What will you do?

Afterthoughts by Ilario Tariello

What will you do when you grow up? What school have you chosen? What do you specialize in? You would like to shout to everyone: "I DON'T KNOW! I don't have any clue!" In the end you choose, forced by events.

"Everyone makes me think I should behave as if I already knew everything about the world and myself. But I don't know anything. I would like to travel, meet people, feel sounds, colors, perfumes, sensations.

Okay. I was at the Open Days. I have been talking to the teachers. I finally chose. I took the test. Several tests, for I need a plan B. I passed some! I had to think about it. And I made my decision.

And now?

I have my head full of lists: subjects, teachers, sessions exam, scores, possible choices in the third year, exercises...

Yes, but how do I make it? Well, I try. I commit to it. I take notes. Study.

Ugh! I do not like anything. I do not understand anything. I'm not able to do this stuff! But how can they do it? It looked better when I chose it. Who will give me a hand? "

Yes, it is true. You are full of doubts, you feel inadequate and under pressure for everyone's expectations. You would like to give up everything and go away. Travel. See the world. Maybe this is your greatest desire. And then a career as a singer, sportsman, actor, stylist, Youtuber or Influencer.  "Well, there is also the Nobel Prize ... Yes but which one? I don't know, I have to think about it. "

I want to give you some news. You are not the first to think this way. We all went through it.

So how can do it, those who make it? How do they manage to become creators of successes? Surgeons, scientists, writers, teachers, artists and managers.

I tell you. They focused! They decided to put all their energy into one goal, for as long as necessary. But then, can they change their mind? Of course they can, they can do anything, but only after showing themselves and the world that they have the grit, the will and the humility to overcome the inevitable obstacles on their way.

When one does overcome the obstacles, he always has many ways to deal with it. You can be creative. You want to get over it and you won't let it get you down.

Because you are you. With your potential, the unexpressed energies and your will, you are a force of nature. And that thing that tries to hold you back instead; it is just a snag.

It can annoy you, make you feel angry and even suffer, but never let it break you down.

If you stumble and fall, you get up. If you stumble again, you will get up again, and again, and again, and again! Never get tired. The others will get tired first.

And those successful people? They too had doubts, several options in mind. But at some point they understood that the worst thing they could do for themselves, was to remain stuck in uncertainty. They weren't sure they made the right choice either. But they kept carrying on, with conviction that the goal they had set for themselves, had helped them to shape their character, to be effective, decisive, and to keep emotions under control, when they hurt.

Bare in mind that many of the successful people in their respective fields, have become as they are only after a long series of trials and errors. And from those they learned. Until they reached full awareness of who they are, and what they really want.

And at this point the character finds it again, because they have forged character in the fire of the previous failed undertakings. At this point they come to fulfill their true mission, the one that only they could discover. Yes, because it is a complicated journey within oneself.

This is the toughest undertaking.

Do you know what stem cells are? There are several types. There are the unipotent cells, the multipotent ones and finally the totipotent stem cells. They are the very special biological building material that comes into play during the construction of a new organism.

They are not yet specialized cells. They can potentially become anything in the organism under construction.

At your age, you are exactly like those stem cells. And as you grow and make your choices, you narrow down the range of possibilities at hand. From a young totipotent thing, to a multipotent crete, down to a unipotent individual, able to specialize in one area only. As a matter of fact, unlike stem cells you can always go back to the totipotent stage. And if you need it, you can start up again by making new choices. This time, being enriched by your previous experiences.

From the scientific point of view, you are organisms, that is, wonderfully complex systems, perfectly equipped with perceptual tools and imagination.
And that is enough for you to be able to do anything.

Your perceptive system is so complex that we only partially know its mechanisms. Trust your feelings, creative impulses. Greatness often comes from idleness, because idleness frees the mind. And only when it is free to space can it make us cross the boundaries of the impossible and the unexpected.

Creative energy is something very powerful. And what it is, it has never really been understood. We admire all those who have the ability to give the world pleasant, fulfilling things that did not exist before. We call it talent. For writing, music, arts and many other disciplines. In each of them, even in the most boring, there is a creative component, an urgency for innovation that when channeled into someone receptive, it finds its realization and becomes a wonder. And that is when the world improves a little.

If you think about it, you can certainly become good at something. You can become the best at doing anything. But if you are a performer, even an excellent performer, you will never be able to be recognised the same value as a true innovator. A great composer could also be a mediocre performer, but he will always be someone great. Niccolò Paganini and Uto Ughi are two great italian violin players, in different periods of history. But Paganini will remain unsurpassed, because he was not only a superb performer, he was the one who shaped the creative energy of his time, capturing it in eternal compositions, channeling it through the violin.

We are all here with a purpose. We are preparing ourselves for the moment when we can make a difference.

Einstein said: "Imagination is more important than knowledge."

For me he was absolutely right. Our existence is independent of what we know. We have always been in existence. Since we have memory. Or maybe even before, regardless of what we know. Knowledge allows us to decode the complex signals that our marvellous sensors send back to the brain. It makes sense of things. However, by its nature it is limited, and it will always be. It does not matter how many things we know. We will always know too little.

And here comes your imagination. Nothing can be accomplished unless it has been imagined before. Remember not to let anyone set any limits to your imagination. You can only achieve what you can imagine. There is nothing in the history of man, no craft work of genius nor effort, no epic undertaking, no stupendous artistic creation have ever been made, without having been imagined before. Nor will they ever be, which is why it is important to feed our imagination. Never suppress it entirely. Yes of course, the social conventions of adult life require you to domesticate it, especially in some circumstances. But remember never to kill your imagination. Your ability to imagine is your most precious resource that no one can take away from you, if you don't allow him to. And its food is the inspiration. Search among the people you know. Let them tell you their stories. Real stories, of lived life. In joy and pain. You will see that you will find many sources of inspiration, I am not just talking about models to aspire to, I am speaking of attitude, of love.

I've always liked science. I was good at it. When I had to choose my path, everyone told me that I could do whatever I wanted. Too bad I really didn't know. I had to discover what I really wanted. But it does not matter. I chose electronics. It was interesting. And while I was studying it, thanks to a book I discovered software coding and then media processing. And while I was working on software systems of any kind for my job, in my freetime I was still letting my mind explore the nature of sound and the wonders of sight.

And through the years my thoughts became a new technology that I developed and I kept in my drawer.

When early this year I saw this pandemy starting, I pulled it out. I felt like helping and I left my comfort zone. I worked hard at night and I started networking like crazy. I wanted to help researchers speed up their work. And having experiened the worsening of it in Italy, I wanted to warn the Spaniards, the Americans and everyone else I could. Given the situation today, I guess I did not succeed very much. But I tried. And I think that much more can still be done.

When I shared my heart about this to my new author friend, Liz Franklin, she also wanted to help by writing an article for the news. But her special heart is for children so we wrote a free book empowering them to be superheroes. (www.covidops.info) It went all over the world in 37 languages. Children helped their parents see in a new way. When Liz shared her idea about children, I agreed immediately. She is right. Sometimes the kids have the power of making adults think. And they remember the rules very well.

I met extraordinary people. Some of them even say I inspired them to step up and do something. I recommend it as an approach. I am convinced that it can also open up a world of opportunities.

All that work I have been doing through the decades without a specific purpose, just following the flow of my thoughts, my instinct and my sensation I was doing the right thing, has now found a sense of its greatness.

Life is a journey. We already know where we started and where we will end. What we have to decide is who we will travel with, and what we will do to make our experience unique and rewarding. If we also manage to leave something good to someone, something worth of being remembered by whoever, we will have given our journey a sense.