0 to 1: Achieving Radical Transformation
A Treatise on Heroic-Reliance & Overcoming Resistance
And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.
From 0 to 1
Starting at 0 can be ominous and debilitating. To begin a creative pursuit or to take the very first step toward transformation means facing a long, uncertain Path.
What will my friends and family think?
What will my colleagues think?
Am I good enough to offer an opinion on [insert topic]?
Why should anyone care about my [creative pursuit]?
What happens if I decide to quit?
To escape the trappings of self-doubt and cognitive distortion is very difficult. These are innate qualities. Unless you are a narcissistic megalomaniac.
Self-doubt and fear are natural byproducts of yearning towards an idealized state.
I want to create, but I am scared to do so.
That is normal.
I want to become something, but I am afraid I will not succeed.
This is natural.
Odds are if you are reading this, you have dreams. You envision a future version of yourself. You yearn for that reality.
What you desire is the transformation of self. To go from 0 to 1. To create what is not yet created.
At the meta-level, 'Life/Career Transformation' encompasses any ethical, proactive pursuit to change oneself. This is the ethos underlying all I’m trying to accomplish across this newsletter, my businesses, and my personal growth journey:
Discover who you are - find an emergent skill, hobby, or passion
Build a bulletproof strategy - identify goals, habits and behaviors
Transform through habitual application of said behaviors each day
For many, a single skill progression can result in unbelievable transformation. This could be: writing everyday or walking five to ten thousand steps each day.
Whatever pursuit you end up choosing - daily, habitual work will produce change. What change, you ask? If your goals are born on sound principle, then one might expect meaningful, positive change. If you seek self-enrichment or to exploit others for personal gain, then you walk the road to hell.
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In a recent conversation with a dear friend, I brought up the idea of self-reliance. I said I was particularly taken with the idea considering my recent path into Solopreneurship. He reframed this idea in a beautiful way. He suggested I reorient my thinking towards: “Heroic-Reliance”. He explained that self-reliance is somewhat of a paradox. There are no authentic examples of a truly self-reliant individual. Part of the Hero’s Journey is understanding and humbly accepting the help of others. Self-reliance conjures up a bit too many idealized depictions of a person - reliant only on herself, capable of extraordinary deeds without anyone’s help. No such path exists. So, in line with the Hero’s Journey, I choose Heroic-Reliance. Help or encouragement will come to you, should you choose to accept the quest & walk The Path. But do not expect it - and do not actively seek it out for selfish ends.
As the opening quote from Nietzsche reminds us, you have a beautiful song inside you when you embark on The Path. You hear the melody and you move towards the rhythm. Those around you only see dancing. They don't hear the beautiful song, so their perception is limited to seeing someone out of step with their own selves. This produces suspicion, cynicism and doubt. They will cast this upon you and the record might scratch. Try not to skip the beat. Ignore, click play and keep dancing.
When embarking on a Path of Transformation, you will encounter resistance. As Steven Pressfield explains:
Resistance (self-sabotage, procrastination, fear, arrogance, self-doubt) is inside you. No one inflicts it on you from outside. You bring it with you from birth.
These are the organic byproducts of being a human that we discussed in the beginning of the essay.
Let’s juxtapose this with external resistance…
You excitedly tell your [family member/coworker] your newfound plan, and it's met with a furrowed brow. Nothing quite kills budding confidence & energy like cynicism. If you are reading this and are deciding to embark on a new endeavor - then hold true to this:
Do not expect encouragement from others, even those closest to you. Reframe your mindset towards Heroic-Reliance. Be gracious when you receive a word of support or encouragement, but do not seek it out. Accept the help of a companion, but do not wait for help to come. Bulletproof yourself in this way, and you will continue to work towards your goals. Overcoming internal and external resistance means walking The Path, being the Hero of your own story and accepting whatever fate may come.
I know this might be polarizing.
If you're a parent, how could you imagine not supporting your child? If you're a partner, how could it be possible to not offer your full weight of support behind your other half? Well, the reality is we can all be cynical and unsupportive, even when our intent is good. When we do not have the vision and passion of the other person, it's very easy to throw water on an idea. I’ve done it, you’ve done it. Hell, 99% of reality tv is rooted in telling someone very publicly their idea or performance is complete shit.
So, for all the creators or aspiring creators: get your head down, get to work and don't look for encouragement. Your work will speak for itself. If your intent is pure, you will attract more beauty into your life. The encouraging words will come as a byproduct of your directed, habitual energy. Before you know it, you will have more encouragement and support than you could have hoped for. But do not proactively seek it out.
Going from 0 to 1 is the Transformation process that will lead to Self-Actualization - the highest psychological state in Maslow’s Hierarchy. This is the closest label or definition for ‘fulfillment’ that I know of. Self-actualization is the realization of your potential through the acquisition and development of your craft. This state can only be achieved through doing. You cannot and will not achieve self-actualization by reading this essay or listening to the next self-improvement podcast.
Start small and take a hobbyist approach. That is my advice if you’re just starting out. What does this mean? If you have a goal of becoming a fundamentally better human being through [insert behavior], you cannot do this overnight. Mindset can change quickly, but transformation takes time. The journey is the destination. Consider the following graphic (source):
So, go for a short walk if you’ve been sitting on your ass for the past several days. Then, do the same thing tomorrow. Go write a single paragraph. Then, try again the next day.
Don’t go for a 5 mile run if you haven’t been running. Don’t set out to write 10 pages if you haven’t been writing. The road of creativity is littered with the bones of would-be creators who went too hard, too fast. Been there, done that. Start slow.
Need inspiration? Well, I am gearing up to launch my own community called Verus Academy. It’s completely free. It’s mission is to empower creators and solopreneurs on their journey of self-discovery, to start building and work towards Self-Actualization.
Ever wondered how you can start creating online?
Have you desired to grow an audience and make money by sharing your craft?
Do you see certain people, creators, influencers and wonder… how?
Stuck in an existential crisis of meaning?
Hate your job and can’t stand your kids? Please join 🤣
If you answered yes, to any of these, then I hope to see you soon. I am anticipating it will be ready to go by next SMS issue. I’ll link directly in the publication.
I’m rooting for you, let’s build something together.