The arrogance of belonging

Do you know how the maker of “Spanx” became so successful and brought her product on the market?
Side note: For those of you who don´t know what Spanx are: they are special kind of pantyhose that push your butt and belly in and make all your belly-rolls look more smooth under tight dresses for example.
After developing a prototype of her pantyhose she walked straight up to CEOs of major underwear companies and asked them to invest into her product. Why did she do that? Well, she just did not know any other way. She did not know the “official” path to success other inventors took. Here is a very interesting video of her success story.

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I love success stories and stories of people who are daring something so many others don´t. And I have come to see that these stories often have something in common. The entrepreneur/artist/person believes in the impossible. They believe that whatever they are doing might work and they have no time to hesitate.

These people give themselves permission to do incredible things. And to do so you need to be a tiny bit narcissistic, naive and well in some ways unaware. The people I admire so much, often lack sufficient information about the industry (like the Spanx lady did not have enough information about the undergarment industry and got her information from google searches).

But it seems that this kind of naive behaviour leads them to believe the impossible. And that´s the space when the impossible suddenly becomes possible.

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I am reading a book called “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of “eat, pray, love”. She is writing about how to live a creative life beyond fear. She calls the described phenomenon “the arrogance of belonging”. In other words: You need to be arrogant to believe you have the right to create. And if you manage to allow yourself to do something, that´s when you are free to create whatever you wish. Nobody said it has to be perfect. But do it and do it for yourself.

I do, by the way, also believe this behaviour should be extended to other parts of our lives. Not just to entrepreneurialism. Creative living is, in my humble opinion, a lifestyle fitting to all parts of my life. I create, therefore I am. I have the arrogance to believe I belong and I have the right to create a beautiful relationship, career and many many creative projects in the future.

As Audrey Hepburn once said:

How can anything be impossible if the word itself says “I´m possible”!

 

comfortable ≠ happy

Comfort.

Today I was sick at home and could not help myself but to watch cheesy love movies to keep myself entertained. And I felt like I discovered what I would call the comfort problem: The young couple falls in love. They fight their way to their loved one against all odds and after some misunderstandings and complications they finally fall into each other´s arms. THE END.

This is where comfort kicks in. Now the both of them are comfortable – and will live happily ever after. And I find myself planning and striving for this kind of comfort.

That´s what many people see as the ultimate goal in life. You know, having enough money to live without worrying. For most of us that means being able to pay your bills, finding a reliable partner, that we can come home to and who loves us unconditionally. Oh and let´s top it all off with some amazing children and a friendly social circle. What could be more comfortable than that?

Dreaming the dream is more exciting than living the dream

Why do so many people including myself believe life will just be roses and teddy-bears once you´ve built up to that so anticipated level of comfort? Actually, in my case, it has often been quite the opposite. Let´s take moving into an apartment with a romantic partner. Creating the idea was – exciting! Playing around with the idea in our imagination – simply wow! Apartment hunting and furnishing the place – lots of fun! But when it came to the act of REALLY living together… that´s when things all of the sudden were not so exciting anymore. Sure, I´d give it a couple of months. We can call it the “honeymoon phase”. That´s the time when you still wake up to your spous and say things like “Honey, I am so happy to live with you. You are the best person and partner I could wish for.” or “Good morning new flatmate – what shall we do today?”. But (in my case) things quickly turned sour and conversations were more about who should be doing the dishes this time or fights about who forgot to water the cactus. (NOT me.)

Yes yes, I know what you will say. Such is life and this is just everyday routine. That´s how it is and we all have to cope with it. But guys, I am not so sure about that. Maybe it´s just our extreme high level of comfort that leads us to complain about the little things? Or are we just too bored with our lives?

Maybe comfort should not be the ultimate goal after all.

But if not comfort – What goal could there be instead? I was about to create a goal for me and my year of 2015. However, when I tried to think about goals for myself, I paniced. I did not want any of these comfortable goals. The goals I want to create for myself are way beyond what I believed to be possible for me. So I had to open my mind and think a bit differently. A goal does not have to follow the traditional way of doing things. What is it that would truly make me happy? And that´s when I realized my goal could be to stay open to different possibilities. A NOT-goal so to say. I decided not to give in to the comfort of having a little box to creep into thinking “gosh, I am happy I finally put a lable on myself”. Instead I will be out there, boxless. Or you can put me into the “other” box if you wish. I´ll keep my mind open to new ideas and possibilities in the meanwhile.

Avoiding comfort is not the solution

However, avoiding comfort in a 21st century western country is pretty unrealistic. We are born into a world where materialistic discomfort plays a minor role. It was complete chance to be born into this kind of world. And I do not take it for granted. It is luxury we live in and luxury to be thinking about all this. This article was not born out of a “simpler-life-nostalgia”. And I am not telling people to stay away from comfort in order to live some kind of Ghandi anti-materialistic lifestyle in order to reach true happiness. Nevertheless, I do encourage you to see beyond the traditional goals of comfort like paying your bills, buying a house etc. And eventually create your own goals that you truly believe in and that will guide you to become a better version of yourself.