Domination of “thinking big”

I know that I can accomplish great things, not because I think I’m special, but because I think that successful people are like any of us. Therefore I can reverse engineer their success.

However, there is this one thing that I wasn’t able to pin down until now: the domination of thinking big.
A successful person, by definition is someone that did something big and that is accepted by society as interesting.

So the only image we have of success is grandiose. And this often paralyses me because my ideas/projects doesn’t seem amazing or world changing. Ironically there’s one thing that I often say to people who asks me advice on their startup project is: “Keep your feature to the core. Mark Zuckerberg didn’t build the first version of Facebook as a 2 billion user platform, he started it started as a yearbook for Harvard people… That’s it.”

No later than 10 minutes ago, I came to the conclusion that our state of mind regarding our ambitions needs to keep it to the core: being happy in the moment. And then we can build up on it.
Often times, and still to this day, I plan on big goals that I know I can’t do just to challenge myself to be better. But better doesn’t mean happier. It often is, but not necessarily.
For instance, if you have decided to say the truth a lot more. Sometimes the truth won’t make anyone happy. Yet, you’ve been better by being true to yourself.

What I’m trying to get to is the fact that I’m sure we can build up our success without having grandiose specific objectives. Maybe that objective could be:

Be happy, better and figure out how to build up on it on a daily basis relentlessly

Alright!

Inner celebrities

I had a weird idea that came up to me yesterday and the more I think about it, the more I feel it is a good awareness tip that needs to be written down to help me later.

Whenever I talk to myself out loud (because we all do it in case you thought you were crazy), I use different voices and tones that… when I think about it are near to celebrities or people I love.

Here is a quick list that I hope to update:

My theatrical side

Russel Brand

When I’m doing improv or sometimes explain things in a funny way to friends, in hindsight, I think I act as Russel. He is funny, talks loud, is cheeky, sometimes too cheeky but never disrespectful.

My committed side

Phillip Seymour Hoffman

I love this actor so much because whenever he’s in character, I feel he believes everything he says. In some ways, when I’m focused on a task, a joke or on scene, I rarely break if I intend to stay focused. To a point that people will believe me. And when working, I’m so into it that people don’t want to bother me.

My smooth side

Ryan Gosling

If you don’t know how obsessed I am about him, it means you don’t truly know me. I am in transe when I see that guy make a joke or tell a story with a straight and weirdly detached look.
I guess this part is reflected on me too. He talks slow too, I guess I’m his twin (just because of two very common traits).

My good vibes side

Will Smith

Whether it is a group or one on one interview. He will give good vibes to the interviewer or the other celebrities. He doesn’t put himself first, he’s always first and he does it in very subtle way which I love:

  • One on one interviews: he explains the reason why he’s so loved and successful via his drive of constant progress. He doesn’t say “because I’m awesome”. He says in subtle ways that it’s not enough and that he is overpowered by its drive and ambition.
  • Group interviews: he’s always present, whether he talks or not. He nods and gives mad props to his co-stars. He also laugh happily to their jokes or story.

My naughty side

Pharell Williams

Nerd talk: 2 of my favorites artists are Daft Punk and Pharell, I just let you imagine how crazy I felt when I heard they were doing 2 featuring in 2013’s album Random Access Memories. Anyway, my favorites one is still the first: Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger (The Neptunes Remix)

So Pharell was my Ryan Gosling before, I even thought I looked like him (which I don’t, people were very eager to shove it up my face and destroy my hopes and dreams). And now, whenever I sing and or write poems, I also want to talk about women and express that naughty, confident, yet respectful side he has.

 My giver side

Vanessa/Leila

There are friends of mine, and there’s something about them that I can’t grasp. Whenever I need to talk about midly intimate things (the most intimate things I share are on my blog) or ask for advice on how to handle gently a situation with a woman or any other person, I asked them.
Funny enough, I just follow what they say without blinking, I have so much objective faith that I just do as they say. Their life reflects the advice I ask them to give.

To be more specific, I watch how they treat strangers, friends of friends in a party, homeless people and it is pure grace coming from those interactions.

Conclusion

To conclude, you have to understand that this was a very difficult exercise to compare myself to my idols. It might have taken me 3 years to admit this truly and write this down. And even while writing it down, I see that I am giving too much props to myself.

And this is the total opposite. The goal of this exercise is somehow to emulate them even more and to be conscious of it while doing it. I don’t know yet if that would work because as soon as I thought of it, I wrote it down, but I’m definitely going to summon my inner celebrities in further interactions to see if I can bring consciously even more good vibes to others.

Also, you may see those celebrities very differently than I do. Which is normal and made to be biaised. The goal here is for humble people to extract part of themselves without actually thinking of themselves as too important. Because, if I did something good, it won’t be thanks to me, it will be thanks to my inner Will. It helps elevate who you are without identifying too much.

For instance, if I’m humble, I wouldn’t want to think myself as a Tom Cruise. It is too much to think so high of oneself. So I won’t be charismatic in group because I don’t think this. BUT, if I summon my inner Tom Cruise, it will be him who helped me to do so.
And it works on the other side too. For people too proud of themselves. This technique will help them detach this good part from themselves enough to not think themselves as too superior and demeaning around others.

I say this because I went on the 2 sides of the coins. I still want to achieve good and great things, but I don’t feel legitimate to act like this. Or when I do, I’m going too far and act like a dick.

This is an ongoing post, that I will update and refine. Stay tuned.

 

Alright!

Mental space for criticism

The one who did the least will be the one having remaining strength to talk.
That’s how haters, unconstructive criticism happen.

I have an anecdoct that encompass all of that:

I was at a party, the theme was the 1920s. I brought the classiest outfit I had, I even shaved to have a thin moustache. I went all in with the theme. And boy I looked good. And because I am me, I will always try to top the game when it comes to style and I put a white belt on a dark outfit to stand out even more.

That belt got people talking. Actually, just 2. Funny enough, the 2 people who did nothing. I mean, EVERYONE ELSE liked it, except the ones who did nothing. They didn’t say: “It’s bad”, they said: “You look good, except for the white belt”. I was boiling inside.

In hindsight, I can’t say there were insecure, but they spent so few time looking good and focusing on themselves that they had a lot of mental space to allocate for others.
On the other side, everyone who prepped up knew how long they’ve thought this through and how long it took to get ready, so they just admire the effort and forget those little miss in others outfit that were not hindering the overall thing.

When the world hit you in the face

Back in June, I went to a software development conference in which there was a call for teacher volunteers in a association for refugees.What I heard at the time was “teacher”, I was looking for ways to improve my public speaking abilities and that was the perfect opportunity to do so. We exchanged contact details and the class started in October.

The excitement was still there but after 5 months, I kind of forgot the purpose of the association and I recalled relabeling it in my head as: classes for immigrants.

Last week, I walked out with one of the students and asked him about his life. He told me that he was into politics in his country. So I told him in a joking manner: “Your dream is to become the president of your country?” And he didn’t smile back, he just said it was not possible at the moment.

After leaving him that day, I connected the dots I subconsciously disconnected. He was a political refugee.

An hour ago, I walked out with another student, whom I bonded with in the first class because he speaks Urdu. A language talked in India and Pakistan that I learned few sentences when I lived in the U.K.

I asked him about his life and he told me about how important it is to learn the local language, his dream of speaking every language in the world and then he told me his story.

He walked from Pakistan to France during 4 months and a half. He left his mum and dad there because his career in politics was a danger to him.

He needed to talk, I listened.

I couldn’t even talk, every details of his story hit a little bit more my ability to speak. I could just nod and prevent myself from sobbing.

I just wanted to say how courageous he was of doing this, but this word was not enough to express all my admiration for him.

Before parting ways, I asked him where he lives. Which he answer in a very good French. He asked me for validation of the grammar, which, of course I gave him.

And we parted ways… and… he leaned in for the hug. Holy shit, that one killed me instantly.
I wasn’t expecting all of this. I wasn’t expecting that the reality behind those wars in distant countries could be right in front of me. I couldn’t believe that a very smart, kind and hopeful guy had to live all of this.
And of course, as the little egoistic person I’ve always been, I thought:
– “Shit! Why did he tell me all this? Now I can’t put this feeling away. I can’t ignore it anymore.”
And then, the difficult question: “what can I do to help?”
Fuck this. This is exactly why I’ve always been so shy and introvert, to never feel the burden of someone else’s life. Living in my own bubble was sad and comfy. I wanted to be able to close down any feelings easily by never getting involved too much.

Now that I decided that the only thing that would define me is my name and my actions, I can’t deny this reality, those feelings and my powerlessness…
Fuck this. I need to grow even bigger. As Casey Neistat would put it, I need to “do more”.

Distractions are here to tell you that you didn’t find your true calling.

The answer to “what time do you wake up?” creates more questions and problems than the question “what time do you go to bed?”

What is my talent?

When I see someone else’s talent, it shines, it pours through their skin.
They have no doubt about it. They didn’t talk about it. You just see it: within the look in their eyes.

I actually don’t know what my talent is, but I’ve taken years in my life to figure out what I want and who I am.

  1. I open myself to the whisper
  2. I strategically go through with everything I heard from the whisper
  3. I listen to other, keep it in the back of my head until it makes sense

The whisper

He said it all.

My whisper is this need to be recognized, but I’m afraid of it… for good reasons.
When I had early wins in programming (which is now my career), I used to help people on the internet.
I was talking down to people and was so full of myself, that they kicked me out.

Power corrupts

This one quote resumes my fear, my dark side. I hate to think about it because, not only I become a real jerk, I also don’t notice it.
Hopefully with the years, I learnt to harness it with my naughty side: a mix of the dark side with good intentions. That’s why I love provoking people to make them laugh or react.

The barrier

So I have a need of recognition and a love of provoking.
Those are incompatible with the fact that I used to speak low and stutter. I don’t want to say that I’m “shy” because this word is overused and loose its meaning.
That’s when the “whisper” came in. Not in my ear, but on my face, as a smile. Few years back, I read about Toast Masters in Laurent Gounelle’s book: “God Travels Always Incognito”. Toast Masters is an international program that you can find anywhere in the world and that helps members to learn public speaking. I found the concept of Toast Masters so cool that I couldn’t stop thinking about it. So I did it.

Go for it strategically?

At the few Toast Masters events I went, people were so kind that I felt ready to speak, even though I was terribly nervous.
So I stood up and answered publicly to a general question, and it happened… You know that moment when someone is so bad in “<Your Country> Got Talent”, that you have to look away when they perform?
Well, that was the same look away people gave me face to face while I was talking. After that, I ask them to join and they kindly told me to wait and improve a bit more.
The worst part is: there was a woman who attented at the same time as me. I thought she was really bad, but unlike me, she got in… this proves how bad I really was.

THAT was no strategy at all.

I was really down, yet I could still “hear” the whisper and the need to express fully in public (with friends, colleagues or strangers).

6 months after, I randomly saw a free improv class on Meetup. No shame: I went.
I was so comfortable there, people thought it wasn’t my first time. Boy, that felt good!
I took a 6 months class and decided to double down to meet more people and feel more at ease:

  • going to amateur improv shows and talking to actors and audience at the end
  • going to salsa classes in places that I don’t know anybody
  • going out with friends in places we can socialize (beware of friends who just want to chill at home in our 30’s!)

With all of those changes to my life style, I noticed that if I wasn’t at ease, I couldn’t perform. And I wouldn’t have been able to find out this basic truth without experimenting. There’s a difference between knowing and experimenting. It’s like cycling. You can learn on a book that once you can cycle, it’s forever. But when you do it and years later you go back on a bike and it’s like it was yesterday, you can’t explain it. It’s basic, but if you haven’t done it, it won’t ever seem this obvious.

Fast forward 2 years later, during a public improv show where I was on stage : a so called casting agent asked for me at the end of the show. It’s definitely not what I’m looking for, but it feels good to have come so far from being “shy” (I still hate that word).

Listen

As a teenager, in the old age of no texting where landlines was king, people mistook my voice for my mum. This used to get me really upset. So until my late 20’s, when someone told me I had a weird voice, I dismissed it.

But I can’t lie to myself forever. On one side, I want to express myself, on the other side, I don’t want to know about the main tool that will get me to do that effectively.
So I started listening people advice and to embrace it.

Facing my voice #1

One day, after an improv show, a guy told me that my voice was like Chris Tucker’s. To this day, I don’t thinks it’s a compliment, but it’s the only comment that got me to understand more than the classic: “You have a weird voice”.

Facing my voice #2

Another day, another setting: at a friend place, while cooking I started singing and my friend told me that I had a nice voice. Wait, what?

Facing my voice #3

Another time again, at karaoké (don’t ask me how I got there), after singing MJ’s “Rock with you”, a friend told me: “There’s something”. That “something” was clearly not enough, because no one applauded in the end…

By compiling those separated events, I thought to myself:

There’s something. Something weird, but worth considering.

Conclusion

So that’s why I’m about to start a podcast, take guitar and singing lessons. It’s definitely not about changing career. It’s more about opening myself to the “whisper” and see where it lands.
One day, I’m sure it will click and you’ll see it in the look in my eyes.

With the woman I currently see: when I’m lucky enough to make her cum once and still have enough juice to go for another run. After she cools down, I go with a sweet and steady pace in which she could “stay like that forever” (that’s what she said!). In that situation, no matter how hard I try, she won’t cum, yet she’ll enjoy it a lot. So much that when I ask her to change to one of her “cum position”, she’ll sight. Even though she knows why.

Simply because, as being made of flesh and blood, our comfort is way better than success.

Meaning that success is incomfort. So whenever you’re comfortable with where you are or what you have, you’re actually further from success.

“To be successful, just be yourself and it will come” – No one ever

There’s always work involved. And work, as much as I love mine is not pleasure. Outcomes of hard work, are very enjoyable, though.

It takes a long time to be an overnight success

Simon Sinek