I haven’t even begun my twenties and yet the number of people that I’ve interacted with over the last couple of years blows my mind every time I think about it.
I received a nice, heartfelt email yesterday that reminded me why I do the things that I do.
I find it is interesting that you’re a CS guy, but still giving the time to discover the critical truth of different society issues. Speaking of unconventional ideas to express your vision and beliefs on this changing dynamic cultural, socio-economic world. It’s very fun and compelling!
Growing up, I was the kid that had too much energy, couldn’t sit still, and laughed at anything that made a noise. But deep down, I was afraid. I was afraid of stepping too far out of line, afraid that people wouldn’t like me, or afraid that I would become a failure.
In the beginning, blogging scared me. Just like how public speaking is one of the biggest fears in the world, I was also afraid of what people would think about what I had to write. I published my first few blog posts afraid of who would read it. The irony was that I wanted to build an audience, but I was also afraid of people reading it and disagreeing with what I had to say.
It wasn’t until I understood the value of being myself that I began to write more regularly and freely.
I’m sure that I’m not the only one who has faced these kinds of doubts and fears. Think about it, how many of you know people (or can identify yourself) in any of the following?
- I don’t think anyone cares about what I have to say.
- There are millions of people much better than me.
- I’m not a good communicator.
- I don’t have the time to share my thoughts.
- I’m afraid of what other people will think.
These little fears are thoughts that ultimately limit and paralyze you from doing what you were created to do. And it’s interesting that we are usually the ones that tell ourselves these fears. The biggest obstacle between us and our potential is usually ourselves.
I had to make a decision along my blogging career. I had to decide that blogging was something that I wanted to take seriously, and that I wanted to overcome my fears and put myself out there. I had to make the decision to become digitally extroverted (even though I’m an ambivert) in order to connect and build relationships with the people that I have.
And looking back, it’s better on this side. Trust me.
Leave a comment (or respond to this email) with one fear that you face, and what impact that fear has had on you.
The industrial economy traded object for object. If you had a car and I had a boat, trading would mean that you had a boat and I had a car.
But in the connection economy, where ideas are shared, if you had an idea and I had an idea, trading would mean that we both now have two ideas.
Being unwilling to share an idea is a fear rooted in mistrust. The fear is that if I share my idea, the person that I’m sharing it to will steal it from me. In other words, I don’t trust the person that I’m sharing my idea with.
But the reality of a connection economy is that when we share ideas, connect the dots, and everyone works in his or her unique niche with his or her unique talents, we are able to create something that no one person could have accomplished on their own.
Products and services are assembled in various combinations in order to create new products and services. But ideas are synergized by minds all over the world in order to not only bring products together, but to bring people together.
When products and services are assembled together in new ways, industries are shifted. But when ideas are assembled and worked on, lives are changed.
It’s inadequate to do something for a living if you don’t have the life to do it.
Fear of the unknown, often related to a person’s perception of the future, is always weighed against the events in the present and the past. The mental tug-of-war is between continuing what you are doing in the present for the same results, or trying something radically different for a risk of failing. There’s always a trade-off between consistency and potential virality.
But what happens when you continue doing something that no longer works? Maybe a process that you’ve been using is becoming obsolete, or information that you rely on is outdated.
The definition of an expert is someone who has special skills or knowledge based on training or experience. In other words, experts are people who have knowledge or experience that they learned in the past. And as history has illustrated countless times with various companies, industries, and schools of thought, the mindset of expertise often gets in the way of true innovation.
Of course, that is not to say that lessons from the past are worthless. Lessons from the past, no matter how profound and impactful or negligible and insignificant they might seem, are merely illustrations of what has worked in the past, not projections of how things will be in the future.
Using what has worked in the past to face the unknown future definitely feels safe, but the distinction must be made between safe and comfortable. Safety zones and comfort zones do not completely overlap. Many people are unconsciously disabled by assuming that things that are uncomfortable are unsafe, but even more disabling is when people assume things that are comfortable are safe.
Innovation is achieved under circumstances where it is rarely comfortable. Sometimes the only way to be safe is to be uncomfortable.
Your work, art, creativity, passion, and dreams are expressions of your identity. They do not reign as your identity, but are merely expressions of it.
People who are hesitant about broadcasting their work often do so because they are afraid of what might happen. They are afraid of how the might fail, and the attacks that might come their way. They have a fear that people might attack the core of who they are.
But the truth is, if your work is nothing more than an expression of your identity, the most that people can attack is the expression. The only person that can attack your identity is yourself, and that comes through choice.
When you choose to accept yourself, regardless of the calls that people make on your expressions, that’s when you get true freedom to be yourself. That’s when you have the freedom to stand up and say, “Here I made this. I’m not sure if it’ll work or if it’s even a good idea, but that doesn’t matter.”
“If you’re going to be loved anyway, your behavior doesn’t have to be driven by your yearn for an outcome; it can be driven by something deeper.” – Seth Godin
Vulnerability then, is being open and transparent with your audience about who you are and what you do, not to seek approval from them, but to step out of the bounds of comfort to make new discoveries.
And when vulnerability comes from a place of already being accepted, fear vanishes.
Doing a backflip will draw attention from everyone around you. People will watch your feat, wishing they were able to perform such a stunt.
The main obstacle for performing a backflip is not physical. Anyone with an average amount of athletic ability is physically able of performing a backflip. Fear is the only obstacle.
People are mentally unprepared and unable to take the risk and attempt such a feat. To learn how to do backflips, a person must be prepared to fail. Once the risk is taken, a backflip can be learned in a relatively short period of time.
Like backflips, people are physically capable of achieving great things, the only thing holding them back is a mindset of fear.