This might sound stupid, but

it’s not.

Let yourself say the stupid thing. As long as you’re not being offensive for the sake of being offensive, you’re fine.

I flinch when I hear myself editing my words out loud. This happens either before or after I speak. Sometimes both. “This might sound stupid, but…” or, “that sounded so…”

But when I watch myself being authentically stupid, without hesitation or self-editing, that’s when I start smiling. I’m not smiling because I enjoy hearing myself saying stupid things. I’m smiling because I wasn’t holding back. I was fully present in my stupidity.

Authenticity doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t apologize for saying something unwarranted. Authenticity means no hesitation, no editing.

When you’re editing live in front of somebody, you’re no longer present in the conversation. You’re in the future when you start with “this might sound…” and you’re in the past when you say “that sounded so…” But you’re in the present when you say the stupid thing. There is no ego in the present. Only your stupid Self.

Speaking mode, listening mode, writing mode. All for the present.

Be here now, be authentic, be stupid.

The meditation continues

after you’ve opened your eyes. Because after you’ve opened your eyes, that’s when the real work begins.

Your most valuable asset isn’t your network. Or your portfolio.

It’s your sight.

We’re blind to what is (and isn’t) happening outside us until we can see what is (and isn’t) happening inside us.

To see what’s stopping you from moving forward, take out a pen and paper. Put your phone on airplane mode. Write down the three most important things that you need to do today. Only three. Putting more items on this list means that these three things aren’t as important as you thought. Then, write down all the ways in which you’re preventing yourself from doing those things.

For example, if your goal is to write 500 words of your next blog post, but you’re worried that it won’t be good, write that down. “I’m worried that it won’t be good.” You said your goal was to write 500 words. You didn’t say your goal was to stop worrying. So, write the 500 words.

Too often, what’s stopping us from doing what’s important is our own self-deception.

H/T to pages 190-191 of Greg McKeown’s book, Essentialism. Highly recommended if you’re feeling overwhelmed today. It’s worth putting off your projects to read the book in its entirety.

The Penguin Latte Podcast #2: Cullin McGrath on Building a Community of Writers and the Nuance of Improvement

Today, I’m joined by Cullin McGrath (@Cullin). Cullin McGrath is a writer that any ambitious creative person needs to know. If you’re a fan of Ryan Holiday or James Clear, then you’ll appreciate Cullin’s insights on what it means to live a life of meaning. I recommend starting off with his newest essay, The Danger in Full-Throttle. It’s an intelligent, revealing story about Cullin’s experience with the often overlooked darkness of self-improvement.

Cullin is also building a paid community of writers at Writer’s Bloc, which I’ve had the privilege of beta-testing. It’s transformed my writing in ways I could not have imagined. I’ll post a piece that I’m working on, and within a few hours, I’ll get generous feedback and support from other aspiring writers. If you want your writing to level up (fiction or non-fiction), I highly recommend checking it out.

“You have to operate in life around something that excites you and fills you with purpose.”

Talking Points

  • What was it like at a Tony Robbin’s Seminar? (2:45)
  • How can introverts promote their work online? (7:20)
  • The pitfalls of self-improvement, the balancing act of building and decompressing (9:30)
  • How building things online has always been a part of Cullin’s life (12:30)
  • When does Cullin feel the most at ease when he’s working towards his goals? (13:40)
  • What meaningful work feels like (14:20)
  • Don’t point fingers at people who aren’t entrepreneurial (15:00)
  • What’s the future of newsletters? (17:20)
  • (19:00)
  • Doing the books instead of reading all the books (22:00)
  • Can reading fiction improve your non-fiction writing? (24:40)
  • On Ryan Holiday (27:00)
  • How message boards (remember those?) inspired Cullin’s writing (31:00)
  • How has writing for an audience changed Cullin’s thinking? (32:00)
  • Building confidence as a Creator (35:30)
  • Cullin’s transformation through writing (38:00)
  • Balancing entertainment with ambition (40:00)
  • Books that broke us (46:00)
  • Why we don’t follow GaryVee on social (51:00)
  • The benefits of being disagreeable (55:00)
  • The big questions (1:00:00)
  • Will we really be working for ourselves? (1:04:00)
  • The Future of Writer’s Bloc and the problem of scale in paid online communities (1:08:00)
  • Cullin’s message to people who are stuck (1:13:00)
  • Reading Marcus Aurelius in middle school (1:16:00)

Show Notes and Resources

Tony Robbins Seminars

(And here’s a trailer of the documentary about his seminars.)

The incredibly detailed process of writing a book when your name is Ryan Holiday.

The Four-Hour Workweek – The book that broke me.

The Third Door Book – The book that broke Cullin.


Ryan Holiday on the impact of Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

The Tao Te Ching

The idea transforms

The idea transforms as it spreads from one psyche to another.

Some ideas hit brick walls. Ideas that hit brick walls are ideas that die.

All successful people are lucky. You’re either born into success or you’re not. You need to be picked to be rich and famous and I’ll never be picked so I’ll never be rich and famous. These are defense mechanisms built to protect weak presuppositions about the world. And though the presupposition isn’t well thought out, the defenses are ironclad.

The idea isn’t metaphysical. It carries real weight. This is obvious in people who seem to be walking on water despite the chaos around them. Those who soar are those who don’t latch onto self-gratifying ideas with an iron fist.

A good idea means nothing to the individual who doesn’t take good care of their mind.

The sage doesn’t waste their breath on the mind surrounded by an iron curtain. They’d rather travel to that humble village south of here. The villagers there are very welcoming.