It’s your responsibility to demolish fake limitations.
There isn’t some long line of people begging you to become better. If you’re lucky, you have a couple of people in your life offering genuine encouragement. The rest of the world, meanwhile, holds a sign that reads “Trouble Up Ahead, No Solutions In Sight”. Unforeseen problems (and setbacks) are the only trends worth noting, and you can bet your ass that they’re not going to solve themselves.
You have to take matters into your own hands. And thank God you have hands to do something with.
It beats fidgeting.
My defense mechanism has been aloofness for as long as I can remember.
When a situation becomes too uncomfortable or too confrontational, my default is to play dumb and act like I didn’t notice. It’s a weird way to self-handicap, but the usefulness is that it gives me an out (or an excuse) for not doing something well. It’s a fake limitation I’m creating, but it doesn’t always serve me and I’m curious about who I’ll become the more I chip away at it.
We all have these silly limitations that are in our control and we ought to do everything in our power to redirect the energy behind them into something more beneficial for the life we’re in now vs. the one they were created in.
There are times when I’m able to use this tendency to be aloof in a net-positive way.
It’s more of a beginner mind type of thing where I let someone speak on a topic I know a great deal about, except I respond & interact as if I haven’t spent hours and hours learning about it so that they may share a piece of wisdom or an angle on it that I have yet to consider. It’s the best way that I know how to prevent myself from becoming a know-it-all. I despise those types of people because it’s a clear sign they have an unchecked ego. In all honesty, it’s because I never want my own ego to get out of line. So I lean a bit further into humility than I should.
Either way, I would much rather feel secretly smart than be obviously arrogant.
We are all secretly smart about something.
There is a part of our perspective that is unique to only ourselves. And this is precisely where we need to make our bets. It doesn’t have to be immediate, but at some point, we have to go out on our own limbs and pick the fruit no one else is seeing.
If you succeed only once, that’s all it takes to win the bet on yourself.
1st place being You is lightyears better than being 2nd place at someone else.
For better or for worse, it’s a get-shit-done world.
There’s work to do no matter who you are or where you’re at. So it makes sense to work hard at something, but it’s best to work hard at the right things & with the right people. It’s a bad trade of time otherwise. You’ve probably felt the feeling of having near limitless energy for the things you care about, but much less on other people’s dreams.
We all have our ladders (and levels) to climb and it is satisfying to advance your life and reach new places.
This is where it pays to pay attention.
I have yet to see any examples of where clarity isn’t king. It's paramount to heighten your perception and get crystal clear on your desires or the situation. Flying blind isn’t cool and you want to minimize what hindsight will later point out as obvious.
Don’t worry though, Mystery will outperform our clarity and we may be pleasantly surprised by what we didn’t expect or account for.
It makes for a more beautiful life story anyhow.
Any great life is a piece of art. And art is relieving because it captures something that’s felt, but not necessarily a given. It’s a curation of important moments, storylines, plot twists, and underdog triumphs. You have to have taste for living well.
As Carl Jung puts it: “The world will ask you who you are, and if you don't know, the world will tell you.”
Back in my skydiving days, something I’d hear all the time from non-skydivers would be something like “Why would I want to jump out of a perfectly good airplane?”
Of course, I knew what they were getting at (why risk it), but I’ve never gotten over the last 3 words: perfectly good airplane. First off, there’s no such thing as a perfectly good airplane. Secondly, it makes me think of perceived risks in general. The imagined person in this example needs the plane to be on fire or falling out of the sky before they jump.
But, in the opposite way, people live as though they need to have everything hashed out and perfected before they take action. Most people find themselves somewhere in the mediocre middle, feeling like they are in this loop of getting ready to get ready.
It’s a neat trap.
Just like the airplane, there’s a myth that something can be perfectly tuned.
People can spend decades upon decades 'working on themselves' before they feel like they can do something. When I hear of this, I can’t help but remember this poignant tweet from Eliezer Yudkowsky:
“Your annual reminder that you don't need to resolve your issues, you don't need to deal with your emotional baggage, you don't need to process your trauma, you don't need to confront your past, you don't need to figure yourself out, you can just go ahead and do the thing.”
The world needs more people just going ahead and doing the thing.
Times are too desperate to wait until you’re 100% healed, 100% authentic, 100% problem-free. We are well past that luxury (if it even existed to begin with).
Instead, as soon you’re able to catch a breath above the water, pull someone else up.
You don't have to wait until you are back on shore, dried off, and a certified lifeguard to dive back in and help the world.
Do what you can as soon as you can because there’s likely a ton you’re already capable of.
Turns out there can be a lot of overlap between building design and building a life. John Ruskin (unknowingly perhaps) tells us how to live life better.
It's never too late to stumble upon an underlying principle of reality. (Especially one that can be put to use immediately)