Don't get Inspired by Others
A friend of mine is a brilliant video game player. But his inspirations are Elon Musk and Steve Jobs. And he keeps experimenting with different entrepreneurial things. I am not saying that he can’t be a great entrepreneur. I am saying that he’d be a top professional video game player if he directed his attention to gaming. External sources of inspiration will only take you away from yourself. It doesn’t take much time for an inspiration to convert into imitation.
It’s fine to admire people’s qualities and learn a thing or two from them. But getting inspired by others means covering up your core nature with theirs. Why try to live your life as someone else? If 90% of the population gets inspired by the top 20 people on the planet and starts to imitate them, we’d end up being a very monotonous species. Unfortunately, we are heading in that direction.
In attempting to copy other people’s lifestyles and passions, we fail to explore our own true potentials. Everyone has a different inclination towards different things. If one finds these inclinations and pursues growth in that direction, he not only enjoys that journey but is more likely to achieve greatness in life.
Your mind sees the rewards other people get for particular behaviors and tries to imitate those behaviors to get the rewards. Your mind works with a reward-first approach. It would be much better to work with a nature-first approach.
First, remove everything that’s not your true nature – layers imposed by schools, unwritten cultural rules, societal norms, and inspirations. Get in touch with your core nature. And THEN figure out how to use it for the rewards that you seek. Once you’ve removed all the artificial layers from your personality, then you can add new qualities on top of it. But your mind currently works backward. It keeps adding more layers burying your true personality deeper and deeper.
We see inspiration as something positive. Internet gurus all over the place talk about “fake it, till you make it.” I find that sentence very damaging to society. No other sentence has taken people far from their core nature than this single sentence. Every individual of our species has a unique nature. It’s a great gift of evolution. By trying to “fake it, till you make it,” we are killing that gift.
Imagine what would happen if everyone on our planet embraced their uniqueness and talents; everyone pursued goals as per their core nature. The world would be such a vibrant place. And our society will grow exponentially. Everyone will contribute to different aspects of society instead of trying to imitate each other. Our society needs people who accept their originality and add value through their unique talents.
Talent is nothing but the inclinations of a person. Some people are good at math; some are not. Some people enjoy writing; some find it boring. Some people like art, and some love engineering. Everyone has a unique taste of things.
But on the other hand, humans are also very adaptive. So even if you work against your inclinations, you’ll make progress, but if you align that effort in the direction of your inclinations, you will achieve far greater results. We need to understand that it’s much better to work with one’s nature than against it.
The meaning of the word “inspiration” used to be “divine influence”. I am not sure where the divine influence comes from, but we’ve all experienced it at some point in life. I experience it every time I get some deep insight on a subject out of nowhere. It could be from the subconscious, some divine entity, or another dimension. I don’t know. But I know one thing – the easiest way to not let that influence come into your life is by being constantly stimulated. Unfortunately, that’s the current state of humanity. We’ll do anything and everything to run away from sitting silently at a place doing nothing. There’s no room for true inspiration to sprout in such a busy and occupied life.
“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” – Blaise Pascal
The modern lifestyle filled with distractions and constant stimulus makes it very difficult to find one’s true nature. The behaviors of the mind also add to that difficulty. Let’s take an example: you get some free time and start scrolling Instagram. Your feed is filled with travel pictures of your friends and vloggers. You feel good looking at them. You feel inspired. At this point, you might think that perhaps Travelling is your thing. You are made to travel the world. But this could be a false detect. The real travelers used to travel the world, even when traveling wasn’t trendy.
One more example: many people think of starting a YouTube channel after watching some content-creators on YouTube. What they don’t realize is that some of the top YouTubers are the ones who were passionate about recording videos on their camcorders when YouTube didn’t even exist. Taking my own example here: I used to write in my diary, which no one read. I used to code projects that never saw the light of the day. I’d write and code even if it never gave me any reward in return. That’s my true inclination.
What I am trying to convey is, you need to start from elimination, not addition. Remove all the artificial things from your life that are adding no value. Only when you’ve stripped off everything that’s not a core part of you, you get in touch with your true nature. And once you find your tendencies, pursue them, hone them, master them. Put it online, show it to the world. The rewards will come. Instead of building your career based on your degrees, build it on your unique inclinations.
PS. This post is an excerpt from my ebook Learn & Earn