. I drastically cut back on my gaming and went back to more productive hobbies.
Honestly the biggest change was cutting out all the toxic people in my life who I didn’t particularly like, but was also too scared of being alone to leave them behind. Just do it. They weigh you down with all their negativity and criticisms. It’s better to be alone than be surrounded by toxic people.
About 2 1/2 months ago, a good friend of mine was diagnosed diabetic. To be considered diabetic, your blood A1C needs to be at a 6.5 or higher. His was at an 11.3. This friend needs xanax to have a finger stick done, or be out cold. Needless to say, he wasn’t having any of the using needles and insulin talk. What he did instead was this; he completely changed his diet, very strict low-carb, no sugar and over the last 2 months, with the help of a few oral meds, has lost 30-40lbs, as well as, lower his A1C to a 6.3. So, technically, he’s not diabetic anymore. He cured his own diabetes.
I’m really good friends with my two neighbors who are a married couple. We partied together for a long time but they always partied way harder than everyone else. They would go drinking on work nights, get DUIs, etc. I would often be witness to their intense arguments with each other and our group of friends worried that they might divorce. The guy even set his kitchen on fire one night cooking while drinking.
One day last year, out of the blue they decided to cut it out. They quit everything. No more drinking, no cigarettes, and they started eating clean. Since then, they’ve been promoted at their jobs, seem to be closer than ever to one another. They’ve saved a bunch of money and now they’re on vacation in Thailand having the time of their lives. Our friend group still parties moderately so we don’t see them at all as often anymore, but I understand. I’m just so proud of them for turning their lives around like that, it’s really kind of inspiring me to do the same.
One of my part time employees was going to school because his parents made him. He hated it. He wanted to make his trade his profession and installing tile floors didn’t really facilitate a degree. About a year before he graduated he invited me out to lunch and asked if he could go full-time. I said that would be great but I told him that we were all pretty excited for him to graduate. After the semester was over he told me he was ready. He worked full-time for me for about 3 more years, started his own business, got married to his high school sweetheart, and popped out a kid. I’m really proud of him. He calls me once a few months to thank me for giving him the opportunity.
By getting bariatric surgery. Before surgery, my anxiety was always sky high and I had regular bouts of depression, both a direct result of how I felt about my body. I felt so stuck and hopeless. I was already active, but couldn’t seem to get my eating under control and constantly yo-yo dieted. I finally said, “Screw it.” so I went to Mexico, paid cash for the surgery, and lost lots of weight in a short amount of time. Here I am 2 years later, have kept every pound I lost off, gone are my anxiety and depression, I have run countless miles, became a blackbelt in taekwondo, moved states, switched careers, and look fabulous in a bikini. I have never been healthier. My entire life drastically changed from that one decision to have 85% of my stomach removed!
My sister told me this story about this girl I used to know so forgive me if it’s all over the place. I knew this girl in high school. We’ll call her Jenny. She was a popular girl and got a lot of attention because she was beautiful. It’s worth mentioning that where we grew up wasn’t the nicest neighborhood and a lot of low income families populated the city. A lot of people never make it out of the city because we just didn’t have much drive. I guess I was one of the lucky ones because I actually went to college and moved out of there.
Anyway, this girl who was beautiful but broke happened to meet a guy through Facebook because he happened to stumble on her picture on a Facebook thread and he messaged her. Long story short they exchanged contacts, started dating and are now married with a baby girl. It turns out the guy she met is a son of an owner of a Fortune 500 Company. My sister tells me she’s always posting pictures of her traveling the world and wearing expensive jewelry. Needless to say she improved her life fast with minimal effort, some people just have it easy. Lucky Jenny.
My friends all use me as an example of hard work and dedication when they need to show their kids what it can get you. I worked a dead-end, minimum wage job that I barely liked. I got married to an amazing woman and we were broke, but happy. About 2 months after we got married, she had to go to the hospital without insurance and we ended up with a massive debt. There was no way we were going to afford it with our crappy jobs. We talked about it and I ended up looking for career options. While applying for a second job, I noticed a small college in a strip mall and stopped in to talk to them. They had an accelerated program for computer sciences, fully accredited, and offered financial aide. I called my wife and talked to her and we enrolled me in the next session.
I worked my butt off for 14 months straight for 20+ hours a week for school (not including homework) on top of working 40 hours a week. I now have my dream job as a data center technician. I have no medical debt, I own a house, and I have my dream car, all because my wife encouraged me and believed in me every step of the way. It was the hardest thing I have ever done, but I’m extremely happy I did it. Now that we are financially secure, she has decided that she wants to go back to school and has started this last quarter with one class to get her back in the swing of things. I know she can do it.
I had a severe anxiety disorder. I spent hours in the hospital hooked up to ECG machines, thinking I had a heart condition. I could barely function as a person and started to develop paranoia.
With my now husbands encouragement, I went through a 12-week counselling program. On my 11th week, my counsellor told me I didnt have to come for the last session if I didnt want to because I had improved so much. Im a totally different person now. I no longer have panic attacks and I feel as though I can actually live instead of just cower in fear all the time.
Apologizing to someone I’d hurt. It changed me and my life drastically, and that’s not hyperbole. I married the person I apologized to and now have a completely different life than I did before. Everything may not be perfect, but my home is with him.
Nothing can heal a soul so much as being forgiven.
My dad had a moment of clarity that he was prioritizing drinking over his children and spending too much of his army salary on drinks and not enough on his four children.
That was 1993. He quit cold turkey and doesn’t think it was that big a deal that he’s now gone 24 years sober.
I dont remember much about him as a drunk, but I know he was a terrific and loving dad my entire life and I’m glad my family was able to flourish in part because he refocused.
I’m also glad he’s alive today because who knows how long he’d have lasted had he not gotten out of it when he did.
He fell in love with a girl from a wealthy family without knowing she was wealthy. He was financially struggling and was hanging out with rougher and rougher people. He met this girl in a dive-bar and a few weeks later stopped hanging out with those rough characters. She helped him get his finances in order and encouraged him to apply for a job at a company her father owned (he wasn’t aware). He did well and was put on the fast track for promotion, then met her father. After a year they were moved in and 6 months later married. Now he lives in a nice house, drives a decent car, has a good job that he enjoys and has a happy life. His father-in-law loves him and he remembers where he came from and helps out his friends who are in rough spots themselves.
One of my good friends was miserable where I live. We’ve lived here majority of our lives and we always talked about how awful it is here. Everyone that lives here is settling here or just stuck, we promised ourselves we would move away from here. She made the leap and moved to her dream city, in Seattle. She got a job at Amazon headquarters and loves where she lives. When I visited her, she was glowing. I had never seen her that happy and this inspired me to keep moving forward to reach my goals. She just recently accepted a position at Riot Games and they’re relocating her to California. She went from being miserable and hating life, to loving it within 2 years.
Move where you want to, even if people doubt you. Hating your life and wanting to die to finally being happy, in 2 years, I’d say is pretty quick. People take a long time to find their true happiness.
I knew a homeless man in Cheyenne, Wyoming, who just started washing windows at businesses. Within a few months, he went from no home to owning a car (a beater, but still a huge step) with a license. He then got an apartment and became fully involved in society. I was just lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time to see this happen. I was working out of town and had a lot of time on my hands to wander down town and we kept running to each other as I did city walks. I saw him from destitute to where he ended up. It’s been a year and I hope he kept his upward trend.
I got kicked out of school at 15, not doing standard grades or any form of qualifications. I never properly grieved for my Dad who passed when I was younger, moving to another country where the majority of people bullied me, suffering severe depression, and many things going on at home all contributed into me acting up all of the time and generally being badly behaved. I was on a bit of a slippery slope – drinking a lot, shoplifting etc – just overall self destructive.
However, I always had a deep passion for science and wanting to help people or animals. So one night in the pub when I was 20, I was having an in-depth conversation with a stranger (as you do), and even though it was very hazy, he basically made me see things in a different way and ignited determination in me to do what I’ve always wanted and not let things get in my way.
Fast forward 8 years and I’m 4 months away from finishing honours year in medical school with a degree in Microbiology, alongside completing a diploma in Forensic Science with another university. I stopped abusing alcohol. And right now, I cringe at the fact I used to steal small items from shops (I now buy all my makeup in that store, hoping that some karma is being restored), and although I am shy I have managed to realise that I don’t need to have such a low opinion of myself. Alongside this I managed to squeeze in 3 months of my life volunteering at an animal sanctuary (becoming a vet was a second choice for university).
I spent my time, from the age of 15-28 or so, not taking my future too seriously and hanging out with the wrong crowd.
I went to a university when I was 18, but I was not ready for that. I had severe social anxiety, and I still do, but it gets easier with age. Not by much, unfortunately, but it does get better.
The problem with attending college after having held only menial summer-type jobs for spending money is, you don’t understand how bad things suck in reality.
I worked janitorial jobs, sales call jobs, tech support jobs, clerical jobs, service jobs, and construction jobs. They were all dead-end style jobs where you watch people die inside bit by bit every day.
I eventually went back to a small community college, where the class size and pace were not entirely overwhelming, and I’m doing well now.
I still have massive bouts of social anxiety and depression every day, but it gets easier. It’s a constant struggle pushing your bubble further and further, but there are definitely benefits. I don’t scrub skid marks from greasy things out of the toilets at the local library anymore.
There was a guy in my unit when I first showed up as a brand new private. His nickname was Hoffinator. We never really talked to much, just worked together but he taught me a lot in regards to being a good soldier and how to do our job efficiently. He got out ~5 months after I got to the unit.
I got out of the army in Oct 2015. I knew he had moved to my area of Florida, so I decided to shoot him a message and see what’s up once I remembered that.
He called me a few days later and I could barely hear anything he was saying because of wind. He told me he was on his apartment balcony smoking a cigarette. I wasn’t in the middle of anything when he called, so I just sat down and started talking to him. We talked for over an hour. I invited him to come drink with a few buddies of mine that upcoming weekend and he accepted.
That was in February 2016. He told me a few weeks ago that when he called me that night he was standing on an I95 overpass, planning on jumping into traffic. He said he called a bunch of guys from our unit and that I was the only one who picked up. He did say that two other guys called him back later, though.
He’s an EMT/paramedic now, is dating a wonderful girl and says he’s never been so happy before in his life.
I just wanted to catch up with the guy who taught me a lot of things when I was a new private. I didn’t know I was talking him off the edge but I’m so incredibly happy he called me that night.
I had a mental breakdown in spring during my junior year of college, I wasn’t doing well in my classes so I withdrew and went into some therapy.
My mom flipped out of course and said many horrible things to me. I mainly brushed it off but I really wanted to end my contact with her. I just wasn’t able to.
I never ended up re-enrolling in school. At a music festival, I had some large realizations that I really just wanted to be happy, that I needn’t be rich, and that I can remove myself from my family at will.
I got a full time job as a server with some of the best people I have ever met. My managers are excellent, the pay is excellent. I live in an apartment with my boyfriend and our 1 year old puppy.
With financial stability, I have started to pay for everything myself without struggling. I taught myself how to budget. Then, I cut contact with my parents completely.
My five year plan: I want to earn a bit of bartending experience before I move to Vegas in 2020, so that I can bartend out there. Once I am able to, I will start to set up my own business selling succulents and cacti.
I just had to share because even though I am following a different path, I have never been happier or more stable. I finally feel free.