Archive for September, 2010

[tweetmeme source= “unmaskd” only_single=false]Time flies and it always flies a bit too fast. It’s hard to believe, but it’s been over 6 months, since I first tweeted as Unmaskd. This journey has come to a crossroads, and today I’d like to shed some light on Unmaskd’s origins and the dilemma I’m facing.

Once upon a time… No, that sounds too much like a certain fairy tale. The reality was simple. Unmaskd account on Twitter was born in 10 min, from the idea to the the first cry i.e. tweet. There was no meticulous planning, no agenda, no deliberate considerations. Like many things, it came out of a moment of frustration. I don’t even remember what it was, but something made me go “Man, do I wish I could always say what’s on my mind!” You know what I mean, right? Expressing yourself without thinking twice, without trying to impress, without considering consequences. Expressing yourself openly with no regrets. And then it hit me: I actually can! Five minutes later the first Unmaskd tweet went out to the twitteverse.

Then there was my Twitter “bio”. Those of you who remember these days, asked me more than once why I changed it later. The thing is, my original Twitter bio (while true) was intentionally worded to draw attention. I needed audience. You don’t need Twitter to speak to yourself. Later it became more of an inconvenience and so I changed it. Speaking of bios, I also want to bring some clarity into my “celebrity” claim to end certain speculations once and for all. Let me be crystal clear: I am not a A-list celeb. Neither I am a lying through my teeth wannabe, as some people have boldly suggested. According to this research paper, I’m in “C” category. If you google my name you get about 90,000 hits. Hardly Paris Hilton. I know that some people are still following me, secretly hoping that I’m John Mayer or Jim Carrey or Joaquin Phoenix, but I am none of these guys. Really. Oh, and while we’re on the subject of gender I’m a guy (which all of my regular readers have already figured somehow). There’s a small chance you’ve seen my picture or read an interview with me, or are familiar with my works, but you certainly have never seen me mingling with the Oscar crowd. Identity issue covered. Check. Back to the Unmaskd journey.

At first it was just about blurting out whatever came to mind. Talking to strangers, joking, replying to fascinating ID tweets and so on. It was fun. For about a week or two. Than it became boring. I was about to let go the whole unmaskdness and then an interesting thing happened. Surprisingly to myself, I started talking about things I really cared about. As it turned out, it wasn’t just about speaking my mind. It was about speaking my mind on topics that truly meant something for me. And in my case those were subjects like self-discovery, self-motivation, inspiration, imagination, mind, fully realizing my potential, taking responsibility for my choices and actions. Notice the focus on “self”. As I’ve mentioned a few times, I don’t aspire to be the next Tony Robbins. I have enough of a hard time motivating myself. But apparently, sharing some of this soul searching, and frustrations with my own weakness, and some kick-my-own-lazy-ass moments was helpful for others. And so I kept unmasking, sharing more and more, and getting to know some of my readers better than I know some people I talk to every day.

Then there was poetry (or “rhymed musings” as I call it, since poetry is too eloquent of a word to describe the songs I come up with). I’ve never had such a broad audience for my poetry before, and hearing all the feedback was very rewarding. My readers and their words are the only reason these rhymed musings came into existence. I don’t think this would have ever happened had I tried going the traditional find-a-poetry-magazine route or dropped my verses at one of the online poetic forums (which I have to admit I’ve never been to and likely never will be).

Then there were Q&As ranging from deep to odd, posters, tumblings, and even a video. As you can see, the Unmaskd stint was going well. Yet being the guy I am, it wasn’t enough. It still isn’t. The way I way approach many things in life is “go big or go home”. Some would call it ambition, others would say it’s arrogance, but to me it’s a reflection of a simple fact that my clock is ticking. Over time, my Unmaskd identity has become too small. I still enjoy sharing my thoughts and discussing them with my readers (and there are a few dozen unwritten posts roaming my mind), but my life is already on several fast tracks. Adding another one is not really an option unless it replaces some other things I’m doing during 19 hours that I’m awake on an average day.

So here’s my dilemma: I either “go home” (i.e. stop my Unmaskd activities altogether) or go big. And I mean BIG. I’m not talking money (though it’d be nice). I’m not talking number or followers on Twitter (though it wouldn’t hurt). I’m talking about impact. People keep telling me that my thoughts, ideas and values, as well their conversations with other readers are helping them. If that’s the case, I don’t see why it should be limited to 1000 people on Twitter and a few hundred blog subscribers. How about a million or two? Yes, I’m serious. More importantly, it’s not just about my thoughts. It’s about growing that community we have created — quite unexpectedly — around this blog, and taking it to a completely different level. When I sent out “What should be the name of Unmaskd site” poll it wasn’t about dropping “wordpress” from my blog’s URL. It was about creating a place where people who want to grow, to be better at whatever they choose to focus on, to do what they believe they were meant to do, can connect. Where everyone can go unmaskd and perhaps, just like I did, get surprised by the results.

That would be a major commitment on my part and I don’t like leaving things half-done. I’m simply not good at going half-way. So that’s my dilemma. I don’t know yet which road I will ultimately take. But I’ll make the call pretty soon and will stick to it. At the very beginning of the Unmaskd journey I said my only promise was “no bullshit”. That’s why you’re reading this post. And that’s why you will know once I decide one way or another.

I’ve been pondering over the future directions of Unmaskd Inc and will post the results here this week. In the meanwhile here’s a video version of Accept/Refuse. Kudos to Animoto.com for creating a very useful and simple to use service and to Mike Gallagher for his The Party’s On instrumental, which made a great intense soundtrack for the video.

[tweetmeme source= “unmaskd” only_single=false]

I accept that I cannot change the past.
      I refuse to give up on changing the future.

I accept that I will have my moments of weakness.
      I refuse to be weak all my life.

I accept that I will never know all the answers.
      I refuse to stop seeking them.

I accept that I may fail to achieve all my goals.
     I refuse to make them less bold because of this.

I accept that some people may hate me just for who I am.
      I refuse to care about their opinion.

I accept that with every minute I grow older.
      I refuse to stagnate because of this.

I accept that occasionally I may have moments of fear.
      I refuse to let fear control my actions.

I accept that others will always have expectations of me.
      I refuse to shape my life only to meet these expectations.

I accept that at times the world seems to have gone mad.
      I refuse to contribute to this madness.

I accept that every choice I make has consequences.
      I refuse to hesitate to make choices because of this.

I accept that I will make mistakes.
      I refuse to stop learning from each one of them.

I accept that I may be misunderstood, ignored of rejected.
      I refuse not to express myself honestly because of this.

I accept that my dreams may never come true.
      I refuse not to go after them with everything I’ve got.

I accept that I have limits.
      I refuse to ever stop pushing them.

I accept that life is short.
      I refuse to use this as an excuse to make it meaningless.

A Journey Interrupted

Posted: September 14, 2010 in rhymed musings
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[tweetmeme source= “unmaskd” only_single=false]

Sometimes I feel an urge to look,
To peer deep inside
To ponder over vows I took
To dive into my mind.

I want to travel deepest thoughts,
To face my deepest fears,
And to untie a million knots
I’ve tied over the years.

I hold my breath, I concentrate
I see the lighted way
I glide into a weightless state
That takes me far away.

And as I’m just about to fly
I hear some loud voice
It must be it! I’ll reach the sky!
I will– wait… what’s that noise?

And slowly slowly one by one
The words are coming in
“You idiot! You think you’re done?
Come back! Where have you been?”

And with a deep regretful sigh
I leave my dreamy shrine
That stupid voice is always right
And after all it’s mine.

[tweetmeme source= “unmaskd” only_single=false]

As I have recently mentioned in my rather spontaneous Tumblr post, my approach to everything in life can be described in three simple words: Feel. Think. Do. I’ve also mentioned that occasionally I skip a step or two before getting to  step 3. Which is why I’m writing this post. At first, I felt like writing it, and without giving it much of a thought, jumped to the final step. Then the thinking part of me woke up and yelled, Whoa!! Are you nuts?? And so the writing process got stopped before it had a chance to begin.

Why? Because unlike other posts it wasn’t going to paint a pretty picture of me. Pretty ugly, maybe, but certainly not pretty. I’m hardly a narcissist, but usuallyI prefer to project an image of someone strong, smart and decisive. This post would do exactly the opposite. So I almost decided to label the whole idea as stupid, when it suddenly hit me. Wait a second, I thought, have I just turned writing as Unmaskd into a PR exercise? Have I just decided not to write a post just because it would make me look bad? The very point of going Unmaskd was to be completely open. Plus, something useful may come out of it. Actually, that’s I wanted to write it in the first place. So here I am, writing this post.

We are all familiar with the dreaded P-word. Procrastination is like sex: even if you have never had it, you have heard about it. So let me share another secret of mine: when it comes to procrastination, I’m not an expert. I’m The Expert. There are so many people who would procrastinate over little things, clean up their desks frantically every time they need to write something simple, postpone chores and do other stuff like that. Amateurs. The real procrastinator is above these petty attempts. I can go on for weeks or months plowing through unpleasant tasks like a bulldozer. The real procrastination is about something else. It’s about hitting the bottom. And a rock bottom it is. I can go on for a very long time. But then one day, one moment I face something I just don’t want to do. It could be the same task I’ve done before, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that I just don’t feel like doing it. And then it happens. All it takes is a single moment of weakness. A single let-me-do-this-thing-first action. And the next moment I’m gliding down the slippery path to hell.

One by one useless accomplishments fill the time. They take the same time it would’ve taken me to accomplish that task I didn’t feel like doing. Then they take more. Then much more. But that’s not the worst part. The worst part is with every minute I feel my will being taking away from me. It’s like watching sand flowing down the hourglass hole. I can feel it. That sensation is almost physical. It’s almost like feeling your brain being slowly wrapped in soft cotton wool. Round and round. Layer by layer. Until even thinking itself becomes a serious effort. And I although I know I can stop this, in fact I really can’t. It just goes on and on, leaving me with less and less willpower.

Of course, as it happens I’m still functioning. Of course, I can have a conversation and I appear to others just like my normal self. But deep inside I know that my will is almost gone. There’s just small part of it left somewhere in a dark corner of my brain, while it goes on its autopilot. And I let it go. Sometimes for hours. Sometimes for days. And I tell you, I hate these moments.

You already know when happens next. Yes, I find strength to stop this. I always find enough will to get me out of that mental swamp. And I get out it, and I accomplish that stupid task that had sent me into that procrasti-state, and I do whatever I decide to do. Once I hit the bottom and I actually jump pretty high out of the water. But I know that one day, it will hit me again.

The saddest part of all this is that once I find strength to fight off the p-bug, I am really good at whatever I do. I accomplish things that are pretty much off limits for many less fortunate people. And people look at my accomplishments and go, “Wow! This is great, how did you do that?” But I’m hardly proud. I know that had it not been for these moments I could have accomplished things that would make whole world go “Wow!” I’ve known this for a fact since I was a kid. But this doesn’t change anything. Because one way or another I always find way to that swamp. It’s like trying to become the running champion of the world while having concrete blocks chained to your feet.

So that’s my procrastination story. Now if you excuse me I have to get back to a little task I have to accomplish…

Oh, and one last thing. In case you have ever experienced procrastination yourself, here’s a question for you. A question that probably will send an icy chill down your spine, especially if you really think about. When you find yourself procrastinating it’s not you anymore who controls your actions. Right? At least it’s not your consciousness, not what you associate yourself with. Yet, you still take some actions.

So if it’s not you who is in control, then who is it?