Less is best
A case for chilling out
I didn’t post last week. I was doing too much and that’s about that.
This is relevant for this weeks topic of spreading yourself too thin.
In our modern hustle and bustle, always-on culture it’s natural to overcommit to too many things. Work priorities, side hustles and portfolio careers mean we can pile up a bunch of responsibilities.
Then there is actual life and trying to be social. To have time for family and friends, and then friends problems and their kids and their failing love lives, for birthdays and weddings and all these people you would have forgotten about if it wasn’t for social media. Then there is social media and liking stuff and posting stuff and mindlessly watching stuff.
You also need to find time to feed yourself (sometimes others as well). Despite our lack of time for this we somehow manage to feed ourselves too much. If we’re really lucky we might even find some more time to get the headspace to work out a way of feeding ourselves less. Odd right.
I haven’t even gotten into hobbies or creative pursuits or the important time needed to philosophise about the point or pointlessness of our existence. This tangent is already giving me anxiety…
It’s easy to be doing too much.
Yet some people really go out of their way to do too much. Like way too much. (I think I’m one of them)
From my podcasting, I’ve seen some extreme ends of this can affect us.
Spread too thin
I interviewed a semi-famous person last week. He runs a TV show and a podcast and writes books. He has a personal mission to help 1 billion people be happier. He will take a 3-minute call with anyone. He appears on a lot of podcasts and is constantly trying available.
This man has a natural flair for speaking. He can sound poetic and when he talks, it can sound almost like rapping.
He schedules his day to the nth degree so that he can squeeze every single second of his time into adding value and I guess making people happier.
Except that’s not actually what he’s doing.
Ruining your talent
He was boring as hell for 90% of the interview with me. We had 30 minutes. He was a few minutes late. He was anxious about what he had to get to next. He wasn’t present, he wasn’t funny, he wasn’t interesting. He was boring.
His answers felt like a tired man giving me a list of stuff. No stories or depth, just some information. He’d dump a big list of stuff and say it quickly. His words sort of rhymed and flowed but they had no energy or passion. I could see the glimmer of his brilliance and talent, yet it wasn’t radiating.
I don’t even remember what he said because his energy was so uninspiring. I do remember trying to listen to him and realising how bored I was.
(I managed to provoke something interesting out of him eventually but it wasn’t easy)
Wasting your own time
After the interview, I started to wonder what the hell is the point of his 3-minute call rules with strangers. In 3 minutes how are they ever going to get past his initial boring lists of life advice? After 2 minutes he is already going to tell you that you have 60 seconds left. 60 seconds later the phone will go dead.
I mean 3 minutes of someone not paying attention to you isn’t great. If you ask someone a burning important question and then they are in a rush it’s unsatisfying, to say the least.
It seems like he is determined to give away a large amount of his time each day to be useless to a lot of people.
Spreading yourself too thinly sucks. It wastes your talent and your time. Don’t do it.
Derek Sivers built and sold CD Baby. He has also written a lot of books (which are some of my favourites). He doesn’t run a podcast but the podcast episodes he appears on have been some of the most downloaded podcast episodes ever.
He will answer any email that is sent to him. However, to get him on your podcast you have to send a list of questions that truly excite him and are worth his time answering. He will then spend 2-6 hours preparing the best answers he can for that interview.
He accepts very few interviews and he will only do them during a time of the year when it doesn’t interfere with the rest of his life.
For the interview, he will give you 1-2 hours of his time and won’t schedule stuff before or after so that he can be really present and energised.
The Power of Focus
When you hear Derek on a podcast episode, you hear an energetic man who is there to truly amaze you with his best ideas and concepts. After listening you want to find more episodes he has appeared in because he is so damn interesting.
Derek doesn’t spread himself thinly. He is very concentrated. When you experience Derek you get the full force in all his glory.
Exhaust yourself or Enjoy yourself?
To be someone who shows up with a bang.
To have positive energy for the things you do.
To feel like you give everything your best shot.
If you are doing too many things you exhaust yourself, you cut yourself off from the source of your brilliance:
You can’t put your best foot forward.
You experience a lot more opportunities to be great and yet you reduce your chances of being great.
You don’t give your best shot at anything.
When you do too much you are more likely to feel imposter syndrome and feel that you aren’t talented. The issue isn’t your lack of talent. The issue is that you’re slicing your talent into a thousand pieces. Trying to use it everywhere and instead just throwing it away.
If you want to break a window, throw a rock at it, not a handful of dust.
Your talent belongs together.
It was sad talking to the first dude in this post and seeing the glimmer of his gift and yet totally wasting it trying to spread his gift everywhere.
Whatever your talents are. Be mindful of how to make them truly shine. Don’t overwork them.
Don’t spread yourself too thin.
Be kind to yourself and spread yourself thickly.
In pursuit of less,