You Are Already Defined

If there is one thing I want to remember and constantly be reminded of, it is that.

I am already defined.

I carry it within. Who I am and how much I’m worth doesn’t come from the outside world.

It’s not up to my job, social status, partner, possessions or fame to tell my story.

It’s not what I have that defines me.
It’s the way I define myself.

In the words of Fall Out Boy in Save RockNRoll: “You are what you love, not who loves you.”

I am already defined as a human being worthy of love. Whether I belive that is entirely up to me, but it is useful to remember it.

So much depends on that definition. On the way I see myself. In fact, my whole life does.

I’m not saying believing you are a superhero is the cure to everything. That’s not how things work. But having faith that you are worthy, even if you are not observing evidence of it right now, does take away some of the load.

Makes it easier to relax with yourself, makes it easier to be yourself.

And one gigantic disclaimer here. You are already defined doesn’t mean you can’t redefine yourself. No, not at all.

It is just a gentle reminder that even if you never get the stuff people are “supposed” to have or if you have them and lose them, you don’t lose your worth. It is already there, it is always there.

So if your definition feels off, go ahead and challenge it until it feels good. Don’t let it get you stuck. Don’t think “hey, I’ve already been defined as this unlucky person/loser etc., so this is what awaits me for the rest of my life”

It is your definition for a reason. Because it is the definition of you by you. If you are an advocate of it, the people around you and life itself will follow suit shortly.

Define and redefine yourself as much as you need and do it often if that helps. It’s not easy to strike the right cord from the get go. It needs tuning in, it needs time.

And that time might be months, might be years and it is okay. As long as you feel you are getting closer, you are on track.

Oh, and one last wavier. As much as definitions are important and make us get a better grasp of everything around us, we should not get lost into that.

The map is not the teritory.

The best map will be produced if you go explore the teritory in real life.

Same goes for the definition. The best one will come out of you just going and living life.

And yes, you are not and cannot be defined by a single definition.

But if it has to be one and you have to start somewhere, make it this.

You are already defined as worthy.

Still Believe in Magic?

That time of the year.

(That time of THAT year but this is a topic for another day.)

The moment for taking stock.

The moment when we look back and decide whether this was our year or not (Seriously, let’s leave aside it was 2020 for the purpose of this article.)

If it was our year – easy. Of course, we would be happy and believe even better things are awaiting in the next one.

But what if it wasn’t? What if it was a bad year or even the worst year we’ve had?

Then of course we are hopeful the new one will change that. We hope it will be different. Better.

Yet, do we believe it can?

Because this is what it all boils down to. Our beliefs shape our perception. And our perception of the world, is, what the world is to us, right?

It is the way we see life. And we feel and act accordingly.

And I know all too well, it is not as simple as believing in utopia. This is not what creates it. You need some proof that it is possible, you need to feel your vision is believable.

Because then, what is stopping you from acting on it and making it reality?

And if you were to ask me
After all that we’ve been through
“Still believe in magic?”
Oh, yes, I do
Oh, yes, I do
Oh, yes, I do
Oh, yes, I do
Of course, I do

– Coldplay

Fearing The Known

For somebody who has browsed some of my older posts, it is clear that fear is a recurring theme over here. If you haven’t seen the topic around before, now you know.

To be honest, that’s how everything started out. With me writing, trying to motivate people (read me) to be brave and go after their dreams. To get out of the comfort zone, to step into the unknown and just do it.

And I have to admit, this recipe worked quite well for me. I ended up doing some pretty adventurous things I never thought I would have the courage to do. It felt good. It made me feel powerful.

But here’s the thing with that type of “charge” – it is not that long-lasting. You go out and do it, you feel the thrill and then it is just a memory. It still feels nice remembering how brave you were, but it doesn’t feel the way it does while you live it.

So what’s the remedy?

You go on to the next adventure. And the next one. And the next one.

It feels good to be the one living the fast life, right? The black sheep, the one who decided to follow the path less travelled. The one who has all the good stories to tell.

If that’s your sweet spot, the thing that not only makes you but also keeps you happy and gives you the feeling you belong, then you can stop reading here. You took a leap of faith and you won.

Yet if there is still something missing, something not quite right, maybe I have the answer to that. And maybe not, but I will share it anyway.

Most of the time it is hiding in our subconscious. We don’t realise we are so brave yet so afraid.

That’s something I’ve noticed, and maybe it’s just me, but I feel more comfortable going for the big risk than for the small one. It sounds counterintuitive, but it is true. Trying to fit in a group of friends feels more daunting than going to a foreign country for a month on my own.

Why is that so?

Because in high risk, there’s actually less risk of real failure. That thing is dangerous, not ordinary, not everybody is doing it. So even if you fail, you are still a hero, you’ve tried. Whereas if you fail in a low risk situation, like making friends, you are what? A loser?

Then there’s also the commitment part. You don’t make a relationship, a friendship work by diving straight in and it’s done. It requires effort, it requires you to show up daily and grow. 20% vulnerable today, 21% tomorrow.

These small daily wins are different from the big momentary wins. You want to live in a different city every 2 months? You get up, you go, it’s done. But actually settling there might be a bit more difficult, right?

The stakes seem to be lower with high risk – what is it to lose when there’s nothing stable?

And I can’t stress this enough – I don’t want to say don’t be adventurous. I’ve been advocating so long for that. All I want to do is make sure we recognise both sides of the coin. Neither stale life nor extremely unstable one is the way. Unless one of these is the way for you and it makes you truly happy.

If not, simply alternating between the two doesn’t help either. We need that balance, we need to incorporate the known into the unknown and vice versa.

Because big wins are not always hidden in the big risks. Or should I rather say, big risks are not always hidden into the unknown.

For some of us the known is scary, and it’s good to know.

On Impulse

This is how we function, isn’t it?
This might as well be all we are, right?

Impulses in a brain.

Our thoughts, our actions, our emotions, our fears… All on impulse.

Many things we do without really thinking about them. Some are habits, other crazy ideas we jumped into. Sometimes all turns out well, sometimes not so.

A great deal of these impulses might indeed control us beyond our will and understanding, but we are not slaves to all of them.
We can learn when to follow and when to wait and let go.

The truth is, everybody gets impulsive thoughts but not everybody acts on them.

When we sense an improper impulse, we should just evaluate it as such and let it go. We should not let ourselves get lost in it, be consumed by it.

Because it doesn’t define us. Because we need to know we are not our thoughts. We are not the emotions we want to deny. We are not the impulses we want to surpress.

Labeling ourselves with everything we think and feel is a game we don’t want to be playing. Not only is it wrong, it is also exhausting.

We do know from experience that acting on impulse doesn’t always have the best outcome. (And by acting on impulse I mean to act when we are triggered, uneasy, rather than these magical times when we are centered and take inspired action as if out of nowhere).

And when we face that not-so-good outcome, we tend to regret our actions. And this creates more troubling thoughts. And more tourturing emotion. So we end up triggered and uneasy again, and led by impulses again. We are stuck in this vicious cirlce, trying to distract ourselves, trying to run from what we need to face.

But there’s also another way. We can break the cycle.

We are used to always being on the go, to nothing and nobody waiting for no one, to life rushing past us, to always having to do. Yet this is not the only way for us to live.

We can stop for a second, acknowledge our destructive impulses, stay with them, wait a while and do nothing. (Yes, nothing nothing)

And guess what? They die out. They disappear as unexpectedly as they showed up.

We don’t deny the impulse, but we don’t act on it either.

We just observe it, as we’d watch wild horses running through the prarie.

And we might even appreciate this impulse. Its beauty and what it is trying to do for us.

We might even be grateful.
On impulse.

The Grand Affair

I guess I wouldn’t be wrong if I said most people’s definition of happiness would be something along the lines of “life always goes the way I want it to”. All of us want things from life, and most of us definitely want to get them. But not many do, do they?

Well, here’s the thing. We are human and it seems we are wired for wanting. It’s not like we get what we wanted and we stop wanting. Maybe we do, but just for a little while. And then we hop off to the next thing we want. And the next. And the next.

We tend to want the things we don’t have but others do. Even if they are not better objectively. We have curly hair, we want straight. We have brown eyes, we want blue. We have a nice house but the neighbours have nicer. The grass is always greener on the other side.

So then, if we applied this logic to what we tend to want from life, would we still want it if we had it?

To put this even simpler, would we be happy if we were always getting everything we wanted?

My wild guess is no.

Then we would probably want for once things not to go our way cause they always do and it’s boring. We would want some variety. Some adventure.

And these are things we want now too. We appreciate the extraordinary. We love surprises. We aim for out of the box.

So why then would we want to live a life so predictable? Where would be the thrill of living, if we knew whatever we imagined would eventually land in our lap?

I see this like a relationship and the way we choose partners. I think most of us wouldn’t be truly happy with a significant other who always does what we say and never challenges us and surprises us. We like them to be their own person with their own opinions and life.

Because, in the end, this is what makes relationships worthwhile. They give us the opportunity to grow by showing us new sides to ourselves and, oftentimes, new sides to life too. If the other person always did what we do, had the same hobbies and never proposed something new, we would not only get bored but also never discover new exciting opportunities.

It is true relationships can be a bit too challenging at times. We have to compromise. And we have to compromise a lot.

But we do it for the person we love.

Then why not love life and compromise for it every now and then too?

Definitely not all the time. Some things we want too much to give up on. But there are others we can compromise on.

Life actually does that all the time. Maybe it had another grand plan in mind, but it notices our efforts and compromises and gives us a chance.

So isn’t that a life worth living?

Isn’t that a life worth loving?

In a Superposition

It is not all black and white. Some of us find it harder to see than others.

After all, isn’t that what the grey is? Black and white coming together. And existing together as something new.

Let’s agree, most of us want to have our cake and eat it. We want it both ways, we want mutually exclusive things.

We want a great career, an amazing social life, entertaining hobbies and enough sleep. We want commitments but we want our freedom too.

The FOMO is real. We want it ALL.

Well, some good news here. Physics says that’s possible. If you’ve ever heard of the Schrödinger’s Cat, you get the idea (If you haven’t, check out this sweet and short article by National Geographic). The cat is both dead and alive until you open the box and observe just either.

And here’s where the magic ends. Once you observe things, they become just one of the (multiple) options they could have been. And observing things changes them. Your perception usually shapes them into what’s familiar or needed.

So it seems we can have it all, until… we have just some. Could be mutually exclusive, too. Everyone made fun of UK’s PM Boris Johnson when he said go out but stay home, we need a heard immunity but we need a lockdown, you only go outside if essential but have your meal in a restaurant.

We are faced with such decisions most of the time. It’s a balancing act. It is about understanding that something can be both sides of the coin at the same time.

And it is, more than anything, about accepting it. About respecting the duality of our world. Of your own world. You can be both good and bad, capable and incapable, enough and not enough. And that’s okay. We’ve been shown everything changes. Sometimes way too quickly.

Only if you are willing to behold the extremes, do you find the middle ground.

Therefore, you are not in a position to decide your future, you are in a superposition.

Just prepare, once it comes to actually living it, you would need to prioritize and make trade-offs.

Until then, you have it all. Right here, right now.

Which Way?

Is it just me or do we always spend more time thinking about what could go wrong and not about what could go right?

Yeah, I know that we need direction and our brain needs an amount of information that won’t overwhelm it. So usually when we imagine things going our way, we have one preferable way. Not that we may not be satisfied otherwise, it’s just easier to focus on one scenario only.

So why, then, do we choose to burn our brain with all the failure options? It would be TMI either way, so how did we decide that was the better one?

I can’t deny being prepared for a disaster can save you. Anticipating challenges and reacting appropriately is vital to survival, and I believe, thriving. Let us then admit that getting ready for trouble is not a complete waste of time.


Well, the concept looks good on paper (or in typing). However, are we really using all those pictures of doom our mind can come up with to train ourselves how to face whatever comes our way?

I’m not entirely certain. What usually happens is us getting so entrenched with all the stuff that could go wrong, we forget there are stuff remaining that could still go right. We burn out and prefer not to think. Maybe also give up our goal altogether. Without even trying.

Then this is what I want to ask. If we are not to use the negative scenarios as good preparation, then why not use the positive ones for good inspiration?

Have you ever even TRIED to imagine ALL THE THINGS THAT COULD GO RIGHT?

I know, it’s difficult at first. After being trained to go for the negative by default, shifting the perspective might require quite of an effort. But it’s worth it. If nothing else, it’s a good exercise for your brain.

I guess it all comes down to being realistic. Too high of hopes, and you end up shattered on the ground. But always being on the lookout for ways that can fail you… well, you’ll come across a ton.

Oh, and by the way, this is not me telling you to go for the positive, it is all sunshine and rainbows. It’s just a proposal that you may want to try out.

Who knows, maybe you’d anticipate that this event you are going to will be attended by recruiters too so you have your CV ready. Or publishers go to the same dancing class, so you’ve perfected your book pitch. Yes, it will also be helpful for you to know all you try might fail but that the world will keep turning.

So, there it goes. Whether you pick the good or bad scenario simulator is completely up to you.

Experiment and go for the one that works best.

Staying Home

It’s too much. I agree.

Those 4 walls. Or 20 walls or 100. Doesn’t matter, I want out. We all want out.

If somebody asked us “Would you like to stay home for 3 months and chill or just be flexible and work from home?” like half a year ago, most of us would be very excited to accept this irresistible offer. Okay, I agree the offer conveniently doesn’t mention stay home and don’t go anywhere else in rather unsettling conditions, but some people would still hop at the chance.

Most of us would agree for sure if it was for a few days or a week. We all need a break sometimes. From the business, from people.

But give us too long of a break and too much of ourselves and we freak out.

Most of us are completely not used to being by themselves. It almost feels unnatural. I agree we are part of a society and this is the way for us to function normally. For life to keep going on, at least 2 humans are needed. But making others a part of each and every aspect of your life is a recipe for, as we learned the hard way, failure.

Situations like this make us see that, after all, it’s not a bad skill to know how to be all on your own. As would be necessary every now and then.

Times are changing and our heads are buzzing with thoughts, analyses, mental notes and external stimuli. It would be kind of impossible to worry if you’ve turned the iron off in the times iron wasn’t a thing. It would be far from your thoughts to try to estimate whether 64 is a good number of likes in the pre-Facebook era. It wouldn’t be on your mind to spend hours watching inspirational (or stupid) videos on Youtube when this simply wasn’t an option.

And, hold on in there, I’m not saying these things are bad. They are part of our life right now and to a certain extent, a part of who we are.

So it is not about we allow those things or not. It is the extent we allow them up to.

Straying home has challenged us to live in a very stumilii-less environment. And this is not something we are used to. The discomfort arrives instantly. Something is missing, but do we know what? One more video, one more episode, 20 min more of scrolling, maybe more of the news?

Hearing our own thoughts and questions can be painful at times. Is distraction the answer?

I can’t deny it could be. But only a short-term solution. Cause you take yourself everywhere you go and in everything you do. Sooner or later, stuff comes out. And then you can’t play it distracted.

As usual, balance is the key. Too much of nothing, and you’d go crazy. Too much of everything, and you’d go crazy. But learning to be by yourself and to be okay with yourself would also improve the times you are not by yourself.

Staying home and dreaming to be elsewhere all the time is not the best thing you could do. You will go out eventually, don’t worry.

And now, why don’t you go take a look at the rooms you usually avoid to? Who knows what hidden treasures you may find there.

Back to Normal*

We humans are a highly adaptive species. We might not enjoy it, but we are all getting used to living in between 4 walls. Getting used to seeing the same 1-2 faces every day, getting used to moving face-to-face activities online. This is not a dream world but it is far better than the worst scenarios.

The panic quickly subsides and we are on to wondering when we’ll be going back to normal. We miss it, yet we are slightly terrified of it. After all, we can’t even be sure what “normal” will look like after this is over.

Hopefully, we’re going to come out of these unprecedented times with refreshed outlook. Better equipped to live a “normal” life.

Because, let’s face it. We’ve been taking so many things for granted.

The lives of our loved ones.
The food we put on the table.
Our (non-)fulfilling job.
Our house/room/bed.
Our social life.
Our mental health.
Our own life.

When all of this is over, I sincerely hope we will get to go back to normal. And yes, I’ll be glad to meet up with friends and to go to parks and pubs and go on that trip to a tropical island and start that exciting new job.

But that’s not exactly what I mean.

What I really hope for is we can go back to being cool with being normal. Because nowadays, this is something rare.

With the rise of social media and connectedness, we started to feel like being normal is not normal. It kind of looks like what’s normal these days is for each and every one of us to be extraordinary. To be a standout with his Instagram followers, his post retweets, his worldly goods and status.

I can’t deny that the opportunities to make it big right now are more than ever before. Our parents and grandparents never had these options.

However, fewer chances to succeed also means fewer chances to feel like a failure.

Scrolling down on Facebook/Instagram, every 5th post is an ad of someone who wants to tell you their secrets of how they managed to get… (insert here count of followers, subscribers, clients, fortune). Most of these are standing casually dressed in front of a pool, not as often in front of shiny cars. They preach and they preach, and they curse and they tell you to hustle and to aim for the top 0.000001%.

Not to rest until you get that.

And I totally get that. I know there is a God dormant in all of us who is just waiting to be awoken to start working wonders. I know we are capable of far more than we can even start to imagine.

And I can’t agree more that most of the time we need a little nudge to get it all going. Or a massive push.

What I want to say is, if you are a hustler, do go ahead and hustle. The world needs all kinds of people. (But please, if possible, do not walk over kind hearts and the environment while on your endeavour).

But if you are not a hustler, just don’t do it. No need to feel like less of a person if you are not reading 5 books per day or not cold-calling 1000 companies per week. If you are not followed by the thousands or read by millions.

If you want an example of how doing what everyone else is doing is not always the best idea, just remember the events of a month ago.

Everyone rushed and bought toilet paper because everyone else was buying toilet paper. People fought over toilet paper and hoarded rooms with it without even knowing why. Just because everyone else was doing it.

Then we paused, we looked around, we realised toilet paper will not save us and comfort us. We condemned humanity’s stupidity, and we stopped buying toilet paper.

So yeah, hoarding toilet paper and expecting to be safe and hoarding money and expecting to be happy are kind of similar.

Success is only real success to us when it is also fulfilling.

And being fulfilled starts with accepting who we are right here, right now. With or without all the achievement badges. With being fine to be nobody, just yourself. Because this is when you can start to become somebody. Somebody you’d be happy with.

Yes, the most pressing question right now is “When are we going back to normal?”
It has gone a bit out of fashion and it’s time to bring it back.

*This is not a call for you to lose your identity and conform. It is a call to accept yourself just as you are right now, and THEN go be extraordinary, if that’s what you are after.

Holding On

Your friends have finally managed to convince you.
“It will be such good fun, not scary AT ALL!” they are excited to drag you in quicker. You said you were all alright standing by the side and watching. But no, they insisted you not be a coward and come take a ride.

So you did. You said fuck it and went.
Your confidence was shooting through the roof while your friends were cheering you for your bravery. Suddenly you got the feeling this whole thing would be a piece of cake, you were so stupid to be afraid.

But then a few minutes later you lost it.
The shorter the queue became, the more your confidence shrank.
It was replaced by anxiety, sweaty palms and beating heart. You were telling yourself there was no need for all of this. “Calm down, calm down…”

“Sit down!” the man on the side shouts and quickly fastens all the seatbelts. Now you have no time for worry. Everything happens so quickly.

Before you know it, you start moving. “Oh, it’s not that bad,” you tell yourself and actually trust those words.

And THEN it begins. And what do you do?

Your reaction is automatic. Does it even take a millisecond? You are now holding on tightly and squeezing your eyes shut as hard as you can. You maybe even scream.

Welcome to the rollercoaster.

How do we deal with ups and downs even when they are timed far apart? Sometimes it proves too demanding even when they are anticipated.

Then what about ups and downs so frequently alternating they threaten to drive you crazy? To drive you way beyond crazy and back, and way beyond crazy and back again…

Times are very weird for many of us who haven’t experienced very weird times before. And maybe also for the ones who have.

Uncertainty is looming and answers are scarce.
Scenarios, conspiracies and fears are countless but the reality is just one.

And we all experience it right now. It is so odd how separated yet how together we are. It’s difficult to imagine how the distancing brings us closer but in a way, it does – we realize we are all in this together.

We see we are not the only one going through all of this.
When we pass people by on the street, look at them creating funny memes on social media, it seems they have their shit perfectly together. But if we look a bit closer, we can tell they’ve got this same limbo boiling inside.

For many of us, the story unfolded along the same lines.
We felt uneasy when we first heard of it and tried to brush it off.
Then as it became a bit bigger, came a bit closer, we possibly tried to deny it and laugh it off. But then it kept coming closer, the queue kept getting shorter…

And in a way, we reacted automatically. We’ve adjusted to the new reality as quickly and as best as we can.

We know for how long we have to wash our hands, how far apart we have to stand, what we are allowed to go out for.

However, there’s no right degree of worry, no estimated standard count of mood swings, no invalid feelings.

We have all boarded this insane rollercoaster and none has any idea when and how we get to get off of it.

For the time being, we can only hold on tight. Eyes shut and screaming optional.