Every once in a while people are asking me: “Dragos, do you really do all that stuff on your blog?”. “What do you mean by that?”, I usually respond. “You know, writing all the articles, coding iOS apps, publishing books. Do you really do ALL that stuff on your blog?”. “Yes”, I answer and usually change the subject immediately.
The Wrong Questions
Because I honestly consider this to be a very wrong question. Just as wrong as the following questions:
- How Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook?
- How Bill Gates became the richest person in the world?
- How can Lionel Messi play that incredible soccer that he plays?
- How can rich people live such an incredible life?
Here’s the pattern for all these wrong questions: everything is happening outside. We’re identifying the people we’re focusing on with some sort of social models, then start to compare what we have with what those models have, in terms of self-esteem, money and lifestyle, and then we realize they have more than we do. So we start to ask these questions. Which, in fact, are just placeholders for the real ones.
The Real Questions
And the real ones are:
- Why can’t I create something as powerful as Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg can?
- Why can’t I be the richest person in the world and Bill Gates can?
- Why can’t I play soccer as good as Lionel Messi?
- Why can’t I live a beautiful life, like all the rich people are living?
You see? Every time they’re talking about somebody else, people are in fact talking about themselves. It’s always about some hidden desire that they cannot express or some difficult goal that they don’t even dream to set. In fact, they’re asking themselves why can’t they be somebody else.
The real questions, those that you’re avoiding, are always about how do you fit. What’s your place here and how do you make use of it. How much do you want to have, to do, to experience, to live.
At some point in your life, most likely when you were a child, you changed your genuine personality for a different one, one that you’ve been taught to be “the correct one”. So, instead of accepting yourself, your own intentions, instead of following your own plans, you changed things to fit in. And started to make detours, compromises and replaced your desires with others, much more acceptable, or fashionable, or socially compliant.
And that’s the source for the wrong questions. You forgot your real identity and now you try to find ways to get it back, by comparing yourself with others. And you keep asking these wrong questions, when instead you should focus on the real ones.
But even when you start asking the real questions, it doesn’t mean you’re there yet. After all, the title of this article says something about the wrong, the real AND the right questions. So, what’s the right question to ask, anyway?
The Right Questions
To make a long story short, here are the right questions:
- Do I really want to build Facebook?
- Do I really need all Bill Gates money?
- Do I really want to play soccer?
- Do I really want to be a rich person?
In 99.99% of the cases, the answers to the right questions are “No”. You don’t want to create Facebook, nor to play soccer like Lionel Messi, not even to be a rich person. (Believe me, deep down, each individual has a very different and personal representation of richness, very different form the “a shitload of money” approach). There is already a Facebook in place, you don’t need to build another one. It’s impossible anyway. You may build something better, but, as you already started to understand, that’s a completely different question. 🙂
You may think you want all of the above, because you kept your focus on the outside world for so much time, that you forgot what it’s like inside you. You forgot what you really want, and replaced your wishes with some ready made ones. Your goals are the goals of everybody. You try to fit your entire existence into some limited lifestyles patterns. Which is fundamentally wrong, since we’re all different. Beautifully different, I may add.
I think it’s ok to react to outside stimuli and have opinions. If something catches our attention somehow, we should take and sustain a certain position. Like when we talk about Facebook, for instance, to acknowledge that this is a very interesting trend. Or to acknowledge the fact that Lionel Messi plays very good soccer. These are our opinions, and it’s part of our personality to express them.
But what I think it’s not ok – and, subsequently, I try to change first in my own behavior – it’s the type of question that I’m asking about those stimuli.
So, the real question that I hear in fact from other people is:
“Why can’t I own a popular self-improvement blog, some apps in the AppStore and some ebooks published?”.
When you put it like this, it really makes you think, right? I’m sure you didn’t think about that… But wait, that’s only the real question you’re asking. So, you’d better move on and ask the right one:
“Do I really want to be someone else? Or just me?”.