- Mohamad Kalaaji
Everything written in this blogpost is based on my journal entries, I have been daily journaling for 2.7 years. The entire thing is based on what I have learned from harsh conditions, unwanted circumstances, and life in general
Yeah we get it, 2022 have started. While a good portion of people online are posting (the correct term is spamming) stories on Instagram of the things they did in 2021, I'll talk about the things I have learned that might not be (or might be) bullshit yet I am posting this online hence there is a high chance someone gets triggered by it for no reason at all.
What I am going to write here are not my accomplishments but my screwups and mistakes that I could acted or reacted in a different matter. I admit that I have done dumb actions in the past but at least I am not afraid to talk about them.
When presenting yourself online, the image you present is the one that people will think of
Everything you do online will be held accountable regardless of the impact or size. Whether it is posting a meme to posting controversial articles and tweets, these things play a major role on your image online and it is hard to make people forget about these things.
While it is easy to create a pseudo character to fit in, the image you present online is the one that people will believe in. There is a huge amount of pressure when expressing ourselves because each person perceives this image differently and we have no control on this part but what we have control over is what we post and share.
This is why people prefer to create pseudo accounts for doing things they love because nobody knows them, worst case scenario is to deactivate the account and start a new one.
It is becoming tougher day by day to represent our true self, we are afraid of the criticism or perception that people will lay on us for being ourselves. I have learned this lesson enough to talk about.
I'll talk about a personal experience: I like to read books and I like to share my progress online, I received numerous comments online and in person that sharing my progress online is hurting this person (Karen alert) or that reading is complete bullshit but on the other hand there is a group of people who messaged me that I have inspired them to read and they have managed to read around 2-5 books. If I didn't share this progress then those people wouldn't have started reading in the first place and kept it as a dream or one of those tasks that they wish they can do in life.
You will receive criticism and feedback regardless of who you are but instead of focusing on the negative ones, focus on the ones that inspire others towards something you would be proud of knowing about,
From a business perspective, being yourself in an authentic way helps to build trust between you and your clients. Nobody wants to deal with a company/ freelancer/ consultant that treats their clients as sales or targets, they want to be treated as regular human beings. I realized that when commenting on online forums or presenting events (in-person or online). When I presented myself in an authentic way, I received numerous offers for potential clients that want to deal with me not for my technical background but because they liked me for who I am.
Don't be a troll, don't be a dick, and don't be a smart ass
I am guilty for being a smart ass (or a know-it-all guy) who can prove you wrong in every single dimension or thing possible along with having factual resources that back my points that you can't even come back or prove me wrong.
While fact checking information to prevent misleading events is something beneficial but depends on how you approach the situation. The issue that I have faced with this situation is that I correct the person during or directly after saying something in front of the audience on something that I do have knowledge about. Not only it will undermine that person to a point that they will look like idiots in front of everyone, I will be that dick who ruined everything while trying to be the good guy.
Bottom point of this situation: don't try to be the hero, you can pull the person on the side later on and hash things out by clearing the misleading information but it comes with the price that those audience will go to their homes believing the wrong information and with a probability of sharing it to other people.
The reason I went with "being a dick" path in the past because that misleading information can hurt someone, not everyone has the courage to come up in front of the audience and admit that he or she is wrong. Lesson learned, don't try be a hero to save someone because nobody needs saving in the first place.
Let people do their thing even if it is wrong but advice on the side, you don't need to flex your intellectual skills all the time, choose the right time to strike on proving something wrong otherwise do nothing and move on in life.
As for trolling, I have never trolled someone online for my own amusement but I got trolled on. I don't respond to trolls nor interact with them at all, worst thing is blocking the person and move on in life yet the act of trolling is questionable. There are many reasons why people troll but depends on what the content that person is trolling on plays a role. There is a good chance that this person is trolling due to past events that happened that affected their moral compass towards acting as trolls, this includes being treated in a bad manner or bad life conditions or abuse that their getaway is through trolling. Best advice to give is to move on and don't respond at all.
Don't believe everything you see online
This year have been a shitstorm of unbelievable events that one can't even think of (and we are not talking about LinkedIn folks). Like I have seen bizarre things in life but this year have been the wildest.
While everyone is chasing a dream of becoming rich, a good portion of those "influencers" faked it good enough to make you feel that they have won in life but comes with a cost. While I'll keep identities hidden, this life that everyone dreams of is nothing more than an overhyped Instagram like life that will bring pain than pleasure.
I did have the chance to talk with an old friend of mine who does act like this, he even begged for cash while being in Dubai in a dorm of 5 people living together barely able to pay rent yet have the audacity to post and share going to expensive restaurants and pubs to feel relevant and cool. Those expensive cars, that duplex, everything was rented on a short lease and those models were hired from an agency for an hour or two to please the online audience.
Even those business people who flex that they have high amounts of stocks invested in and insane e-commerce sales numbers, remember that you can use a test server for MetaTrader to showcase fake stocks bought and those insane e-commerce sales can be fooled with a basic "inspect element" on Chrome. (And to everyone who will come back at me saying that I am salty or feeling envy towards those people, go watch Coffeezilla on YouTube then come back to thank me for highlighting on scams you won't even predict that it is scam-able).
Deep down we all wish for this rich lavish lifestyle, but if it means sacrificing dignity and respect for this life then I would prefer to stay where I am.
Invest in what is meaningful, not for the hype
The two things that will comes into your mind are: crypto and NFTs. While my Twitter and Instagram timeline was flooded with those alleged "crypto experts" and NFT news, I didn't buy the hype and continued to invest in meaningful assets (aka Bitcoin).
The whole point of investing in assets is to protect yourself against hyperinflation while making a decent profit from it on the long term due to compound interest but unfortunately this workable strategy is not favorable among those experts because it doesn't provide 100X profit and it doesn't take you to the moon.
While the technology behind crypto and NFTs is revolutionary on its own and deserves more recognition, the people that are using it are abusing it for the sake of quick and easy gains nothing more nothing less.
I am not trying to say that I am a maximalist here nor convince you to become one but something is off here. While it is your decision to invest with your money, a decent advice I would give is to invest in things that would bring value.
Bitcoin has proven to be of value worthy to put trust in due to its transparent nature and the straight forward proof-of-work methodology that it relies on shows how it works in details while that NFT project or random shitcoin that got generated out of thin air, will you know when it will do a rug pull and disappear out of nowhere? You will when it is too late. Even if Bitcoin is not generating 10X gains, if it is protecting me from hyperinflation that is occurring as I am writing this blogpost then it served its purpose as expected, I don't want 100X gains nor anything from that bullshit.
The concept of trading random crypto currencies and lose money while doing it is not something new, it goes back to trading with stocks where people did wrong speculations, day trading, or options trading but the whole idea of doing it through crypto and CEX (centralized exchange) is that not all require a KYC to fill up which is a huge advantage for people in 3rd world countries since they can buy a coin through P2P or an exchange and start trading directly but it comes with a cost you are willing to pay for.
Yet again I am not convincing you to stop doing what you are doing but become more aware of what is going on. Don't be fooled into believing what someone is recommending to you, heck you don't need to believe me either but use your best judgement regarding this point.
And consider investing in resources that will bring reasonable benefits in the future, online courses or work material (laptop, books, accessories, and much more) that helps facilitate your workflow that would help pay their prices back and beyond in the future, if it doesn't pay back itself in one way or another then it is not resourceful.
And do not invest in that bullshit self help conferences and books that serve you nothing but helping the author make money out of your fractured emotions, fooling you to believe that you are healing and moving forward. Those self help material (audio, video, or paper based) are nothing more than tools for a decently constructed pyramid scheme (I have written a blogpost about this where I ventured into the world of self help books).
Goals are useless, stick with systems
I like it when people share their goals that they will become X, Y, and Z yet every single year they talk about the same thing over and over as if the next year is their rising year.
While each one of us have goals in mind, I'll be using James Clear's book Atomic Habits to highlight an important point here that winners and losers have the same goal, the one with the system gets things done.
For many years I have been dreaming about goals in different fields in my life yet I didn't achieve any of those goals at all. Either I am not being reminded of them or that I don't have an action plan to start.
In the end of 2021 I have decided to create a system and follow it, I have relied on an app called Things 3 that helped me create a decent system to follow on and achieved decent yet notable progress but realized that: without a system, all these goals are useless or bragging material.
Dream as much as you want with those goals of yours, one day you will have to sit down and write an actionable plan to get started but when? That depends on you but don't overdo this plan of yours to a point that you burn out, give time to rest and all but don't overwork yourself to a point that this plan feels like a drag nor overwhelm yourself for taking a break.
I wish I have done my existing system in the past, I could have benefitted from that time in the past that went to waste but I have learned my lesson.
Appreciate what people are doing towards you regardless of what it is but don't abuse it
You don't realize this point till it is too late to fix things, while I think that what I have done is the right decision yet I could have behaved or acted differently on this.
If you know me in-person, I'm the most logical human being you would meet in your life where I would question every single aspect and action.
I have been noticing in 2021 that random people acted nice towards me and helped in many things for no reasons at all. While I got what I wanted, I didn't care about the other person but what is important that I got what I need to move forward hence in a logical perspective it is something that you would benefit and take advantage of when available.
What I didn't think of is what would the perspective of the other person when helping me, all I cared about is moving forward even if it means benefiting without giving back.
Each person helps for different reasons, one of those reasons that this person is helping you now that he or she is expecting something in return in the future or they might help you to catch your attention and see them as a potential partner to be with or they might help you because it gives them the feeling of existing or belonging (that they feel their life purpose is expressed through help and support).
This phenomenon will occur more as your value in your current environment gets recognized or valued by the other person. Not everyone will help someone with little to no value except charity work or service workers. As your value gets higher in society, people will help you on your path not for the sake of niceness all the time but more on an easy route towards having value from someone who they can guarantee returns from.
Regardless of the purpose and intensions of the other person, it is not ethical to use people even if it means moving forward.
The reason I am talking about this point is that I have been on both sides of the spectrum. I have helped people in the past for no reason than being nice yet got abused of it. Imagine being in the hospital next to a family member on a life-or-death situation while someone is nagging on you on something that can be done later on and he is informed about my current situation yet didn't care and proceeded to nag even more, I did cut ties with this person and moved on without making a fuss of it at all but it did change my perspective on helping others to a point that I cared solely on moving forward regardless on how it is achieved but went towards doing everything on my own.
In other words: I didn't mind abusing others for my own advantage but I didn't, I strived to become more self sufficient without the help of others so that I don't put myself in the position of abusing that other person (for everyone who asked in the past why I rarely ask for help, there is the answer).
There is no shame asking for help or providing help as long it is within reasonable boundaries but it will take me a good amount of time to ask for help or assistance. I am working on this point as much as I can to ask for help when needed and provide help within reason hence baby steps.
You are not entitled to anyone or anything
I hate it when people entitle me to titles like "nerd" / "geek" / "that guy who reads book" / "that guy who knows how to do websites" / and much more.
And I hate it when people entitle you to a certain person as if your character has purpose solely when you are around that person and people would reference you through that person like "this website is created by X's friend" or "contact Y's friend to help you with your laptop".
While it is easy to lay this entitlement on you, it clears up to you that this is what people saw out of you but it doesn't have to represent you. I can entitle you as an idiot, are you one? High chance you are not an idiot but if you believed that then sorry you are one.
What's funny that this entitlement is based on how others see you but nobody entitles you in the way that it should be like: I read literature based books, I like classical music, and I like artworks from the renaissance time yet nobody entitled me as a "modern day renaissance man", what I got is "book lover" and "that guy with bad music taste". Another example: I like to drink coffee ranging from Chemex to V60 yet nobody called me a "coffee aficionado" but what I got called "that guy who will have stress issues from coffee in the future".
For years I have believed those things but realized that those entitlements don't represent me. While this thing is out of your control, you can shed light to the other person that you are not like that and inform them on what is right or wrong if not then ignore that person and move on doing what you like doing.
Consider therapy when needed
We all face tough moments in our lives, but not everyone can cope with them all evenly, consider therapy if you don't feel yourself and there is no shame undergoing it.
While this point is short, it is straight forward: consider therapy when needed. While lots of people received negative thoughts about therapy that it is considered for the mentally ill people, the whole purpose of it is to help you vent out and realize what is going on with you on a deeper level (that is a shallow meaning for it, not going to go into details because I can't cover everything).
My issue is that I didn't consider therapy when I needed it. While I got my things sorted out yet, therapy would have helped accelerate the process than doing everything alone.