In a world full of unicorns, be a cat
Because in life, rainbows and glitters is just playing pretend
In the tech world, being a unicorn basically means you’re able to do it all — you’re a full stack hack. You know every programming language that’s ever existed. You can create servers from scratch and you know every trending acronym. Everything about you is perfect and divine. You’re a hard to find talent. You’re a billion-dollar startup. You’re the next Uber. You’re the industry disruptor. You’re the next best thing.
Everyone seems to be a unicorn nowadays. Or at least they advertise themselves as one. Their C.V.’s is filled with exceptional experiences and you begin to wonder how such a thing is physically possible.
We follow them — the writers, the YouTubers, the life hackers and the Instagrammers. We try to emulate their habits and their styles in hopes that maybe one day, we too, will turn into a unicorn.
The Internet’s Sudden Obsession with Unicorns
Over the past few years, the Internet’s obsession with Unicorns has led to the rise of product re-branding and renaming. The aesthetic unicornification of everything — from Starbucks drinks to coloring cream cheese on toast with a crazy about of pastel-colored sparkles — has led everything to be colorfully the same.
It’s somewhat ironic for a mythical symbol of rarity. But it’s the price of becoming mainstream. The initial meaning of unicorn is somewhat lost in the sea of sparkles, glitter and marketing drives. To be a unicorn no longer means you’re unique and special — it means you’re playing a highly competitive, sparkle infused, kind of game where everyone is talented in their own ways.
You — a newcomer or a veteran in the industry trying to eke out a living — have no chance unless you play the game too. In order to be different, you need to learn the game of being the same.
The illusion of magic, the illusion of real skills
There is no magic in gaining a new skill or getting something done. We often read hacks and listicles that promises us that if we do x, we will achieve y. But the truth is, you just have to do the things you need to do.
Instead, we distract and convince ourselves that we need a better camera, a better computer, a better everything that prevents you from doing your job. We look our hero unicorns and only see them as they are in the present. We ignore the transformation process — the articles written from 5 years ago, the shaky cams and awkward moments. We ignore the growing part of the process and we try to jump right in and be exactly like them.
But we haven’t developed the real skills that made them a real unicorn. So we settle for being a fake one for the interim or give up completely. We pretend to be part of the special crowd but don’t have the years of doing to back it up.
The unicorn bandwagon was supposed to be a symbol of differentiation. But now everyone seems to suffer from impostor syndrome. That’s because they’re not unicorns — as much as they want to be — and they know it too.
Most of the time, they don’t understand the true meaning of being a unicorn. They just like the idea of the current fame and fortune that being a unicorn bring. There is a pressure to know everything and be everything. And as a unicorn, you’re expected to conform to this.
The importance of being a cat
If you’ve ever had a cat (or a child under 3), you’ll know that they’ll do what they want. The freedom in which they experience emotions and make choices is governed by a creature that’s unaffected by social pressures and norms.
They explore. They experiment. They play. They learn. They do everything in their own special, sweet time. They are independent in mobility and thought. They are always the alpha of their own world.
The ancient Egyptians worshiped them as gods. But unicorns — everyone just wants to catch one.
There is no bullshit when it comes to cats. No excuses. No glitter. No sense self-consciousness or need to be compared. They climb their own ladders.
The world needs more cats, not unicorns
Cats are real. Unicorns are people playing pretend. Real unicorns are usually cats mistaken as one.
So be an unapologetic cat.
With a world full of ‘unicorns’, the cat doesn’t stop to play dress up. They keep doing their own thing. Small communities gather around them. People gravitate towards their independence and skills. Some even mistakes them as unicorns.
Except the cat has a different vibe. They’re not trying to be something else. They’re always working on being themselves.
And for that, they flourish and thrive.