Lewis Howes: Invincible Mask – Continued

Lewis Howes mentioned in his book the moment he had the invincibility mask on at a farmers house with his friend.  His father and the insurance agent, who was the farmer, was looking over some papers.  So, like a good thief, Lewis and his friend went down to the basement, started looking through drawers and WA-LA! – $25 dollars in a sealed envelope.  His friend took the $20 and Lewis took the five.

Around 4am, his father confronted him in a pitch black room asking about the situation and if he had taken the money.  Lewis, like anyone else, lied to his father.

His father later found out that Lewis was lying and BOOM! Not only did Lewis get his emotional bank account overdrawn almost immediately, but terminated a friendship between his father and an insurance agent – not to mention stealing money from a man who needed to feed his family.

“After that day, I never stole anything again. Something had switched on inside me: I saw that this wasn’t the path I wanted to go down. The Stoic Mask I had been wearing since my brother went to jail was holding back a tidal wave of emotions I didn’t understand and couldn’t control, but this cheating and stealing was the first time I felt like I was actually in control of anything. The more I did it without getting caught, the more in control of my life I felt until, inevitably, I started to feel invincible. It was an incredible high, just not a positive one. And I wanted to change directions now.”

Excerpt From: Lewis Howes. “The Mask of Masculinity.” iBooks.

Same thing happened here.  Between 1999-2000, I committed several acts of foolishness.  Can I blame it just on my father? Well, when I was living with him in Sunrise Apartments on what was the “outskirts of Vegas,” I never saw him around.  He never taught me from right from wrong.  I learned virtually everything out on the streets, and given the fact that it was such a mucky ass neighborhood, I saw gang fights – literally.  I saw a kid come up with blood all over his face after having his face smashed in by some bad ass kids at Woodbury Middle School.  There was Bret – the best fighter in our elementary school – who would constantly impose his will on just about everyone.  My brother hung out around a guy name Ozzy, who’s more than likely dead by now (given the fact he was the worst student at Woodbury).  I mean all these things put together ultimately creates a disgusting blueprint that’s unshakable.

I stole.  That’s right….I stole some candy from the store.  I got caught red-handed once and the man came in, took the candy and shoved me out of the store before I ran home and cried.  My brother asked me why I was crying and I told him.  He then ratted me out to my father, and then I was grounded for probably 4-6 weeks.  My father, however, never sat me down and told me just how dangerous it is to steal.

So, one year later and while living with my mother, I was caught in another predicament.  Disgusting neighborhood, house got ransacked by my brothers thug ass friends (as it got robbed because of his friends, too), and again, poor decision after poor decision.  As guilty as I still feel today, I stole $1 dollar from my mother underneath the bed.  I told her years later and gave her the money back, but the feeling of shame cannot become undone.  That’s the worst part about it.

I remember the last times I stopped being bad was a comment from my English teacher – Mrs. Baise – who said “looks like you’re doing bad in all of your classes.”  That moment….was the Rite of Passage.

Luckily my despicable friend by the name of Sergio had moved somewhere else and I never saw him again.  Everyone else ended up dispersing, and now my best friends were my childhood friend Billy, Filipino from Hawaii by the name of Mark (very conservative and strict family), and my best friend Andres (who’s managing a warehouse in New York today).  Your environment, family, and friends become you.  I had that invincibility mask which could’ve quickly taken me to juvenile hall (jail for minors).  I snapped out of it.

“So I turned all this energy toward sports instead of stealing. It was unquestionably a better direction, though the idea that a change of direction alone would solve the problems was a total illusion. I was still hiding behind my masks. If we’re honest with ourselves, those of us who want to achieve tend to believe we can do anything when we recognize mistakes and change direction (in business, we call that a “pivot”). In a way, that belief drives us to take risks and do bold things—but I think it’s worth pausing to appreciate how much damage it can do if you ignore the underlying problems. You can’t just ignore the things you’re doing to yourself, to your loved ones, to your body, to your mind, to your reputation, and to your sanity . . . because they will catch up with you.” – Lewis Howes

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