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Last Updated on January 12, 2021

It’s Better to Be Nobody Than Somebody

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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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          Published on September 20, 2021

          What is Tenacity and How to Use It To Be Successful

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          What is Tenacity and How to Use It To Be Successful

          Do you ever feel like life is passing you by and you don’t have the same energy as others? Maybe you have seen people push for new opportunities with ease, and you wonder how they are capable of so much more. If this is the case, you might need a boost of tenacity. But first, what is tenacity?

          Being tenacious means having drive and passion, which can be experienced in various ways. Maybe you approach cleaning your house with methodical determination and a detailed plan. When it comes to your job, you might analyze how to be more efficient and prepare for future projects while you are off the clock. Being tenacious does not necessarily mean being the loudest in the room or always moving at a fast pace. It also entails giving yourself the space to breathe and be in the shadows when you need to, then showing up again with confidence and strength.

          Tenacity is what makes you leap out of bed each day. You might not have discovered what this spark is yet, but it is somewhere within you. Becoming a more determined person and utilizing this quality can allow you to be more successful. Here are four ways to use tenacity that will yield measurable results.

          1. Put in Preparation

          The key to being a tenacious person is going above and beyond when it comes to preparation. If you have a deadline to meet at your job, take the time to organize your approach. You might need to wake up earlier or stay later on some days to make sure you can deliver your best work. Putting in this extra effort will allow you to stand out, and it could open the door for more opportunities. You might also take steps to plan for retirement. This could mean analyzing your current assets, investing in stocks, or changing your spending habits. Retiring is something we think about all the time, so actually being ready for it will make you more successful.

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          Tenacity can also be used in personal areas of your life. If you are thinking about going on a vacation, start by outlining the logistics of timing. You can first consider if there are any loose ends to tie up before you leave. From there, do thorough research on the area you are traveling to and find out if there are any must-do experiences. Decide on the excursions you want to take part in, and set aside days to simply lounge around. Planning ahead of time will eliminate stress and ensure a more relaxing vacation. Even organizing your days can have a huge impact on feeling accomplished. Creating a grocery list to make meals for the week or scheduling workouts will allow you to be more productive.

          In all aspects of life, the tenacious person takes the time to prepare for the future. This makes achieving your goals easier and you will find that you are more efficient.

          2. Be Forward-Looking

          The difference between a person with fierce tenacity and someone who lacks the same drive is that the tenacious person does not let life just pass them by. If you find yourself constantly reminiscing about the past, you might consider shifting your mindset.

          To be a more determined person, you need to live in the present moment. Exert your energy in focusing on what is to come. You can use your past to shape how you want your future to look, but you have to let go of any resentment you might have. For instance, if you can’t release the memories of a toxic relationship, then you aren’t opening yourself to finding the love of your life. When you wake up, tell yourself that today is an opportunity to accomplish anything you set your heart on and consider what might be next for you.

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          Perhaps you have been pondering how you might develop a new skill or pick up an exciting hobby. Using passion and tenacity, you can seize the day and build a better future by signing up for an instructional class or trying a new activity. There is so much liberty in forward-thinking. You might feel that it is daunting to contemplate the unknown, but it is really a huge chance for change. You are giving yourself a blank canvas to draw who you want to be without holding back. Think about where you might see yourself living in the future, who your friends will be, or what kind of job you will have.

          When you learn to channel tenacious energy towards tasks and goals daily, your days no longer feel mundane, and you can achieve more.

          3. Seek Opportunities

          Part of being tenacious is tapping into one’s passion and purpose. If you show that you are open to new opportunities, you will have more chances to succeed. If you are searching for a job and are offered an interview for a position, make sure you come with insightful questions and send a follow-up or a thank you email. This will set you apart from other candidates and convey that you are enthusiastic about the opportunity.

          If you are already employed, use tenacity to ask for a promotion or expand your duties. You might offer to assist with other team projects or bring new ideas to the table. When you truly love your job and are excited to attend office parties or volunteer at events, you will naturally exude passion and drive.

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          In your personal life, find ways to diversify your routine. Switch up what you order at a restaurant or test out interesting recipes at home. Instead of going to the gym like usual, try out a spin class. Letting every day be a little more different will be revitalizing. Also, seek openings for making new friends. Look for groups or clubs in your community that you can join where you might meet different people who share some of the same interests. Start becoming a person who is up for anything.

          When a friend invites you somewhere, just say yes and be open to a new experience. Others will begin to associate you with being lively and tenacious, and you will attract similar people. When you surround yourself with individuals who are as strong-willed and energetic as you are, you will vibrate at a higher frequency.

          4. Know Your Worth

          Being tenacious will come easily if you remember the bigger picture and can visualize reaching for your dreams. This could mean reminding yourself why your work matters. Whether you have a career in customer service or the corporate world, make sure you understand how what you do benefits others. Knowing that the project you’re working on makes a difference allows you to bring a new level of excitement.

          If you don’t have a clear meaning behind your actions, waking up for a 9-to-5 job feels tiresome, and you become complacent with your position. By asking how everyone’s duties fit together, you might find that you bring a valuable skill. It can also be beneficial to recognize the fruits of your labor. Perhaps you worked with a team member and assisted them with a project. When you see the finished product and how grateful your coworker was for your aid, you gain an understanding of how you can be in service to others. This makes it easier to value your worth and be passionate about other tasks as well.

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          Even keeping a vision board can allow you to be more persistent and determined to succeed. Putting up pictures of a car you’ve always wanted or words associated with the type of partner you’re seeking can motivate you and remind you what your end goal is. Part of being tenacious is also considering how you want people to talk about you. Taking a few moments each day to meditate on how your friends and family regard you will allow you to remember the qualities you love about yourself and anything you might want to work on. Understanding your worth and how others view you helps you live with more tenacity.

          Final Thoughts

          Tenacity is what moves us to action. It is energetic passion and perseverance that we are all capable of exuding. When you are a tenacious person at work, you will become a dependable individual who is given more opportunities.

          Having tenacity in relationships also builds stronger bonds with like-minded people. Challenge yourself to bring determination in these ways to a few aspects of your life in the coming months. By being intentional with your time, you will maximize your impact and embrace success.

          Featured photo credit: Ales Krive via unsplash.com

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