Growing Into Your Best Self
Can I Be Extraodinary?
Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better
Is There Really a Social Dilemma?
Social Media presents us with an unlimited buffet of content.
A pacifier for adults. It makes you feel comfortable but ends up giving us an overbite if you suck it for too long.
The endless scroll, as curated by all the things we like.
Personalised news obviously has its benefits because I would prefer to consume media that interests me. The scary truth, however, is that there is a massive incentive to make you feel insignificant.
Feeling "unworthy" is good for business because it makes you feel like something is missing and stimulates the need to consume.
Your best interests are rarely a priority in a world where you can spend more, have more and be more.
Why is everyone so damn extraordinary?
Every time I jump online, I'm overwhelmed by infinite highlight reels.
Everyone else is funnier, more talented and generally more impressive.1
I searched "NASA Astronaut who is 12 years old", and sure enough, the internet showed me that was possible
Not many people would voluntarily choose to share their low-lights, so we get a skewed view of reality.
For all the amazing things the internet has produced, the amount of envy and feeling of insignificance it generates is startling.
The Concerning Comparison
Our globalised society is unlimited by physical distance.
Instead of comparing yourself to your clan (family, friends, and community), you now compare yourself to billions of people.
The comparison can stall your growth and leave you feeling incredibly anxious.
We end up comparing our seemingly mediocre existence, dreaming about how our lives would be different if we had wealth and fame.
Motivation disappears instantly in this state, and so perpetuates the infatuation with the lives of others.
Paradoxically we spend less time with the people holding us personally accountable and invest more time in the lifestyles of the rich and the famous.
Begging the question, "why is it so hard, when they make it look easy?"
The Answer is Not That Simple.
As with most things, we anticipate only the good parts of our dreams.
It's like Jim Carrey says, "I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it's not the answer."
It's easy to look past all the pain, hard work and sacrifice it takes to get to the top.
Survivors of fame very rarely talk about their struggle, and when they do, people rarely listen. 2
It's like climbing to the top of Mt. Everest.
It sounds like anyone can do it, and you might decide it's a good idea. You make the decision from the comfort of your couch.
Then you start to climb, and your perspective changes to realise the gravity of the situation that you might not have anticipated while sitting on your couch in your pyjamas.
Taking The First Step
You will not go instantly from 0-100 because that would be no fun at all.
The cheat code makes any game short-lived because the joy comes from playing the game, not finishing it.
Instead, we change the world with momentum compounding little by little.
The best place to start is where you are.
Look around you for something that bothers you and fix it.
This can be in your immediate environment or possibly in the broader environment.
For me, my recent win was replanting all my indoor succulents. My plants were so overgrown that their roots had taken over and had started to penetrate the walls. It was bothering me for ages, and now that it is done, I can move on.
Next, I have a series of small tasks to perform to get my life in order.
Completing each of these tasks clears some space in my mind for my more extensive and loftier goals.
Once I have momentum, I can start to affect the external world, but first, I need to improve my internal state of mind by alleviating some mental strain.
Solve immediate problems step-by-step and notice how the momentum starts to build.
Each act builds on another, and the series of small wins prepares you for the more significant challenges to come.
Where Do I Start?
If you plan to change the world, you will need to start from where you are
Let me tell you that there is nothing wrong with you. Contrary to what some people want you to think, you are probably exactly where you need to be.
Yes, life is tough, but If you believe you are where you need to be, it's easier to look at your life objectively.
Maybe you don't have a compelling enough reason, or perhaps you have some toxic negative beliefs about yourself or the world.
If you keep running into the same recurring issues, you haven't yet learned the lesson that life is trying to teach you.
Deep down, you know what is holding you back.
Start with something small that is within your control, like tidy up your space or go for a walk in nature.
Think about why you have put off the activity and how you might start to overcome your personal barriers.
Action First Motivation Second
When it's time to take action, there is a straightforward principle.
The do-something principle3
What have you been avoiding?
Usually, we know what we need to do, but we are distracted easily.
We all have those "I'll do this later" tasks.
We put them off as long as we can until the problem becomes so big we can't ignore it.4
How can we expect to free up some mental capacity this way if our minds have so many things to do.
I'm not saying tick off everything on your to-do list, but I am saying, start tackling some of the important stuff that is holding you back.
When you feel overwhelmed, try one of these two valid choices instead of consuming TV or media.
Do Nothing - Reflect on what you can do, want to do, or could do.
Do Something - No matter how small it seems, start the ball rolling.
The more you do, the closer you will get to realising your true potential and passions, giving you the motivation to change your world and create inspiration for others.
Focus On What Matters Right Now
Why do we care so much about comparing our progress to others?
Instead, shift your focus to what you can do right now.
Develop the habit of solving problems by starting from where you are.
Your small wins will eventually start to compound, and before you know it, you will be putting a dent in reality.
Remember the guy who traded the red paper clip 5?
All the small steps accumulated, and he eventually ended up with a house.
If you start taking small steps and taking action regularly, you will eventually begin contributing to society.
You may never get the recognition you want or deserve. That is why the process of achievement, not the end goal, is the key to fulfilment.
Even if it is small and relatively insignificant, you never know what is possible until you do something.
"Start where you are with what you have, knowing that what you have is plenty enough." - Booker T. Washington.
Sources & References
DJ Michelle - 8 Year-Old DJ
Mark Manson - Do Something