How do you get over the fear of leaving your comfort zone, e.g. quitting your secure job to build a start-up (hey, only 3 out of 4 fail) or leaving your predictable, emotionless relationship to the time undefined singleness?
You may start by realising that at the height of your current achievements, you still live in a cage. Imagine the most successful specimen in the animal kingdom, let’s call him Simba – living in the zoo. He gets his every meal, guaranteed and on time. He has no natural enemies. Even diseases and harsh climates are not a concern. Eat. Sleep. Die.
If lions in the zoo could speak, they’d tell you “I don’t want this to be IT”. Reaching the peak of what you thought was inner satisfaction is only the stepping stone to seeing the fundamental ways we make ourselves truly happy: to hunt; to run in the wild; to have serendipitous experiences; and the very blessing in the experience of climbing new, unknown peaks. Ok, this seems to be logical and well known fact. Yet, so many of us do not oppose to being tamed by predictability and prefer not to lean out (heaven forbid, something exciting may happen to you!).
Like biomechanist Katy Bowman, I’m all about natural movement in human development. In her podcast about orcas captivated in the tanks, she said:
You are shaped really by the forces that you experience all the time. Your mechanical environment is 100% of the time so the resultant shape of your body is based on this exposure in the same way that this orca [being in the tank] was missing input, it was missing mechanical input and it was exposed to high levels of mechanical input that gets this resultant shape.
The difference between, when you look at an orca, it’s like clearly, it’s not supposed to be at Sea World. And clearly that shape doesn’t seem conducive to swimming. At least in a straight line. So, we don’t see that in ourselves very well though, because we are the orca in the tank. And everyone else is in the tank with us. So it’s really hard to see how you would have been shaped. And it’s really hard to imagine what the resultant shape of us would be culturally, if there were more examples of people who moved in drastically different ways. But there are not.
Instead of being deformed and voluntarily castrating ourselves from creativity, we should stay foolish and hungry for the unknown, as someone said.
Does doing high-barrier limbo life dance make you even smile? If not and if you want to continue to grow, then constantly burn the past successes (whatever it may be – good grades, good uni, safe job). Ever played The Sims and reached all skills and goals they were to achieve (designed limitations served by EA Games) for your beloved Sim? Didn’t it feel boring to play when you could not expect the unexpected anymore?
If you did, and you were still getting pleasure from playing, that’s fine. You probably enjoy “OK life” and safety nets. Me? I was most likely killing my Sim by leaving him in the pool and removing the ladder. Die John Doe, die.
I sometimes wonder if it’s me who is stupid and naive by going against inculcated by (mainly) older generations safe path, or them – living their life how “it ought to” be lived. Not leaning in, keeping your mouth shut where the ground seems controversial, staying long hours in the office while the real happy life is happening elsewhere (not equal with working smart), saving money, getting 25 years mortgage for some shitty cage (assuming that you live in cities like London or San Francisco) and immersing yourself in the daily programmed routine.
The biggest risk is not risking at all.
I can’t do this. I can’t do that. You can’t fuc*ing what?
Are you paralysed with fear? That’s only a good sign. Fear is healthy. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator of progress. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember one rule of thumb: the more we are shitting ourselves thinking of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.
Procrastination is almost always based on some kind of fear. Our minds makes all our future tasks big and scary. So we procrastinate. We try to avoid the pain that we know is surely going to come.
As soon as you let your imagination free, you will see that the world can be so much more than it is now.
Some months ago I started being obsessed with the genius of Elon Musk. I started reading everything available on him on Quora, in respected magazines etc. I wanted to know his way of thinking, his way of cognitive learning and imagining things, what others say should be impossible. Take for example his Hyperloop concept.
What you see on the picture above may look like a futuristic shape of the train, but that’s much more than that. Elon tries to design and implement feasible way of high-speed transportation system. Hyperloop would be incorporating reduced-pressure tubes in which pressurized capsules ride on a cushion of air that is driven by a combination of linear induction motors and air compressors. I’m no engineer but simple examples like sample route from the Los Angeles region to the San Francisco Bay Area, paralleling the Interstate 5 corridor for most of its length so the total journey would take 35 minutes, meaning that passengers would traverse the 354-mile (570 km) route at an average speed of around 598 mph (962 km/h), with a top speed of 760 mph (1,220 km/h).
Or SpaceX – Elon’s mission to inhabit Mars.
It may sound purely insane, but that was exactly the same case of the flying machines, space flights or nano computers for people few centuries ago.
Or think of Spritz (no, it’s not about a drink you lazy alcoholic), the speed reading patent used in Lucy movie, which makes it possible for you to read a 120,000-word novel In 2 hours.
Or the first quantum computer D-wave (marketed first time in 2011).
Or Elisabeth Holmes and her innovative life saving company Theranos, which makes testing blood so much more bearable.
Or this ordinary guy whom I spotted on Humans of New York – who is trying to figure out how to control magnetic ferrofluids more precisely as they could potentially be used to direct drugs in the body, resulting in more targeted and less harmful chemotherapy.
Don’t you see how amazing is it? The fact that there are people who are not afraid of swimming upstream and trying their concepts in reality is simply amusing and thrilling.
When people gather together and work towards common goal, incredible things can happen.
Microsoft latest research developments, HoloLens making Bourne’s Identity a near reality, IllumiRoom – a peripheral projected illusion, Gates Foundation achieving pure water out of human shit… (just imagine the hugely positive impact on poverty contended Africa or India). This is why I believe one day Microsoft will raise again and surpass other companies in battle of social consciousness.
Services like Kickstarter or Idiegogo are the real innovation hubs and aggregates of creativity and mad ideas. Thousands of them find admiration and appreciation in the public and get financed. Without collective power we wouldn’t have had today Pebble, Oculus Rift or the famous Coolest Cooler (Uff, thanks Ryan for solving one of the greatest inconvenience of the mankind – and keeping our beers chilled whenever we go!).
Do we still need to be reasured that if we want, we can achieve the impossible? Why shall we rewrite the wheel over and over again? Why do we blindly follow comfort of known instead of letting ourselves lose in the unknown?
Personally, I would rather not reinvent a wheel and add to the noise (Which will remain as insignificant as yesterday gossips), but I’d like to run my time and creativity into making cool stuff like e.g. making Hoverboard a reality (although it seems someone is already preparing Back To The Future fans a big surprise).
The above wouldn’t be possible if people were only keeping calm, carrying on and thinking in the ordinary way.
Leonardo da vinci called it The Inner Adventure. A state of heightened self-awareness, where your imagination and curiosity are enough to occupy your thoughts. Some call it being in the flow. It is will be like falling in love with the world.
When we are in inspirational mood, we soon need to tell others as the excitement and interest cannot be contained. We do our best to encapsulate our thoughts and findings and present them in an acceptable way, through Art and Science. If it’s original, others will soon recognise our thoughts and incorporate them into their own world, but most likely give you a credit for spinning the wheel. Boom. You’ve started your own private revolution.
But I think people can choose to be not ordinary. You know … So, yes, I think it’s possible for ordinary people to choose to be extraordinary
Each of us needs to find his/her own goal for this life where he can feel complete and go for it. Otherwise you are just going to become bitter, grumpy and you will be making other people’s lives miserable. Not everyone’s vocation is to become biotechnology expert or second John Nash (who used, inter alia, the pigeons’ feeding habits to create his Game Theory – and who claims these flying rats are not useful?).
The essence of living is to create added value, to achieve Aristotelian synergy through collective enlightenment (just look at the open-source communities like Linux). The point is to create a movement.
In the dark ages of war, people were creating the most intense and inspiring artwork and poetry. Poland survived 123 years of being under occupation and then thrived until World War mainly due to its various art (literature, paintings, music) inciting to fight the odds.
Some people like Paolo Sorrentino and his Great Beauty create the movement via film. Some bands like AC/DC, Nirvana or Queen were (and still are) giving you an energy kick to push harder (whether it’s for such trivial reason as gym workout background music or stimulating your creativity).
Some people choose to dedicate their life to raising wise human beings.
We must aim for eudaimonia, Aristotle’s term for the happiness in life that arises out of fulfilment. And to be fulfilled, we must do things we like. We need to strive for the utmost in excellence where we possess those requisite skills needed to achieve said excellence.
Don’t be Sisyphean in your approach to life but know thyself and your strengths. We must never never be passive, as the biggest crime of the humanity is not a lethal aggression but ignorance of all kinds.
Wake up, Neo…