Two of my favorite things to do are read and write.
While I've always found reading relaxing — thanks, primarily, to my parents, who, when I claimed boredom growing up, told me to go read a book instead of to go watch TV — I really love reading (and listening to) books for growth.
I write to make sense of things. To parse them in my mind. To explain difficult concepts to myself in a simpler form. Hopefully some of you have benefited from me doing that and sharing what I've learned.
I need a break to refresh that learning. The stuff I do here is what people often do on Sabbatical. So think of this as a reverse Sabbatical.
I also write to keep exercising my creativity muscle.
I have plenty of creativity to exercise scheduled in the next few months. I'm spending six months taking the Master Key Experience, which involves lots of reading and writing (and thinking). I want to pay more attention to the JKWD Podcast — it's really good and I think there's a lot of room for growth.
I have some thick books sitting on my shelf I want to get to, too, Antifragile and Tools of Titans (and I guess there's some new Tim Ferriss for me to track down, too).
I also want to learn some basic psychology. If you've got a recommendation, please pass it along.
And since New Year's is really an arbitrary date and you can start anything anytime, here is my annual posting of Doug MacLean's "Auld Lang Syne." Don't forget where you've been, but don't be afraid to leave it behind for where you're going.
Hey, y'all. Thanks so much for being here the past 18 months! It's so awesome that you've stuck with me. Josh: The Podcast is getting a major overhaul. Listen to find out what you can expect and when you can expect it. Also...who knows? It might come with a new name...
"We're born with them," I said, "and we have to learn how to un-forget them."
As we get older, we start to gain more of a sense of shame. And by "get older," I mean as we age out of toddlerhood. Because really, we start getting ridiculed for nonconformity pretty early in our school careers.
By the time we're teenagers, many people are afraid to stand out, and when they do something to "stand out," usually they do it in groups. The success of Hot Topic points to this. It's a place where nonconformists can go to conform to each other.
There are, of course, social benefits of conformity. We gain a sense of community. We feel accepted, perhaps even loved. If we conform really well, we get to be very popular. You can sell stuff. If you're a true nonconformist, your creative output is too, well, weird for everyone else.
You can be different and pretty far out there — Kevin Kelley asserts that if you have 1,000 true fans who will buy whatever you do, you're free to explore various avenues that will appeal to vastly different groups — but you still have to really resonate for 1,000 people.
I'll bet if I handed you a pad of paper and a pen (and took your phone away), it would take you at least an hour to write down the names of 1,000 people you either know or have heard of (you're unlikely to actually know 1,000 people, even if you can count that many people in your network).
Back to shame, and my wedding conversation.
"You look like you've got some moves," he said.
"Nah," I countered. "I just don't care if anybody thinks I look silly." Like this lady.
It's true. I'm a goofball.
It's not that I don't care at all, just that I pick a few things about which I deeply care when it comes to people's perceptions of me, and the rest of the time, I just want to have some fun. It's the kind of thing that allows me to come up with creative solutions to some problems but not be able to see outside the box for others.
Brene Brown is a shame and vulnerability researcher. She finds that people who are willing to show vulnerability have empathy and form deeper connections with others.
That's an oversimplification of her work, but if you want the 20-minute version, she does it much better than I do, so just watch her TED talk: