Reflection Beats Comparison: How to Self-Audit Your 2017

Introduction By Ray Kingsman

What's up guys?

Ray Kingsman coming back at you today with another rebel post today. 

Today we are doing something a little different. 

One of my best buddies, AJ, wrote a great post on the reflection of his 2017 and the massive growth he has made as an individual.

AJ went through a monumental mind shift that saw him take life into his own hands. 

I think everyone can learn something from his experience.

The #1 takeaway here is how to view yourself and the year that just past. More importantly, how to benefit from it and become stronger. 

By the way, you can catch him over at or follow him on instagram (@uncommon__spirits). He has a lot of great content. 

So let's get into it. 

Enter AJ

So here we are.

Oh so very close to the end of 2017.

In the personal-growth world the holidays are typically a time of reflection, self-auditing, and recommitment. Another year gone, and the renewed promise of a full calendar burning brightly just up ahead.

For this reason, I believe now is a great time to review where we are selling ourselves short.

Many folks do this — and some even make GREAT and HEALTHY new years resolutions.

But aside from the very admirable “Get back into the gym” and “tighten my money belt” resolutions,

We generally do not tackle the bigger, scarier questions.

And we definitely do not do it based on their our notions of what would make us happy.

This habit of avoidance of big questions and purpose can either start at a young age where we are pressured into meeting the expectations of family and school, or with a small (and lengthy) series of compromises early on in adulthood.

And that’s a pretty crap place to be in.

I don’t want to live there anymore. And I don’t think you do either.

It makes the mind produce such classic defeatist hits as:

“What will so-and-so think?”

“That seems unreasonable, and a little dangerous.”

“It’s too late. I can’t do this now.”

For me, 2017 was the year I fully committed.

I finally threw out the rulebook. The one that tells me that I should care about THIS, and i shouldn’t be wanting THAT.

I decided that nothing was worth the day-to-day sacrifices of my experience, my worldview, and what makes me tick. After all, the bitter truth is, nobody knows me better than I do.

Lets be real, really, really real for a second. We currently live in a society that celebrates differences and unique perspectives on the silver screen — but in our private and working lives, these things are crushed. 

And while this isn’t to say that now isn’t the best time to live that there has ever been — but it’s a stark irony of our modern age; and we frequently buy it.

Well, no thank you everybody. I can honestly say I have myself to thank because this was the year i finally decided to: frequently decline going out for drinks, going to movies (when i don’t want to go,) and even turn down dates on occasion. I even withheld on larger non-essential expenses (decorations, new glasses) until the money was right.

If I do not want to do it at that particular moment, I just don’t do it.

And why? This year i decided that I am now on a mission to live my life the way i want to live it. That means in terms of how i spend my time, how i spend and use my money, and also who i choose to associate with.

And it’s incredibly freeing, even though I have to keep my newfound perspective a little bit on the down-lo.

So, in this spirit of renewal over the holidays, I wanted to take this time to list some reasons why you can use the new year as a platform to send yourself down the path to a more authentic you.

In the path of examining our progress this year, it is much better to examine our motives and reverse engineer what we want. I will use myself as an example, so that you can consider where these ideas might line up with your own lives!

So what’s on your mind?

1) What do you really want, and why do you want it?

For me, freedom is the ultimate goal. So, knowing this, i recognize that if I want to dictate my own day, i’m eventually going to need to be my own boss.

I want this because I feel life is too short to not experience the world in all of it’s glory, and to be outside and in nature. Experiencing different cultures, and learning from new and interesting people.

2) What did you do over the course of the past year towards this ideal?

I saved several thousands of dollars (rather than considering it expendable), stopped going out on expensive evenings at bars and on dates. I have refocused my energy on possible business opportunities to create new streams of revenue outside of my job.

3) What beliefs held you back from going further down the path to your ideal life?  Did you make any progress?

I spent a good half of the year being afraid to fully commit to this path. I know the general cultural expectations of someone my age, and the things i’m supposed to be pursuing.

The fears of rejection and the ideas of common practicality kept me for many months in a state of half-commitment, and a light depressive mood on the weekends.

It was hard to fully commit when i was thinking i should be out making friends and having lavish dinners, buying expensive cocktails and finding a long-term relationship.

Of course, I figured out that the only way to beat this feeling is to go full-force. I’m ready to make sacrifices and fight through the tough times to get to where i want to be, and to have the freedom I want.

4) What beliefs do you currently have that are still self-limiting?

I still have to fight a tendency to want to let-up and give up when things get difficult, or the answers are not readily available. In doing research into my various business ideas, there are frequent complications and that requires that i go back to the drawing board.

I may even have to start over several times, over a long period of time. (Possibly i might even work on a project for a YEAR that ends up tanking. I need to let go of that fear and push forward.) The fear of failure is my next obstacle.

And while i have let go of the idea that I need to behave the way people want me to, I still feel an emotional pit in my stomach when I shirk a norm, or decline to do something that is expected of me. (Which i now have to do a lot — in order to get anything done!)

Yeah, and?!

So you can see my reflective process. Maybe it will give you some ideas about places where you need to advance more, what your goals for next year might be, and where you might be holding yourself back. (That’d be great!)

More than that, I genuinely believe this is a fairly efficient and honest way to audit the results of the past year.

The important thing is to put a real honest lens on what it is you really want, and explores the nitty-gritty of where you made progress, versus where your major hang-ups are.

They say we are often our own worst enemy — and this is true 99% of the time.

Frequently it is the self-limiting belief, and making comparisons of ourselves/ our journey against others that prevents us from going in the right direction.

The idea that someone else’s answers to these questions should be the same as anyone else’s is a hugely limiting and totally false belief.

There are over 7 billion people on earth, and not even TWO of those people could agree on absolutely everything.

Whatever your answers to these questions, the honest answer will drive you. Even if you’re not quite where you want to be, if you are ready (and serious about it), honest reflection will spur you into making moves.

So the question is, for anybody who is tired of feeling put-upon, and wants to manifest their truth in this brief journey.

How do we get to that mystical state of no-more-BS?

Well,  for me the truth is it took years of emotional back-and-forth.

But ultimately it got relatively simple.

You just get tired of playing it safe. Or, you realize that you’ve been playing it safe and it’s gotten you nowhere.

Little things begin to change.

You start looking at your principles as priorities, instead of expendable comforts that only apply when other people accept them.

As Tim Ferriss says “Separate the trivial many from the critical few”.

You gotta start playing by your own rules. Otherwise you’re playing by someone elses. 

Here again, are those questions, to bring them back to the front of your brain:

1) What do you really want, and why do you want it?

2) What did you do over the course of the past year towards this ideal?

3) What beliefs held you back from going further down the path to your ideal life?  Did you make any progress?

4) What beliefs do you currently have that are still self-limiting?

 Happy self-auditing, happy self-liberation.

Best wishes for a healthy, safe, successful 2018. Feel free to leave a comment with any ideas!


Conclusion By Ray Kingsman

AJ and I have been great friends for over eight years now. 

We met senior year of high school in an English class. He was one one of the few people who shared similar views as me on the way the world works. 

Both of us were very self aware at very young age. Naturally, like minded people gravitate toward each other. The same was true here. 

Although we disagree on many things, we share the same core principles on life. 

The biggest one being that everyone deserves to live life on their own terms. 

Also, that most of our free time should be spent furthering the goal of living life on our own terms. 

AJ put this into action in 2017. He implemented a new mindset and ran with it. 

He did in 6-7 months, what took me about 2 years to do. He is a quick learner and even quicker to take action when he is serious about something. 

Taking the power back from a ruthless world is tough and it takes time. 

But AJ and I have been able to coach each other through this process. 

His friendship has played an instrumental part in my development as person over 2016-2017. 

Do not underestimate the power of friendship and community. 

You do not have to go about this journey alone. You can find people online or in person. It's up to you. 

I am proud of AJ and his progress over 2017. I am sure 2018 will another good year for him. 

Keep it rocking from my friend. 

I hope you all learned a lot from this post. It's all a matter perspective and taking action. 

That's it. 


Ray Kingsman

P.S. How are you guys auditing your 2017? Comment below.

P.P.S. Do you guys prefer these types of posts on Lifestyle or here? Let me know please.