How can you live an extraordinary life

(by turning off the autopilot)


You wake up, coffee, and go.

Another day, another go around the carousel.

When did life become the same each day?

You can barely remember.

You spend all of your day giving away pieces of your soul. To your boss, to your teacher, to society, to the tax man, to your nation.

Everyone tells you that it will pass. Let it be, give time some time, and better moments will come.

Meanwhile though, life passes, dreams stay locked in the drawer, and everything dulls.

Then, at a certain point, awareness commits suicide.
Desire vanishes, humanity disappears, and the human mind goes into autopilot.

You’re fucked.

This is the moment when you cease to have your own life.

Going on autopilot means living passively and losing control of your life.

Do you remember anything from when you were a child?

Everything was amazing!

Trees weren’t just trees, and green wasn’t just green.
Your parent’s smiles weren’t just smiles, and the warmth of a hug wasn’t just a banal formality.

You even gave yourself the luxury of asking what your favorite color was, whereas today you see the world in black and white.

Every object, every situation was an excuse to observe a curiosity. Each discovery was a new emotion and every emotion was an experiential growth.

Does this happen to everyone? Absolutely not.

Don’t believe that everybody is, at some stage or another, destined to go into autopilot.

If Leonardo da Vinci had gone into autopilot he probably wouldn’t have made history with his discoveries. He probably wouldn’t have dedicated himself to human anatomy, nor the winds, the possibility of flight, to painting, and to science.

Likewise, if for Newton it had just been a simple apple, he would never have articulated the laws of classical mechanics.

Each person that has done something extraordinary never lost the ability to see the world through the eyes of a child.

Let me tell you, going into autopilot, from the perspective of emotions, is extremely dangerous, just like it would be to live without a leg or to suddenly go blind.

For our consciousness, it’s like clicking the FFW button on an old VCR: our life starts to wind quickly to get to the future as soon as possible.

The future that you want to get to is a turning point, a point at which the boredom dissolves away, a point at which consciousness can again take up control of your life.

During this phase of fast winding, the details disappear: you stop seeing colors, the world becomes flat, each moment becomes expendable, and reality loses sense.

You may even no longer give importance to the smiles of those you love, as long as you don’t lose the ability to notice them.

Living with our eyes closed and jaws clenched, we miss so much.

Autopilot makes dreams and desires disappear: our consciousness prefers to suppress them rather than living with the awareness of not being able to realize them.

Dreams, goals, plans, and ambitions are all shackled in chains and hidden in the depths of the soul, awaiting better times. The FFW button is held down for years, but then the turning point ends up never coming.

After all, how could it?

I mean, how the hell could it ever come if we’re too busy living with our eyes closed, focused on our struggles, concentrated on our dramas, without the ability to change things?

Even if good fortune passed before us, we’d be totally incapable of seeing it!


Until it’s too late.

Too often people remove their finger from the FFW button when it is already too late.

When you get old, for example, you normally slow down. Life becomes more peaceful, time once again makes up part of our resources, and suddenly you rediscover that curiosity which has now been lost for too long.

The truth is, though, that you can’t wait till you get old to travel and discover the extraordinary planet we live in: you don’t have the energy, the strength, and the courage to enjoy life’s pleasures.


The crisis

We talk so much about crisis, but I personally like to talk about change.

Changing our days inspires fear in most, especially those who in the past were comfortable with and had adapted to taking orders from up high, from the same market we revolt against.

Just as well, because when you are set to autopilot, you stop innovating and paying attention, like entering a tunnel with no way of turning around.

Many people begin working as an employee, promising themselves that they’ll only do it for a little bit of time, just to save some money for future plans.

But then?

Then they lose the courage to leave and to take back their lives.

Ambitions become mirages, projects become dreams, and finally they lose control of their own future.

Working for someone else means giving up control, and giving up control can be very dangerous, especially if those that exert the control do not know how to adapt to change.

Our country has never been a place of change, at least not so far, but it’s not true that the crisis is a bad thing, at least not for everybody.

There are tens of thousands of people in the world who, at this very moment, have found fortune.

We are talking about kids, men and women, but also families who have managed to find success with their business or their job. Many of these people have the change to thank for their goals, the same change from which the crisis of our day originates.

Because let’s remember, the crisis is not only financial. We are facing a chimerical crisis affecting values, paradigms, and habits of that which is the modern world.

The world was modern yesterday and will be so tomorrow, change is continuous, and those that set themselves to autopilot will not be able to follow it.

Learning to follow the human evolutions and revolutions means seizing the capacity necessary to follow the change.


When you are Twenty.

I see too many of my peers struggling with uncertainty. They wallow in self pity and in the idea that this crisis is an excuse to avoid thinking about the future.

Personal passions and interests have become reasons for shame, pretexts for being far away from their own flock, their own country.

If you dream, you are a lunatic. If you act, you are a crazy person. The country’s micro realities create psychological dogmas, capable of killing the creativity of every child.

They are afraid to think too hard, to raise their voice, almost as if it were a disrespect towards those with no ideas.


To these peers, I have some things to say.

Stop sacrificing yourselves now for beginning to live tomorrow, especially if you see that tomorrow never comes.

There is nothing more stupid than waking up each morning and doing the same things, hoping that the results will be different.

Our life is the result of several vectors, and each vector is an arrow that pushes us in a different direction.

A good habit is learning to eliminate all of those vectors that bring us unhappiness, and feed those that bring us closer to some growth.

To do that, you have to learn to be conscious and self-critical: you must observe your own actions, switch off the autopilot, and keep your eyes open.

Do not wait till university ends and your career begins to carry out your life’s projects, it will be too late.

If you want to escape overseas, do it. The dramas of this country do not belong to you, we are not the cause of this crisis!

Leave tomorrow, the rest will take care of itself.

Do not wait to give away your life and your time to others, the time to act is now.

Do not waste your days in the sweetness of doing nothing because no one tells you what to do.

Do not set yourself to autopilot, not in twenty years, not ever.

Dario Vignali