The Dunning-Kruger Effect

“Every morning, upon awakening, I experience the supreme pleasure: that of being Salvador Dali, and I ask myself, wonder struck, what prodigious thing will he do today, this Salvador Dali.” — Salvador Dali

Dalí was famous for two things: his art and his eccentric and often ostentatious behavior.

In 1955, he delivered a lecture at the Sorbonne, arriving in a Rolls Royce full of cauliflowers.

To promote Robert Descharnes’ 1962 book The World of Salvador Dalí, he appeared in a Manhattan bookstore on a bed, wired up to a machine that traced his brain waves and blood pressure.

Dalí would avoid paying at restaurants by drawing on the checks he wrote, thinking that the restaurants would never want to cash the checks since they were artworks by the Spanish master.

There are plenty of critics that have often considered these antics to have obscured his genius, or to have been nothing more than the marketing gimmicks of a creatively bankrupt artist who had peaked in his 20s and 30s.

I, on the other hand, believe that it was his nonchalant demeanor that allowed him to produce great art.

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A Speck of Dust in a Seemingly Infinite Universe

This is us. All of us.

On the 14th of February 1990, just as the Voyager 1 probe was leaving the Solar System, some 3.7 billion miles away from Earth, Carl Sagan asked NASA to turn it around to snap a photograph of our home.

The resulting photograph showed the Earth as a pale blue dot, less than a pixel in size. A speck of dust in a seemingly infinite universe.

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Don’t You Dare Give Up on Your Dreams

Photo by Matheus Ferrero on Unsplash

“Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.” — Ambrose Redmon

I began writing in my most vulnerable years. I was dumb and arrogant, as most teenagers seem to be, and I did my best to pour greatness into every sentence I wrote.

But I was also lying to myself, writing about what I didn’t know, pretending to know, and I got caught and people could see that I wasn’t willing to let them in — I was building this wall to protect my true self from anyone who would be searching for it behind my words. There was nothing that belonged to me in the stories I wrote.

There’s this poem by a Romanian poet, Mihai Eminescu. It’s called To My Critics, and the last verses go like this:

It is easy to write verses
Out of nothing but the word.

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Who the F$#k Is Cristian Mihai?

The author of this article, age 8

When I was a kid, I thought I was destined for great things. I was born on Christmas Day, exactly one year after they shot Ceausescu, the only ruler of a Communist country to ever be executed. Now, in the same spot, they’re building a shopping mall.

Maybe because I was born when I was born, I don’t really listen to what other people tell me I should do. I never did.

I don’t like authority. I don’t like to follow rules.

I am not afraid of the consequences of not doing what I am told. I am not where I’d like to be in life because I don’t like most people. I have long suspected they don’t like me back.

I am a rebel without a cause, garnering a bit of applause here and there from those who read my stories.

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Push Beyond the Point of No-Return

Photo by Tobias Tullius on Unsplash

During the Roman Republic, the river Rubicon acted as a sort of frontier line between the Roman province of Cisalpine Gaul to the northeast and Italy proper, controlled directly by Rome, to the south.

In 49 BC, perhaps on January 10, Julius Caesar led a single legion, Legio XIII Gemina, south over the Rubicon from Cisalpine Gaul to Italy to make his way to Rome. In doing so, he deliberately broke the law limiting his imperium, his authority to control his army.

As he led his army across the Rubicon river into Central Italy, Julius Caesar is credited to having said the following words, “Alea iacta est”.

“The die has been cast.”

The phrase “crossing the Rubicon” has since been used to describe an individual who commits to a risky or revolutionary course of action, similar to the modern phrase “passing the point of no return”.

The most common boundary that many of us struggle to cross in life is the one that lies between who we are and who we’d like to become.

It’s generally intimidating because of the work it takes to get to the other side. Is it worth the time, the energy, the pain, the commitment? Are you even capable of crossing the distance between the two? What is going to happen in-between, as you suffer in order to reshape yourself into someone you’re proud of?

These are all valid questions. The answer is not the resounding “yes” that people often hope, because we often forget that there’s no going back. The plethora of inspirational quotes and self-help advice neglects this part.

And this is why our subconscious mind tries to sabotage us. There’s no going back.

If Caesar had failed, if he had been defeated, him crossing the Rubicon would have been seen as an ignorant act of defiance in the face of obvious limitations.

“John crossed the Rubicon, and look at him now.”

I find that the answer lies in what we expect to find on the other side of the river.

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The Seven Deadly Sins of The Mind

Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

If only a dollar would have magically been transferred to my bank account every time I was my own worst critic…

The thing is, life could be so much better for many of us, if only we’d get rid of certain limiting beliefs, negative thinking habits, and an obsession for listening to the advice of a risk-averse and scared brain.

Negative thinking patterns have a way of monopolizing our words and actions. The key to success, in my humble opinion, is learning to spot these defective habits and replace them with empowering affirmations.

If a thought does not serve you, it has to be replaced.

Let’s take a look at the 7 most destructive mindsets that affect the way we perceive ourselves and the world around us.

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If You Want to Be Successful, You’ve Got to Fall in Love With Boredom

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” — Blaise Pascal

I should print this quote on a t-shirt.

I’m the poster child of “man’s inability to sit quietly.” I’ve wasted most of my twenties because of it. Boredom made feel as if my brain was melting inside my skull, and not interacting with people, as an ambivert, made feel as if my mind was degrading to the point of me losing all social skills, and for this reason, I’ve developed a set of bad habits, addictions, hung out with the wrong crowd, and became notoriously anxious and depressed.

Solitude, especially the kind that is most productive, is an art. I’ve yet to master it, but here’s what I learned so far.

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Your Feet on The Ground, Your Eyes on The Stars: Achieving The Impossible

Photo by Jeroen den Otter on Unsplash

“Dream the impossible dream and the world will not grind you under, it will lift you up. This is the trick. This is what all these teachers and philosophers who really counted, who really touched the alchemical gold, this is what they understood.” — Terrence McKenna

You are probably familiar with the saying, “Jack of all trades, master of none.”

We use it to justify the idea that one must focus on one thing, reach mastery, as this is the only way towards success and fulfillment.

As most simple truths in life, we use it because we don’t want to use precious mental energy in trying to understand the nuanced truths of success and mastery.

The nuanced point is that even the notorious specialists, such as Salvador Dali or Pablo Picasso, were masters of a multitude of skills and crafts, not the least of which is their charisma and their ability to market themselves.

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5 Heartbreaking Truths about Life

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Photo by Guillaume de Germain on Unsplash

We live in a society of dreamers. The pursuit of happiness. And the bitter truth is that most people will try to sell you a way to make your dream come true, an easy fix, a quick step-by-step guide.

The six minute ab routine…

Well, the truth sets you free, but it also pisses you off.

In the trenches of day to day life we begin to understand why utopia belongs in dictionaries and science fiction, and never in history books.

If you want to pursue happiness, or chase a dream, you must first develop the ability to pursue happiness. And to do so you must understand how the world works, because brainwashing yourself into becoming a hopeless romantic.

From my limited life experience, a hopeless romantic soon becomes a helpless sinner, a gambler who has lost everything on the bet that life was supposed to grant him the right to pursue happiness unopposed.

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Conquer the World or Die Trying

In this 24/7/365 world we live in today, there’s no off switch. There’s no downtime. There’s only the hustle.

Everyone’s trying to conquer the world or die trying. The dopamine rush, the goals, the business ventures. Always busy. Always doing. Always achieving.

These days, everyone’s got a side hustle. These days, everyone’s trying to emulate Steve Jobs or Warren Buffet or what have you.

And it all starts so early. A cousin of mine is 12, and he’s already got a YouTube channel. He knows more about cameras than I do. He knows how to edit his own videos. He hasn’t hit puberty yet and is already addicted to the hustle.

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