If you’re reading a book while eating oatmeal, if you’re chatting with your best friend while scrolling through social media, if you’re walking your dog while chatting on the phone with Uncle Craig, what exactly are you doing?
Hard to say without getting too philosophical.
My view is that if you’re doing two things at once, you’re doing neither. That leaves us with plenty of room for interpretation.
It’s easier to catch up on all the world’s information than it is to sit still and eat a bowl of oatmeal.*
*It is for me, at least. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to wrangle myself down to a chair to do nothing else but eat my morning oatmeal. Eating my oatmeal without checking my email or reading a newsletter is like snatching a babies favorite toy out of their hand.
“Virtually everything you do, on a day to day basis, is public speaking.”
Communication is everything. The way you speak to yourself and the way you speak to other people is as important as breathing. Your words can either help you get to where you want to go, or they can lead you to a place full of misery and regret. I’ll remind you again because it’s so important. And I’ll even bold and italicize the word for your convenience.
Communication. Is. Everything.
Today I’m excited as all hell to be joined by a master of communication: Robbie Crabtree (@RobbieCrab on Twitter, personal website here). Robbie Crabtree is a trial lawyer with over 9 years of experience handling some absolutely devastating trials. Domestic violence, murder, child abuse, whatever horrible aspect of the human condition you can imagine, Robbie has dealt with it.
At the heart of Robbie’s work is the art of storytelling. Robbie knows how to craft an interesting story out of anything. And I seriously mean anything. He can make a story about your bar mitzvah as exciting as a day at Six Flags.
Robbie Crabtree is also condensing his 9 years of speaking experience into a premium online course called Performative Speaking. Performative Speaking teaches people how to speak in a way that’ll keep any audience on the edge of their seat no matter what you’re talking about (even bar mitzvahs). I can’t imagine a better person than Robbie to put on a course about public speaking.
The Keys to The Universe
This is very *meta* episode. Listening to Robbie speak made me a better podcaster. But even if you’re not a podcaster, YouTuber, or don’t believe that your job has anything to do with public speaking, make no mistake: the world is paying attention to the way you communicate with it. There’s no such thing as a job that doesn’t require effective communication.
There’s gems buried in this episode that might not be apparent the first time around. For example, why did Robbie talk about Yu-Gi-Oh, of all things, in one of the most emotionally difficult trials of his career? Why did Robbie ask me what time it is (even though he knew the answer) halfway through the episode? What is it about Jack Butcher that makes him such an effective communicator, while using so few words? And what’s the key distinction between public speaking and giving a speech?
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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?”
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.
Orientation day is day zero. Going through your morning routine is like going through orientation day. It’s your day zero before your real day begins.
Your daily orientation prepares you to get what you want, not what you expect.
Machines expect. In coding, all the pieces need to be in all the right places before the software can work. The “brain” of the machine can’t operate if what’s expected is missing. So we set ourselves up for frustration when we replace our human brains with machine brains.
Humans want. Wanting is our default mode of behaving in the world. And wanting is not the same as being a spoiled child who wants to watch TV and eat snickers bars all day. Fred McFeely Rogers wanted something. So he went out, became Mr. Rogers, and got it.
And you? What do you want, and who do you need to be to get it? This question always pokes at me. It never fails to remind me that life is a metamorphosis. We’re always becoming who we’re preparing ourselves to become. And so, how we orient ourselves each day is more important than we realize. Who we become is who we’ve prepared ourselves to become.
When we rely on expectations, we’re relying on outer circumstances to play out in a particular way. We don’t need to become better versions of ourselves when we don’t get what we expected. Expectations take the responsibility away from us. “This isn’t my fault. It’s theirs.”
But when we operate from a center of wants, then we begin working to understand ourselves. It’s an act of looking inward. We can question our wants. We can see the few things we actually want, and the many things we don’t.
It’s likely that who you are now isn’t the person you need to be to get what you want. If you want a book written by Your Name, then you need to be the version of you who writes that book. And this version of you might be the version who says no to seeing your crochet club every morning so you can write your book.
Our daily orientation helps us get what we want out of ourselves and other people.
Do you want the best out of yourself?
Do you want the best out of other people?
You can prepare yourself each day to get that, if that’s what you want.