Advice to my young, current and future self

The real world is what we make it

Advice to my young self and to my current and future self

The real world is what you make it, for graduating from university is merely the beginning of your learning. We live in a finite world where time is of the essence, and it would require infinite thinking to make the most of it.

One of my favourite memories in uni happened during my master’s period, my teacher, at the time, stood up in the middle of the lecture and asked. Why are you all here? Anyone who can tell me why you are all in uni? Few people raised their hands and mentioned why when he jumped back and said;

“Wrong… You all are here to learn how to learn. And it is the teachers’ responsibility to give guidance and share their experiences; the rest is up to the students to figure things out themselves.”

Everything is figure-routable. Schools, not the compliant type school that we’ve been exposed to, but schools are meant to help develop and nurture learning. To prepare us for the real world. To help us become critical thinkers. To instil confidence in us. To become better leaders and problem solvers. 

Own Your Story, Own your Truth — Imposter Syndrome, Fear, and Resistance, Sander and Empathy

I am an imposter, and so are you… If all we do is acting to know things and then intentionally working hard to figure it out, then we are imposters first, before we experienced or experts in a field.

Last week a colleague at work sent me a great blog post via email. During lunch break as I usually do, I clicked on the post and began to go through it. It was so well written, so well articulated that I turned to my colleague and I said — I feel like an imposter right now! I then decided to go through the author’s twitter page and to my surprise, I saw a post to which he writes “perspective”, turns out he feels like an imposter too.

Think of it this way. Imposter Syndrome is a sign that you are leading, and there is nothing you can do to make it go away. Because we don’t know for sure that we are right. Therefore, if we are honest with ourselves every time that we are leading, every time we’ve made art, design a product or present an idea to the world for the very first time, we are an imposter. Seeking out this feeling is the goal, not avoiding it. Seek this feeling out and bring in confidence to the table — you are not allowed the negative self-talk of ‘this is stupid, I don’t know what I am doing’ but show up with confidence and say what needs to be said.

Fear and Resistance are interconnected or related. Fear is the most vital emotion we do possess as creatures of habits, as humans. When we pay attention and take a close look at our behaviour, we fear all over it.

The following is a quote from the book Linchpin by Seth Godin

“If there is no sale, look for the fear. If a marketing meeting ends with a stale met, look for the fear. If someone has a tantrum, breaks a promise or won’t corporate, there’s fear involved… It turns out that we are even afraid to talk about fear as it is that somehow makes it more real. Fear of living without a map is the main reason people are son insistent that we tell them what to do. The reasons are obvious, if it’s someone else’s map it’s not your fault if it doesn’t work out.”

Resistance, on the other hand, is what makes us hesitant to release an important. That tension you feel before you launch your product or answer a question or speak to the truth in a crowd.

“Resistance is our lizard brain. It’s our medullar — the voice in the back of our heads that goes ‘don’t do that you’re in trouble!’”

Seth Godin

We are much better dancing with the resistance, using it as a guiding compass. Use it as a compass and it will always push us to take actions, that point us in the directions we want to be. Never fight it, but learn to agree with it, and you are most likely to succeed as a result.

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Photo by Tim Trad on Unsplash

Sander and Empathy are also things to look out for to own our story. The acknowledgment that the other person also has an inner narrative, inner voice in their heads, just like we do have inner narratives and voices in our heads is Sander. In the simplest form, Empathy is realizing that sander in others, and treat them well (as they want to be treated) regardless.

Everyone is right. If you knew what they knew and you wanted what they wanted, and you believe what they believe — you will do exactly what they were doing, every time.

Empathy is the ability to recognize the sander in that angry customer who’s furious about not having an extra cheese in their pasta. The person who left a one-star review on our book on the premise that he doesn’t like the title. Empathy is being to do the emotional labor of treating people differently and yet maintaining the power to say, ‘it’s not for you’ to those whom you’re not seeking to serve with your origin story.

Know thy Self — exploration stage and a key to better decision making

As humans, we make choices on a daily basis, knowingly or unknowingly, rationally and sometimes without giving it a proper thought. Such decisions some time puts us in trouble, lead to successful outcome or failure, either way we learn from it.

Because what we do daily is making choices; we are always making choices, always choosing. And the best decision and choice makers are the ones with the right values. And the ones with the right values are the ones you’ve mastered thy self.

Mark Manson in his famous book The subtle art of not giving a F*ck also added ‘values’ as another key factor in making better choices in life — choose your values and you choose your pain. For the question is whether or not you will encounter pain, its how you engage with it in difficult times.

In a nutshell, mastering one’s self is important to make better choices and decision making. To cultivate this important capability or skills, begin with exploration — trying different things, asking feedback and learning from your mistakes.


Become a Linchpin!

The following are quotes from Seth Godin.

Someone can always do your job a little better or faster or cheaper than you can. Job might be difficult, might require skill but its a job. Your art is what you do when no one can tell you exactly how to do it. Your art is the act of taking personal responsibility, challenging the status quo and changing people — the process of doing your art is the work.

My fundamental argument is simple. In everything you do, it’s possible to be an artist, at least a little bit. Not on demand, not, in the same way, each time and not for everyone. But if you’re willing to suspend yourself with impulses, you can give a gift to your customer or boss or co-worker or passer-by and the gift is as much as for you, as it is for the recipient.

To simply put, we are not our job, we are out art. And our art is the ability for us to show up in a way that not only gets the job done but delights the people we engage with. Linchpins are indispensable artists who build make their marks by doing great work that make change happen.

Be a Mckintami: develop a caretaker mentality or lifestyle

If you should rise from Nowhere up to Somewhere,
From being No one up to being Someone,
Be sure to keep repeating to yourself
You owe it to an arbitrary god
Whose mercy to you rather than to others
Won’t bear too critical examination.
Stay unassuming. If for lack of license
To wear the uniform of who you are,
You should be tempted to make up for it
In a subordinating look or toe,
Beware of coming too much to the surface
And using for apparel that was meant
To be the curtain of the inmost soul.

~ Robert Frost

Mckintami is an ideology, a lifestyle of seeing the world through the lens of contribution. A state of mind of being a caretaker. A craftsman that acknowledges her blessings and seeks to inspire others’ help and contribute by making better things.

A caretaker is a hopeful individual, simply because her metric of success is how much she has contributed to her community. By adopting such a mindset, you are on a path to limitless opportunities, learning, and fulfilment.

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