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“The Pixel Theory” Really Puts Our Idea of Success Into Perspective

Successful people live in a pixel, not a picture

By Denisa FeathersPublished 11 months ago 4 min read
Photo by Taryn Elliott on Pexels

I can’t wait to drink margaritas at a beach in Thailand, bathe in the ridiculous amount of money I’ve made doing something I love, and live the best life ever.

Thoughts like this keep running through my head as I clean hotel rooms, hoover crushed crisps, strip the beds, empty bin bags and… ew, what’s that smell?

I love daydreaming to pass the time. I love imagining what my life will be like if I stick to my passion and keep working, keep grinding, keep following my dreams — and I’m so excited to get there that it’s sometimes hard to fall asleep at night.

While it’s amazing to have goals you work towards, though, there’s something off about my idea of the future.

And that’s the fact that it just seems a bit too… perfect. I might drink margaritas on a beach in Thailand while crying over a lost friendship, I might get robbed the minute afterwards, I might get sick and spend the whole week in bed.

You never know.

The point is — the future I imagine for myself is clear as day, bright as the most beautiful sunshine, perfect as… well, the complete opposite of reality.

But life doesn’t work that way. Achieving what you’ve dreamed of can actually be quite underwhelming sometimes because of how much you hyped it up in your mind.

Making it in life doesn’t actually mean getting to a certain destination — because time will soon force you to leave that place and move on to other highs and other lows.

And there will always be lows, no matter how much you want to avoid them.

When you look at other successful people whose lifestyles inspire you, you don’t really get to see that part. The nights they wake up crying, the mornings they’d rather skip, the disappointment and heartbreak along the road to success.

That’s because all you see is a picture. But every single one of us lives in a pixel.

The Pixel Theory Is All About Today

A phrase coined by Tim Urban during what he calls “his famous alone in his apartment in front of the mirror TED Talk”, The Pixel Theory helps shed some realistic light on the basking-in-the-sunlight-future you’re dreaming of.

When you look at your life, you see it as this epic story of happiness, grief, grind, love, striving for what you want… add some great soundtrack and you’ve got yourself an amazing movie.

Do the movies show the boring minutes when you’re waiting for a bus, though?

No, I didn’t think so.

The story you’re looking at — in fact, the story you see other people present to you — is a picture. A colourful, immersive and huge painting that would look really nice on your bedroom wall.

The problem is that you never actually live in the broad strokes of the painting. You’ll never experience that yellow shade in the right-hand corner fully because the shade signifies a whole year.

As sad as it is, you’ll never actually experience a year.

And that’s because all you have is Today. All you have is Now.

As you’re reading these words, now is here and now is gone and now is here again, now, now, now, now is always following you wherever you go.

Your past self clicked on this article. Your future self will click away. What you’re actually living through isn’t any of those two — it’s the experience of reading these words right now.

Before now shifts into another now. And so your life flows by.

The Pixel Theory explains that your whole life isn’t actually the painting. It’s the individual days — the pixels — that make up the picture.

Tomorrow Doesn’t Really Matter

Reaching your goals is a vital part of life. It’s amazing to make your dreams come true and to live the life you truly want and deserve.

In order to get there, it’s essential to consider what Tomorrow will bring. I’m a big fan of planning and manifesting.

However, Today is all you’ll ever have to actually act. Today will always slip away from you and be exchanged for another Today through Sleep, as if you were making a tremendous — and extremely slow — journey through portals.

What makes someone successful is their ability to experience Today with every ounce of their being. It’s to embrace your present and get as much out of it as you can.

In The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle says:

“Time isn’t precious at all, because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time but the one point that is out of time: the Now. That is precious indeed.”

When you realize the importance of the present moment and how unrealistic it is to dream of a better Tomorrow your whole life, you’ve already moved one step forward on your journey to success.

The day you’ll reach that goal will come. It will feel glorious. Surrender to the passage of time and embrace with all your being that you will make your dreams come true, you will achieve success, you will reach that destination.

But also know that the destination is only another Today. Your journey towards it is full of Todays you can make the most out of.

So love your Today. The moment of Now is the only true experience of life you’ll ever have.


About the Creator

Denisa Feathers

Student of Literature & Languages. I write about relationships, self-improvement, lifestyle, writing and mental health. Contact me: [email protected]

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Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

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Comments (1)

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  • Nour Boustani10 months ago

    Enjoy the moment, enjoy the day. A simple idea that is difficult to do. We should always remind ourselves to be fully present. — a well-put article. Thanks for sharing.

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