From Ordinary to Extraordinary: How Short-form Videos are Empowering Everyday People

Buffy, the deity of stocks, articulated a profound statement during the shareholders’ assembly, one that resonated deeply:

“The most rewarding investment lies in oneself, for the power one cultivates within remains impervious to external forces.”

Though this sentiment may appear trite in ordinary circumstances, in this age of uncertainty, particularly when voiced by the wealthiest among us, it acquires a poignant resonance.

This particular declaration evokes several narratives I’ve encountered recently, each offering a starkly pragmatic interpretation of this fundamental truth.

Success, at times, manifests in the simplest of endeavors.

In 2019, a young woman known as “Deshan in the North Drift” emerged unexpectedly into the public eye.

Hailing from Chongqing and born in ’92, she stood at an unassuming one meter and sixty centimeters, with a plain countenance and unremarkable attire, easily blending into the crowd, seemingly destined for obscurity.

During her high school years, she maintained a modest academic performance, her teacher once remarking, “Even with diligent effort, you’ll be lucky to secure three textbooks.”

Though initially disheartened, she didn’t afford the comment undue weight.

It wasn’t until she faced disappointment in her college entrance examinations that she bid farewell to her familiar hometown, embarking solo on the path of the North Drift.

Yet, urban life proved far harsher than anticipated. Upon arriving in Beijing, her monthly earnings barely exceeded 3,500 yuan. To economize, she resorted to a daily fare of boiled egg noodles, a frugal but filling repast.

In pursuit of a better existence, she took on roles in customer service for Amazon and personnel management at an internet firm. At times overwhelmed, she’d find solace in tearful conversations with her mother.

It wasn’t until 2019 that she began experimenting with short-form videos, documenting her daily life. In doing so, she unwittingly altered the course of her existence.

Initially, her intentions were modest, merely aiming to document her culinary adventures, hoping to offer solace to fellow strugglers in Beijing.

Yet, one video, titled “Teacher Huang Lei Demonstrates Noodle Making,” unexpectedly captured the attention of countless viewers, amassing hundreds of thousands of likes—an astonishing revelation!

In that moment, she discovered a new purpose, committing herself to daily uploads, creating culinary content for her burgeoning fanbase. Despite lacking elaborate makeup, elegant prose, or a professional production team, she showcased the quotidian routines of Beijing migrants, garnering over a million followers in under a year.

Presently, she enjoys a measure of financial autonomy through her video endeavors. In a recent installment, she proudly announced the purchase of a home for her parents in Chengdu, a testament to her hard-earned success, and a gift of comfort for her loved ones.

This narrative embodies the journey of an ordinary individual, from confusion to conviction, from adversity to independence, from rags to familial fulfillment.

Identify your passions, invest your soul and effort therein, and persist relentlessly.

Indeed, success can be distilled to such simplicity.

When passion knows no bounds,
Success beckons with the winds of change.

A similar tale unfolds.

Through unwavering dedication and fervor, he transitioned from “rural prodigy” to “global fashion icon,” from the backwoods of Guangxi to the catwalks of international fashion weeks.

His name is Lu Xianren, formerly known as Lu Kaigang.

Born in 1999 in Liuwang Village, Hengxian County, Guangxi, to parents employed in Foshan, Guangdong, he discovered his passion at an early age.

One night, as a fifth-grader, he clandestinely tuned into a televised fashion show, unveiling a world of beauty previously unbeknownst to him. Entranced by the spectacle, he harbored dreams of gracing the catwalks himself one day.

Following his middle school graduation at sixteen, he enrolled in an automotive repair program in Hengxian County. Yet, financial constraints weighed heavily on his family.

He toiled as a kitchen apprentice and later as a factory assembly line worker, barely scraping together a monthly wage of 2,500 yuan.

But amid the drudgery, a question nagged at him: Is this the extent of his existence?

Realizing the monotony and futility of his circumstances, he resolved to seize control of his destiny.

In his spare moments, he studied model techniques from online tutorials, tirelessly practicing and refining his craft. Armed with nothing more than a rudimentary camera and sheer determination, he began documenting his journey.

Though met with derision and scorn for his appearance and demeanor—critics questioning a “dirty and dark” individual’s suitability for the catwalk—he remained steadfast in pursuit of his dreams, honing his skills and producing content.

In August 2019, Lu Xianren’s fortunes shifted dramatically.

A video showcasing his “red carpet strut” catapulted him to fame overnight.

With newfound popularity came not only adoring fans but also unforeseen opportunities and collaborations.

From the Taobao Maker Festival’s Broken Bridge Show to the runways of China International Fashion Week, he realized his aspirations, stepping onto the world stage.

While replicating an individual’s triumphs may prove challenging, he serves as a testament to the power of unwavering passion and fortuitous opportunity.

Many have rewritten their destinies through the medium of short-form videos.

As the internet evolves, visual storytelling supersedes traditional mediums.

Across various platforms, amateur creators like “Deshan in Beipiao” and “Lu Xianren” have defied odds, embracing their passions, and reshaping their fates.

True success often hinges on serendipity, seizing the moment, and leveraging one’s passions in tandem with the zeitgeist.

Like those ordinary souls who rode the wave of short-form video to reclaim their narratives.

It may not be facile, but the endeavor is undeniably worthwhile.

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