28 Apr Offense or Defense: The Choice that Determines Your Future
Sometimes, a change in mindset can change your world. You see things anew, filled with a light that was not there before. But the biggest change you can make is how you see opportunities. Do you see yourself fighting for them, or are you merely waiting? Are you a knight in armor, charging into battle, or are you waiting anxiously in your run-down castle?
This change is what Derek Sivers calls offense vs. defense. It may be one of the easiest to think about, but the hardest to implement.
As someone on the offensive, you must plan your attack. Where will you strike? What words will you use? Will you have to make a sacrifice? You will have to make these choices beforehand, foreseeing what you may lose out upon in the future. Furthermore, the sting of rejection also looms in your vision. Your mind plays out the possible scenarios, and many do not look good. On the offensive, however, you must push through. Like the knight leading his fellow horsemen, you must swallow your pride and go forward. Only cowards do not fight for their principles.
On the defensive, however, life changes. You sit back, waiting for action to come to you. You do what you are assigned. Your time = other peoples’ priorities. But, you are saved from the bravery. You are saved from the courage. You are given the privilege to react, and it is always easier to react. You know your environment. It comes to you.
But, as someone playing defense, what do you miss out upon? You miss out on a lot. You do not have the ability to live for yourself: you are a slave to others’ demands. Uncertainty no longer arises in the veil of opportunity, but in the veil of disaster. You worry about what might happen next because you have not planned it out. But most of all, your time — the most prized possession you have — is sucked away from you. It is demanded here, demanded there. The world does not care. Your TV, your Twitter feed, your own, personalized Youtube algorithm. Lovely! They all want your time. And they are insatiable. You keep giving them your time, day after day after day, and yet their mouth just grows wider. That’s when you realize that the money they make from you is unlimited, unlike your time. Oops.
This is a mistake we all make. Naval Ravikant has said that the modern struggle is to limit yourself. But limiting yourself on your media diet is not enough. You must take action. You must go on the offensive. Go out there and test your assumptions. Ask for 10% off at your coffee shop. Look people in the eye. Send your idol a heartfelt message. But whatever it is, you go out and get it. You make opportunities. You make your own luck. You are all you can rely on, so go out and make yourself proud.