I am not a big believer of conspiracy theories. But there is one that we all practice with different degrees. I am talking about sharing knowledge (or in this case, not sharing it). I remember that the first time I saw someone programming I though “ I could never do that“. I learned how to use a computer really late (around 19). and 3~4 years after that I was creating AI, image analysis and decision making softwares.
4 years ago I thought I could never live in a foreign country and now I feel like moving from France to Montreal was one of the best decision of my life.
A little more than a year ago, I was reading blogs and I thought “ I could never do that – I could never write a blog in English, it’s not my first language after all!“, I thought I needed some serious web development knowledge to create a blog, that my level of English was way too low. And I did it and I learned more about HTML and CSS along the way. And I also perfected my English!
6 months ago I was looking at people doing headstand at my yoga centre and I thought “I could never do that“. And now I am doing it (still have to practice a lot but I can stay on my head!)
I never thought I would be able to work with my own schedule, but now I do.
What was the constraint I perceived in all these examples before doing them? There was some fear, that’s for sure, but I don’t think this is the core of the problem. The real constraint was other people.Those who made it and told me it was extremely difficult and nearly impossible. The coders who made me believe that their code was cryptic. Those who told me I could never stand the cold winters of Canada. The teachers who told me I would never be good at speaking/writing in English. Those who told me yoga was only for girls. Those who told me you can only evolve in your career by working from 9 to 5, etc… All these people building imaginary walls to cover their (lack of) knowledge so they could stay in their fortified ivory towers.
What I believe :
1) People who made it want to stay alone at the top of the mountain because they are simply “above”, in a position of power. They will tell you anything to stop your quest: “it’s difficult, it’s impossible” and all this bullshit. This is conspiracy.
2)People who did not make it will do anything so that you stay at the bottom of the mountain with them. It makes them feel comfortable to be with the majority and every people who leaves the majority make them feel a little less confident. It’s a mix of envy, jealousy and comfort seeking.
In both case, the natural response is to do nothing. And that is the wrong choice. Of course it’s obvious that the right choice is to leave the mass and climb up the mountain. We all know that.
I have been told by some people that I am “lucky” and that they would like to be able to do what I do but “they could never do that“. I really don’t think I do anything exceptional. I am a normal person, I am not more intelligent than you are, I am not gifted. I just do.
I was not programmed to live an extraordinary life. Nobody gave me money, nobody told me what to do. I was raised not taking any risks and playing it safe. If I ran my life as most of the people influenced me to do I would be a lonely nerd playing World of Warcraft in a small apartment probably in the same city I was raised.
After 5 years of college, I met young people who were able to do the same things as I learned with hard work. These people were supposed to be my interns at the company I was working for and they were better than I was at coding and project management. They had not followed any classes, they just did it. They were not scared of trying to open a development platform software and just create. Of course they were working hard too but they used a shortcut and bypassed 5 years of college to achieve their goals. It made me feel like crap (at first) and (on a brighter side) they inspired me. If I think of a part of my life were I switched from being driven to driving, I think it was that time.
I’m glad I came to this realization. Not listening to people. Not backing off when code seemed cryptic.
Did you already meet some people you were putting on a pedestal and then realized than they were not so exceptional after all? Where does this “pedestal feeling” comes from? This is the question I ask myself when I face an imaginary wall.
Do you have this feeling too? How do you act?
On a different subject: I have decided to link to posts/essays/scrolls that resonated with me at the end of my posts. While I still believe in the power of retweets and sharing, I believe some posts deserve a particular attention. If you like my work I suppose you will find value in these posts.
Today I would like you to have a look at this post by Ken Bernock. He tells about the experiment he did as one-day bottle collector. This answers to a question I asked myself. I see a lot of people collecting bottles and cans in my neighborhood and I wondered how much they could earn from that. This post answer the question and more…
Also I am sure you would be interested in Dusti Arab‘s last post about the stories we tell ourselves. This one got me meditating (a lot!) this weekend about how I see myself evolve. Give this one a look.
That’s it for today. Have a great week and don’t forget to share this post if you liked it!