Great minds

A lesson from Mindset by Dr. Carol S. Dweck and The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck by Mark Manson

Flo Medellin
4 min readFeb 1, 2021
Photo by Alfred Aloushy

Along life, we’ve met people that made us say “wow” a few times because of their intellectual capabilities or achievements. We’ve had moments where undeniably, even though for a moment, we wish we’re them.

It is commonly believed that the greatest minds are those that can handle every situation they’re thrown upon. Especially, those that effortlessly accomplish them. Or the so called “naturals”.

They might be an inspiration, and they can help us become better. But on the flip side, we might subconsciously compare ourselves to them and feel worse.

In Mindset, Dr. Carol Dweck tells us that there’s no such thing as “naturals”. The greatness they hold are repercussions for their love to undergo the proper process to be better. They spent more time to have mastered them, or practiced methods optimized for great effectivity.

They do spend effort. Yet, what’s only displayed are their peak moments and the outcomes from effort. Even social media focuses only on the great outcomes, because they attract the most eyes.

For someone trying to achieve something, failing can be a serious identity threat, rather than an inspirational milestone to improve. In an environment that doesn’t promote effort, it could be worse. Because if they don’t see failure or struggle in others while attaining something great, something must be wrong with them. But to actualize that outcome, there is an extreme effort and time spent, hidden.

Modern society and the conventional timetable system (Education, Workplace, and etc.) shape judgements only from their outcomes, not the efforts.

We’re producing problem-solvers that only solves problems they know they can solve, and avoids challenges because they think their greatness will expire. Because of this, our potential becomes limited.

With this, people spend most of their time wishing they can be someone else, and end up unconsciously losing their own lives.

They either dig methods to become someone they’re not, and end up disappointing themselves more. Or cheat and innovate in their ways to reach the greatness they should deserve.

These are just the effects of people doubting their inherent power to become their best selves, being who they really are. If not careful, we can lose track of ourselves.

Which is why, we should stay true to what we do regardless of others, and we have nothing to evaluate from. Not from social pressure, or what the world thinks, but from what we think would make us complete. It’s dangerous to put success in control of others. Because more often than not, they don’t really care.

We shouldn’t mistake success with being extraordinary, because real success and fulfillment comes from within.

We shouldn’t tell ourselves that we don’t deserve happiness because we don’t have what the world tells us we should chase for.

Because we’re told, that happiness doesn’t come from something deemed as “ordinary”.

Contrary to belief, these ordinary things could mean the world to someone. To some people, they’re what makes them feel fulfilled more than anything.

The normalcy of having an intention for a rebuilt friendship, a time spent with your loved ones, or a passion for studying history. These are the simple truths to fulfillment, and the successes we should aim.

The “ordinary” life is already at the best that life can be: the present.

That “ordinary” life can give you the happiness you think you’re searching for or have been long waiting for.

In the “ordinary” life, you know what matters to you, and you’re living your life towards them. That is already a success.

It might seem ordinary, but it’s not. We have that instinct because media tells us to think that way. They think these things don’t show big interest. But that’s not necessarily true to you.

If you know what matters to you, one day when we’re on our last hours, you could proudly tell yourself that you’ve lived life, and die knowing you explored life in your own terms, amid the world’s uncertainty.

Which is why, if I were to choose, knowing the level of fulfillment, I want to be in the ordinary. Fame or wealth can follow if they will. After all, they’re not — and shouldn’t be — the prime goal.

The great minds that we consider for the most part, even the greatest of them all, their extraordinary side is just a side effect of the things they considered to be ordinary. We should set our values properly, and the metrics we measure our definition of success, like Mark Manson said in The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck. Only then, will we truly feel free.

A true man with a great mind is every man that owns his own. Learn to love the process of failing and learning. Life is short, there’s no reason to not try anything at all. Aim to be your own ordinary and dance in the moment.

Everyone has their own journeys to take on, love and live along with yours.