Drop in! What to do when things get slow

In 1992, riding a skateboard up and down a half-pipe wasn’t cool. The world turned its attention to street skating. Something with more edge, more rebelliousness, less polished and less about sponsorships and money.

But that didn’t stop a scrappy kid in Carlsbad from riding his skateboard everyday. Because Tony Hawk knew that if the world decided that vert skating was cool again, he would be ready.

In 1999, Tony Hawk landed the world’s first 900.

What will you do when things get slow? Will you wait for the world to tell you what’s cool and what’s not? Or will you tighten your bearings, wax the rails, and drop in?

Waking up on purpose

You open your eyes as the alarm shrieks you out of your dream. Or maybe you’re one of those freaks who “rises with the sun,” as if your body is in a perfect cosmic alignment with the universe. Either way, you’re awake.

On a typical day, say, on a regular ol’ Tuesday, what does the first 15 minutes of your morning look like? Do you flood your psyche with information? Do you allow buzzers, bells, and airhorns to occupy your mind? Or do you employ silence as the canvas on which you will draw the roadmap of your day?

Whatever you choose, airhorns or canvases, you’re choosing intentionally. There’s no use blaming anyone but yourself for your muddy thinking and directionless days.

The smartest people I’ve ever met are those who intend to wake up on purpose.

The Penguin Latte Podcast #11: Deepu Asok on Meditation, Yoga, Drawing, and Happiness

Meditation is that state where you are no more. Your sense of Self is gone.

If you ask an artist where his work comes from, if he’s a generous artist, he’ll say, ‘I don’t know where it comes.’

Listen on Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Watch on YouTube

Deepu Asok is the author and illustrator of the wonderful and enlightening Visual Wisdom newsletter. He’s also the host of a podcast called The Happiness Hypothesis. He’s got a serious eye for designs that pop.

Deepu and I were dming over meditation and spirituality. But he had to get going, and asked to continue our talk over zoom some time. I said sure. And of course, I asked if he wanted to record our talk for the podcast. He said yes. And so, here we are.

Please enjoy my conversation with the wonderful and wise Deepu Asok!

Talking Points

  • On different schools of meditation and yoga (3:00)
  • The benefits of doing yoga before meditation (11:00)
  • Why meditate? (14:00)
  • “Philosophy doesn’t transform you. Practice transform you” (21:00)
  • “The lion is trying to help you, but it doesn’t know how.” (28:00)
  • On Happiness and work (37:00)
  • Three types of work (43:00)
  • Selling on Gumroad (50:00)
  • The differences between drawing and writing (55:00)
  • “You’re paying for the organization of the ideas” / Constraints (1:00:00)
  • Art vs Content (1:07:00)
  • On books and reading (1:16:00)
  • Wishful thinking (1:23:00)
  • Flow in drawing (1:35:00)
  • Constraints (1:40:00)
  • Final questions (1:46:00)

Mentions

Books and articles

Civilized to Death

The Art of Learning

Living Buddha Living Christ

Flow

Linchpin

This Is Marketing

Atomic Habits

Show Your Work!

Getting Things Done

Thinking Fast and Slow

Mind in Motion

Autobiography of a Yogi

Ladders of Wealth Creation

People

Inner Engineering

Thich Nhat Hanh

Carl Jung

Alan Watts

Naval Ravikant

Seth Godin

Nathan Barry

Austin Kleon

Derek Sivers

David Perell

Tiago Forte

Other

Indie Hackers

Where does self-worth come from?

It’s sad we’re even asking this question.

We find the answer when we first ask, what are we?

Well, I know what we’re not. We’re not a collection of numbers.

We like to focus on growing our metrics. Get more subscribers. Get more followers than we had last Thursday. But the numbers don’t define us. The numbers are something that somebody else invented. And we’re not defined by something that exists outside ourselves. So we shouldn’t tie our self-worth to something external. Because what exists outside ourselves could be taken away from us.

Put some distance between you and what you see. Who you are isn’t what you see. You’re not your social media numbers. You’re not the number of people retweeting your latest bit of wisdom.

What’s dangerous about tying our self-worth to numbers is that a number can always be higher. And it can always be lower, too, which is why we prefer them to be higher. Lower numbers means we’re less significant. Higher numbers means we’re accepted.

You’re a collection of experiences. But, like the numbers, you don’t have much control over your experiences, either. You couldn’t have asked your mother for an abortion.

But what you always have is control over your perception. You can choose how you’ll perceive the fact that you were born.

We lose our wallet in the same place we lose our self-worth. “Oh, it’s right in front of me.”

What’s in front of us is what blinds us. What we see always hides something else.

If you’re seeing numbers all day, then you’ll unconsciously tie your self-worth to the numbers. What gets measured gets managed, right? What gets measured gets managed by our ego. It’s our ego’s job to tie our self-worth to what we’re seeing on a day to day basis.

This is why it’s healthy to disconnect and go for a walk. Put nature in front of you, and you’ll soon realize how expedient the numbers are.

Two groups of words

Proactive. Ambitious. Productive. Efficient.

I like those words.

Those words convey movement. When we embody any of those words, we signal to others that we mean business. Because even when we’re sitting in the backseat of a car, we can still get things done. We can listen to a podcast. Or we can write down ideas for our next blog post. Seize every opportunity!

And I like these words. Centered. Harmonious. Aware. Intentional.

Those words convey stillness. I get anxious when I’m merely productive. But I feel better when I remember this second group of words.

We’re familiar with the signals and messages of the first group. But what’s healthier is when we combine the two groups to form a compound behavior.

We can be…

Productive and centered; harmonious and ambitious; proactive and aware; efficient and intentional.

We could describe ourselves and our work with one word. But nobody is only productive. And nobody is only intentional, either. We’re always combinations of two or more qualities.

You’re overthinking this

Your voice isn’t deep enough. Your lighting isn’t perfect. You don’t have a camera to capture that pleasing color palette of every great self-improvement youtuber.

You’re overthinking this. And you know it.

Do you have a message that needs eyes and ears?

“I need to say this today, and if I don’t…”

You won’t sleep tonight. You’ll feel like you wasted the day. You’ll have missed the opportunity to take someone on a journey from here to there.

If you’re pinning the success of this content on perfect lighting, then you’re wasting time.

Nobody is going to say, “your perfect lighting made me realize why I haven’t been meditating as often as I could be. Thanks for making your lighting perfect.”

They’ll appreciate you showing up. Not how good you are at adjusting a light bulb.