How to be 1% better as a human

ave you ever met an awesome human? Did they start out that way do you reckon?

My imaginary spidey sense suggests they didn’t. They grew into that person.

They walked through life as best as they could and tried not to step on any trolls hiding in the bushes that overextended onto the footpath.

Personal growth can be boring when it’s less than 1000% and not in a two-step guide made for goldfish. Sadly, most of my progress has been slow; tortoise speed, as they say.

It has been six years on this same path (who’s counting?).

There’s no telling if another six years will accumulate on my life’s scorecard or an unexpected problem will ruin it all, like it did for my music career. You never can tell what will mess up your progress. If you could, you’d be better than Mister Rogers.

My life has been a Dunkin Doughnuts 12-box selection of writing, social media, business, romantic relationships, drinking (juice, of course [not]), and the rest I forget. It’s all a blur when you hit your 30’s.

Imagine your 80’s? — scary. I’m no Dwayne the Rock in speedos and a t-shirt wrapped in biceps. I look like Steve Jobs before he died, in the morning. By midday, Ryan Reynolds (on Coke). Before bed, Gumby after being stretched to breaking point.

It has been hard for me to ever imagine being better at anything. Mental illness wiped out my confidence and took away my ability to feel, one bowling pin at a time, before completing its 10-pin strike on my brain.

1% better? Try MINUS 301% worse, adjusted for inflation.

Somehow, as if Moses was my mentor and taught Big Bird to part the seven seas, a few subtle changes occurred.

I missed the changes thanks to a Twitter notification, and luckily got a second chance.

Change One: Openness

Hiding behind a shield is exhausting. It’s what I did for most of my life.

If things got too hard, I’d walk away. That didn’t change, initially.

What did change was the ability to be open. In simple terms that meant being open: first with a psychologist, then with my girlfriend, then with my boss.

Each time I was open, it became slightly easier to describe living like Darth Vader, and pretending to be Luke Skywalker.

The purpose of being open wasn’t to win self-help awards from Tony Robbins; it was to make sense of the mess I’d got myself into (at the time, the mess was created by everyone else and I was just an innocent observer [my former BS brain talking]).

By being open with one person and then another person, and then one more, life got an ant size easier in quality. Life went from XXXS, to XXXS and a half.

Once I could be open with other people, I found a way to be open with myself. For it was me who was the problem all along.

That openness habit — watch out habit hackers! — somehow, through a backdoor in Houdini’s stage show, produced a microscopic change.

That would one day lead to writing the most-insignificant blog post of the decade: an interview with yet another app developer eyeing unicorns and capital raise celebration parties held on the top of skyscrapers they couldn’t afford to rent.

The blog post did see the light. The light came in at 12:01 pm and promptly got blocked by an obstacle obscuring its path (aka the internet).

The light came and went quicker than the runner we shall call “Bolt Man.”

The blog post wasn’t honest. It could easily have been written by a guy who wasn’t from Australia and didn’t carry my last name.

The author could have been an imposter — correction the author probably was an imposter. It still happened, though.

Somehow the ability to be open was born from finding a tiny bit of courage to publish something I knew nothing about: success.

If the decision to write a blog post wasn’t stupid enough (and it wasn’t), I then decided to wreak havoc on social media — one short decision away from a trifecta of stupidity.

A dude working in a call center on minimum wage, drinking soup from a can and catching public transport didn’t exactly fit the stereotypical advice-giving saint we’d expect to do such a thing.

It was embarrassingly silly and that wasn’t the best part.

I chose a social media platform where business folk sip lattes and squander at the latest earnings from companies they pretend to have invested in until they check their share portfolio and realize they didn’t caress the buy button.

Business folk can be strange. They used to wear suits and play roles in Ocean’s Eleven.

Then these same folk decided t-shirt, jeans, and their trusty suit jacket made more sense. These Levi-Jean-Loving creatures are still the same people.

Being open and sharing your feelings breaks every rule of the business world they’re taught in MBA’s they are still paying off.

They *hate* you when you’re open.

The magnitude of stupidity that came from choosing this social media platform is still not quite visible.

See, my boss, work colleagues, customers, suppliers, the receptionist, my personal trainer (which I don’t have — see photos of my arms for evidence), the concierge who lets me into the building when I’ve lost my pass for the umpteenth time, and all those people who help me take home a paycheque to my student apartment, all were watching.

Their stares, known as views, were that much harder to contemplate. So like any millennial, I pretend their stares didn’t exist and I was alone in the solace of the internet.

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