Here’s the opening riff on the privilege of having access to the Internet.
And here’s the transcript.
I hope you enjoyed today’s episode. From this episode on, I’ll be experimenting with releasing 1 episode per week, instead of the original rate of 2 episodes per week. I’ve had several people tell me that it’s a bit hard to keep up. Of course, the blog is daily, but the podcast goes a little more in depth with the ideas that I write about in the blog. So, I’d rather have people feel like it’s much easier to stay up to speed.
Take care. I’ll see you next week.
Hey guys, it’s Paul. I’ve got caffeine in my system, I was just outside for an hour walking a dog, and I’ve now I’ve got this banana and avocado smoothie that im drinking so I’m a little high strung – and I want to talk to you about murderers.
Everyone knows a murderer. The murderer is you. Every time you have any idea about creating anything, whether it’s a blog or a business or a non-profit, any idea about how you’d rather be living your life, but you don’t take any action on those ideas because of fear and/or excuses, you’re murdering your future self.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: you’re going to die. Yeah, okay, I get it, Mister Stoic. I know that we’re all going to die one day. I’ve heard it before. It’s in every self-help book that’s ever been written. Seize the day. Momento mori. Live this day as if it were your last, blah blah.
We all die everyday. Not in a physical sense, but in a psychological way. Each day that we don’t spend in concentration, in focus, in aiming at something, in creating a better tomorrow for ourselves, a version of our future self dies. The future self that could have manifested had you spent every day for the next 25 years practicing your craft. And what replaces it is the future self that spent only 24 years practicing your craft. That one extra year could have been the difference between greatness and a level that has never been achieved before.
Now, what I mean by murderng ourselves, if the analogy sounds a bit dark, I mean what we do to ourselves that squanders our potential. Maybe self-suppression is a better term for this. But I’m not sure. Regardless, there’s something that we do to ourselves when we have ideas for how we want our lives to be like.
But before I go any further, let me get really meta.
So before I started recording this, I had the ideas for what I wanted to share with you. They were all just proliferating in my head. These ideas about murdering our future selves, about suppressing our potential with excuses, the fear of not being good enough, the fear of being rejected.
Two things could have happened. I could have let the excuses and fears get to me. I could have decided not to record this. That I’m not good enough. That I don’t have a big enough audience to show that people care about what I have to say.
The second thing is that I could have let excuses get in the way. I don’t have this. I have to do that. I should be doing this. What’s so great about recording this dumb podcast? Shouldn’t I be working towards getting a job on wall-street or something?
When I say we murder ourselves with fears and excuses, I’m not talking about obligations or responsibilities. Obligations are obligations. You do them no matter what. If you have bills to pay, pay the bills. If you have kids to take care of, take care of the kids.
But if you feel as if your real life is not as exciting as your imagined life – the life of your ideas, that business you really want to start, that blog you really want to write, that podcast you really want to host, you need to understand all the ways in which you’re murdering your future self.
Your future self comes about when you quit murdering it – when you quit beating yourself up for not being good enough yet. When you quit hiding underneath the covers of comfort when the creeping monster of judgement crawls out from underneath the bed of a social media platform that you use to share your work.
There are monsters. They’re real. People are going to judge your work.
But then you need to ask yourself, really, who are you trying to reach? Is your core audience really a bunch of pessimists? A bunch of people who just want to bring you down? Or is your audience a group of people that are a lot like you? A group of people who see things the way you see them? Believe in ideas that you believe in?
We understand that death is real. As Thom Yorke sings in 15 Steps (Off of the greatest Radiohead record, In Rainbows), death, “comes to us all.” What we’re doing when we murder our future selves is exposing ourselves to a more abstract kind of death. We kill our future selves with fear and excuses.
So, fear. We murder ourselves with fear. We want to start that blog but (and that’s the murderous word) we’re not good at writing. Or we don’t know anything about design. Or we don’t know anybody who would read it.
And we murder ourselves with excuses. Well I’d start this blog but I have this and that that I gotta do. (If those things were so important, you’d have done them already, and then you’d have time to write that blog. If you have errands that need to be done at 2 in the morning, you’re probably a drug dealer.)
And we murder ourselves with distractions. This one’s my favorite. Social media feeds are a vortex that we use to throw away our focus. Every collective second (that means all of us) that we spend on social media is another great podcast or blog or business or non-profit that wasn’t made. Every screaming voice that we need to hear after listening to the other screaming voice is just going to make it all the more difficult to listen to the voice in our heads. Ignore the other voices. If you can’t focus, look at all the ways in which you’re letting yourself be distracted. Social media is great. I’m not denying that. But I’m a major advocate of learning how to use this technology, this privilege, properly and with respect.
There’s a little phrase in the world of customer service that I think applies to everything we just talked about. “Kill them with kindness.” If a customer is being rude to you, respond in kindness. Their anger backfires. They’ll probably feel like a jerk for being such a jerk to somebody who’s kept a smile on their face for the last 5 minutes hearing about how they’ve been standing here for 10 minutes.
We can do the same thing to our fear and excuses. We can be patient and empathetic to ourselves and our plight. Instead of murdering ourselves, berating ourselves for not being as productive, for falling back into hold habits, we can kill our fears and excuses with kindness. We can see them for what they are. We can look them in the eye. We can recognize them. By doing this, they lose less power. How could I be treating this kind soul in such a way? Have I really been waiting here for 10 minutes?
And so that’s my long winded rant on murderers. I hope it’s going to help you make some changes.
And I should close this by saying that self-development is not an entirely selfish thing. By improving ourselves, we open up possibility for other people. We bring ourselves out of hell. We can be models for other people who want to do the same.