Shoots On Real Life: Building Your Empire

Struggling to achieve your goals and need a wake-up call? Mark Whited has one.

One of my favorite video games is a PC series called Civilization. It’s a turn-based strategy game that takes the player through history, starting with one unit: a Settler. From that moment, you begin to build your empire.

You build your capital, workers start gathering resources, and little by little, you expand. After days—sometimes weeks—of playing through your game, you are left with a kingdom that started with One. All the cities, resources—everything—began with that one unit. And after taking time, making good choices when dealing with neighboring nations, and gradually building your land, your vast realm that began with a single motive leaves you satisfied.

It’s mind-blowing to conceive that that’s how empires are built—from the motives of one or a few. Everything from Rome to Apple started with an idea that manifested into inconceivably large byproducts compared to its infinitesimal roots. And that motivation is something that anyone can acquire, though, it’s difficult to maintain in these days.

Texting, Facebook, Twitter, Buzzfeed quizzes, TPS reports—do I need to go on. With work, daily distractions, and the need to sleep once in a while, it’s challenging to focus on your own being, especially when multi-tasking is the norm. But the 21st Century model of life is flawed. It doesn’t leave room for personal growth and takes focus off one’s own goals. In even worse cases, the multi-tasking human might not even stop to think about the big picture.

That’s problematic to say the least, considering you only get one life and likely haven’t even begun to live it.

It’s very likely that this generation will wake up one day, collectively look itself in the mirror, and say “What the fuck?” When you’re young, it’s understandable that the hours you work will leave you spent. Student loans won’t pay themselves, I get it. But paying student loans isn’t your purpose, nor should it be your main concern.

Whether you’re in your 20s, mid-30s, pushing 40—whatever age—you should probably ask yourself what you’re going to do for yourself. You can go your entire life working for someone, making them wealthy as you struggle to pay your bills, and get left with all the energy and motivation you once had depleted. At that point, you lived for someone other than yourself. You’ll realize that when you say, “What the fuck?”

I recently found myself saying that.

Working seven days a week, getting distracted by social media, trying to fit in a social life—and sleep—stiffed my own creativity. I wasn’t producing anything for myself or my own future. The world is filled with all these incredible opportunities and I’m spending my life producing for companies that don’t give shit about me? When I have time to start addressing my own goals, I spend it on my phone? At least I’m not alone, but what the fuck?

That’s a grim reality for the vast majority of us, but it’s nothing we can’t change. You just need a wake-up call.

I began the New Year drained in every sense of the word. I worked days and nights, worrying if I’ll have enough money to pay the bills. You know, bullshit like that. Then, I got my wake-up call.

Not previously prioritizing living, I was left for dead by two men who robbed and stabbed me multiple times on my way home from work. That’s when I began to run for my life.

Not the wake-up call that I wanted, but I got the message.

Here’s what I learned: At 25 years old, I almost lost my life that amounted to nothing more than stressing over bills for stupid shit, working for people who only knew my name after getting stabbed, and never taking  What the fuck?

With the message received, I changed course. I cut my hours working for people who don’t know my name, rebuilt friendships, spent time with family, picked up a guitar, drank some very good beer, and paid my bills (didn’t stress over them).

I laid the foundation for an empire of happiness.

Monetary success means very little. You can’t take that to the grave. Sure, we all want to make money doing what we love. Anyone can if they try. But everything has a purpose in creating your success. Making time to build towards realizing your dream is key, but also maintaining friendships is crucial for having a support system on whatever journey you take.

You can go your whole life living in a vicious cycle of work, sleep, repeat and never achieve what you dreamt of. But you only have one shot, and the ball can be taken from you at any moment.

So settle down, lay the foundation to achieving your goals, keep supporters close, and don’t be one of the people left saying “what the fuck” when his/her time is up.

Mark Whited
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Mark Whited

Founder / Editor-In-Chief at
An avid writer and fan of wrestling since he was eight years old, Mark Whited founded in May 2014. While hoping to one day step foot in a wrestling ring, he also writes for a number of outlets, including The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Mark Whited
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