The malleability of reality
"The thing I would say is, when you grow up, you tend to get told that the world is the way it is, and your life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family life, have fun, save a little money. But life, that's a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact, and that is: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it. You can influence it. You can build your own things that other people can use. And the minute that you understand that you can poke life, and actually something will, you know, if you push in, something will pop out the other side, that you can change it. You can mold it. That's maybe the most important thing is to shake off this erroneous notion that life is there and you're just going to live in it, versus embrace it. Change it. Improve it. Make your mark upon it. I think that's very important. And however you learn that, once you learn it, you'll want to change life and make it better. Because it's kind of messed up in a lot of ways. Once you learn that, you'll never be the same again."
“The world is a very malleable place. If you know what you want, and you go for it with maximum energy and drive and passion, the world will often reconfigure itself around you much more quickly and easily than you would think.”
"A big secret is that you can bend the world to your will a surprising percentage of the time—most people don’t even try, and just accept that things are the way that they are.
People have an enormous capacity to make things happen. A combination of self-doubt, giving up too early, and not pushing hard enough prevents most people from ever reaching anywhere near their potential."
One of the largest mindset shifts I’ve experienced over the last year has been the deepening of the feeling of agency. Not just the intellectual belief that change is possible, but the gut feeling of being able to effect it.
This feeling of high agency also maps on to a number of similar concepts: abundance mindset, being “above the line” (in CLG speak), power, etc. But in my head the name I give it most often is “reality malleability”.
It comes with an unclenching of perfectionism. Rather than believing there is one correct path that one must wend perfectly to achieve a desired output (scarcity), there is a new belief that there are many paths to the goal and that as long as one brings intelligence, the ability to learn from mistakes, and an unstoppable work ethic, anything can be achieved.
I write about this because even though, or perhaps because, it seemed so obvious to me already on an intellectual level, I was blinded to the deeper meaning of this concept. I believed for years in the quotes above and made decisions shaped by this and thought it meant I was high agency. But it’s only been very recently that I’ve truly felt the malleability of reality. That the world really can be built. That there are an infinitude of levers just past our fingertips with which to subtly shift the world in the directions of our choosing. And that there isn’t just a single perfect path that you must search for until you find, but many branching paths to many ideal futures.
I’ve only recently begun acting on this newfound, deeper version of agency, but so far it has felt like a profoundly creative act, giving rise to something at the core of being human: the feeling of true aliveness.