My name is Nikola Danaylov and I am the one who dares to call himself Socrates.
This is not an alias I have deliberately or consciously chosen myself.
Nor is it one I have always embraced because it rarely serves me well.
For as long as I can remember I have been referred to as a black-sheep; a contrarian; a misfit; an opposition; a nail that sticks out [and ends up getting hammered]; a problem-man; a man who’s always questioning; an unreasonable man; a do-it-my-way kind of a weirdo; a stubborn mule who enjoys the thorns and the whip more than going peacefully along the beaten path; a can’t-go-with-the-main-stream and can’t-fit-well-in-any-group type of a guy.
A natural outsider and/or an outcast.
Being this way is not something I necessarily chose or always enjoy. But rather who I’ve always been. Even when I’ve tried my best to fit the standard mold and tow the established line I have always ended up failing and on the other side, often worse off than if I’ve simply started there.
It is why I’ve made mistakes. [And hopefully gotten to learn from them.]
It is why I’ve had people notice and remember me both in a good and a bad way since kindergarten; why I barely made it through high-school; why I was sent to a punishment unit when I was in the Army; why my university record had not only exceptionally good but also a couple of exceptionally bad grades as well; why I did not pursue a PhD; why I failed to find a job after my Master’s Degree and why I am largely unemployable today.
It is also why I started Singularity Weblog and why I have not given up on it after giving it everything I’ve got for 5 years and trying to do it my way, yet again.
It is why so far I’ve failed [or refused] to monetise my blog and my podcast in the usual ways – by advertising, a freemium model, a paywall, a teaching fee, a corporate sponsor, a membership site or by simply selling it to the highest bidder.
Why I’ve turned down several blog sponsorships, partnerships, acquisitions and TV-show concepts.
I am in love with learning and yet somehow I seem to have refused to learn the most basic and fundamental lessons that wiser and more successful people have tried to impart on me all my life.
I am not sure if I am more stubborn or more stupid. Either way, it is who I am: an imperfect human being bent on staying true to himself. [And willing to look bad, be broke or become unpopular, if that be the price.]
And so I don’t plan to become someone different: it is not someone else I want to be and, in all likelihood, it is not someone else I really can be.
Rather, I’d like to be just more of who I am – just a little better version of myself. Every day.
And that is why I have embraced the Socrates moniker – it reminds me of who I hopefully am and who I aspire to be. [As well as the level of steadfast commitment I have to possess and the price I have to be prepared to pay for daring to be one.]
Socrates was the one person I know of who fits perfectly pretty much all the adjectives and personal descriptions I have been called all my life.
Socrates was also the one who refused to become a “sophist” – or a prostitutor of wisdom as he called them. Instead he eked a living from the generosity of his followers just as I have largely been fortunate to do so far.
Socrates is who I was born to be and who I am.
Socrates is who I want to and have chosen to be!
And so I will be. Hopefully not only for me but also for you…