the illusion of greatness

We live in a social network world, and we tend to measure success by what we see.

If we see images of an happy family, we instantly think they are happy, even if they’re not.

Social networks give us the illusion that we have a window into other people lives, but we miss the fact that we see what _they_ want us to see.

But if you think about it: It has always been like this. Friendship, relationship, public figures. All showed to you what they wanted and hid what they didn’t want you to see.

It’s simply a stronger illusion, but it’s an illusione nonetheless.

A writer publish a books by himself on amazon, he’s the first in all sold books in amazon italy.
It’s amazing, it seems amazing and to be honest: It’s a exceptional result.
Even when I write this it seems such a big accomplishment, but then I look at the timing. He opened the pre-sale of the book right around december, which, presumably, is kind off-season.

He’s first with pre-sales only, but if you look at the list none of contenders announced the book this year, they are all old books, so why it does seem like he defeated goliath?

He didn’t, but what he did is an exceptional timing to know when to publish, to build an impressive following of people and, last but not least, to have all his social in place.

Could I do the same? Probably not. Could he beat some “star” of the books if they published in the same time? Probably not and that’s where the “illusion” lies.

Being first doesn’t mean that you are first among the best in class _always_. If you play your cards correctly you can be first in many things, are you the best of all, the _real_ first? Maybe not. You’re still one of the best, you’re still exceptional, but it’s like presenting numbers to change the perspective of the audience. With the right numbers and the right wording you can turn upside down many results and polls of the history of the world, and if you know where the truth lies you might even have a word for what you’re doing: Illusion.

Can we resist the illusion then? Not always and even if I framed everything in a cynical way I don’t think that’s the right approach. Be critic, understand that behind any result there’s some kind of effort directly or indirectly correlated.
Ask yourself some question, understand the context, do some guesswork and maybe after all this thinking you might have escaped part of this illusion.

Why only part? Because after watching others and finding the illusion in their photos, in their words, the biggest illusion of all is the one we have inside, our ego.

Nothing changes on new year’s eve

Every new year there’s a spike in divorces right after New Year’s Eve. It’s not because we cheat on dec 31st, it’s because we’re fooled again by the fact that we can seek a new start by changing the outside conditions.

A new watch, a new job, a new wife. They can change part of our surroundings but won’t change us. We will still be the same, with our problems and limits. And until we face and fix those limits, until we go above and beyond to believe that we, too, can be different, no, there won’t be any difference between what we were yesterday, and what we are today.

New Year’s Eve doesn’t change much until we do.

Embrace the unexpected

Always embrace the unexpected, the unknown. Not all things come to do harm, many are a path to a change you needed to make anyway.

Embrace it, try to feel if this new road works for you, test it out before you refuse it.

You might not know what’s behind the things you don’t like.

Some time alone

I never thought that going out for a walk to dispose of the trash would be so magic. But it was indeed.
I look forward to it, I put my earphones on and do a small walk to the trash bins outside. 5 to 10 minutes of slow walking, usually at night, with the empty streets and the cold winter air around.

It’s winter, the windows are all closed when I go for this walk, the city seems like sleeping although I’m sure people are still awake in their homes.

What’s magic about it? If I think about it I’d say that it’s mostly the fact that I’m 100% doing one thing, and that I have nothing else to do. No schedule, no task afterwards, nothing. It’s just a walk alone in the frosty winter night.

Tasks, planning, scheduling. All seems wonderful but in the end it’s when we get into the unplanned, the white page, that we go back to our roots, at least for me these moments are one of the few times when I can truly feel relaxed. Not because I’m otherwise stressed, but because the entire world and life stops for a few minutes. All the scheduling is less important, all the task are not part of my mind and my mind is not wandering away.

Protect those times. For you it might be something else, but once you found it be sure to understand what makes them special. It’s not about happiness, it’s not about fulfilling, it’s about getting out of the attention economy and getting back to a more simple and minimal approach.

Comparison hurts

We are a product of comparison. We make choices in our lives based on what other people have. We consider their well being and happiness as the result of a specific part, like work, or money, or the house.

We see that our life is lacking that part and so we set on a journey to conquer it.

What we forget about this is that we don’t see what was behind their curtains. Their happiness might be as well the result of meditation, of even a premature understanding of death in life. Who knows. We don’t know their struggle.

Moreover, we miss 2 more points.

First: we think that this will work for us. That owning a bigger house or more money will be the solution to our problems.

Second: We think we can sustain their pressure. To get there people struggle, people are confronted with even more difficult choices. Would we be able to bear that kind of weight?

It’s hard to escape the comparison. We all do it from time to time. But it’s also possible to remind us what comparison really is: A method to explore, not to define life.

stolen ideas

How worth is a stolen idea? How much it values?

I’d say it values almost nothing because a stolen idea is zero without execution. Yes, it might take time to accept, but an idea is just that: An idea.

What gets the idea into the world is struggle, running, fatigue, effort. It’s sweat 100%. It’s passion, it’s focus and user-targeting.

Sometime the niche is too small to be worth considering for any “big” opponents. Why? Because they won’t spend money in growing a small niche or know that the niche won’t produce enough money for them.

You’re not them though. You’re free. You can do whatever you want. The only thing you need is an execution.

Worried about copying?
Everything in this worlds has clones, we as human have dopplegangers, coke has Pepsi, sprite has 7up. And we’re not counting the cheap fake copies, we’re talking about “same-level” products.

So yeah, you will be copied. But you can still be unique and loved.

Letting things heal

Some things heals like wound in a body. They take time. Relationships, friendships, they do need time and space to grow, to change, to improve.

Your effort won’t be repaid fast, it might as well be paid when it’s not the right time.
But as you can guess we cannot control this. What we can do is to take time, to improve, to learn, to move forward.

Cherishing our relationships so they are more meaningful and impactful.
As for the result we can only do one thing: Try to accept it, either if we like it or no.

Untold stories

Everything has a story, one that’s visible in plain sight, one that’s hidden below the words, under the clear ground.

It’s the reason why when we talk to people we omit our emotions, we don’t talk about them out loud, we don’t show them. We hide them because it’s easy, because we are not used to it.

Those emotions have some luggage with them. They carry many meanings. Many untold stories that are worth to be told.

We were sitting at a table and a friend speaks to her wife about how they could leave their child to his grandma so they could do a small 3 days trip.

She said no and started discussing about it like if she didn’t want to leave her child.
It made sense, but there was another story.
There was a story of a mother that was worried, and she thought that they could try to see how the baby would react, and if it did go well they’d go to the trip, otherwise they’d stay at home.

That story also had another untold story, the story of her feeling “bad”, worried about her child, unsure about her role of mother and her skills, a story she didn’t see into the mirror of her husband because he was calm and relaxed. This difference in the reaction made her think that she was wrong and he was treating her like a stupid teenager, which she was not.

She didn’t told him this story. It took a while to get to that, but it’s clear at first sight that we hide information to be less vulnerable.
The downside is that we create a paradox: To be less vulnerable, we are more open to attacks and fights.

what you can’t do

Being able to do something is often a matter of perspective.

There are many things that seem impossible, but some people can do it. Are they magician? No, they simply figured out how to do it.

When we say “I can’t do it” beforehand we’re expressing our little hope in the outcome, the fact that we feel like our skills don’t match the test. We feel lower than expected.

But if you see it this way, then you just decided what you can’t do. Not because you can’t, but because you don’t believe in it.


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