Working remotely can get very lonely at times. If I’m the average of 5 people I spend the most time with, 4 of them are my fiancé. He’s my favorite human in the world, but it’s great to sometimes speak face to face with someone else for a change.
This intention brought us to WeWork some 2 months ago. I’m not sure how this happened, but we ended up in their official startup accelerator. I don’t have a startup, or even concrete plans to have one, but I’m excited to be there. We have amazing people from all industries and walks of life–from social media advertising to airplane engine repair simulators. There’s even an informal meditation group in our office, quite a surprising thing to experience in a professional setting.
I thought I had broad horizons, but folks from our coworking office push me further and further. I have a lot to learn from every single person in the room. They are the kind of people who have audacious goals combined with great sense of ownership and responsibility. One more time, I feel like an impostor sneaking into a club I am not good enough for.
Startup world is a bubble, and it’s a beautiful one
There are more opportunities to grab than we can possibly take. People build amazing companies from scratch, and have a ripple effect around the whole globe. We have incredible mentors with more achievements under their belt than I have ever dreamed of, who are always willing to share their advice. Potential investors keep knocking at our doors, while I hide in the corner, having nothing to sell like the fraud that I am.
Even though I don’t interact with the folks in my office as much as I’d like to, I can already feel a shift in how I see the world. There are no limits to what I can do or achieve except for those in my own head. Life is infinitely abundant for those who dare. If something doesn’t come out the way I’d like to, I’m solely responsible for what my reaction will be.
Implementing these lessons in practice isn’t easy. For most of my life I’ve been operating from a framework of guilt that sends me in spirals of self-loathing and misery. If I’m solely responsible for something, it surely must be my fault? Luckily, I get to learn my mind’s tricks and know now that even if I’m procrastinating and overwhelmed, it’s a choice that I am making. With trial and error I should be able to make better ones.
The world I live in is pretty unique
Every now and then, I get reminded how other people perceive the same events. In the world they live in, secret organizations control all levels of government. The only way to succeed is to sign a shady deal with an evil political party. The only way to make a million dollars is to steal it.
Women are greedy, cruel, and emotionally unstable. Nearly everyone is either incompetent, malevolent, or lazy. No one can get a good job unless they have the connections.
How come our perceptions of how things work are so different? I used to think this is because of the books I read. But as it turns out, people who believe in secret conspiracies running the entire globe often consume even more books than I do. They are genuinely curious about how the world operates. They just find their answers in different places and come to entirely different conclusions.
Can I be sure that my sources are right and theirs are wrong?
I don’t care. All these conspiracies might as well be true.
What I care about is, how does this belief serve me? Will it help me become the sort of a person that I admire most?
It’s never been easier to find out what kind of a person are the folks you admire. Almost everyone has a blog these days, or a podcast, or at least a Twitter account. They all speak in interviews about the resources they found most useful, or the beliefs, questions and mental exercises that helped them succeed in life. Even if I’m at a very different stage than they are, I still learn a ton from all of those.
Many of the folks I admire come from the startup scene. To you, this might be an entirely different crowd. But no matter what you do and what you believe in, you live in a bubble too. All that you surround yourself with–the people, the books, the news (or lack thereof), the things you learn, the hobbies, the past time activities–all make up the bubble through which you make sense of the world.
What you invite to your bubble is not as important as being deliberate about it. If you don’t, it might spontaneously fill up with things you don’t really care about.