Not being special can be your biggest advantage
I bet you’re not that special. But before you get sad just bare with me a while. The fact is I’m not special either.
Like any good old millennial raised in post-communist Eastern-Europe, I was taught that I have advantages over the generations before, that I’m special and that I’m bound to do great things just because I was born at a certain moment. Most of us like to think really deep, deep, deep […] deep inside ourselves that we are the one, the Neo in our own Matrix, the gifted by default that makes us totally different from the rest of the 7.3 billion. But as years pass by that finale never seems to come, right? That act that proves the prophecy and puts you all of a sudden under the spotlight of awesome and things just happen your way because you were chosen. You ask yourself “why hasn’t this happened yet” slightly irritated as time passes by uncontrollably. Here’s the plot twist:
“We try to alienate ourselves and believe we are special instead of seeing how similar we actually are and use that to do special things”.
People have three layers.
Let’s call them inner core, the receptor and projector. This is how they work
The inner core.
If you were raised knowing right from wrong, surrounded by people in a civilized culture, then basically you have the same inner core as the rest of the 99.99% of the population. We all have deep down the same needs, the same fears. We program ourselves to seek the pleasant while we avoid the unpleasant. We all wish to have amazing jobs, a good family, opportunity to do amazing things, the same issues that keep us awake at night in certain stages of our lives.
Basically, we all want to matter, and maybe fear that we won’t.
Do you think Leonardo DiCaprio doesn’t fear not finding true love and ending up alone although he is constantly surrounded by beautiful models? Do you think Steve Jobs didn’t fear he would fail in his life although now he is considered an icon for being different? Do you think a president didn’t wish he could spend more time with his kids on a Sunday afternoon than having the pressure of a nation on his shoulders 24/7? Deep down we are not different but what matters are the next two layers.
Your mid layer. This is your thoughts. How you process and analyze things. You’re still not special. But everyone perceives information differently. Imagine wanting to have a brilliant career. You apply for your dream jobs and start getting rejected every time. The inner core starts asking “hey, you are kinda not getting there, huh?”. Then the information gets passed to the receptor and here information can be processed in tons of ways:
1. “Oh my, I am failing. why is life doing this to me? Everyone is just so much better than I am. I am not good enough. I hate everyone”, or
2. “Hmm, I learned this from this experience, better remember it for next time. So close, the next one I will do better for sure. I am one rejection closer to a yes”
Or imagine you are trapped in a Nazi concentration camp and you notice people disappearing daily. You see people freaking out and going mad, but you also see people who are calm and content. You inner core sends out an alert message “you are trapped in a place that’s not safe”. Then your receptor might go:
1.”It’s over, you are next, there is so much you didn’t do, you have so many regrets, this is awful”, or
2.”Can I find purpose behind all of this? How can I help this situation? What am I going to die for? Maybe I can help the others here at least feel better”.
See how huge of a difference the receptor makes. By the way, the story above is fromby Viktor E. Frankl. Read that.
Now take some time to think about how your receptor is working. If it’s not working the way it should, start doing something about it. I recommend starting with this book:by Tony Robbins. But remember, no book in the world will help you if you don’t actually change and prove it. Being surrounded by awesome people helps you in this.
And here is where we move to the last layer.
Who you are and who you are perceived to be. So the inner core popped out a thing, the receptor processed it and now I ask you how is this perceived? This is where you can actually set yourself apart from the rest.
What actions are you going to take after the first two layers?
Are you just going to feel and understand something or are you actually going to start taking action?
Are you going to start incrementing that 1% and do something about it or maybe you will do it next week because now there’s this cool TV show on and you need to chill on the couch?
Are you going to feel that you need to lose some weight, become aware of it and start doing something about it or maybe after just one more Dunkin’ Donuts?
Here is where we see these huge differences in the social media universe about people who are special and who are not.
We see that person on Instagram with those amazing travel pictures and a happy family and you ask yourself “Why am I not special like that?”. They are not special, they just processed information from the default inner core through a growth minded receptor and made sure the projector did something about it. They also have fears and doubts, but they approached them in a different way. Steve Jobs was perceived as a genius, even though there are more people in the tech world that actually made a difference (check), but because he acted in a certain way he made people perceive him in a certain way. I bet you deep down he was as flawed as the rest of us or even worse.
TheI ever wrote online got maybe 1000 views and 50 likes. It didn’t go viral, but at least 20 people sent me a PM thanking me for that article because it helped them a lot. My inner core was triggered. Then my receptor could’ve said:
“1. Man this sucks, you are not good enough. You should stop writing stuff. What a fool. You are too young, too foolish, English is not even your native language.” or
“2. I helped out at least 20 people today with this. Not bad. So there are more people out there that felt the same as me when running. I’m not special in that sense, but I’m glad I did share it. Maybe next time I can help 21.”
I choose to take #2 and then project this article onto the world. Because I am not special, I’m in a constant hunger for growth but so are others out there. Maybe this can help.
In the end, people should start taking advantage of the fact that we all have the same default core and we should connect more using that. Help each other more. Create stuff that answer that craving deep down inside that we all possess. That’s why movies, books, products, viral videos have millions of consumers because they trigger an emotion or a state that we all have in common.
A famous piano player has millions of admirers not because he is born special but because he tunes into an emotion that millions of people have in common.
So maybe we should start seeing more what we have in common and act on that instead of always trying to be “special”.
There is a subtle difference in approach, and I bet it will make all the difference in the world.