When I was a jw, I was taught that I can never succeed in life if I leave the sect. Now that I am no longer a member of the fold, how can I succeed in this only life I have and achieve my dreams?
How can I succeed in life not being a jw again?
You need money to live on obviously. Not a fortune but enough for a roof over your head, decent food and clothing and holidays. For that you need a job that pays well which requires education or training.
Money isn't everything though. We need a few friends, relationships, interests, hobbies. Things that make life worthwhile.
I depends what your dreams are but I will just say don't follow the crowd, live life your way. The West is entrenched in blind materialism and buying stuff for the sake of it or to impress other people is just boring. Find what you're passionate about and go for it no matter what anyone else says.
If you have concrete goals as part of your dreams, it could be easier than before. You have more tome and energy at your disposal, since you do not have to go meetings, or prepare for them. No field service, no conventions. Socially, you will be less awkward, you can wish people happy birthdays, happy new year and merry Christmas. However, if your friends were all witnesses, you will have to build a new circle of friends, and that will take time. Do you want to share some of your dreams and the challenges you see to reach them..
how can I succeed in this only life I have and achieve my dreams?
Get an education and work hard. Or sell your body.*
*The state of your body will determine your profit margin, obviously.
Whatever your dreams are they are attainable if you work at it.
You have gained from 20 to 25 extra hours per week use that time wisely.
You have access to the internet with all of mankind's information at your finger tops.
Higher learning is available on anything you'd like to study.
This forum has thousands of posters and visitors 99% will understand what your beliefs were and where you are on your journey.
We also have thousands of collective years and wisdom as ex JWs most whom are willing to share. That's an important resource you can use.
However you have to share the who and what and why about yourself. I don't mean your real name or where you live. As far as we are concerned You are Victory that's good enough. Concerned about privacy that is all we need to know.
However We should know your story up to a point where we can see how to be helpful.
For now maybe the best thing is to just ask questions and have a conversation. Or join in one.
You seem to have recognized that a successful life is possible away from the WTBS, and that's a good first step. I firmly believe that the best way to better yourself is through education, formal or informal, just commit yourself to it.
Now depending on your goals, formal education will have obvious advantages. If you want to something in an established company or do something that requires a license. (Doctor, engineer, teacher, etc.) then a formal education is probably necessary. If, however, you want to start something yourself or help to build something new with someone else, the skills are all that really matter.
But that only covers one aspect of success, if you want to find fulfillment then you should build friendships, practice altruism in your community, pursue your hobbies, travel, experience as much as you can.
Many people who leave never even realize it is a sect or cult. You do. With that crucial realization, you are that much further ahead than so very many others in your ability to have a life worth living. There are so many accounts here of people who have led - and are leading - fulfilling lives. Perhaps you can be directed to these posts - but I myself am not sure where they are located.
A few principles are worth sharing:
Even with the realization that you were in a sect or cult, there will be times when you may feel still under its effects or influence. That is perfectly normal. No one ever entirely leaves their past behind. No one. But you can learn ways to cope better with any aversive memories. I recommend reading books that strongly advocate a "realistic' approach to life, one that recognizes life can be very hard and even painful - and how to build your own "outlook" on life. Russ Harris's "The Happiness Trap" is a superb introduction to this kind of outlook. Cheap copies can be found on Amazon or perhaps your library has it or can interloan it for you?
Best wishes. Oh, and this forum also can be an enormous help in helping people shift their perspective from doom and gloom etc to, "Hey this is my life - and I need to embrace personal responsibility".
I see from your first post that you're doing the right things. You're minimizing your investment in WT and you're getting an education. You're a smart young man. Do make the effort to make friends at school.
Success, which is very subjective, can only come about by focusing on the future, and I mean your future. Set goals for tomorrow, try something new in your life. Religions use guilt as a control feature, don't feel guilty for doing anything that doesn't encroach apon another's liberties. If unsure about what directions to take in life ,take a look at people and groups from a distance , contentment and joy are easily picked up with our own intuition. All dreams can come true at the expense of energy, it all depends on how much energy you want to give.
Get deprogram from cult thinking. Get professional help if you feel you need it. When you can clear your mind of cult crap you will be able to work on succeeding in life. That's my 2 cents worth. Good luck in your endeavors. Still Totally ADD