You Are Not That Special (And So Am I)

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“You are not special. You’re not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You’re the same decaying organic matter as everything else.”― Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

Living in a social media crazed world, where everybody can be anybody they want, look great without being actually great and everything seemed awesome; it is easy to feel entitled.

This feeling of entitlement can come in two forms:

I am super awesome and the world sucked. (The World is such a woe)

I sucked and the rest of the world is awesome. (Woe is me)

However, these two forms of entitlement is counterproductive if you are planning to live the good life. It is even arguable that entitlement is the source of most human sufferings.

What then should we do with these feelings of entitlement that we have? Modern philosophers like Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Malcolm Gladwell and Mark Manson have shared many tips to help us combat this ‘entitlement-demon’ of ours, but here’s a few that I think the most helpful: 

If you are feeling more special than the world, consider the role of luck in making you more special than the world. In the book Fooled by Randomness, the author emphasized how successful people tend to underestimate the role of luck in their success. The success or failure of certain decisions, actions and executions is more often than not a matter of being at the right place at the right time. (The book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell also illustrate this point beautifully, I encourage you to check it out). 

Success or failure is 50% skill and 50% luck.  (Or maybe, 51% skill and 49% luck)

If you are feeling that the world is better than you (Woe is me), you need to remind yourself that your suffering is not unique. In his phenomenal book Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, Mark Manson wrote that we tend to overestimate our own suffering.This doesn’t mean that your problems isn’t painful and that it shouldn’t hurt. It just means that you are not unique in your suffering, Billions of other people around the world are also suffering with you.

In addition, living in this hyper-connected world has warped the way we perceive people. It is now easier to see a person’s greatness rather than their flaws and overestimate their quality of life. (When is the last time you see a picture of a person’s suffering in Instagram?). 

So the conclusion is this: don’t think that you are amazing (because chances are the same person with the same opportunity can probably achieve the same thing) and don’t think that your suffering is unique (many people are suffering and the greats aren’t usually that great).

The knowledge and acceptance of your mundane existence will actually free you to accomplish what you truly wish to accomplish, without judgement or lofty expectations.

I hope that you find this article useful and if you wanted to delve deeper into this topic, do read the book “Subtle Art of Not Giving a  F*ck” By Mark Manson that greatly inspires this article. You can get it here or anywhere else you get your E-book.

Lastly, if you wanted to get my next article earlier, leave your email on the subscribe box below. By subscribing to this blog, you will get my latest Ebook- Threesome (It’s still in Indonesian) and one bonus article every month.

Magnus lives in Semarang, Indonesia. He is currently managing the family's business together with his dad and his elder brother. Magnus enjoys reading and recently he started writing his personal reflections.

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