The Best Thing I Did In My Adult Life

What has been the best thing that you’ve done in your adult life?

For me, it was to question what I held as true, right and important.

Which didn’t come naturally.

It was in fact rather the contrary — let me give you some backstory.

When I was 24, I founded my own start-up company which I grew from pre-seed to the growth phase.

Throughout this time, I attached myself to the identity of the aspiring entrepreneur. I was ambitious, I overpromised, said yes to too many requests and lived in the “if I’m awake I’m working” mindset.

Quite honestly because it was what every other ‘successful’ start-up founder was doing.

But shortly after welcoming my ex-partner’s son into my life — a decision that motivated me to step up and create a healthier work-life balance — I was hit with a harrowing, near-fatal health crisis which bought me to my knees.

With a pounding heart, my situation forced me to step down as the company’s CEO and shed the identity that I had clawed tooth and nail to achieve. It felt as if the scaffolds holding up my world had come crashing down, leaving me questioning everything.

Even and perhaps especially, the very purpose of my existence.

This daunting and rather humbling period of my life forced me to completely re-evaluate the core of my beliefs — about the world, society and most importantly my place in them both.

It was a tough time that stretched out before me like an endless abyss — consuming not mere weeks or months — but what felt like an eternity. Each passing day bore down upon my soul, suffocating me with despair and uncertainty.

But it made me realise that most of what I had deemed as “normal” was neither normal nor what was best for me, but rather what was necessary for me to conform to the cultural status quo.

This realisation left me with two choices.

I could either remain on the conventional path, where I would blindly follow the signs and continue conforming to those and the environment around me. Knowing that — with every step forward — I would betray my true self and weaken my power to take charge of my growth, direction and success in life..


I could venture onto the pathless path, where I would have to shed the illusions of who I thought I was and what I thought my life was going to look like in order to rediscover who I truly am, what matters to me, and what it means to lead a fully-lived life.

I chose the pathless path, a decision that forced me to confront the fears and obstacles I’d been avoiding, hiding from, blind to, or scared to face. I moved to the other side of the world, ate my fair share of the humble pie, and dove into deep inner work to connect with my core.

I started studying different modalities of psychology, worked with therapists, coaches and healers, sang lord Kumbaya, sat in silence and spent weeks in the Amazon to receive medicine from the Maestro’s of the Shipibo tribe.

It wasn’t easy, but when I came out of it, there was a huge sense of relief and liberation. Ever since it has become my life’s work to listen to the truth that’s burning at my core — and then face it with unwavering abandon.

And while I’m the last one who claims to have it all figured out — I do know that braving the unknown has given me the clarity, confidence and strength to chart my own path through the storms of life.

In other words, to become self-led.

In the same way, the journey of self-actualisation requires a person to step outside of their comfort zone and confront their fears, biases and limitations in order to return home, or to oneself, with a greater sense of self and the ability to chart one’s own path with a newfound sense of strength, purpose and direction.

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© 2023 Jord Cuiper.