Category Archives: obvious to you amazing to others

Obviously Easy to You, Amazingly Hard to Others

The title of this post is taken from one of my favourite videos from Derek Sivers, titled, “Obvious To You, Amazing to Others”.  The idea behind the video is that the things  we share and do that become almost second nature, could be amazing to other people.  I think this is why we (myself included), are extremely tough critics of our own work.  What is simply ingrained thinking and seemingly becomes “common sense”, is totally mind-blowing to others.  What one person believes is insignificant, could be life-altering for someone else.

Over the years, I have embraced a mentality less focused on “everyone should have to do this right now”, to understanding that we are all at different points in our lives, and we do not know the “backstory” of others.  Why I choose (or others) to not try something isn’t necessarily because I don’t believe in it, but could be because of a myriad factors, both personally and professionally.  I tried to balance the “push and pull”, and read when someone needs that gentle nudge, or just needs to feel supported.  I try more to expose people to ideas, than push them to do what I think they should do.  They know their context better than myself.  We need to be empathetic.

Yet I still see people complain “why isn’t every teacher on Twitter…you are going to become irrelevant, blah blah blah.”  Then I look at when they started and it could be 2013.  Where were they in 2010 when I started? Where was I, in 2007 when others saw the potential.  Everyone starts at zero. Zero followers, zero subscribers, zero knowledge.  I am not trying to give people a pass on trying new things, but trying to understand that we embrace things at different times.  I have encouraged several people to blog because I know they have amazing ideas to share, but to be honest, I am not disappointed if it takes them longer then it took me.

Push, pull, and support.  Listen. Understand.  All important elements of leadership.

I was reminded of this recently when I tried “Facebook Live” for the first time.  I knew that it existed and was similar to Periscope, but different because I have connected with many more people already in that space.

So I sat there looking at the app and felt an anxiety I had forgotten about.  The same anxiety when I first started using Twitter, or published my first blog post.  Posting something live doesn’t give you the same margin for error that a blog post does.  I looked and wondered, “what would I even talk about”, similar to people saying, “what would I even tweet about”.  The anxiety was real!

Then I thought, that’s exactly what I should talk about and jump in.  Here is the post below.


It is now over 1 hour since I posted this video and my heart is still racing.  People say you didn’t look nervous, but I was.  As someone who stands in front of large groups and speaks, this gave me much more anxiety than that.

But I kind of like it.

I like it because we talk about “empathy”, yet some “forward thinking” educators also stop growing. We forget what it was like to share that first blog post, or tweet, or even Facebook status.

The higher people go up in any organization, the more people they serve, not the other way around.

If we believe this, we have to remember that was is “obviously easy to you, can be amazingly hard for others”. What have you tried in education, as a learner, that has given you anxiety in the last little while?  Have you shared that? Have you talked about that vulnerability you have felt?  That vulnerability and uncertainty, and the willingness to share it, is truly more of a sign of strength than weakness.

Keep trying things that push yourself, especially if you are asking others to do the same.  That reminder of the anxiousness and uncertainty will serve you well in helping to move others forward.

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