We live in an era where we have more information and resources available than ever before. The average hipster at the coffeeshop could be just browsing online or a few clicks away from starting the next billion dollar business. Information convenience has become ridiculous to the point that you can Google answers to any question from the comfort of your toilet seat. Not only do we have the information we need, but also the resources. Amazon is asking potential tech hires how they would go about building Uber using Amazon Web Services (AWS) which is available to literally anybody. Then if our generation knows what to do and has the tools for it what is stopping us from greatness?
You can Google it, but if you want to switch things up let’s ask Instagram. As reported by the Business Insider, Instagram is testing removing likes from their platform.
Instagram without likes sounds as dramatic as making a lemonade without any lemons. But why would they even consider testing this out? Same reason that is stopping our generation from achieving greatness:
Adam Mosseri the current CEO of Instagram, explains the experiment:
creating a less pressurized environment where people feel comfortable expressing themselves
It does sound extremely absurd, the worst part is that I believe Mosseri is right. How many things we stopped pursuing, because we cared how the world would see us if we failed? Initially, this might not resonate with you, but have you ever procrastinated or suffer from perfectionism? Neither of these two things are laziness, just fear wearing a complex disguise. Perfectionism is fear by activity, always busy working on something, but never releasing it to the world, because we don’t want to find out what criticism or failure could taste like. Procrastination is fear by inactivity, it stresses us out doing something outside of our comfort zone so we keep delaying, until our child fears grow into intimidating adults.
Courage might be the obvious answer to the fear problem, but how does that look like?
James Clear on his book Atomic Habits give us the perfect story on how fear can be killed:
On the first day of class, Jerry Uelsmann, a professor at the University of Florida, divided his film photography students into two groups.
Everyone on the left side of the classroom, he explained, would be in the “quantity” group. They would be graded solely on the amount of work they produced. On the final day of class, he would tally the number of photos submitted by each student. One hundred photos would rate an A, ninety photos a B, eighty photos a C, and so on.
Meanwhile, everyone on the right side of the room would be in the “quality” group. They would be graded only on the excellence of their work. They would only need to produce one photo during the semester, but to get an A, it had to be a nearly perfect image.
At the end of the term, he was surprised to find that all the best photos were produced by the quantity group. During the semester, these students were busy taking photos, experimenting with composition and lighting, testing out various methods in the darkroom, and learning from their mistakes. In the process of creating hundreds of photos, they honed their skills. Meanwhile, the quality group sat around speculating about perfection. In the end, they had little to show for their efforts other than unverified theories and one mediocre photo.
The answer to Fear is dumping the big infrequent blockbuster act of courage, for the relentless frequent pursuit of being a little uncomfortable every day and putting yourself out there.
A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for