When I was 22, I decided I was going to take a real shot at writing and publishing a book. I had no idea what a never-ending series of humiliations was heading my way.
I’m a firm believer in the positive power of delusion.
I had been writing little stories since I was a kid, but this was the first time that I was going to try to write out my science fiction novel and submit it to publishers. If I knew how little I knew, I don’t know if would have had the will to start. …
I’m not saying that it’s easy, I’m saying that it’s simple.
Self-help all boils down to choosing long-term gratification over short-term pleasure. As the famous investor, Naval Ravakant puts it:
“All self-help boils down to choosing long-term over short-term.”
People who can most often delay gratification are the people who are going to be the most successful. They choose the long-term benefits of salad over the short-term tastiness of fires. Remember that study that showed that kids who could delay eating a marshmallow were more likely to have long-term success? That’s the entire foundation of self-help.
That would be the end of the discussion if we were simple creatures, but we aren’t. Delaying gratification is incredibly difficult. It takes years of incremental habit shifts. And it’s hard to know when you’re doing it well and when you’re being a masochist. …
If enlightenment were as easy as “follow your bliss” we would all be sipping smoothies with Tom Cruise while hovering in a lotus pose from the pure force of our consciousness.
If you aren’t having fun becoming enlightened, you won’t ever be enlightened.
I thought I was enlightened more than a handful of times, only to come crashing down the minute I get a call from my dad telling me some serious medical news.
Real enlightenment seems like it would have more resilience than that.
I once heard that it should be changed to, “Follow your blisters.” Bliss sounds easy. …
I feel smarter than Joe Rogan.
It took me a long time to realize that he wants me to feel that way. He also wants his guests to feel that way. It makes people open up like a bloomin’ onion.
“I’m a certified moron.”
I’m starting to think you’re not a moron at all, Joe.
If Joe can appeal to me as well as my cousins back in Louisiana, then that’s a damn miracle. I can forgive a few faults.
Not exactly the kind of quote you would expect to see from one of the most influential thinkers of our time. …
I am reading so many books, listening to so many podcasts, and meeting so many people. What’s the point if I forget all of it?
All we have is what we remember.
My memory was the subject of a lot of jokes in my family.
My mom would ask me to go to the store and pick up bread, tomatoes, and cheese. We owned a convenience store literally a few yards from our front door. I would walk to the store, say hello to the staff (who were all family friends), and wander around the aisles for a few minutes. I grabbed a Powerade and a thing of crackers for myself. …
There are many definitions of wisdom.
I want to offer one more: Wisdom seems to be the possession of insights that can’t be directly expressed.
The older I’ve gotten, the more of these ineffable insights I’ve picked up. When I was a kid, my world seemed a lot more literal. If you couldn’t explain it, I thought, then that means that it was nonsense or that you didn’t really know what you were talking about.
Yuval Noah Harari said something on his recent podcast with Tim Ferriss that struck me:
“I think one of the problems I realized is that it’s extremely difficult to share the really deep insights you have about life, that very often they are on the non-verbal level. And in any case, my impression is that most of the inner world of most humans is never shared. They never talk about it because they don’t even have the words and don’t have the audience. I mean, most of what happens to you deep down during the day, your spouse probably doesn’t know, your parents don’t know, your children don’t know, your friends don’t know, even you don’t know if you don’t really make the effort.” …
After some deliberation, I decided to not go home for Thanksgiving.
Many of us are in that boat — but even if you’re headed home, things are still undoubtedly weird.
2020 has been tough, but we are in for another challenge as we enter the holiday season in the middle of a pandemic.
These celebrations are a time to remind ourselves that even in the coldest, darkest time — we have each other. Without that, our gratitude is going to have to do some heavy lifting.
Gratitude is scientifically proven to reduce suffering. …
Writing is like a 3 stroke engine. If all the pistons fire at once, it seizes up.
I assume that’s how a 3 stroke engine works, anyway. I’m a writer, not a mechanic.
When I first started writing, I tried to do all 3 steps at the same time. This led to writer’s block, lack of interesting content when I finally got something out, and sloppy editing — full of typos and Freudian slips (my first draft had “Freudian tits”).
Writers have to be 3 very different people at the same time:
Picture a dreamer. Now picture a typist. Are they the same sort of person, at all? …
When I quit my marketing job, the hardest part was admitting that I was a beginner again.
When people asked me what I did, I couldn’t say, “I work in marketing.” I had to say, “I’m a writer. No, you probably haven’t seen any of my work…”
For me, marketing was a dead-end. I was pretty high up on the mountain, which made me feel good, but I couldn’t go any higher. …
My brother came to visit me in Los Angeles from Portland — last minute.
“If You Think You’re Enlightened, Go Spend a Week With Your Family” — Ram Dass
I studied philosophy in college. I was telling him some existential stuff I was reading recently to try to pass the time and connect with him.
“All that philosophy is ruining your life more than anything, bro,” he told me.
I called a friend after he left. I was seriously hurt by what my brother said and that fact surprised me.
My friend did me a huge favor that day. She said, “Maybe the reason you are so upset is that there is a hint of truth in what he said. …