everything in the world is exactly the same

Paavni Dewan
3 min readMay 12, 2022

In the words of Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan, “First we shape our tools. Then our tools shape us.” Our surroundings are the most potent tool available to us that subconsciously define our priorities. It is a reflection of our personality. On the contrary, our surroundings also happen to build our personalities. Like all relationships, it is far from static — a constant equation of mutual give and take.

A tiny conscious effort put in to redefine our environment can lead to lasting impacts that can be measured on a consistent basis. Our emotions are direly fickle: read a miserable, soul-crushing piece in the newspaper and it sets an ominous tone for the day, begin the morning grooving to your “hype music”- any genre or song that makes you feel invincible and you’re prepared to take on the world.

I infuse my surroundings with scattered reminders of ideas that help me establish a firm sense of self and one such mechanism I use is my phone’s wallpaper. Currently, it is a quote that makes me grin like a lunatic simply because of its inexplicable brilliance. It is as follows:

Disclaimer: I do not endorse Kanye West. The man is highly unpredictable (especially now) but he made this statement in an interview eight years ago and it turned out to be surprisingly profound.

The host Seth Meyers asks West if the way he approaches his music and his fashion is similar or completely different. Kanye’s response is the epitome of elegance, “Everything in the world is exactly the same.” Although the context here was restricted to fashion and music, his response encompasses all industries, all walks of life. Everyone in the world plays the same games — you only need to learn how to win once, then you can win every time.

In the modern world, I think we over-index on topical knowledge and neglect the fundamental traits essential to success. The core traits of growth mindset, curiosity and great judgement remain unexclusive across domains. Author Cal Newport says, “The state of your self-esteem is like a roller-coaster ride, differing from day to day depending on events beyond your control. By mastering one activity in your life, you are putting a stake into the ground, giving yourself one thing to feel sure of, and making a declaration about who you are.”

Perhaps this why extraordinary athletes go on to be phenomenal businesspeople and serial entrepreneurs succeed repeatedly despite the fact that 90% of all startups fail. You don’t have to, and cannot, succeed at everything. You ought to get it right once and momentum will take care of the rest.

In the words of legendary NFL coach Vince Lombardi, who never had a losing season as Head Coach, “Winning is a habit”. This quote has been ruthlessly ingrained into my system by my father, who whispers it to me in ultimate suave fashion each time he finds me slacking and then walks off in slow motion while intense rock music reverberates in the background.

I would love to know what wallpaper you have on your phone and why! If you have thoughts to share pertaining to this blog or absolutely anything at all, feel free to reach out to me. I will also gladly entertain rock music suggestions :)