Last month, I turned 40. It’s not an old age, but it’s an age where you pause for a moment, and start to reflect more deeply on your life – what’s left of it, where you came from, and where you’re going next.

I’ve never been happier with who I am, and where I am, than right now. I love what I do, I love my family, and I have great friends. I am truly living the life I want to live.

Lately, I’ve found myself thinking about all the things I wish I could’ve told my younger self, including how life really works, and what’s true versus what society teaches us. It would’ve erased a lot of the misconceptions and assumptions I had growing up. My road to happiness probably would’ve been a lot smoother.

If I could go back in time and sit down with that kid, I imagine it would go something like this…..

Hey buddy, I know it’s hard right now. Mom’s struggling to pay the bills and put food on the table, and you never know how long you’re going to live in one place, or when the landlord is going to come knocking.

Knowing any other life seems virtually impossible for you. When the teachers ask, “Who wants to go to college?”, you don’t even bother raising your hand. What chance do you have of making it to college, right?

But, it’s all going to be okay. It will get better. Soon, you’ll realize two stark realities – being broke is horrible, and having zero control over your environment is crippling. It’s these realizations that are going to light a fire in you.

You see, you’ve been taught to believe that you’re a product of your environment. But, you don’t have to live this way when you get older. You don’t have to be defined by your current circumstances. Right now, when you look at successful people, you think they’re just lucky – they were a product of the “right” environment. You think they have access to resources and opportunities that you’ll never have, simply because of the difference in your circumstances.

One day, the desire to prove yourself will force you to make a promise that you’ll end up somewhere better. You won’t know how you’ll do it. But you’ll clean carpets, get a paper route, excel in football, and start to position yourself for a better future.

And guess what? You WILL make it to college. Even crazier, you’ll get your Master’s Degree, and land a corporate job at one of the biggest tech companies in the world.

You’ll come to this moment in your life, the moment where you’ve successfully changed your entire reality. You’ll have control. You won’t be broke. But, you still won’t be happy – and you won’t know why at first.

While you’ve spent your whole life working to better yourself, you’ve been running after all the wrong things. You’ve been chasing dollars, trying to crack the corporate bureaucracy, and wasting away trapped in a scarcity mindset. If you keep down this path, nothing will ever be enough for you. You’ll continue to view your life, and money, in the wrong way.

It’s this pivotal moment in your life when you’ll have to make a choice – settle, or create your ideal environment, change your mindset, and live the life you want.

Buddy, the world isn’t separated into lucky and unlucky. The difference is that successful people don’t let themselves become a product of their environment. Instead, they make their environment a product of them. They think with an abundance mindset, and in turn, create environments that further their most important goals.

My biggest hope would be to save you from spending the first part of your life trapped in a scarcity mindset. Too much time was wasted thinking “I can’t do that,” believing others’ success is at the cost of someone’s failure, and thinking some will have plenty while others will always lack.

You have to change the way you think about money, success, and life in general – now. You have to start thinking with an abundance mindset. That’s when you start asking “How can I do that?”, and viewing every obstacle as an opportunity for success. You’ll understand that money is simply a tool to help you live the life you want.

If there’s only one thing you learn from me today, let it be that an abundant mindset fuels an abundant life. Success isn’t about how much power and money you have. It’s about how you can use money to create opportunities that help you grow, live intentionally with your money, and that put your resources to work for YOU. It’s about living the life you want, at every stage of life.