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Last Updated on February 28, 2018

It’s Better to Be Nobody Than Somebody

It’s Better to Be Nobody Than Somebody

Most of us desire to fit in, but if we’re good at what we do, we want to stand out. The quest for notoriety leads people to reach incredible heights, but is fame all it’s cracked up to be?

Pixar’s rise to greatness is a good example of how fame has its pros and cons. When they made Toy Story, they invented an entirely new way to make animated films. They knew that the film would present many challenges, but they also felt they could tell a great story.

Toy Story wound up grossing $373,554,033 worldwide, and Pixar became a household name. John Lasseter, the company’s founder, describes his experience with Pixar’s second film, A Bug’s Life:[1]

“When we made Toy Story nobody knew who we were but now… I felt like we were making A Bug’s Life in a fishbowl.”

    The notoriety put the studio under pressure to make something as good as or better than Toy Story. They had to improve their technique and avoid the sophomore slump.

    The unknown studio had the freedom to do whatever it wanted, provided they could find talent and money.[2] As a big animation studio, audiences are much more critical, and they have to answer to Disney.

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    Being famous has its perks. We love validation, and having people recognize our talents is an amazing feeling. Feeling like a nobody who can’t seem to turn their dreams into reality doesn’t feel great.

    Obscurity isn’t all bad, though. Don’t let the quest for fame deprive you of the fruits that come from being an unknown.

    Being invisible is scary

      We humans are a social bunch. We learned to stick together because doing so increased our chances of survival. Exile from the group made it tough to get all the resources necessary to make it.

      Beyond evolutionary reasons for sticking together, we’re sensitive to being left out. Deep down, most people just want to be wanted. When we feel invisible, it can create an existential crisis for us.

      When we’re left in the shadows, we often feel sad and envious of people in the spotlight, who seems happy to live in the spotlight and have the attention of people around him.

      When we feel like somebodies instead of nobodies, we don’t question our existence. Our position in society is constantly reinforced by the attention we receive from others.

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      Being famous is not fun

        Being famous satisfies some needs, but it creates others. When you’re famous, you can’t just do whatever you want. You can’t take on certain types of projects because your audience has expectations about what you can and can’t create.

        When you live “under the radar,” you are free to make mistakes. As more people recognize and look up to you, they’ll watch your every move. They usually do this out of love, but it can feel like you don’t have any privacy. Every decision you make is on display. You have to be careful about everything you do when you’re famous.

        Fame also brings more responsibility. The stakes are higher when you start a new project because you have a lot to lose. As you gain fame, other people depend on you. If your new project fails miserably, you might cost yourself and your team their livelihoods.

        Pixar has much more at stake now than when started. They’re responsible to shareholders, and they have an audience that expects them to deliver. Taking a big risk could cost them more money and resources than when they first got into the animation business.

        The perk of obscurity

          Everyone is an unknown for some of their journey. You should embrace and enjoy having the chance to rise and improve. You can make mistakes, and nobody will notice. You don’t have as many worries, your risks are smaller, and if you fail, you can bounce back quickly. Obscurity can be liberating.

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          Imagine you’re an unknown author who decides to publish a novel unlike anything you’ve done before. The novel tanks, but since nobody knew who you were, you were able to spend some time reflecting on what happened. You realized that you were writing what you thought people wanted instead of being true to yourself.

          If you had made the same mistake as an established author, your audience would not be forgiving. They might think that you’re washed up instead of recognizing that you are experimenting. Obscurity gives you the freedom to find out who you are without having to answer to others.

          Being well-known has its advantages, but the cost can be high too. It’s best to appreciate your life for exactly what it is. If you want to achieve fame, realize that the entire journey from being nobody to somebody (not just the part where you’re famous) is important.

          Being somebody doesn’t mean that you need to be world-famous. You can be somebody in your hometown or city. If you’ve achieved what you want, you are somebody. Obscurity is just one part of that journey to being who you want to be and doing what you want to do.

          Fame is an endless chase

          We’ve all heard about people getting their 15 minutes of fame or becoming one-hit wonders. Fame is always subject to change. You may have times when your work is very popular, and there might be points when people don’t know your name. Only a few people have staying-power to be famous forever.

          The public’s attention span is short. Even very famous people don’t get attention 24/7. Some of them crave their alone-time, while others seem confused and upset by it. Lady Gaga stated in the documentary Gaga: Five Foot Two:[3]

          “…And I go from everyone touching me all day and talking at me all day to total silence.”

          The endless chase to be validated and recognized is exhausting and unhealthy.

          Be a nobody for a while

          Realize that fame is the side effect of luck, hard work, and circumstance. Take in the good and bad about living in obscurity for a while. Being an unknown gives you the chance to fail and take risks without destroying your career.

          Every failure will help you improve and refine your mission. Obscurity is your playground. Go there and get creative without worrying about anything other than the things that you love. Living in obscurity and being okay with it will teach you what you need to know to handle fame one day.

          We think that the lives of famous people are easy, but that is only because we see the results of the hard work that they did in obscurity. When Sylvester Stallone wrote the script for Rocky, he was so poor that he had to sell his dog to survive.[4] Chris Pratt lived in a van before he got his big break in Hollywood.[5]

          The journey from obscurity takes time, and you learn many lessons along the way. You find out what you’re made of, and you refine your craft until it’s ready for the world to enjoy. Instead of worry about getting famous, concentrate on being the best version of yourself that you can be.

          Reference

          More by this author

          Leon Ho

          Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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          Last Updated on January 9, 2019

          7 Signs You’re Ready to Change Your Life (And What to Do Next)

          7 Signs You’re Ready to Change Your Life (And What to Do Next)

          Changing your life can be both scary and exciting, but more than anything it’s necessary to grow. Most people come to a point one day where they have to make a change in their life to either grow personally or professionally, but it’s hard to figure out when you’re ready to make that change.

          So how do you know when it’s time that you’re ready to change your life?

          The truth is there is at least one sign in front of you that you have been ignoring or not even noticing. This article will take you through 7 signs that shows you that you’re ready to take that next step.

          1. Your Motivation Is Gone

          Humans all have something that makes them tick. A goal that makes them wake up at 5am even though they would love to sleep in late. A drive that makes them decline social events, because their jobs need them to stay all night, or maybe it’s the opposite and you attend social events to please the ones close to you.

          It comes from your motivation to succeed either professionally or personally, but once the drive is missing, then you can’t keep going and you will lose your motivation.

          If you suddenly can’t find that drive inside you once had, then it can be a sign. It can be your needs or wants that have changed. The important thing is that if you don’t feel the same motivation any longer, then it’s time to do something about it.

          We’ve been taught to keep going even when it gets tough, but it’s okay to change and redefine yourself. It’s not about giving up. It’s about stopping up and revaluate whether you still want the same things in life.

          Sometimes you may find out you still want the same time, but the way you’re going about it isn’t working for you.

          Chris Sacca, an American venture investor, and entrepreneur, bought a cabin in Tahoe’s less-expensive neighbour and moved to the prime skiing and hiking country when he felt his motivation sliding away. He still had the same goals, but described a need for a change in his life to get back the right mind-set:[1]

          ”I wanted to have the time to focus, to learn the things I wanted to learn, to build what I wanted to build, and to really invest in relationships that I wanted to grow, rather than just doing a day of coffee after coffee after coffee.”

          If you still want the same things, then do what Chris Sacca did and change your daily routine. If you want new things, then maybe it’s time to quit your job, or make a change in your personal life.

          It doesn’t mean that you have failed. It simply means you are ready to focus on what matters: You.

          Find your passion and motivation back to live a better life with these tips:

          Want to Know What Truly Motivates You, and How to Always Stay Motivated?

          2. You’re Unhappy at Least Once a Day Every Day

          We tend to ignore unhappiness because it’s normal to get upset or feel a bit down. It’s true. It is normal, but if you feel unhappy every day and usually without even knowing exactly why – it’s a sign.

          A task, a job or a relationship can be both giving and draining — most often both. While we have to accept a certain struggle, we don’t have to accept being unhappy.

          Here’s a little test you can do easily:

          Take a look at what you do every day, and take a look at the things you have assigned yourself. How many of these things do you do for yourself? And how many do you do to please someone else?

          Once and a while, we need to take a step back and look at our to-do list. Are you dealing with a to-do list of others, or your own to-do list? There is a difference.

          This can easily be misunderstood, but you need to remember it’s not about being selfish or lazy. If you’re unhappy on a daily basis, then you can’t make other people happy in the long run either.

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          If you’re unhappy every day, then it’s time to recognize it as a sign that you’re doing something wrong in your life when it comes to your own happiness. It might have seemed right before, but it’s clearly not doing you any good anymore. You’re ready for a change.

          You can learn how to be happy again from this article:

          How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up

          3. The People Around You Are Changing

          The grass is far from always greener on the other side of the street (at least most of the time), and while we shouldn’t compare ourselves to the people around us on a daily basis, it’s okay to take a look once a while.

          The people you surround yourself with often reflect back on yourself. If you’re going through a phase where most of your friends have been going out all the time, and then they suddenly start to focus on work and family, it might be a sign.

          This by no means imply you should change your life if you’re still feeling fulfilled and good about it. But if you turn your head and start noticing a change around you and it makes you rethink things, it’s probably a sign of you being ready to change as well.

          4. You’re Bored

          A healthy life shouldn’t be all fun and games, but if you’re starting to feel bored on a daily basis, then it could be a sign. There’s a difference between waking up on a Sunday and not knowing what to do, and waking up every day and feel bored.

          Maybe you don’t feel challenged in your job any longer, or your normal idea of fun is no longer giving you the enjoyment it once did before.

          Take the time to check with yourself. Are you just bored? Or do you need something more in your life?

          Humans are run by habits and routines, which makes it tough to change them. It also makes us stay in bad situations much longer than needed.

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          It’s always hard in the beginning but you can do it! Take a leap of faith and change your life.

          5. You’re Stressed

          Stress is probably one of the most common signs that you’re in need of a change, but it can also be one of the signs that can be the hardest to react upon. Because when you’re stressed, you automatically feel anxious about making a change.

          It can be hard to deal with stress, but luckily there are many different types of solutions to deal with it. It often comes down to trying different ways and figuring out what works for you.

          Tim Ferriss notices that:[2]

          “More than 80% of the world-class performers I’ve interviewed have some form of daily mediation or mindfulness practice.”

          Take a look at this to find what’s best for you to relieve stress:

          The Healthy and Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms for Stress

          But sometimes all you need to do is to figure out what is stressing you out and whether it’s worth it. If the stress comes down to being a sign, then you need to accept it and create a change in your life, because you’re clearly ready.

          6. You’re Scared

          Everybody lives with fears. They’re afraid of losing someone. They’re afraid of losing their job. They’re afraid of making the wrong decisions. They’re afraid of a lot of things because life is pretty scary.

          The trick is to recognize whether the fear drives you or brings you down. It’s okay to be scared, but it’s not okay to live in constant fear.

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          If you’re scared about a specific thing or just feel anxious on a daily basis, it’s time to get a better understanding of where it comes from and also see it as a sign.

          When you’re already scared, it can be tough to consider making a change in your life, but look past the fear and know that you can choose to stay in this state of mind or work through it.

          Try to visualize a future where the fear is no longer present and use it as a tool to make the hard decision now and change your life for the better.

          This guide written by the author of Fight the Fear – How to Beat Your Negative Mindset and Win in Life will help you conquer your fears:

          How to Overcome Your Irrational Fears (That Stop You from Succeeding)

          7. There’s No Stimulation in Your Life

          Humans need stimulation in their daily lives because we will feel scared, stressed and unhappy at times. If you can tell that you no longer have that stimulation in your life, then it’s a sign that you’re ready for a change.

          What drove you in the past or got your heart pounding faster once might not do the same for you anymore. Before you get to the previous mentioned state of minds, you can get ahead of things and recognize this lack of stimulation as soon as possible as a sign.

          The Bottom Line

          All changes are hard and shouldn’t be taken lightly, but we need to start seeing change as a positive rather than (as we often do at first) a negative. Changing your life can be tough, but it’s worth it.

          Once you decided to change your life it won’t be easy in the beginning. Try to use a phrase Chris Sacca used when he was going through the same:[3]

          ”I had a phrase I kept repeating in my head over and over again, which was, ‘Tonight, I will be in by bed…”

          This will help you remember whatever you’re feeling right now is temporary. But if you don’t find the courage to make a change, then the negative feelings and emotions you’re dealing with won’t be.

          Featured photo credit: Joshua Ness via unsplash.com

          Reference

          [1]Tim Ferriss: Tools of Titans, page 165
          [2]Tim Ferriss: Tools of Titans, page 149
          [3]Tim Ferriss: Tools of Titans, Page 167

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