There’s nothing wrong with being a giant weirdo.
I’m a weirdo. Last week tragedy struck my life in a big way. I wasn’t prepared for it. I’m still numb.
My daily routine is weird. I watch kids’ cartoons at the gym to revisit childhood. I can’t eat the stems of broccoli and I don’t know why.
I’m the most awkward first date you’ll ever meet. If we go on a date (hypothetically), I’ll spend most of my time running to the bathroom or looking at the notes on my phone to think about what to say next.
When it comes to my online life, things get weirder. The word “follower” reminds me of a cult. The word “influencer” makes me feel sick. It’s like saying “hey, I’m here to control your mind.”
When people say my writing helped them in some way, I quickly change the subject. On the rare occasion someone tells me an article I wrote changed their life, I feel dirty … sleazy even.
It’s hard to explain being misunderstood.
We’re all just figuring sh*t out as we go
I am not a guru.
There’s a lot I don’t know. I have secret f*ck-ups.
I have public f*ck-ups. It’s hard to know whether I’m getting wiser or becoming too much of a smart ass. My worst nightmare is to write satire in disguise (accidentally).
I like to make people think, even at the cost of my own career. I should shut up sometimes but I can’t. I shouldn’t do a James Altucher and share my darkest secrets. Yet I do. It’s a process.
The publish button feels a million miles away. We wrestle together while I sleep. “Should I hit it, should I not?” Most of the time I hit publish.
This week, after tragedy struck, I didn’t.
I put on a brave face. I pretended to be okay. The Navy Seal body armor came on and covered my soul. Who wants to look dumb? Few people understand this odd existence.
My aunty is the best: “What do you do again? Facebook?”
It’s hard to explain this life. I teach online yet I’m nothing like a traditional high school teacher.
I write but the word is misleading. Online writing and writing are from two different planets. When writers try to tell us how to write online they have no idea what they’re talking about.
They bring their New York Times badge of honor to a game that doesn’t care about gatekeepers.
Long paragraphs die on the internet. Essay headlines guarantee nobody reads. Trying to look smart destroys your online writer career. Using complex terms when a simple one is available, destroys your reach — not the algorithm.
None of there lessons came to me at the start. I had to experience this life nobody understands to learn them. So do you.
You figure out the way forward by moving forward.
If you knew how quickly people forgot the dead, you’d stop living to impress people — Aaron Will
When people don’t understand my life, it makes it hard to impress them.
The need to impress is a disease. It’s what screwed up social media. It’s why the Insta-gram-of-coke app removed the number of likes.
There’s no point trying to impress people. They’re trapped in their own life. They don’t really care about your success.
Once you reach a certain level of success, people go from being proud of you to being jealous. Enormous success is so far from common mediocrity that it makes you even harder to understand.
One of three things can happen:
- You spend all your time around successful people and join the elitist crowd.
- You sabotage your results and give in to the critics so you can become relatable again.
- You get stuck in the struggle between the first two. That’s where I am.
Too much time around successful people inflates my ego a lot. Too much time around mediocrity makes me feel like a member of a different species. I want the simple life, yet I want to achieve my writing dreams.
Like I said, I’m hard to understand.
What I do know is that there’s zero point impressing people. All you’ll do is distract yourself from what matters and let the rules of the game be dictated by someone else.
That means you lose all control, and end up out of control.
Listen to your gut
When your gut tells you to drop everything to go all in on learning and building…
Listen to it.
When you live a life no one understands all you can do is trust your gut. Mine tells me to write and teach. So I do.
My gut tells me to take this recent tragedy and make something of it. To keep building instead of looking back on a recent past I can’t change, and spiral into a path of madness.
When my gut told me to quit my job and go all in on my side hustles, I trusted it. When my gut told me there was a cure to mental illness, I trusted it.
When the love of my life exited one Sunday and never returned again, I trusted my gut feeling that everything would be okay — that love would come from another direction. It did.
It’s hard to explain gut feelings to people that don’t live by them like I do. They’re a great compass when you trust them.
A good life equals the willingness to feel vulnerable
I believe I live a good life despite recent tragedies. It isn’t an accident.
In life there are lots of things that make us feel vulnerable:
- Daring to say the truth
- Disagreeing with authority
- Starting a business
- Falling in love
- Giving a first speech
- Quitting a job
- Starting a side hustle
Many people aren’t vulnerable. They decide to hide what they think and feel out of a fear of judgment, so they remain understood.
When you stop giving a f*ck and decide to live a life few will understand, you lean into vulnerability. It becomes a tool rather than a weapon that can destroy your life.
You put yourself on the line. You embrace your inner weirdo. And you end up living a life few will understand, but that makes perfect sense to you. That’s a life I want to live. It’s okay if it makes zero sense to you 🙂
We’re all winging life anyway.