Backy vs. The Professional

Not so long ago, I saw on LinkedIn that one of my acquaintances, Klaus, posted about an event called BSides Transylvania. Don’t worry, we’re not going to visit Dracula. But I think he could tell us a lot about security techniques. Just imagine an old castle where the master of manipulation and persuasion is surrounded by young students willing to learn about Social Engineering. He teaches them how to identify potential targets and find out where they live, how to find out what they are interested in, and how to get into their place without notice. And the end, how to suck out their blo… I mean data as proof of a successful test.

I pondered for a long time whether to attend this event. It’s nearby, yet still in another country. Thinking about the costs and the inconveniences of traveling immediately makes me want to do something else. That’s why I think this experience is related to the topic I want to discuss from various angles: mental health in the cyber world.


It can be pretty challenging for an average person to attend such a conference. If we approach it logically, we can find several reasons right away. For example:

  • We can gain new professional knowledge.
  • We can listen to the experiences of others.
  • We can enrich our lives with new experiences.
  • We can meet new people.
  • We might even get a new assignment.

But these completely logical points are worthless if we still can’t attend such an event. Of course, there are physical limits to where we can go. For example, a place might be too far, or we might not have enough funds for such a trip. For me, it’s still the consumer within me who wouldn’t let go.

I could call it the little voice in my head or even the Ego. Nowadays, I call it Backy. It constantly buzzed in the background with completely logical statements.

  • Why do you want to participate? It’s on Saturday. You should rest on Saturday. You should be with your family and your wife.
  • How will you get there? How many hours will it take? You won’t be able to sit in one place for that long.
  • Where will you sleep? In a hotel? Do you know how much that costs?
  • It would be much better for you at home. Call it a day. Turn on the TV and play with the Borderlands Pandora box. (Supposedly, it’s still on sale for Xbox :D, but I haven’t looked into how to create affiliate links for games yet. TODO.)

It’s entirely right. It’s no wonder It often talks me out of doing things that would be challenging or embarrassing, like this post. It’s Its job to protect me, although it’s not always able to do it properly. I’ve been aware of this for a long time. If you want to know more about the Ego, feel free to watch the movie Revolver or read the book That Little Voice in Your Head (Amazon) by Mo Gawdat.

What I’ve figured out over the years is that I can’t banish it. If you are a knowledge worker, and unfortunately, if you have to work, it is there and talks to you. It’s full of doubts and very reckless. It can easily visit websites I wouldn’t recommend and spend hours on them. It makes thoughtless purchases, then complains about how it will survive next month. So, I had to come up with a solution to keep it in check.

The Professional

I’ve tried many methods, but none led to a long-term solution to overcoming my internal inhibitions. What I hope has advanced me is that I’ve split my personality. Of course, there’s Backy, the consumer, who has needs that need to be satisfied. But the other personality(ies, because actually, we have multiple), “The Professional”, serves a different purpose. The Professional within me constantly wants to improve and face new challenges.

However, for a long time, I shared expenses (or resources, if you want to call it) with Backy. As an employee, no matter how much better-paying job I found and the more challenges I faced, Backy always consumed the results I achieved. So, I switched to being a freelancer. This is more of an entrepreneurial form, but legally, it’s still one person and still on the same budget. And what’s worse, as a freelancer, if I acquire a tool that could advance me, Backy immediately wants to “play” with it. But at least she has come to terms with this form.

The real change came with the e-residency program. I will surely talk about this in more detail later. But for now, in this concept, the program allowed me to create a new legal entity, which has a separate budget. Backy can’t access the budget. However, the professional who needs new challenges and new tools can. To support my operation, I chose the service of (Affiliate). I’m not good at accounting; I could spend my time in areas where I could potentially gain more value. And they do an outstanding job of taking that burden off my shoulders.

What you need to know about Backy is that it can’t be anywhere else but Here. Here, It feels safe; Here, It has arranged everything so that It has everything It needs. However, It can’t be in the present. It always brings up the past as an example or scares me with the future.

In contrast, The Professional… I haven’t named It yet, although It doesn’t require anyone to address it. It’s not Here, but in the digital space, which has no physical boundaries. It’s building on past experiences to build the future in the present. And the program supports the digital nomad lifestyle, which is location-independent.

Preparing for the journey

As usual, Backy wanted to hold me back. But the possibility of meeting Klaus in person excited The Professional much more, and also me as well. I am grateful to the BitNinja team for dragging Backy to the Brno events in the past. (I’m not affiliated with them, but I Do Love their work) The Professional gained experiences that made him doubt Backy’s objections. This will be my first solo trip to a conference, so there are challenges.

I know I will face resistance.

  • First, I just shared the event with my professional acquaintances. It’s a pity I didn’t hear back from anyone that they are coming. It gave Backy a lot of ammunition. You’ll be there alone.
  • So, I wrote it on a note that I kept by my desk. And I looked at it every day. When is it? March 23… Hmm, and where is it? Cluj. How could I get there? Backy intervened again. See, it’s on Saturday. It could be a 12-hour train ride. Are you crazy? It’s 6 hours by bus, Flying?…
  • I looked up where I could find accommodation in an unknown city. Of course, Backy was terrified of the idea. But Google Maps and calmed her down a bit. Okay… so you might not end up sleeping on the street after all. But have you seen how much one night costs? It’s free at home.
  • I looked up how I could get there. The shortest way that’s not flying It’s a bus ride. What buses go there? There’s wifi, power, and a toilet on it. Wow, I can book a seat and even book the seat next to me. Backy calmed down a bit; now you know you’ll have space to move. You know how tall you are, and you never fit on buses. But still, staying home is free. With this money, you could order some lovely food and be with your partner.
  • How much does the conference cost? How much? The VIP ticket is €180. That’s terribly a lot. How much food, coffee, and other goodies could you buy with that? Oh, there’s a cheaper ticket. Well, we sometimes spend more than that on a game for Xbox.

Hey, I know. The text on the picture is quite confusing. But this is just an AI-generated image. :)

But the final nail in the coffin was the last move. Every browser tab remained open on the purchase page. I refreshed the pages and saw that every option was still available. I put them in the cart. And Backy screamed.

  • You haven’t been paying attention to me in the past few days? Do you know what dangers await you?
  • Yes. We looked into it together. You got answers to almost all your objections and had time to process them.
  • Do you know how long it will take away from being with your family?
  • Yes. It will take up my weekend. But it might allow me to spend more time with my loved ones later. And don’t act like you don’t just want more time for yourself.
  • Do you know how much it costs?
  • Yes. But you’re not paying for it.
  • But you’ve never done anything like this before! You’re sure to fail.
  • We’ll see. If so, feel free to say, I told you so.

Don’t worry; I’m not classically a “split personality”. However, in today’s world, I don’t think there’s only one personality working within a person. Thus, I find it important to satisfy the needs of the Self. And I’m almost sure that along the way, Backy will continuously try to hinder my path just to say, I told you so.

Now, you may wonder how the hell this writing connects to mental health and cyber security. Just remember: “The only real enemy to have ever existed, is an eternal one."

(Watch the “ Revolver” movie. You may get it. :))

What do you think?

Have you ever thought that it’s not your fault that you couldn’t achieve something? What does “Backy” whisper in your ear? How many different needs do you feel day by day? Isn’t it like being completely different people? And how do you try to convince them to get closer to your goals?