Are you in the arena?
We all know what the best version of ourselves looks like.
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Are you in the arena?
Do you listen to the All-In Podcast? It’s a weekly show where three Silicon Valley legends dunk on Jason Calacanis for having milquetoast insights and opinions. Think of it as a wholesome way to spend an hour.
One of the show’s three legends, Chamath Palihapitiya, recently responded to someone on X. This benign act led to a few hours of outrage from the perpetually online. Chamath’s crime? Telling the person their time would be better spent in the arena rather than X’ing (too close to sexting, Elon) those already engaged in battle.
The phrase “in the arena” comes from an iconic speech delivered by our nation’s most popular president. Not that I needed to tell you that. Who doesn’t have TR’s speech framed somewhere in their bathroom? It might be the greatest speech of all time. Of course, it’s hanging above my toilet.
To give the mob its due, I imagine the bulk of the outrage Chamath received had something to do with assuming the person he was responding to wasn’t in the arena.
If, as Chamath claimed, this person is 1) anonymous, 2) afraid of their own shadow, and 3) sitting on the sidelines, shouldn’t they be approached with compassion rather than ridicule? That’s quite the trifecta of sadness.
Indeed, the person wasn’t some useless “rando” but a human being who matters just as much as anyone else. One’s worth is not defined by follower counts or number of victories in the arena. How could any one of us be better than another? Mastering one of life’s countless domains doesn’t equate to mastery over mankind.
It’s doubtful Chamath posted his response to humiliate or degrade this person. Call me naive. As I experienced it, Chamath made a point that happens to be true. It may not apply to that person, but that doesn’t invalidate the assertion.
To progress in life, one should spend more time in the arena and less time critiquing the choices of others. Why care about being right when you can harness that energy toward becoming the best version of yourself?
We all know what the best version of ourselves looks like. Unfortunately, we allow ourselves to be defined by the opinions of others, our past failures, soured relationships, fear of future failures, social media, news organizations, and countless other sources.
What would happen if we decided to become our best version and acted accordingly?
If that was Chamath’s point, he’s right.
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