I remember I was on vacation in Dubai a couple months ago. I had worked really hard the past few months and I wanted to give myself a break and indulge a little.
I booked myself into a fancy hotel, ate out...you know the usual stuff.
As fate would have it, I came across Ryan Holidays book, Ego Is The Enemy.
Now, I don't say this lightly guys, this book had a profound impact on me and it made me step back and reflect on everything, I can almost assure you that it will do the same for you.
While there was a myriad of thought provoking concepts in the book, here are my top 4.
“When success begins to slip from your fingers—for whatever reason—the response isn’t to grip and claw so hard that you shatter it to pieces. It’s to understand that you must work yourself back to the aspirational phase. You must get back to first principles and best practices.”
When beginning to learn and do something new, be it a business venture or learning different creative skills, in your mind at the start, the thing you find impossibly challenging, will almost always become second nature to you and so simple you won't be able to comprehend how others cannot do the same, which is why it is always a shock to me when clients ask me 'how can we make this viral or what can we do to increase the numbers' Or What do I have to do for branding. The hard part is remembering the small foundational steps taken on a daily basis prior any achievement, the things that build momentum and this is why if you are beginner at something, with no understanding of the rules in a given industry, you have the potential to come up with things people never thought of. It is that creativity that will get you the high end clients and that creativity that will give you those viral numbers. So, in conclusion, don't let your lack of skills stop you from starting something new, sometimes not knowing or finding things out serendipitously can be your biggest advantage.
In zen, there is a principle that masters try and hammer on - the beginners mind.
“Those who have subdued their ego understand that it doesn’t degrade you when others treat you poorly; it degrades them.”
I think one of the toughest lessons I've learnt in life is this.
It can feel so intoxicating to react when you've felt like you've been treated poorly. Every fibre of your being wants to yell, to show something, to prove something...but the best thing for your soul and well...just productivity is to let it go.
This doesn't mean, never defend your right and stand up for yourself, I'm sure you are aware in what situations you should do that. But never stoop to a petty level. Your time is more valuable.
But I get it...I've been there. When even your friends don't take you seriously. People laugh off your ideas and make you feel small.
Grit your teeth. Breath. Keep getting better and trust me, one day...they will regret it.
“We will learn that though we think big, we must act and live small in order to accomplish what we seek. Because we will be action and education focused, and forgo validation and status, our ambition will not be grandiose but iterative—one foot in front of the other, learning and growing and putting in the time.”
You ever go to sleep on Sunday thinking...Monday is going to be the DAY. The day I begin this big adventure. The day I start that diet, that business...the day, I get better.
It almost never works out does it?
Hey, I get it, never works out like that for anyone.
Instead, what I try to do is to start, there and then. I consider even the smallest movements forward, a victory, something that will keep me going.
Our minds will always envision how momentous it is going to be when you accomplish something, always forgetting how precious, exciting and once in a lifetime the journey is.
It will suck sometimes, no doubt but all good things worth their while do.
So comes in that corny one-liner, "If it was easy, everybody would do"
“Almost universally, the kind of performance we give on social media is positive. It’s more “Let me tell you how well things are going. Look how great I am.” It’s rarely the truth: “I’m scared. I’m struggling. I don’t know.”
I think even the times before social media, people had this problem.
Try and remember you are not alone.
I say this to some of my friends who struggle with comparison cycles.
Someone's achievements in life does not make yours any insignificant.
There will always be someone better looking, in better shape, with more success, achievements, and accolades. People...if it wasn't for social media and the digital age, you would never know about.
This isn't a bad thing, you should draw inspiration from it.
At the end of the day what makes you so powerful is that there will never be another you in existence. Your DNA will never be and cannot be copied. You really have to take that seriously.
At the same time, you don't need to be the next Elon Musk or Bill Gates.
You can be the best you and help the people around you, to do the same by inspiring them through your actions.
Remember, we are all going through something. So don't judge too quickly.