June 30

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Reject the Bloody Tyrant and Choose Empowerment

By Simo

June 30, 2020


For the tyrants are invisible and pervasive around us.


In one of our all-time favourite books, Poke the Box by Seth Godin, there’s a catchy phrase “Reject the tyranny of being picked.

I’ve mentioned this phrase quite a few times before, but I find myself gravitating back to this time after time. I find it especially empowering after rejections. And as an academic, I get rejected all the time — literally every rejection that my students get from journals and conferences are my rejections too.

But in academia as well as in other areas of life, you simply don’t need to wait for anyone to pick you up. In fact, you can’t rely on anyone picking you up.

They might just go ahead and pick someone else, again and again. Until you get cynical and give up. The world is getting crowded. The higher the corporate ladder you climb. the slimmer are the chances you’re being picked up.

“I’m SO done with all this.”

Isn’t that a bummer?

But the crowds are there and they’re hungry. They want to hear from you. They want to devour your creative genius. You owe it to the world to let that genius out. And go through the walls to show it. That’s why today I want to talk about one of my favourite words and things in life: building.

Building is something that all of us can do, without relying on some magical prince charming to “choose us”.

There is no prince charming.


Remember when you were a kid? Don’t tell me you didn’t enjoy drawing or building with legos. Creating is fun. Building is fun. Somehow, at some point in our adult lives, we forget this and focus on building for others.

Howabout building for yourself?

Just build something. Build your body, build your mind, build something to sell, and finally build a way to offer that to the world.

And the best time to build is when the noise quiets down, even for a bit (that’s summer in Finland, by the way)

No permit required

Another absolute unit of a statement.

No permit required. In building <insert your goals here>, there will be resistance from the world. But there won’t be gatekeepers asking for permits.

Kaizen Hour is focusing on three pillars that work seamlessly together to enable a good life: Health, Wealth, and Mindset. Get these three in order, and it’ll all be easier. Yes, even mastering all of these will not spare you from disasters in life and uphills, but… let’s just admit it — these three things are something that most of us would like to improve and inherently know that would make a concrete difference in our lives.

What can we build, with no permits from anyone and absurdly affordably, in these areas? The list is literally endless and requires very little creativity. But what it all requires is action.

Because as you may have guessed…nobody will come and pick you up.

Health

  • Walk/jog/run. Daily.
  • Buy a used kettlebell, commit 15 minutes per day. Youtube has amazing tutorials, for free.
  • Bodyweight exercises. Commit 15 minutes per day. Guess where to find tutorials?
  • Fast every now and then. Guess what, this even saves you money! Which you can then use for the kettlebell.
  • Eat just one junk meal less per week. Again, save those dollars. Use for the kettlebell.
  • Never buy supplements that cost $4.95 with “you only pay for shipping”-type promises. Or, actually, don’t buy any supplements whatsoever until you know what you’re doing.

Wealth

  • Go to fiverr.com, browse the marketplace, and start offering your time for small gigs that at the same time help you develop your creative muscles
  • Create a product to sell online based on your own interests. It’s FAR easier than you’d think! Just get started. Nobody will pick you up to do this.
  • Once you have enough saved from Fiverr (or if you already have some savings), invest in a good web host and learn to build websites. There are thousands of brick and mortar businesses out there that need websites. Sell your services to them. Email and Google work surprisingly well here.
  • Once you start accumulating some savings, learn to invest. Information, again, is free. Read books. Watch tutorials.
  • Never buy “get rich quick”-type offers.

Mindset

  • Meditate. It’s free, and increasingly backed by rigorous academic research to work for you. Just 10 min per day to start, and again, YouTube is your best buddy.
  • Write a journal. Take the easy way out: write down every day what felt empowering, what took you down. Reflect after a month. Try to get rid of the negative stuff.
  • Start in information-diet. Cut the nonsense. Fill it with positive things and thoughts. There are countless of good social media accounts that can fill the space created by axing harmful information sources from your life (such as ours on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn).
  • Fight cynicism with all you got. You can do this. The more you think you can do, the more you will be able to do (and by “more” we don’t mean having more noise in your life…more of the good stuff, regardless of what you think is the good stuff).
  • Never lose hope. It’s okay to give up sometimes. Even advisable. But losing hope…there’s always hope. Fight to find it. Dig deeper.

As I write this, I’ve been having simultaneous conversations on Twitter about the word empowerment.

Turns out, nearly half of my social media bubble hate the word. It’s slimy.

It’s slimy because the aura of the self-help genre is less than flattering. The genre is full of hoaxsters (as our last month’s newsletter discussed).

Reject the tyranny of being picked up

-Seth Godin

But empowerment is no hoax. It’s real.

And one of the best ways to empower yourself is to reject the tyrants that try to keep us down. These tyrants include the people who don’t believe in empowerment but try to drag you down. These tyrants include the pervasive idea that you should work overtime for free. And these tyrants include the people who think they have the power to either choose or not to choose you.

Choose yourself.

About the author

A dabbler in academia, life, and self-development.

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