In the movie The Matrix— the main character, Neo, goes to visit “the oracle.” While he’s in the living room waiting for her, he sees this kid making a spoon bend in half with his mind.
The kid hands the spoon to Neo and says, “Do not try to bend the spoon. That’s impossible. Instead try to realize the truth. There is no spoon.”
The matrix isn’t real, so there’s no use in trying to play by any rules. In the matrix you’re only bound by the limits of your mind. This science fiction movie draws many parallels with the world we live in.
Many people believe in the idea of “the real world,” even though there are countless examples of people living outside the norm. The idea of the “real world,” was invented to keep you in line, to make you conform, to keep you from asking too many questions. There is no “real world.”
You don’t have to break the rules because there aren’t any rules. There is no spoon. The gatekeepers are gone.
If you want a million people to see you on camera you don’t have to be on T.V. Just set up a YouTube channel. If you want get your book published you don’t have to send query letters to dozens of publishers. You can publish a book yourself. If you want to start a business you don’t need to take out a loan from the bank. You can crowdfund your project.
Everyone in society is at a fork in the road. People are choosing one of two directions.
A) Stick with the old way of thinking. Rely on the industrialist education system. Get straight A’s in college, graduate, fill out 50 resumes and toss them into the abyss. They’re waiting to be picked.
B) Realize the world is full of opportunity. Instead of collecting gold stars on their resume they’re doing real work. Starting businesses, writing books, making art, connecting with people, being creative, failing, experimenting, tinkering, learning, growing.
The world we live in is changing. It’s your oyster –if you believe what you want to do is possible.
The most important part of living the life of your dreams isn’t skills or talent, but belief. Here are some ways to help you believe it’s possible for you:
See Who’s Already Doing It
There’s somebody succeeding at the thing you’re so scared and hesitant about doing. Find examples of people thriving in your area of interest. Learn their stories. When you continue to see examples of people succeeding you will realize they’re just like you. The only difference is their belief in themselves.
Keep Your Dreams Close And Protected
People are going to try to steal your dreams. Oftentimes it’s the people closest to you. If you want to pursue something in a creative field or start your own venture, your family and friends might try to convince you not to do it. It’s important to develop thick skin, but in the beginning you’re going to be fragile. Keep it to yourself for a while.
Become A Learning Machine
If you want to be successful you need to devour as much information as possible. You need to know everything there is to know about your subject. Your success is determined by the speed in which you’re able to gain and apply knowledge. You can learn anything. You can take classes from MIT and Yale online for free. If you want to learn code sign up for w3 schools. For 30 bucks you can sign up for Lynda and take a course on just about anything. You don’t need credentials anymore –just skills.
Ship (Even If It Sucks)
Seth Godin coined the term “ship.” Shipping means putting your work or your product out there. Having finished products and projects under your belt gives you valuable experience. You’ll never be successful if you keep your ideas and creations hidden from everyone. Ship even if it sucks. The only way to get good at something is to be bad at it first. You have a product idea?
Create a minimum viable product and see if 10 people will buy it. You want to write? Set up a word press blog and type away. With platforms like amazon, eBay, and etsy, there’s no excuse for you not to put your work out there.
You can’t control your environment. You had no say over the family you were born into, the economic class you grew up in, or the innate levels of talent you have. You do have control over your decisions, what things mean to you, and the ability to use your imagination. Stop waiting to be picked. Choose yourself. Stop waiting for someones permission. Get started now.
In the matrix Morpheus says to Neo, “You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inert, so hopelessly dependent on the system that they will fight to protect it.”
People in our society will actively fight for conformity and mediocrity. You have to be different. They’re dependent on the system. You must depend on yourself. They don’t see the changes ahead of us. You have to prepare yourself for the shift.
You have to believe it’s possible. To believe it’s possible, remember that nothing is impossible.
There is no spoon.