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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 September 17, 2019

          30 Self-Care Habits for a Strong and Healthy Mind, Body and Spirit

          30 Self-Care Habits for a Strong and Healthy Mind, Body and Spirit

          I sat in the quiet, cold, white doctor’s office in Sydney, Australia. There was crinkly loud paper under my legs as I waited for my MRI results. I had been in pain for months and desperately wanted to know what was wrong. The doctor removed his glasses, pointed to the images, and told me I had a compressed disc in my lower back, narrowing of the spinal column and arthritis.

          I was 21, living in a foreign country and alone. I burst into tears and all the worst-case scenarios ran through my head. He told me I could never run again, and worse, I would need to stop exercising completely for an indefinite period of time. Sports, activity, exercise, running, being athletic and adventurous – that was my identity and had been for most of my life. I went home and crawled in bed. I felt hopeless, defeated and depressed. My boyfriend at the time, now my husband, came over and tried to cheer me up. But it seemed nothing could do so.

          My life as I knew it was over. If I couldn’t be an adventurous athlete, I wasn’t even sure who I was anymore.

          This wasn’t the first time I had been told by a doctor never to run again. In fact, it was the fourth. The first was at the age of 16 after my first knee surgery to fix a torn meniscus. The second and third times were in college. Once was my sophomore year when I was training for a marathon. I have always wanted to run a marathon (and still do), but had to stop two weeks short of the finish line as I developed stress fractures in both of my femurs. The other, my junior year, I found myself on the surgery table, removing part of my meniscus. The doctor once again, as others before him, told me that I should never run again. I nodded my head, healed my knee, strengthened my leg in physical therapy and once again hit the pavement and the sports field.

          Which leads us back to the doctor’s room in Sydney. This time it wasn’t my knee. It was my back. And the doctor told me if I chose not to listen this time, if I DID continue to run, that I could pinch a nerve, causing the potential for serious problems long term.

          Pain I could handle, but the thought of being paralyzed, or worse, was not a risk I was willing to take. Continuing to ignore my doctor’s advice and push through the pain was not an option anymore.

          It was time I started taking better care of myself and my body. It was time I learned what self-care looked like.

          I hate the term self-care.

          I have always cringed at the term self-care and therefore, any advice to follow it. Even today, the word still makes me uncomfortable. Something deep within me feels weak when I hear it; like I’m not tough enough or I can’t handle what life throws at me.

          Maybe it’s because I’ve always been an athlete, or because I was raised in a fast paced, entrepreneurial family. At six-years-old, I remember walking behind my dad at the store. He kept a fast pace. I yelled ahead, “Wait up Dad, slow down!”. His reply, “Hurry up, speed up, catch up, run!”

          So that’s what I did most of my life. I hurried up, sped up, caught up and ran. If I was in pain, I sucked it up and worked through it. If I was tired, I pushed through. If I was sad or upset, I pushed it aside and moved forward.

          In my mind, self-care meant slowing down, not progressing; for those who couldn’t keep up. To use a term from my grandpa, I thought self-care was for ‘sissies.’

          But what I didn’t realize until that wake-up call in the doctor’s office was that self-care is the very thing that allows us to do everything we want to do in and with our lives.

          It is what gives us the energy, strength and resilience to keep going.

          I want to emphasize something I wish someone had told me. Maybe someone did, but I needed them to take me by the shoulders, shake me, look me in the eye and say it.

          Self-care isn’t for sissies. Self-care is not for the weak. It is not a luxury. And it is not selfish.

          When you don’t take care of yourself, are too hard on your body, or don’t take care of your emotional needs, you are at much higher risk for burnout, a variety of mental health issues including anxiety and depression, physical injury and illness.

          Not taking care of yourself will always catch up to you. Sound familiar? Perhaps you’ve had a wake-up call of your own.

          Why Is Self-Care Important?

          Self-care is quite literally taking care of yourself. It isn’t just about getting a massage. It is any action you take to preserve and improve your health, wellness, happiness and fulfillment.

          We’ve all heard the saying, “you can’t pour from an empty cup” or “put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others.” These are self-care. You cannot take care of others if you do not take care of yourself first. This takes on a whole new meaning when you also have kids and a family.

            self

            Self-care is doing what needs to be done so you can be balanced and energized to achieve all that you want out of life. Self-care nourishes your mind, body and spirit and allows you to thrive. It increases your happiness, ability to be successful and the quality of your life and relationships.

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            When I look at it that way, not as something for the weak, but as something to help us live our best lives, then instead of becoming an ‘nice to have’ it becomes an important and essential part of life. In fact, I now know it’s the only way to live my fullest life.

              That’s why I’ve pulled together 30 ways to practice self-care so you can live your best life. I’ve got you covered from an integrative wellness approach – mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually.

              How to Practice Self-Care: 30 Ways to Take Care of Yourself

              Let’s start with the basics. These are self-care practices you can do daily. Many take very little time or energy, and most can be done in less than five minutes, some in less than one.

                1. Breathe

                Deep breathing increases circulation by bringing oxygen to your muscles and brain. This increased oxygen content leads to greater energy and healthier muscles, organs and tissues. Breathe deeply more often. What happened when you started to read this? Did you take a deep breath? Great, you’re already practicing self-care.

                2. Eat Well

                Your body is a machine and food is your fuel. Simple as that. I’ve learned two main things studying diets over the years and working with top health doctors:

                First, focus on eating real, whole, nutrient-dense food; avoid processed foods and refined sugars.

                Secondly, find what works for you. There are lots of options out there – pale0, Mediterranean, plant-based, you name it.

                3. Stay Hydrated

                The human body is composed of 50-65% water. Some parts of our bodies, like our brain, heart and lungs, are more than 70%. Drinking water is a simple, effective way to take care of yourself.

                Aim to drink eight 8-ounce glasses daily. It takes no extra time, energy and effort, so grab a glass and start hydrating.

                4. Sleep

                I used to wear it as a badge of honor that I didn’t sleep much. However, increasingly more studies are coming out on the importance of getting enough quality sleep[1] and, more importantly, the consequences when you don’t. Make sleep a priority. Your mind and body will thank you.

                5. See Your Doctor

                How long have you been putting off making an appointment, tolerating constant pain or dealing with something that just isn’t right?

                Most things can be dealt with if they’re caught early – and are much harder to manage if you wait. Grab your phone, schedule an appointment now.

                6. Express Gratitude

                In order to live a life we love, we must first love the life we live. Research continues to surface on the science and benefits of gratitude.[2]

                Being grateful is one of the simplest, yet most powerful, things you can do to take care of yourself. Here’re 40 Simple Ways To Practice Gratitude.

                7. Take Supplements

                Name what ails you and research or ask your doctor what vitamins, minerals, or herbs can support your health and well-being. For example, those with a B-12 deficiency are much more likely to experience anxiety and Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to all sorts of health problems.

                I take turmeric/curcumin to reduce inflammation,[3] and B2 and magnesium supplements recommended by my neurologist for hormonal migraines.

                Always make sure to check the quality and efficacy.

                8. Hug Your Kid, Spouse or Pet

                Hugging boosts your oxytocin levels (the love hormone), increases serotonin (elevates mood and creates happiness), strengthens the immune system, boosts self-esteem, lowers blood pressure, balances the nervous system and releases tension. Only a few seconds can put you in a positive mood.

                  9. Meditate

                  Yep, you knew this was coming, didn’t you? Check out how to meditate here . And, if you’re one of those people who think you can’t meditate (I feel you, I was one of you!), no more excuses. Try it.

                  10. Get Bodywork

                  I said that massage wasn’t the only form of self-care, but it is a good one!

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                  Bodywork is a staple of my self-care routine. Our bodies store emotional tension in ways that we don’t even realize, and bodywork allows us to release that tension.

                  Options include chiropractic, stretching, cranial-sacral therapy, myofascial release work, osteopathy and reflexology.

                  11. Take a Hike

                  Get the blood flowing. We all know the benefits of exercise. This might be a walk, run, hike, trip to the gym, yoga or stretching. Whatever you do, get your blood and body moving.

                  Feel like you don’t have time? Try this short, 4-minute workout:

                  12. Spend Time with Those You Love

                  Schedule a date night with your partner, a special day with your kiddo or happy hour with your BFF. We are biologically hardwired for relationships and connection.

                  Studies prove that people who socialize often have higher levels of happiness. This doesn’t have to be face-to-face; sometimes a phone call is all you need (and can fit in!).

                  13. Take a Vacation (or a Staycation)

                  More than 50% of Americans don’t use all of their vacation days. Take time off away from the routine of life. Make time to have fun, recover and reenergize.

                  14. Do Something Just for Fun

                  When was the last time you did something because it was fun or gave you joy? Not because it had a tangible benefit, purpose or ROI?

                  Crank up the music and dance. Laugh with your kids. Head to the bowling alley. Play a game. Write. Buy flowers. Follow your passions. Attend a fun event.

                  The real ROI? A better, more energized, happier self.

                  15. Treat Yourself and Your Body

                  When you look good, you feel good.

                  Get a haircut, have your nails done, enjoy a facial, manicure or pedicure. When we take care of how we look physically, we feel better emotionally.

                  16. Spend Time in Nature

                  Studies have shown spending time in nature has a wide range of health benefits including lowering your stress hormone levels.[4]

                  Get outside. Head to the forest, hit the beach or take a hike. Walking barefoot and ‘grounding’ can be especially healing.

                    17. Eliminate Toxicity and Negativity

                    Make a conscious effort to hang out with people who feed your soul and make you feel energized and alive. Eliminate or reduce the amount of time you spend with people and situations that drain you or leave you feeling exhausted.

                    Surround yourself with love, encouragement and positive energy.

                    18. Take a Bath

                    This is a simple and inexpensive way to take care of yourself.

                    Add in a little Epsom Salts, essential oils or that bath bomb you have lying around. Light a candle, sit back, relax and unwind.

                    19. Practice Self-Reflection

                    Self-reflection is about taking a step back and reflecting on your life, behavior and beliefs.

                    Take time regularly to hop off the hamster wheel of life. Think about what’s working and what’s not, acknowledge your wins and successes; identify what to keep and what needs to change.

                    Try journaling or check out tips for self-reflection here: How Self-Reflection Gives You a Happier and More Successful Life

                    20. Feed Your Mind

                    Learn something new! As humans, we have a need to use our full cognitive capacity. We are here to grow and evolve and learning is a huge piece of us feeling energized and alive.

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                    Take a class or online course. Read a book. Listen to a podcast.

                    21. Lend a Hand

                    We also have a need for significance, contribution and making a difference. Among many other benefits , volunteering has been shown to help people feel healthier and happier.

                    22. Unpack your Baggage

                    Self-care is about taking care of your whole self. Often this means dealing with emotional trauma, past events or limiting beliefs.

                    See a therapist. Talk to a coach. Have the conversation you need to have with that person you’ve been angry with for decades. Find a way to move forward.

                    23. Be Adventurous

                    Get outside your comfort zone. Be brave. Challenge yourself.

                    Whether that be a backpacking trip, trying a new activity, or pushing yourself physically, mentally or emotionally, you’ll feel proud, confident and strong.

                    24. Tidy up!

                    There’s a reason Marie Kondo has become a sensation. When we seek minimization in our homes, schedules, and lives, we feel more at ease and less stressed.

                    Try simplifying one area of your life and experience a new level of peace. Have a read on Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, it may inspire you a lot!

                    25. Feed Your Spirit

                    How are you feeding your soul? This can be anything that relates to you feeling inspiration which means, ‘in spirit’.

                    Connect with what makes you feel close to something deeper, bigger, higher – or makes you feel more connected to yourself. This might include meditation, spiritual or religious study.

                    26. Get Creative

                    We all have a need to grow, use our creativity and express ourselves fully. Find your creative outlet. Paint, dance or take photos.

                    Not artistically creative? Ask questions, problem-solve or build something.

                    One of my daughters loves building. When she ideates, draws up plans and brings them to life, she is noticeably happier and more confident.

                    27. Be True to Yourself

                    Self-awareness and being true to yourself are essential to living a happy, fulfilled and successful life; therefore, these are critical elements of self-care.

                    Listen to your inner voice. Identify what you need. When we are out of alignment with ourselves, we are more stressed, overwhelmed and at higher risk for health issues.

                    Here are 11 ways to be true to you: How To Be True To You When Life Pulls You Off Track

                      28. Set Boundaries

                      This is important to healthy relationships, a strong sense of self-esteem and healthy life. You must know what you will and won’t accept.

                      Identify where energy is leaking out from your life. If you continue to give when you have nothing to give or say ‘yes’ when you mean ‘no’, you will continue to suffer.

                      Know, acknowledge and honor your limits and boundaries – physically and emotionally.

                      29. Escape

                      While avoidance and numbing can be detrimental, a little escape can help recharge your batteries.

                      So watch that reality TV show without guilt, catch the latest movie, delve into that novel, or head to the museum. What transports you and completely allows you to shut off?

                      30. Be Nice to Yourself

                      Be kind, patient and understanding. Treat yourself like you would a close friend. Speak to yourself as you would someone you love.

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                      You are enough. You are doing enough.

                      Give yourself a break, a little more love and a lot more compassion.

                      You are doing a great job – time to tell yourself that.

                      Start Taking Care of Yourself Now!

                      Now you have 30 ways to take care of yourself! However, you may still have nagging thoughts in the back of your head about why you can’t.

                      Ditch Your Excuses

                      Here are the most common excuses I hear with a strategy to help:

                      I don’t have time for it.

                      How many hours per day do you spend watching TV or on social media? Some studies show that the average adult spends over four hours watching TV and over two on social media. What if you took just half that to take care of yourself? Or 1/10th?! We all have the same 24 hours in a day.

                      It’s what you choose to do with that time that counts. Many of the suggestions above require no time at all. Take a breath, drink an extra glass of water, speak nicely to yourself, grab an apple.

                      I don’t need it.

                      Trust me, if you don’t take care of yourself now, you’re going to get that wake-up call one day, if you haven’t already.

                      I guarantee it’s going to take a lot more time and energy to fix what’s broken than to take care of it along the way. You have a responsibility to do this for yourself.

                      I’m too tired.

                      Great! Take a nap. Then you’ve done your self-care for the day. No joke.

                      Too often when we are tired, we drink coffee, reach for a sugary snack or find some other way to distract ourselves.

                      Self-care is different from day to day. Some days it will be harder than others. Each of the items on the list are meant to GIVE you energy, not take it away. You’ll be amazed at how much more energized and awake you feel after one of these practices.

                      It‘s just too hard.

                      One big reason people don’t get started is because they think it’s going to be hard. Don’t fall into this trap and do nothing at all.

                      Choose something that feels simple and easy to do – and do it. There is no step too small.

                      Know Your Motivation

                      It’s not the action of self-care that’s most important. It’s about what you get by taking care of yourself.

                      What is the real value or importance of self-care in your life?

                      To be a better mom, look good, be healthier, have more energy, reduce your stress levels, feel better, see your grandkids graduate from college, get that promotion, sustain the business you’re building, perform at your very best?

                      Know your why so you can tap into the motivation for taking care of yourself. If you’re doing this because you ‘should’, it just won’t happen or be sustainable. You must do this because you see value, purpose and benefits at some level. What are those for you?

                      Final Thoughts

                      “Take care of your body, it’s the only place you have to life” – Jim Rohn

                      Self-care is about doing what makes you feel good – mind, body and spirit.

                      If you remember only one thing:

                      Do more of what makes you feel good, brings you energy and joy and do less of what doesn’t.

                      Had I taken better care of myself in my late teens and my early twenties, I might have avoided two knee surgeries, stress fractures and arthritis. Had I taken better care of myself in my thirties, perhaps I could have avoided anxiety and a near breakdown . But that was my journey and it led me here. And I have to say, I’m pretty happy where here is.

                      So now, in my forties, while I still may cringe at the term, I pay attention to and practice self-care. And I often wonder if maybe, just maybe, I continue to take good care of myself, I may just be able to run that marathon one day after all.

                      More About Practicing Self-Care

                      Featured photo credit: Samantha Gades via unsplash.com

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