Fowl's Blog

Feeling Special, But

September 17, 2020

Waiting for salvation carries more problem than what you could possibly spot at first glance.

Believing that you’re special - meaning that you somehow deserve this gift from heaven - also means that you do not need the work.

You can think of talent as an abstraction of many qualities that converge together. Each and every one of us, at every given moment, has many qualities. Sometimes, those qualities casually converge on one subject or topic, making us naturally more proficient than others.

How these qualities are internalized before any focused work has been done is outside the scope of this specific article and it will probably be examined in the future.

If you read Harry Potter, without a sliver of a doubt the most successful book ever, it’s about a guy who did nothing, absolutely nothing, to deserve the boon that fell on his lap.

Was it ever implied that Harry, even in his poor and unfortunate condition, ever tried to do something to elevate himself? Absolutely not.

J.K. Rowling shows how Harry starts putting some effort - and even about this, it’s not like you’ve ever seen the scarred child study more than required - only after he’s roped into Hogwarts.

If Harry hadn’t gone to Hogwarts, even with all his magical prowess, he would have become the laughing stock of his newfound high-school and next his fast-food job.

If you believe you’re somewhat special, instead of a huge pile of steaming shit, there’s a big chance that you already lost the race.

Do remember, when you’re born you do not have a single real good quality. You’re a blank sheet. There’s no good, some animalistic bad in you. Your inner social animal will pick up cues from your parents and your peers and evolve in what you could define the average quotient of all of them.

And I’m not saying this in a “deterministic” view. I do strongly believe in self-determination of the self, where one can, in every single moment, easily single-out the best choice among the multitude of bad things. However, I also strongly believe that, in this current moment of our history, it’s still difficult to pick the best thing for yourself.

Couple of stupid examples following:

  • Even the most ignorant peasant knows that smoking can give him cancer. A lot of people in the world still smoke.
  • Even though people ignore the precise effect, fitness/active lifestyles are known to improve your life, extend your lifespan and all of that. How many obese people are on the streets? How many office workers bail out on the gym subscription after few weeks?

From eating to even washing your own teeth to avoid dentist-related bills, how many things are unhealthy in your life? And we’re deeply aware of our own wrong choices, it’s just that we don’t seem to have enough care to incrementally implement them in our life.

It’s not about willpower, it’s not about being intelligent, it’s not about every other toxic word self-care gurus spit out of their mouth. No, it’s about caring about yourself and others. There’s nothing transcendental about that; moreover, it’s easy to inherit those traits. Healthy families produce healthy offspring. It’s much easier to find non-smokers in families of non-smokers and vice versa.

So, even though we do have a choice every time, it’s still hard to care enough to act on it.

There are many problems with how we act toward our peers and other human beings in general.

Some people are stupid. Some people are bad.

A very small percentage of population (<0.1%, in my opinion) is worthy of feeling somewhat special.

You could argue that if you didn’t feel special, you wouldn’t be motivated to do things and stuff like that.

If you do believe so, I think I’ve bad news for you and I’d really check out this.

It’s not soul crushing to believe that you’re not special. It’s soul crashing believing that you are and then having to face reality.

Talent and intelligence can be both cultivated. Problem is, you must be born in a family that knows that. If you’re not, bad news: you’re going to have problems. I’m not saying that people born out of bad families are not going to be successful. Absolutely not. Why so? Because ‘success’ in life is not a benchmark of being a good person. As a matter of fact, psychopaths are more likely to achieve promotions and all of that at work. Google it yourself.

You might as well make your kid a retard even if you’re rich.

“Omg, he said the R-word.”

Yes, we need to be very conscious of the damage that can be done to a newborn if you’re a bad parent. Beware, there’s a chance that a drug addict could be a good parent and a rich one a bad one - even if we reckon that that scenario’s possibility is really low.

Look up mental retardation from lack of affection when you have time.

We have to tell ourselves and to people around us: “You’re shit. You were born shit. You do not have any intrinsic virtue apart from humanity, which can become crooked in the wrong environment and around the wrong people. You have a lot of work to do about yourself from day one. If you do not put in the work, you’re probably going to be a shitty human being.”

If you’re not self-conscious, I can easily generalize, go ahead and say that you’re a dick. It’s as easy as that. Some people are lucky enough to be somewhat decent from the moment they’re born and from how they were raised. They still lack the tools to distinguish good and evil - this is yet another article we’re going to talk about - and will probably screw up sooner or later. Or worse, they will just be stuck with that version of themselves for life.

On a side note. The majority of people I know, even close friends, are not bad. I do not like to be around shitty people. I’ve already to put up with myself and all my flaws. I’d rather become a better version of Steve Jobs than befriend psychopaths hoping to meet the reincarnated creator of Apple. However, even if a lot of my friends are good people, they’re stuck with the same version of themselves. I’ve been seeing some people for as long as 10 years or even 15 years. I can see that their spirit changed, that it has a few cracks here and there. I see how they behave and that someone is definitely more mature… but, 8 out of 10, I’d say they’re pretty much the same.

They are pretty much the same because they have just cracks in their spirit. Until you shatter your own view of the world and your behavior, it’s really hard to become someone else.

Over the years I’ve recognized my own narcissism. I’ve been aware of it for a long time and always thought it was like a pair of wings on my back. In my family, I was never really appreciated and people expected me to fail at every turn. When there’s no trust and faith around you, you’ve to make up that for yourself; that’s how I became a narcissist with a huge inflated ego - at least that’s my hypothesis. And mind me, it partially worked. I suffered from severe depression, skipped so many days of school that you cannot even imagine, since I suffered from anxiety even more than depression itself.

But?

But I always made small changes here and there to myself, since my own ego wanted me to always be the better version of myself. Somehow, I adapted to social environments. In middle school I wasn’t that social, nor popular. In high school, I was a bad boy, I smoked, drank and tried to be as edgy as possible. I was a rock to hold on if you wanted to display shitty behavior - or what incels would now call alpha behavior - and God I was always anxious. I was anxious that one day people would stop calling me, that they wouldn’t make me part of their plans, and sometimes even paranoid. Anxious, but in my own way successful.

I was a covert narcissist.

In university, I slowly adapted to a slower lifestyle. I focused on new priorities, like my newfound passion for writing and my start-up. So, no more drinking and smoking, but… It was still all the same. I was the same exact person that liked to drink and smoke, I was only re-directing those energies and efforts to a new social endeavor. It was the same game by different rules.

It wasn’t until a year and half ago that I realized that narcissism is having wings, yes, but with a ceiling glass not far from your head.

I always believed I was special, I could anything. I barged in projects, activities, sport, whatever, feeling that I was special and that I should win. In swimming I was gifted and they proposed me to enter the swimming team, even though I turned it down. In skiing I was shit, and never really got better. In writing I was decent, but…

!!!

Writing is what changed me before anything else. In writing there’s no space for narcissism. After writing 20 chapters, I had to recognize that there was something good in them, but they were shit, a huge pile of shit.

What did I do, for the first time in my life?

I asked for help.

I wrote to this woman, who’s now my co-writer/editor (it’s difficult to describe her role and impossible to categorize it, since sometimes she’s one or the other, sometimes both, sometimes neither) and begged her to help me.

The first time I read her changes to my text I was enraged, completely furious. She had a mellow personality, calm and shy, in how she approached work. She was insanely good at what she did, but her character was the opposite of mine. At that moment I was - thank God - smart enough to recognize that I did need help. I knew writing well enough to know that I was not that good at it. I had to recognize that I felt special, but I wasn’t. It wasn’t that the game was rigged, it wasn’t others. I just wasn’t good enough. I could tell objectively, from my reading experience, that my stuff just wasn’t that good. If you have ever watched beautiful mind, it’s the same of when the guy realizes he’s hallucinating.

So, I stopped behaving like a piece of shit after ten or so chapters.

What happened then?

I started improving by leaps and bounds.

The day I recognized I was a shitty writer, it was the day I was finally on the path to become a good one. I’m now decent - at least in Italian - and I really think that we have figured out enough stuff to have a shot at becoming not just good, but great.

And writing was just the beginning. You can still be a shitty person but a good writer. Problem is, I wasn’t good enough. I needed someone else and you don’t want people around yourself if you’re conscious you’re a narcissist, because you know you will hurt them.

The same happened with my character the last year. Writing started improving in 2016, I started being less of a shitty person around 2019, I believe.

I stopped altogether believing I was special.

I reckon that people are idiots, but just because they still think they’re special. I was an idiot myself. I’d just like to help people know that they could be special if they stopped believing they are. I don’t feel like I’m necessarily better than most, I just know that I’ve many shortcomings and I’m trying to figure out how to solve that problem.

I know that some of my shortcomings are probably not that bad and could even be turned around for good, while others should disappear once and for all.

A rather traumatic event shattered the ceiling glass on top of my head and ripped of the wings from my back. I finally started climbing the stairs, like everyone should do from the moment they were born, and now I feel better.

If people will always wait for salvation, believing that they’re somewhat special and that they will one day get a letter from Hogwarts, they will never be able to change by themselves.

If you want a good rule of thumb to know whether or not you suffer from this problem, ask yourself if any part of you is still waiting for Hogwarts’ letter. If it is, you have to work on that.

I myself still sometimes think about how cool it would be to live in a LitRPG, but more innocently than anything else. And I also happen to be writing on that genre, so I’ll give myself a pass.

In another article I’ll explore why is wrong to believe that not everyone can be special, trying to give my personal definition of special. Among today’s most intelligent people I’ve heard people complain about the rhetoric of “you can do anything through hard work” and I somehow agree with them, but there are certain underlying meanings that must not be left unexplained. You most likely cannot do many things even if you tried your best, but the thing is that you don’t need to do those things.

Be careful, you’re not special, but with enough focus and care you might be!

See you in the next article!

If you feel like writing to me, feel free to do so at: jacopofowl@gmail.com

If you feel like shopping good keyboards for writers, these two are my current babies:

Logitech K380 (really recommend this one)

Logitech G915

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