Show Your Work

As most hot and interesting singles do on a Saturday night, I was sitting on my couch watching productivity YouTube videos and came across a great video from one of my favorite YouTubers Ali Abdaal.

How Writing Online Made Me A Millionaire

I always love a book recommendation from people I admire, so I ordered Show Your Work! by Austin Kleon immediately. Not only was this a quick read, but it was the kick in the ass that I needed.

If you look through this blog you’ll see that I dipped my toe, during grad school, into the blogging space. I tried to talk fashion, lifestyle, food, all the things, but balancing a full time MBA program and work didn’t prove to be conducive to blogging. BUT, and this is a big but, I started to lose interest in writing about those things.

Yes, I enjoyed them as a topic, but I was less style blogger and more fascinated by people like Tim Ferris, Ryan Holiday, Ultralearners like Scott Young, memory champions like Nelson Dellis and Yanjaa Wintersoul, and unlimited mindset coaches like Jim Kwik. I would wistfully read their content, listen to them on podcasts, and then immediately think “I wish I could do what they do.” I would talk my mom’s ear off about how there were no Black women in the space that I knew of, and that when I was smarter, better, faster, and whatever other BS I would try my hand at sharing my personal ultralearning challenges, stoic journey, etc.

Those ANTs (automatic negative thoughts as Jim Kwik calls them) started having less of a hold on me when I came across Ali’s YouTube channel, because here was a doctor who was making the time to chase the things he wanted (like starting a business and learning to play the guitar), in addition to practicing medicine.

What does all of this have to do with me blogging/writing again…well that’s where Austin Kleon comes in.

Kleon talks in his book about making the commitment to learn in public. “…whatever the nature of your work, there is an art to what you do, and there are people who would be interested in that art, if only you presented it…” Rather than wait until I’m perfect or an expert to share, I’m willing to share my amateur attempts. Even Ed Catmull, my favorite imaginary mentor, talks about the benefits of approaching everything with a beginners mind. I want to share my writing not as a self-promotional attempt, but a self-discovery vehicle. As GaryVee says “document, don’t create.” I want to document my passion for productivity, pushing the limits of my cognitive ability, personal development, tech, and even love of storytelling and style.

Tim Ferris says it best, “waiting for someday will take your dreams to the grave,” and I realized I’ll never have a perfect resume to share my passions and projects. Also, to be a little self serving, teaching someone else will help drill the information, quotes, whatever into my brain better than holding it to myself. Even the stoics challenge us to stop putting off till tomorrow what we can do today, how much longer will we wait?

In some capacity, at the minimum, I will show my work weekly. I want to show the things I’m working on, and that includes:

Gaining fluidity in French so I can read French classics in their original language

Moving from #25 to the Top 15 of US Memory Athletes

Reading 100 books in a year (a goal I’m about to hit in 2021, so 2022 may be 101)

Learning Dutch and Italian, in pursuit of becoming a polyglot

Transitioning from long board to a short board in surfing

Regaining fluidity in Spanish

Organizing my home in a way that supports my neurodivergence

Teaching myself graphic design

Defining my style uniform, creating a wardrobe that lowers decision fatigue, and learning about the fashion industry

Becoming a media and entertainment futurist

…and probably a thousand more projects and topics, because my intellectual curiosity knows no bounds!

I look forward to showing my work, curating content that catches my attention, what I’ve learned, and what I’m noodling on at any given point, even if it’s for three people.

Now if you’ve stuck around until the end, here are some additional Ali Abdaal videos and Austin Kleon videos that I think you’ll like.

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