It is a given that your mindset fundamentally determines your success and impact on the world. Beliefs such as a victim mentality are huge hurdles to achieving what you strive for. Conversely, having the right beliefs is the foundation for realizing your full potential.
I recently got reminded of two shifts in thinking I had that led me to write on medium, create my own website, and starting an e-mail list. I believe that both realizations are central for anyone to change from a consumer to a creator.
You are Nature’s Best Problem Solver
Most of your life is spent problem solving. People forget that. Your brain is constantly looking for problems so it can solve them. Even small daily issues can lead to a large number of challenges you need to master.
Having guests over for dinner? You need to provide the necessary chairs and plates, get a recipe everybody likes (highly complex with today’s variety of dietary preferences!), think about where to place everyone and how you have to time cooking so the meal is ready when the guests are seated.
For a lot of people this is a breeze. You quickly organize to borrow some chairs from your neighbor, choose a gluten free vegan dinner option with a slight variation for that one keto guy, and decide on a seating arrangement so Alice and Jack wont sit near each other, because they don’t know how to behave and always end up arguing about politics.
Just being aware and realizing how many problems we solve all the time is impressive. It becomes even more impressive when you learn how complex it is for a computer to solve the simple question of when should I leave my apartment to catch my flight? (and your computer would likely get it wrong because it did not take into account the red-eyed check-in clerk that has still some rest alcohol in his blood from last nights party).
We do this kind of problem solving all the time and are pretty good at it too! Why then are we so insecure when it comes to creating things?
You have to realize that being creative and solving problems is deeply ingrained in your nature. The most important step to take towards building amazing things is to overcome the shame and insecurity programmed into us by society and the education system.
You are nature’s best problem solver. Start acting like it!
The Gods are flawed
God is often portrayed as an all knowing and all powerful entity in modern religions. This portrayal has the unifying feature of God being flawless and unmistakable.
Older portrayals differ significantly from that image. The ancient Greek Gods were very human in their ability to fail and make stupid decisions. They had their feuds between each other and were subject to unhealthy emotions and irrational behavior. Even the Christian God from the old testament is a far cry away from the one depicted in the new one.
Why should you care? Especially if you are not religious?
Because as humans we always idealize some ideology or role models that we aspire to embody. We have a tendency to think of these people as modern Gods, flawless and playing in another league than us. We admire them as geniuses that allow them to achieve what they do. But as anyone who met and spent some time with their role models can attest, they are far from perfect. We start to realize that the people we admire resemble more the Greek Goods than a modern Christian one. Often they started from similarly humble beginnings, if not worse ones, than we did.
You must realize that you don’t have to be special. Because even the Gods make mistakes. There is no perfection to achieve, no unattainable league of world changers that one has to be admitted to. With the right circumstances and motivations, everyone can have a lasting impact.
More importantly, this implies that those idols make mistakes and say and do stupid things. Not everything written in a published book is true. Not every study and statistic is well conducted and correct. Not every invention and technology made by someone accomplished is good.
Hence, you should dare to throw your glove into the ring with the big shots. You can and should argue and discuss critically what is considered gospel. Big paradigm shifts are made by updating long established but imperfect beliefs.
Galileo and Darwin both were pitching their ideas to a world of ‘experts’ with more merit and ‘expertise’ than they had. They had to fight against all the ridicule and disdain from their fellow colleges and the public at large. They also fundamentally changed our understanding of the world and set the foundation of the progression of a large number of sciences, from astrophysics to biology and psychology as well as economics and others. To do that they needed to shake at the throne of the Gods and dare to put forth their own ideas and creations.
Dare to defy the Gods, because they are imperfect as you are.