There Are No Safe Drivers: A Car Almost Slammed Into Me at 65 MPH And I Didn’t Become A Self-Help Guru

It happened so fast that my brain didn’t get the chance to flash my life before my eyes.

“Hey, drive safe tonight, alright?” Said my buddy J.

“Yeah yeah, thanks, I will.” It’s the classic Californian mark of reassurance: I promise not to switch songs on Spotify while traversing the most dangerous place on planet Earth: The Interstate 5. (In California, we just call it “The 5.”)

I learned to drive when I was 19. I haven’t been in one accident. I’ve driven from San Diego to Tucson. I’ve driven from San Diego to Santa Cruz. And I’ve driven to L.A and back more times than I can count. Statisticians can work out the probability of me getting in an accident considering my track record of safe driving.

But that’s the problem. There is no such thing as safe driving. Not in California, anyways. Anyone who’s sane and living in the golden state knows this: driving on the freeway puts you at a higher risk of death than eating 6 Big Macs a day.

I drive safe. Other people don’t. And if everyone had that mindset, there would be less accidents. Instead, we get the opposite. We get people who drive under the mindset of, “everyone drives too slow [safe], so I need to get around them.”

That being said, I have no clue what was happening in the car that came inches away from slamming into my driver’s side windows at 65 miles an hour. It was 9:30 pm on a Monday. They could have been drunk. They could have been high. They could have been horny. I have no idea. The car showed up on my side so fast it was as if a wizard teleported them there.

I didn’t get the chance to watch my fondest childhood memories. The VCR operator of my mind’s eye couldn’t start the tape in time. The car regained balance in the next lane over, and left me feeling like this.

But I’m alive, breathing, and rubbing my Genie lamp wishing for Elon Musk to hurry the hell up and get self-driving cars to replace all these hurried, horrible drivers.

Half an hour later, I pulled up to my driveway.

I forgot I had left my GPS on.

“Welcome home,” it said.

Thousands of friends, parents, children, wives, husbands, aunts, uncles, sisters and brothers flashed before my eyes.

How many are never again welcomed home?

I’m taking a public speaking course and it’s going to change my life

Trying to escape communication is like trying to escape oxygen.

Everywhere you go, even when you’re alone, you’re communicating something. You’re always talking to yourself. In the Freudian sense, you’re always in a conversation with your culture and the ideal version of you. Other people expect you to behave a certain way (that’s culture). And that image of your ideal self (that’s ego), the “you” with an outstanding portfolio of work and an impressive collection of achievements, expects you to behave in a way that allows you to fulfill that portfolio of work and to collect all those achievements.

But you can’t do any of that unless you change the way you communicate with yourself and the people around you. Because the world reflects how you act. And how you act reflects how you communicate with yourself.

Communication is a superpower. History has seen phenomenal speakers use the power of words to manipulate entire countries into committing atrocities against innocent people. It’s because of this complicated history that people often see communication as manipulative. And they’re right. Communication is manipulative. But everything has a dark side and a bright side.

The bright side of communication is that we can use it as a force for good. Used with good intentions, communication is a powerful tool. It helps us do the risky work of telling others what we’re up to. It helps clear our muddy thoughts. It helps other people trust us, see us where we are, and enroll in the changes we’d like to make.

I write to figure out what I know. What I know informs what I intend to do each day. But if all I do is write, then nobody can understand me. Speaking is an extension of writing, and writing is an extension of thinking. All forms and methods of communication (writing, posture, speed, vocabulary, subject, intent, medium) are extensions of thinking.

I speak to figure out how I should share what I know with other people. I can’t enlighten and entertain people if I’m speaking like a walking corporate PowerPoint presentation. And so I’m pleased to tell you that I’ll be taking Performative Speaking, a public speaking course created by my friend Robbie Crabtree and his team.

Robbie’s a powerhouse. His command of the English language is inspiring. His understanding of story and narrative is at the level of mastery. He could have kept all his knowledge to himself. Instead, he’s sharing his 10 years of experience as a trial lawyer with those brave enough to enroll and put themselves on the hook.

This course is going to change my life. Not because I’ll be walking across hot coals, but because I’ll be doing something much scarier: talking about myself and my work in front of people I’ve never met.

If you’d like to know more about the course, and how it’ll change your life, click here.

And if you’d like to know more about Robbie, you can listen to my conversation with him by clicking here.

The Great Vacation

There are two kinds of people. (Cliched, but bear with me.)

  1. People who never take a vacation
  2. People who never take a vacation

The first kind can’t take a vacation. Can’t afford it, too much stuff going on right now. Understandable.

But the second kind doesn’t want to take a vacation. To them, taking flight 2 2 to Honolulu would be like abandoning their newborn baby for a month. These people can’t tell the difference between their job and snorkeling in crystalline waters.

And the typical vacation, the two week vacation, is not a vacation. It’s an extended lunch break.

The great vacation of your life begins when you’ve found your life’s task. It begins when you can say, “Vacation? Why on Earth would I take a vacation?”