The book deal happened after 7 months. It was mental.
None of it is real.
The applause, likes, shares and any fancy digital marketing metrics that brands are ready to kill for. They are all an in-the-moment reaction of people in a moment of their purposeless but busy lives. May be they liked their post because it connected to them, may be they felt obligated because you announced you are having a baby. None of it matters because it doesn’t change your reality.
With same logic – the sarcasm, the beat down, the troll comments, the silence of people you should have heard from is not real either. It is their expression of their own dissatisfaction in their lives.
So, what is real?
Your choice to act is the only reality.
Last night, I finally announced the news of my signing a contract for a book which has brought together some of the most accomplished entrepreneurs, thinkers and publishing professionals in India and congratulations started pouring in. (I am not adding the book website link here deliberately because that is not what this is about.)
But I watched the screen with glassy eyes and closed the browser.
I know none of it is real. The only thing that matters is that I keep working on the project — my job is not done yet. I wrote the book and now I have to make sure it reaches as wide as an audience as possible. And that will happen not because these people are congratulating me but because I do what I have to do.
This detachment is a relief. I do not have to worry about what they think. By the way, I have nothing against them — they are some of my favorite people but if I start losing myself in their perceptions, I will have no originality to offer to my audience — which is my foremost dharma in my craft.
This ability to ground and reel myself back into my shell away from the world (while in the process of creation and promotion) helps me ward off the noise and the unreal elements of my work.
Because, and you know by now, action is the only real choice and the only reality I care for.
Sometimes, this action means ‘not doing anything’ — as Gandhi chose in the face of British oppression.
Weak compared to the forces he hoped to change, Gandhi leaned into that weakness, exaggerated it, exposed himself. He said to the most powerful occupying military in the world, I’m marching to the ocean to collect salt in direct violation of your laws. He was provoking them — What are you going to do about it? There is nothing wrong with what we’re doing — knowing that it placed authorities in an impossible dilemma: Enforce a bankrupt policy or abdicate. Within that framework, the military’s enormous strength is neutralized. Its very usage is counterproductive — Ryan Holiday, Obstacle is the Way
Action is a choice to actively work, retreat or ignore. Whatever it is, you have a control on it and that is why it is so powerful.
The applause will soon fade, the naysayers will get on with their lives but if you focus on doing your act, you would have the control of where you are.