Plans for PR Launch, Book Launch, and Mitigating Fear

I am my own harshest critic, my biggest detractor. If I have an idea validated and ready to go, I’ll find a way to convince myself that it won’t work. In the last few months, however, I’ve been reading and researching what thought leaders my favorite thinkers respected- I thought I might find clues as to why these men thought the way they did, and why they weren’t held back by fear or anxiety.

Well, a few months ago, I found a guy. Turns out that Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Tim Ferriss, Tucker Max, and Ryan Holiday were all fans of Seth Roberts- noted personal science pioneer. Even Taubes, our favorite Santa Clause doctor, was a fan. I haven’t read much on him. I didn’t even take his reading all that seriously, as his books were added to my “books to read” pile, which is well over 200 books long at the moment, and growing every day.

I did however watch this video- a talk on experimental design, and found it extremely helpful.

My biggest takeaway from this video is that “the best way to learn, is to do.” And that’s a huge difference from just thinking about doing things, or reading about them. He also says that taking measured, small steps, will provide much better results and growth than jumping into massive projects with huge margins of error. Mind you- I don’t call this advice, because these are findings from his own experiences. This is what has worked for him- no hypothesizing or armchair professoring involved.

Seth passed away very suddenly last week- so I’m approaching his work with the utmost respect and care. I am curious about how he passed though- his last published article was about how he ate half a stick of butter everyday. If his cause of death is related to any of his work, then it’s important that they are not blindly accepted, but methodically looked through and tested. Lemmings follow blindly, and we are not lemmings. But I digress…he is gone too soon and the world is worse off for it.

I’m getting ready to do my first large scale media manipulation stunt since reading Ryan Holiday’s book, “Trust Me, I’m Lying.” I’ve done two before reading the book, and both went well, receiving national coverage. But I didn’t do it methodically. Last time I traded up the chain by fluke, my only thought being “let’s see how big we can get this.” This time around I have a timeline, a list of people to email, when to email, where I’d email, how I’d trade it up the chain, from what fake email/twitter address I’d send it- a lot more planning has gone into this.

I’m going to be creating a controversy about a product and a company that doesn’t exist. Well- a company that I created with a website, and one custom designed dress, and a bribed student. So…maybe $200 investment. The rest of my investment will be in time.

The other piece of information I’m implementing for this campaign is, funny enough, from Ryan Holiday again- one that he’s written about a few times, most recently this morning, in fact. His article on the importance of negative thinking provides another helpful piece of information- the importance of premeditating all possible negative outcomes. He writes more about this in detail in his new book, The Obstacle is The Way. His book is out today on amazon.

So for this campaign, I’m sitting down and listing everything that could possibly go wrong, how things could backfire, and how I’d mitigate these mistakes. I’m drawing from my imagination as well as from his book.

Finally, I found a video through Charlie Hoehn- it was a short animation by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, narration an excerpt from an Alan Watts speech. You can see it below.

A reminder that no matter how far outside of my comfort zone I think I’m going, it’s not that big of a deal. It’s a first world luxury, what I call a problem. Superficial, rat race stuff. I have to remember to not forget the big picture, to not get to anxious about things that haven’t happened yet/probably won’t happen, and have fun along the way. Charlie writes about this in his new book, Play It Away which I’ll do a review of on here as soon as receive it and read it thoroughly.

Anyways. Between this launch and the book launch proposal that I’m working on, I’ll be busy for a while. And that’s good. Really good, because like Charlie said in his first book, Recession Proof Graduate, it’s about doing fun, exciting, fulfilling work. About growing and learning and becoming a better person. No doubt in my mind that both of these projects will be difficult, but definitely satisfy all of those criteria.

Everyone mentioned in this post gives lessons based on experience. They don’t prescribe solutions to problems they’ve never experienced, or talk about stuff they aren’t sure about. They talk about things which they have learned by doing…and that’s extremely important. And it makes sense. Why should I take financial advice from a poor person? Or business advice from an economics professor who never started a business? This is something I have to become militant about, and really cut out the time wasters.

RIP Seth Roberts, and thank you for sharing your work with us while you were here.


Time Will Make Corpses Of Us All, And That’s OK.

I’m on fire this week with these posts…two days in a row haha. Anyways- Death. That dark, shadowy, nebulous, unknown spectral one way mirror which we obsess over but cannot see through. One day, you, me, everyone we’ve ever seen, met, heard, smelled, loved, hated, vilified, made into a demigod- yes, every single one of us will die. Did you know that there are whales swimming about in the ocean that have been around since before Moby Dick was ever written? Wrap your head around that. But even that massive leviathan will one day turn to worm food. We can’t escape it. So why the stigma? Why do we fear it? Why do we spend so much time on trivial, mundane things that don’t matter? Time. I keep coming back to it in my posts- but humans are foolish. We know our time is limited. But we want to stay here forever because we fear death. Even people who want to go to heaven, don’t want to die to get there. We are strange strange creatures indeed.

I think a part of this has to do with the fact that we do not focus our energies on the task at hand. We are forever wondering about what will happen or what has happened. When was the last time you focused on right NOW? For me it was when a guy ran a red light and almost T-boned my car in the middle of an intersection. All mental chatter stopped. There was nothing except what I was doing in that very moment. Other times I’ve experienced that- snowboarding, driving spiritedly on a nice mountain road, riding bikes and ridiculous speeds on hills I’d never ridden on. Reckless? yes. euphoric? yes. Apparently, people who master living in the now are having a blast, simply by being. They are thrilled to be alive, on earth, in that very moment. I can’t fathom that.

What I can fathom, is this video. Sam Harris makes sense of all my ramblings. It’s a great message, even if it’s a long one at 1 hour. It’s a very inspiring one hour though, I will watch this one again.

On The Scale Of Worlds, Humans Are Inconsequential.

I’ll keep this one short. My social media feeds have been flooded today by the masses. From the party animals to the drama queens…everyone is posting about Easter. Most are going to church in new clothes, or looking forward hoard Cadbury eggs afterwards.

Occasionally, it’s nice to put things into perspective. To loosely quote Steve Jobs- Religions, after all, are dogma, which is the results of someone else’s thinking, which you’ve decided to follow blindly. I urge you to watch this video, and if you enjoy, pick up the book from which the narration was excerpted- “Pale Blue Dot,” by the brilliant Carl Sagan.

Having Religion is fine, but remember that we all live on a tiny little speck of space dust…we are humans before anything else. Can we afford to alienate ourselves from each other?

The Other Side Of The Safety Glass

As a teenager, I used to be quick to point out people who stood out, didn’t blend in. The nerds with their long stringy hair. The fat kids in water polo even though they were bulging dangerously out of their speedos. Alex- the big gay kid who sang opera and did theater. Secretly I was envious that these guys were comfortable in their own skin, just being themselves. By the time I was finishing up college, I had come to terms with who I was and stopped degrading others for my amusement.

I got a taste of that today, except I was on the receiving end. I had finished up a grueling back workout, and wanted to go a little extra- so I jumped on the leg press machine, located next to the large window, an intersection just outside. I put my headphones in, set the weight heavy, and the seat low. My legs were in a squat position- hip flexors straining near the end of their range of motion…really need to work on my flexibility. As I finished out that set, a black car pulled up. Pretty nice, a new Lexus- one of the sportier IS models. The windows were down, and a college aged guy was driving, with a pretty cute girl to his side. He pointed over at me, and said something to the girl. She looked over, and they both laughed. It didn’t bother me, but later it clicked- this is what it felt like to be on the receiving end.

It reminded me of when you see a tiger or a grizzly at the zoo, and some little shit kid jeering from the other side of the glass because he knows he can’t be touched. Except if I had anything to say about you, I’d say it to your face-I wasn’t passive aggressive about it. But, time goes on, and I’ve since learned to deal with this kind of stuff- it was pretty common through middle school and highschool. Kids picked on me, and I took that frustration out on others. Later on I learned to use this energy to my advantage- to internalize it and put it into my work, my workouts, my goals for the future.

Anger is a very powerful and volatile emotion- and learning to channel it is a huge asset. You want that anger to burn less like fire crackers (noisy, inefficient, think temper tantrum) and burn more like coals. It is a deep, hot, sustained burn that holds much more potential.

I will always have detractors. Some will be people close to me, others will be strangers. But the key is not to let it compromise me and instead, to use it to my advantage to further my own agenda and get ahead. It’s equally as important to remember to remain charismatic, respectful, and engaging with everyone, but not to be a doormat. This means calling out the people on their bullshit if necessary.

Carry yourself in this manner and success is all but guaranteed. And success, whether in cultivating your body, your wealth, spirit, or life experiences- hold far more value than what some stranger said about you in passing.

I’m lucky to be living in the US- my setbacks and problems are rarely as big as I ever think they are. Remembering this is key- people in 3rd world countries don’t have time to wonder if they look ok or if there’s a meaning to life- they use every waking moment to survive, to provide food, shelter, and clothing, things most of us hardly ever give a thought.

That keeps me humble. It keeps me hungry. And hopefully it will sink in eventually that the opinions of others really shouldn’t mean a thing to me.

Busy And Productive Aren’t The Same Thing.

Stop being lazy by being constantly “busy.” It’s easy to be busy. It justifies never having enough time to write a book, cook for yourself, go out with friends, meet new people. Realize that every time you give in to your ‘busyness,’ it’s you who’s making the decision, not the demands of your job.
Learn to spot busy. Checking emails, putting everything in order, organizing things that don’t need to be, making tea, coffee, checking your phone, going online for “inspiration”, running around your office holding a phone to your head and reams of paper in the other…my god- look at him go, filling printer paper and always on the move with a hand full of files. What a great employee. You look busy. You produce nothing.

Productive is easy. Make a list of things you need to do. Rank them from most important to least. If you misunderstood me and ranked from easiest to hardest- start on the hardest. Focus on one task each day. Turn off your phone and internet, and for 45 minutes, focus on only the task at hand. The first 15-30 minutes are the hardest. After that, you finally focus and meaningful work gets accomplished.

Be selfish about your time. When you can allot time to focus on what you need to do, you make more time for what you want to do. Take advantage, or regret it.

Blackmail is Better Than WillPower

Anyone that has ever asked me about what I like reading for non-fiction knows I’m a huge Tim Ferriss fan. I loved all of his books, and have given away copies many times. I loved that so many people practiced what he preached and changed their lives. I love that he backs up all of his claims with evidence and sources. I also like that he’s a bit of an asshole. Loopholes to kick ass in Martial Arts Championships? Exploited. Squeeze out every bonus you can out of a concierge service? Done. Train and manipulate your coworkers and bosses to never bother you while you’re working, or work while overseas? Check.

In case you don't know, this is Tim Ferris. Impressive, right?

In case you don’t know, this is Tim Ferris. Impressive, right?

The guy is selfish about his time, and he ruthlessly cuts down people who want to squander it. I bet he laughs at people who wait 3 days in line in front of best buy for Black Friday. “Poor sods, look how they fart away their time.” he thinks, as he rides by on his Ducati.

I have a caricature of Tim in my head, of all his Ferriss army unwittingly being a part of his social experiments while he’s behind a computer analyzing the experiment data; hunched over like gollum, laughing maniacally with a bottle of Red Wine in one hand and a head of half eaten cabbage in the other.

Enough about that. The main point is that he challenges the status quo and does it without seeming like a how to infomercial guru.

And yet, for how much of a fanboy I am, I haven’t applied jack. I’ve done a few half assed attempts at slo-carb, and then binged on 15,000 calories of everything I felt like, and ended up 2 lbs heavier than where I started. Essentially, reading his books have been mental masturbation. I’ll read real hard, ejaculate some notes into my journal, and then it’s off to eat a lard sandwich(ok not that bad). But why the disconnect?

I signed up for Tim’s new fatloss app thing, and put $50 on the line. I couldn’t get motivated. I finished, but it wasn’t motivation enough. Basically I didn’t care that I’d lose $50. I bet if I put a grand on the line, I still wouldn’t care. (A grand is so much money to me, but it’s just money. It doesn’t light a fire under my ass.) How the hell do I get motivated then?? Willpower? The law of attraction? (the secret is a rubbish book by the way, I’ll do a book review soon.)

Willpower is the biggest lie I’ve ever heard. There’s no such thing as willpower. Not in my reality. What works is consequences. Willpower is when you go “hell yea, lets do it!” and 4 days later you’re sitting on the couch watching A walk to remember, eating a tub of ice cream and chinese takeout. If losing a bet meant that I had to eat a grub, or let a tarantula sit on my bald head- Holy shit. I will put a picture of a tarantula on my fridge, in my car, in my wallet, and I will terrify myself into getting shit done. I hate hate hate loathe spiders. The thought of a fat taranjalasaurus rex gripping away at my head makes my testicles crawl up and cower in terror somewhere behind my lungs…..ugh. Now that’s motivation.

That’s my conclusion. To look a fat spider in its many many eyes and say, Fuck you spider. You’re not sitting on my head, not today. The motivation to avoid pain/ridicule/terror far outweighs my motivation for short term pleasure (cake, candy, tv, whatever.) That’s what I have to exploit to make this work.

That’s why I’m living at home. If I fail to start a business that makes great money, I’m going to be stuck at home longer. At my age, that’s shameful. Almost as bad as a tarantula scheming imminent disaster on top of my head.

If you have stuff you need to get handled- find out what your leverage point is. What is your equivalent to a tarantula? Once you find it, set measurable steps to achieving a goal. Let people know so you can be held accountable.
And then go do it.

Book Review: REwork by Jason Fried


I’m a big fan of Jason Fried. He was one of the first authors who confirmed I wasn’t crazy- that I could work outside of the suit and tie corporate life. He gets it. His company, 37Signals, defies everything we know about a workspace. The company makes an estimated $10 million per year in revenue with 16 employees.

There’s an office, but you don’t have to go more than a few times per year. You work on your own schedule. There are no meetings. Employees live round the world- the pool of talent isn’t limited geographically. He hires the right people, and by doing so, eliminates the need to micromanage.

REwork is the second book Fried has put out. The first book is called ‘Getting Real’ google it. You can download it for free from the 37signals website.

Getting Real set the tone- it shocked and created a decent controversy. Fried doesn’t mince words- he calls out shitty business practices unapologetically. It makes me giddy every time he does, because it’s a slap in the face to everything the powersuiters stand for. The things he loathes are the very things they live for. Meetings. Watercooler sessions. Micromanaging. 7 levels of people to go through to get a green flag for a project. Fried denounces all of it. I don’t hate corporate culture- I fear it. I’m terrified of the prospect that I can get into a repetitive, lazy, comfortable existence where I don’t have to think or engage- only to realize 40 years later that I wasted the best years of my life making someone else’s dream come true.

Rework is broken up into topics- and then Fried gives his thoughts on each. I’ll come out and say it-I might be slightly biased towards Fried. I didn’t really find anything that I didn’t agree with. Then again, I’ve avoided corporate culture like I would an STD.

Each chapter starts with simple artwork- I love it. I'd like more than a few turned into posters on heavy stock paper.

Each chapter starts with simple artwork- I love it. I’d like more than a few turned into posters on heavy stock paper.

Here’s some notes I took from a few of my favorite segments.

“Planning is Guessing”

-Long term business plans are useless. There are too many factors and variables.
-Writing a plan makes you feel in control when you really aren’t.
-Plans aren’t flexible. You can’t react quickly when you’re only worried about following a plan.
-Instead of planning, reevaluate often and adjust your direction accordingly.
-Working without a plan is scary, but blindly following a plan that has no relationship with reality is even scarier.

“No Time is no Excuse”

-If you wanted it bad enough, you would do it instead of watching TV or playing videogames or sleeping an extra 2-3 hours. Most people don’t really want to be successful, not really. They aren’t willing to make changes to make it happen.

“Gear Doesn’t Matter”

-Like real guitarists know, tone is in your fingers. Gear will help, but don’t obsess on tools. What’s most important is how you use the tools you have.
-Do with what you have and upgrade when you need to.

“Making the Call is Progress”

-Commit to making decisions. Don’t wait for perfect solutions, as they rarely present themselves. Commit to a decision, act on is, and move on. It’s better to not be in a relationship than to be afraid of ending a bad one.

“Say No!”

-People avoid saying no because it makes them uncomfortable. Like relationships, deal with uncomfortable situations immediately, avoid long term regret.
-Don’t try to please everyone. The customer is not always right. The problems worth addressing are the ones that customers keep bringing up. If a handful of people make a fuss, don’t bother.

Here’s the thing about REwork- it’s based on real world experience- this isn’t some random guru spouting advice he’s never applied. Fried has compiled and condensed 10 years of experience into this book. It has no industry jargon. It’s genuine.

In the same way that hot shower water going cold will shock your system, this will too- IF you’ve got too much “business” ingrained in your head. I recommend this one to everyone. Fried’s advice can be applied to all parts of your life. Owning less, keeping things simple, being honest and genuine, and not being afraid to make decisions isn’t just good business, it’s good life practice.

I recommend this one to everyone 17 and up. Who doesn’t want good life advice from a well rounded multi-millionaire?