Our place in the world
I often think about my place in the world.
I think of what I did today to improve my situation, the steps I took towards my goals and try to imagine where I will be in a year and why I’m not there yet…
Am I really doing all I can? Am I trying to fool myself by adapting the ends to justify my means?
It has never been as easy as it is today for someone to improve and reach their goals.
Creating a business of our own or starting a side hustle is a possibility a few clicks away.
Learning something that improves us is more affordable than going to the grocery store.
But if this is true, why do so many of us struggle to make our dreams come true?
Why can’t we choose a goal, define a path and do the work that takes us there?
If it is a fact that there are almost no barriers today preventing us from launching personal projects, it is also true that our actions have never been so scrutinized as today.
With thousands of eyes watching our moves and sharp fingertips anxious to type the evilest of the comments, it takes courage to hit that road towards our goals.
It takes courage to stand out from the crowd.
It takes courage to break the norm.
It takes courage to wear our skin because we usually only feel safe and comfortable in 3 situations:
- When we are part of the norm (Trendies)
- When we are indifferent to the norm (Vanilla)
- When we are what the norm wants to be (Success stories)
The Social Status Pyramid
In the social status pyramid, the base is composed of all of those who follow trends and act according to what it is supposed to.
They are the stereotypes of society.
They have iPhone X and drive Teslas.
They practice mindfulness, they meditate.
They eat Vegan, Paleo, Slow Carbs or they fast, depending on the latest top article on BuzzFeed.
They do Crossfit and go to rooftop parties.
Instagram is their primary occupation.
Is all this bad?
No… it’s just “normal”.
Vanilla are all those who prefer not to stand out.
They have politically correct opinions, they aren’t too much this or too little that, they try to please everyone but end up pleasing no one.
They are “vanilla”: it’s not bad, almost everyone kinda likes it but it’s no one’s favorite.
Success stories are what we all want to be, in whatever area.
They are the successful entrepreneur, the writer who sells and the musician who acts.
They are the Youtuber that has thousands of followers, the fashion blogger who makes a living with her articles and the consultant who has clients.
They are all those who started underneath and who somehow managed to break through all the barriers on their way to the top of the pyramid.
We all want to get to the top, whatever that means to each of us, but few of us are willing to do what has to be done.
We don’t want to leave our comfort zone, we don’t want to be judged, we don’t want to be mocked.
We don’t want to be noticed before we are successful, we don’t want to be seen struggling to make it, giving false steps, making errors, failing.
We just want the attention when we are celebrating the success on the top of our metaphoric podium, and once we’re there, we just don’t care about what other people think about us anymore, because then our ego is already greater than our vulnerability, so “sticks and stones…”.
But in reality, the path that we walked from bottom to the top is the true essence of what we are as a successful performer in any given area, so always be proud of your journey.
As Drake so eloquently said:
Started from the bottom, now we’re here
Started from the bottom, now the whole team fuckin’ here
Drake — Started from the bottom
But it’s easy to be proud of our struggles once we get to the top, a lot different is to do so while we still grinding our way up without any guarantees of success.
It’s cool to be the Youtuber with hundreds of videos and thousands of followers, but it’s very lame to publish half a dozen videos that not even our girlfriend sees.
Being a famous fashion blogger is great! – “Wow, she’s amazing, she must have a dream life and get so many presents from all the brands!” – , but for 2 years she was nothing but a “tacky girl with a shabby blog”.
The road to success is difficult, but getting there is more doable than ever and it only depends on us.
If I told you that one year from now you would be a top writer on Medium, have 30K followers, one TED talk and a book deal, but in order to achieve all that you would need to publish 5 articles per week and share them all around the internet and social media, marketing yourself as an author, would you do it?
Probably you would, but what if we take the guarantee of success, would you still do it?
Not so sure, right?
I think it all comes down to this.
This is what separates the success stories from the vanilla and the trendies.
Are you willing to put yourself out there? Are you ready to work hard and make mistakes along the way, and be judged by that?
Do you have the needed strength and belief that will push you through all the obstacles you’ll find and all the critics you’ll hear?
Then you have everything you need to reach the top of that pyramid and be one more to tell the story from above.
But do more than that, tell the stories that you’re living right now, show us what it feels like to be on the bottom moving up, there are not too many people doing that but it will probably help more everyone that is climbing to the top than any of the success stories.
Whatever you do, don’t stop moving, don’t stop working because of any setback and keep believing in your potential.
I’m doing it, hope you do it too
We’ll meet at the top!