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The World is a Malleable Place
Things are what you make them to be
The world doesn’t lack talent, the world lacks high-agency talent.
My mother has always been a social butterfly. She’s excellent at establishing good rapport, building new connections, and making others feel proud and important. I don’t mean that in a job-interview sense (although these are certainly assets to have in such situation), I mean that whenever we go out to eat, we always receive extra portions on the house. When we visit the spa, we’re always blessed with secret discounts. When we get brunch at the local cafe, we’re always greeted by familiar faces with warm smiles that seem to say ‘welcome back.’
Growing up, I just assumed that we were lucky, or that people were just friendly.
Now, zooming out of the details, what I can confidently conclude is that my mother is just good at getting what she wants. Everything is negotiable. Minds can be changed. Ask for what you want and actively change what you don’t like. She sees everybody as a playing character in her story—business, boiled down, is just a game of relationships. The world is hers to change.
Make your own utopia
Being able to create your own personal utopia out of utterly indifferent reality is the greatest sign of intelligence.
Your view on everything changes when you realize that the collective can be easily broken down into the individuals that make it what it is. You pull a certain weight on the collective—your voice can change how others think and your opinion can redirect the course of someone else’s decision.
The world isn’t just a place where you go through the motions of life, it’s where you can implement your beliefs into will and action:
“Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact. And that is, everything around you that you call life was made up by people no smarter than you.”
— Steve Jobs
When we’re young, the world is much more black-and-white: rules dictate what counts as good versus bad. Bodies of authority seem powerful yet abstract and distant. Follow the law! Listen to your teachers! Growing up, there comes a day we understand why these rules exist.
I believe we’re born twice: once when we come into physical existence, another when we realize that everyone is roughly equal and that we’re just as capable as everyone else. The true differentiating factor between people is how seriously one can make use of their capabilities. Just like how water can only sink a boat when it gets on the inside, circumstances can only break us if we let it.
Some people only remember the past from a first-person perspective. Others can recall what happened from both first- and third-person. This makes all the difference: when you can see yourself from the third-person perspective, you realize you aren’t just a character in the grand narrative—you’re also the author. You aren’t just aware of who you used to be, you’re also aware of who you can become. As Aldous Huxley puts it, “experience is not what happens to you; it’s what you do with what happens to you.”
The world is an arena in which our actions and sense of limitation are reflexive.
The more we test how malleable it is, the more we are capable of changing it.
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