The shell that is not yours

Why the hell do we sleep?

I hate sleeping; it wastes time that could be used for work.’

This is how I thought back in 2021 when I had just started freelancing.

At that time, I was doing academic writing at an average rate of Pkr. 1 per word, under my friend Asim.

He had a Fiverr profile where he would get assignment projects and have them completed by his small team of writers.

My monthly goal was to make at least Pkr. 30-40k.

For that, I was required to write 30-40K words. Not just random words but the solutions of assignments, with specific formatting like APA or MLA with less than 15% Turnitin plagiarism.

So, I worked 16 hrs a day. I was highly motivated to earn good income, and academic writing seemed like the only way to do it.

I kept this up for around 3-4 months until I burnt out. I was so burnt out that I flatly refused any further work from Asim.

I was frustrated, stressed and depressed.

Asim respected my decision even though it meant an immediate loss for him, as he had many assignments in his pipeline and his most working writer had decided to quit.

Days passed, and I had no source of income. I then started looking for blog-related projects on Facebook and found a few.

I was very frustrated and worried about my next income source, so I was spending alot of my time searching on YouTube for the next skills.

That was the time when I happened to learn about writing for marketing or sales purpose also known as copywriting.

It sparked an interest in me because it combined something I loved (writing) with great earning potential.

So, I jumped into this field with both my feet.

I enrolled in an expensive course worth Pkr. 43K. I considered it expensive because my savings at that time were only 37K.

I borrowed the remaining amount from a friend and paid the fee for the two-month training.

Two months passed, and I had earned NO MONEY. The course was marketed as a 7-Figure Copywriter course, and I had thought I would make at least four figures after completing it.

But nope. Things take time. A lot more time than you think.

In frustration I started hunting for jobs and got an offer for an internship in Lahore. I happily accepted and went for it. Did that for 9 months.

Made new friends, experienced a whole new life. But during that period, I slowly started making a shell without knowing.

The people around me weren’t inspired, motivated or with a fire to do something. They were chill. So, when I used to share the philosophical stuff, I’d face jokes.

I didn’t realize it, but slowly and unknowingly I started losing interest in my intellectual pursuits.

I used to be a serious guy with deep thoughts and then I became the most chill and fun guy in that company.

The shell that is not yours
The Shell That is Not Yours

That soldier-like attitude and self-belief that ‘I will never settle for mediocrity‘ just vanished, and I didn’t even notice until it was completely gone.

Now even working 3-4 hrs a day is like a mountain hike for me.

Now am facing the worst discipline crisis of my life. I’m no longer living with those friends in Lahore; in fact, I’m not even in Lahore anymore. I’ve left everything behind to start anew.

I’ve been living alone for the past five months. There’s no one here to distract me, but I’m still the laid-back, take-it-easy person I became in Lahore. Even worse, actually.

So, what’s the underlying cause of me losing my soul?

Today, as I was scrolling through my phone gallery, I found pictures from the days when I was a person full of fire. I sat quietly for hours, pondering what had changed in me.

I realized I’ve been living in a shell—a comfort zone

This shell has bricks. Each brick is made up of other people’s views, opinions, attitudes and beliefs about my pursuits. About myself.

And I have been collecting those bricks 🧱 and building a shell around me. And now I have trapped myself into that shell.

So, whenever I think of doing the work, a brick says ‘hey, take it easy bro, don’t be hard on yourself. Life doesn’t work that way. Take it easy, go slow.’ And I quit.

Whenever I decide that enough is enough, am to work f*cking harder, the brick shouts, ‘Let’s start from tomorrow, it is OK. Things don’t happen overnight. Take it slow.’

You see, that shell actually suppresses that fire emotions in me and creates new emotions. And those emotions decide my actions. It’s how dangerous it is.

Since, I have built that shell no one is to be blamed for it except myself.

I am responsible for the gradual decline of my life.

I’ve now realized that to reclaim my former self, I need to remove each ‘brick’ one by one until there’s no shell left to hold me back.

So, if you too find yourself in my story, then let’s take those bricks of other people’s views, opinions and beliefs that we have unconsciously made ours out…

And destroy the shell.

Because “That Shell is Not Yours.”

See you in the next post.

– Sami

By Sami