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Posts tagged My Top 10
Moving on

My blog has a new home. I’m moving my work to my own domain.

Platforms offer a lot to earn and a lot to lose. There is traffic you wouldn’t otherwise get. There is a community. And in case of Medium, there are clever ways to get discovered as a starter.

While a platform is growing, it’s precious. When it gets big, like YouTube, it gets tougher to get discovered. People figure out how to work the system and that’s a lot of trouble you need to take care of if you want to keep the level of engagement. Time that could be used otherwise.

Then there is the inability to differentiate yourself. Everyone gets a 160 character bio and a profile pic. You are one of the accounts, which sometimes feels great. More and more prolific authors sign up for Medium and it’s nice to be akin. But you are one of the accounts. Same as thousands (or millions?) of others.

Also, there is the buzzing pressure of comparing your work. Watching what everyone else is doing will creep up some point, no matter who or how big of a deal you are. Since you can’t govern the feed, a distraction that will lead you astray will come up, eventually.

So I moved. A few things to note:

  • I disallowed comments. If you have thoughts please reach out via email. I’d love to hear from you.

  • I want to stop checking social media. I’ve found it beneficial to virtually all areas of life to ignore them. I’m reachable via e-mail, and I’m using my accounts for publishing only from now on.

  • I started Letters. It’s not a newsletter because there will seldom be news. Ok, maybe someday. I’m calling it Letters because it’s personal. I want the interaction to be meaningful. As hard as that is to accomplish online, I will try to do that via e-mail. That being said, I will not send you something unless I believe I’m creating real value. Hence, the first letter is not ready yet. (smh)

E-mail is personal, (can be) thoughtful, and there is adequate space between the parties.

Most meaningful interactions I’ve had with people online were through e-mail and video. I want to focus on both of these.

Thanks for reading and I hope to see you around.

P.S. I love hearing from people, so please introduce yourself. I reply to all.

(I wrote this blog post using a simple writing tip)


Let’s get exclusive

Putting yourself out there is scary.

Being open about what goes on within. Being clear about what you bring to the table. Being able to stand up and say:

Here, I made this.

Then, doing your best and producing just enough for the platform to recognize you.

This post got 2 000 views in a day. I don’t know why. Turns out, I don’t want to know.

This post got 2 000 views in a day. I don’t know why. Turns out, I don’t want to know.

When you’re ready put in the hours, they will recognize you. I was lucky to catch some early traction and get published on some publications on Medium and elsewhere. 

But that’s not why we create.

David Brooks shares in his New York Times op-ed, that most social media sites create irregularly timed rewards, luring you into checking your account compulsively because you never know when a burst of social affirmation may come.

These platforms are designed to exploit human vulnerability.

I don’t believe social media is downright evil. I believe we haven’t evolved to deal with this sort of human interaction. While we’re waiting to evolve, I want to get things done.

I’ve been thinking how to escape this reward loop while continuing to utilize social media. Long ago, I deleted the Facebook app from my phone. Sometimes, I would put it back and try to make it clumsy to access so I wouldn’t compulsively check notifications.

It wouldn’t take long before I would check the phone compulsively. Being a professional procrastinator I wasn’t ready to leave more leeway to the Resistance.

It’s important to note that at that point most of my notifications were already off.

I deleted Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram from my phone. 

I got off the hook. But…

I must spread my work and connect with people.

Enter e-mail.

I’ve been thinking about moving to my own space for a while now. My own platform with my own rules. No distraction, just intention.

I turned off comments and I don’t check the views, because then I would spend all my time obsessing about the numbers.

My goal with this blog is to organize and share meaningful thoughts, notes, tips, and advice.

Stories that help people improve, grow fulfilled, and connect.

This is not for everyone. But it may be for you.


Exercising the idea muscle

Comparison abolition.

Sometimes I get buried in the writing of philosophers and political commentators. I indulge in them regularly, because I want to feed my spirit and develop a strong foundation of values.

These writers possess extraordinary writing styles, clarity of thinking and expression. Most of them are polymaths that intimidate and inspire their following with their intellect and wisdom.

There is a lot to look up to. These are the real thought leaders. They are humble and disciplined, their writing is perfect and their speech is crystal clear.

I look up to them and their teaching. But there is a problem.

What do Casey Neistat, Seth Godin and James Altucher have in common?

Nerdwriter does a great essay on what it takes to make films like Casey Neistat.

Their content is so well put together, so accessible, so fluent that it seems effortless. It seems like everyone could do it.

It inspires. It makes you feel that you could do it. It makes you go out and try it.

And that’s the point. Because when you try you may realize that you love doing it. Then all it takes is what you don’t see.

The thousands of hours of practice.

Reading for education vs. reading for inspiration

When I read those philosophers I find myself judging every idea that comes up in my mind. I overthink every sentence and I’m shameful of my stuff.

“You call that a sentence?”

That never goes anywhere. It’s the shameful perfectionist inside me, the critic that says “you’re not good enough. Your writing doesn’t even compare to what that other guy wrote.”

Yea, yea, comparison is the thief of joy and all that. I don’t consciously compare myself to anyone. It’s what Steven Pressfield calls the Resistance. The Resistance is the mythical force that wants to keep things as they are. When you’re creating something, when you’re thinking, you change things.

You’re hoping to inspire change. Even if you’re not shooting for it.

So the quote here should go like this:

Prolific is better than perfect.

I don’t know who said that. The point here is to watch your influences and optimize for the least resistance.

Design an attention diet that is optimized for inspiration vs. perfection.

For me, it’s mostly watching my reading discipline. It’s not a question of reading more.

The ratio of reading for information vs. inspiration must lean toward inspiration. And the time spent reading must be proportionate to the time spent writing.

Create > Consume

These ideas must go in and go out, otherwise, they get stuck. And then I get stuck in the judgment and pathetic perfectionist excuses.

Yes, pathetic. It takes courage to be creative. An actual quote here:

A lot of people have taste, but they don’t have the daring to be creative.
— Bill Cunningham

Idea creation is a muscle that must be honed. No one is born with great ideas.

Work on it. Think and make stuff every day.

Compare yourself to yourself only. If you must, think and compare yourself to your heroes at the beginning of their journey. At the start of their career. At year two of their creative writing practice. Even that will make no justice. Our outcomes are all determined by endless streams of influences throughout our lives. And the lives of our parents and those of our immediate social groups.

So you might as well abolish the comparison habit.

Just go ahead and make something every day. And show it to people.

And remember that ideas are borrowed.


Do what you can't

My daughter was about six months old.

The point of no return, according to Benjamin P. Hardy, is a pivotal moment a person has to experience to perform at the top of their potential and achieve their dreams. He’s putting in the research and found some intriguing results.

There is a definite pattern in qualitative answers of successful entrepreneurs and their counterparts, as he likes to call them — wantrepreneurs, the people who love to talk about going into business, but never do much about it. Apparently, the successful people share a defining moment, and they attribute their decisions that lead to later success to that moment.

Now, you might come across an article and think— what the heck is this guy talking about? Is this some magic or a mythical resurrection?

Once again, it’s simple and complicated. If you’ve witnessed a moment like this, you recollect instantly and distinctly. If not, it may sound like some motivational crap.

The power of perspective-taking

Recently, a friend of mine sparked a conversation about a couple in his proximity whose behavior didn’t align his views. Although I agreed with his points, I countered with a request to postpone judgment and maybe try to understand their perspective. There is no merit in judging how anyone perceives their defining influences.

We all have our own experiences, unique and original to every single one of us. Every perception is unique hence valuable. Further, these perceptions can form stories that can influence others. If you touch one soul it might be worth doing.

Chris Anderson of TED Talks mentions in his book that everyone has a story to tell. However insignificant, your perspective can be inspiring.

Aspirational authenticity

To one, the following sentence doesn’t make sense:

Do what you can’t.

To me, it’s fascinating.

The sentence made a difference with me because I watched the video in a time where I was desperately searching for authenticity. I obsessed with finding the real me. It was the only thing I wrote about.

About then, I watched some of Casey Neistat’s videos, and it left an imprint. The guy seems so authentic in front of the camera. When I watch some of his videos, he makes me feel significant. He’s taking me on a journey that might even be so minuscule as a day in his studio, but the feeling I get is that he cares that I’m watching. We’re hanging out together.

The occasionally insignificant stories on Casey’s YouTube channel are magically compelling. If you’re like me, you relate instantly. He looks on the screen like what you imagine he’s like in real life. You aspire to the authenticity.You want to be there, be aware and okay with all your imperfections and flaws.

Humility and confidence

My daughter was about six months old. I got fired from the job I didn’t like and it left me in an empty state. What have I been doing the past few years? What about the past few months? What do I have to show for it? Who is the man to whom my daughter looks up?

I started looking for answers. Little did I know that I will never find the answer. The answer seems to be asking the right questions.

Esther Perel says that she doesn’t know anything. She continues that none of what she says is made up, but she is not certain about anything. This inspiring lady is a professor of psychology, wrote two world best-selling books and speaks nine languages.

This is one of the many proofs why I find fulfilment in growth.

This thought gave me permission to look for what I truly enjoy. I started writing because I always aspired to. I fell in love and wrote every day since. I accepted the beginner’s mindset. I’m not afraid to make mistakes.

I was able to fix many things since I started looking. Today, it feels like everything clicked in the right place.

I keep looking.

I am contented with the new found joy in writing. I rediscovered the relationship with my wife and became more calm and thoughtful. I started spending a massive amount of time with my girls.

On the day 70 of journaling, I received two job offers. I accepted one of them, and now I’m working with my best friends on something that is meaningful and valuable.

I’ve never been able to say this candidly.

I am happy now.

I have none of the answers. I know my writing isn’t good enough. I still don’t know what I’m good at. But I am confident I can get better.

The opportunity to grow is what keeps me motivated.

Nathan Kontny is neither the biggest writer on Medium nor a famous author. Yet, it was his posts that inspired me to publish. Especially the one about how South Park producers are never satisfied with what they publish. That the 4 weeks of pondering over a 5% resulting change in quality would’ve left them in obscurity.

The post didn’t go viral nor has 70k claps. It resonated with me in a way that I cannot put in words. Other than saying thanks.

Everyone has an inspiring story to tell.

You can change a life without knowing it.