“Man, this You guy could do anything he wants,” I thought as I flipped through the pages of self-help book number 45.
The message flew over my head.
If a self-help author starts talking about you, they mean you — not some other guy named You.
“What? Me? Oh, no — there must be a mistake. I couldn’t –“
Yes. Really. I mean you. You could start a business. You could learn to roller-skate. You could memorize 2,000 Kanji in less than a year. You could start a podcast and interview your favorite writers.
But only if you want.
How far you lean in when someone starts talking about your potential correlates to how much faith you have in yourself*. When you ignore them, stuff your head up in the clouds instead of paying attention, it means you’re not ready. Not ready to face the harsh reality of having a 1 in 8 billion gift. The gift of your perspective, drive, passion, and care.
How do you feel when you talk about your goals? Do you stumble over your words? Do you hunch over to defend yourself from an attack? That means you’re not committed. There’s still a part of you that’s stuck in the past. A part of you that thinks you’re still not capable.
You are capable.
Go make stuff.
(*I don’t have any statisticians to back me up on this, so I need you to go accomplish your life’s mission.)
Two friends asked me if content creators should have separate channels. One channel for business content (whatever that means). Another for personal content.
If you think your personal life is more interesting than your job (content creation is a job), yes.
And if that’s true, then you must know that you’re boring yourself and your audience with your content. Listen to the voice that’s begging you to do something totally off the cuff. Don’t make your audience navigate extra links. Deliver the goods up front.
If your job is to tell good stories, no. All good content creators know this. Their job is to tell good stories. Their job is to express themselves through stories about people, places, products, and ideas.
Not everything personal needs to be about you. John Daub makes personal YouTube videos even though he rarely talks about himself. John Daub loves Japan, and so he makes videos about Japan. He doesn’t have a separate channel about his life. Japan is his life.
The highest benchmark for every creator isn’t a million subscribers or followers. No, the highest benchmark is a story you never get tired of telling.
“If you can tell a good story, you will always have a job”
PS: A job should be challenging, rewarding, and something you’re proud of. I spoke with John Daub a few weeks ago about what it means to have a job that hits all 3 of those qualities. It’s one of the shorter episodes of the podcast, but one of the most beautiful conversations I’ve ever had. I hope you’ll have a listen. It’s magical.
Your favorite song is more than a song. It’s an expression of who you are. It’s why you get defensive when somebody says they’d rather put their ears to a jackhammer. And yeah, you can share the same favorite song as somebody else.. But what the song means to either of you is the difference between chocolate and vanilla.
Your favorite song is your favorite song for reasons that are unique to you.
And what about your life?
Here’s a few what if scenarios.
What if your life was your favorite song? All the exciting chorus lines, all the downcast harmonies — what if you could learn to love it all?
What if your life is an expression of who you are?
And what would happen if these questions were no longer thought experiments, but practical standards?
You’re not here to merely live. You’re here to do somethingelse.
There are two kinds of people. (Cliched, but bear with me.)
People who never take a vacation
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?”
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.