Brazilian Cartwheels & Video Games: On Self Trust

This is part of MAGNETISM Extras (Part 3)

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Brazilian Cartwheels & Video Games: On Self Trust

When I trained in capoeira, one of the first things I learnt was to always keep eye contact with your opponent.

For example, while doing a cartwheel (ao), most people will tilt their head back and look at the floor.

In capoeira, that’s how you get kicked in the face. My instructor said

“Look up. You don’t need to look at the floor. You know where it is and it’s not going anywhere.”

That was an early mini-epiphany. Looking at the ground while doing a cartwheel is a very compelling natural instinct. It just happens for everyone, without thinking.

And sometimes your natural instincts are pretty dumb.

In life, in social situations, in relationships, in your work… the one thing that will always be there is you.

You’re the floor. You know where you are and you’re not going anywhere.

In video games where you step into the role of the main character, and you move forward… it appears as if your character is moving through the world, but in fact, if you look closely, you’ll see that your character is perfectly stationary and centered in the middle of the screen… and it’s the environment that moves around the character.

That’s kind of how I see myself in the world. No matter what goes on around me or what happens to me, I’m always there in the center of the screen until Game Over. I can trust in that.

You can never know anything as an absolute certainty, not in the external environment or about things that aren’t you.

The only thing guaranteed to stay with you throughout your entire life is you.

The mistake most people make though, is putting other things or other people in the center of their screens.

But other people or other things aren’t you, and they are beyond your control. They aren’t the floor, so to speak.

Remember your first heartbreak? Another person consumes your whole world for a few months. Then the breakup happens, the other person disappears from your screen, and what happens?

You feel completely empty inside, because in a way, you are. No one’s on your screen anymore.

It’s the same with anything you put in focus that is not-you. Spend your whole life with a pile of money in the center of your screen… what happens then, when you go broke?

Same thing, more or less.

Identity crisis, feelings of insignificance.

When you direct all your energy into some external entity until it beomes who and what you are – your identity – what naturally follows is an identity crisis once that thing is out of the picture.

But the biggest danger in all this isn’t any of that. It isn’t that you spend your whole life with someone or something else in the center of your screen… It’s that you lose sight of yourself.

You lose your self-sovereignty. You start distrusting your own thoughts. That other person or thing starts getting the final say in things, his or her or its opinions more valuable than yours.

A lot of people will put career or money or love or something else in focus… and their whole life is then dictated by whatever it tells you makes sense — instead of trying to listen to what you think makes sense.

You don’t need any of those things to be happy or fulfilled in your life.

I think it’s time to put yourself back on the screen. That doesn’t mean you can’t have money or not experience love or something else. In a video game, your character still interacts with the world, relates to other people, and so on. The only thing that’s different is that you stay put in your awareness.

Whether you put that other person or thing or ideal in the center or not… it will always be up to them whether to stay or go. Being centered means you’re fine with that. You will always have you.


In every personal improvement-type industry, ranging from dating advice to business networking and even things like sales and marketing, everyone is talking about self-esteem and self-confidence. Those things are both, well… fine. But both are rendered obsolete when you have self-trust. Thought about another way, you could say that there’s no chance to develop either self-esteem or self-confidence if you don’t first have self-trust.


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