a trick


29 January/Posted by aaronplaat

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The other day, I was feeding my betta fish, Spartacus, and thinking about the way that a betta fish will attack its own reflection if you put a mirror in its tank. It struck me that human being really aren’t much different than the other animals on the earth. From innate homosexual tendencies to the survival instinct, we are animalistic at our core.

‘The man in the mirror’ is a common term in our culture; often used to describe the way we view ourselves. In this instance, concerning the betta fish, it was a reminder of how so many of our fights are often at nothing more than a hollow reflection of ourselves. Whether it’s a dislike for another person or an overwhelming sense of anxiety that won’t go away, we often hate and fight with the images of ourselves that we see on a daily basis – not in front of a mirror.

It’s all too easy to be critical of oneself. At the same token, it’s very easy to not be critical enough. I’ve had several people contact me recently either A.) Asking what the ‘secret’ is to success, or B.) Wanting employment – using their financial need as the under(over)tone for their desire for employment. The secret is…there is no secret. We’re all born with a creative spirit – some people use theirs to take the steps towards becoming who they want to be. Others use their creative spirit to formulate reasons why they aren’t where they want to be. Excuses will get you nothing and take you nowhere.

Life is a complex map of choices that we’re given and what we do with these choices is the most important variable in the complex matrix of outcomes that life presents us with.

“But, some people just have a lucky break…”

Love him or hate him, Justin Bieber was playing his guitar on the street, with a single parent on welfare as a mother.

I look up a lot at my older brother, Steve, who went to LA and had the courage to face his demons that stemmed from a disastrous religious upbringing, culminating in the entry/exit of a fundamentalist christian cult. Fear, while it can be used a survival-instinct form of motivation, can also have a very damaging impact on your life; undertones of fear, often unnoticed, can destroy your ability to live a normal life. Coming home to an empty house, and having a raw knot in your stomach that the rest of your family had been ‘raptured’ and you were left alone to face an apocalyptic world…as a 10 year-old. shit. I digress.

Back to Bieber.

We may not get to choose the circumstances in which our ‘lucky breaks’ happen. But we can sure as hell stack the deck in our favor to receive more of them. Arnold moved to California. Stallone was a lionkeeper-turned-pornstar-turned-moviestar, Ronnie Coleman (8X Mr. Olympia) showed up to the gym and took a chance training with Brian Dobson after being offered a free gym membership.

Show up.

Put in work.

Put in more work.

Keep working.

Don’t quit.

Stay motivated.

Recover from being unmotivated.

Work harder.





Stay up all night.



Perhaps…perhaps now, a sliver of the success you’re looking for will be released to you. You’ve just taken one step in becoming who you want to be, instead of making excuses.

Another interesting fact about betta fish is that they use ‘hammocks’ – small leaves that attach to your fish tank with a suction cup, to rest on. Looking beautiful all the time sure is exhausting.

Here’s to making an active decision to fight less with our own reflections and instead go out with confidence, guts, and a desire to conquer our demons.

Featured Image From Deviantart

Posted by aaronplaat

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