Shoshin

by Frost on May 31, 2011

As you probably noticed if you spend your days madly refreshing this blog (and why shouldn’t you?) it’s been a slow couple of weeks since I moved to the new URL. There are a few excellent reasons for this:

1) It’s the season of clear lakes, beach volleyball, patios, barbecues, and ultimate.

2) Cottages and a bachelor party have taken me out of town every weekend since April.

3) My soulless nine-to-five  has been uncharacteristically fast-paced and soulful lately.

But my day planner has suffered worse than the above, and I’ve still managed to steal the occasional half-hour to blog. So what’s up?

Last month, I parted ways with my WordPress.com blog, and created the one you’re reading now.

When I made that change, I also made a subconscious shift in my approach to writing. Go read my last post. Doesn’t it sound like something  Seth Godin or Tim Ferriss would write? The tone is reminiscent of a wise tribal elder, generously bestowing wisdom on his lessers. There’s nothing wrong with that, if you can pull it off. But unless you’ve actually done what you’re trying to teach, you probably can’t. For example, Seth and Tim are both wildly successful authors and entrepreneurs. If they want to make the implicit assumption that they know more than me about writing and creating businesses, I welcome it.

But so far, I’m not a wildly successful anything. This is not me being humble – I still think I’m kicking the shit out of 95% of my peers in most aspects of life – but that doesn’t make me some sort of guru. Multiple times over the past week, I’ve drafted and deleted several posts that didn’t work, because they were dishonest. I wrote them trying to sound like someone who’s figured it all out. But since that’s not really me, writing them was painfully slow, and the end result came off forced. Most importantly, it just wasn’t fun.

In one of my earlier posts, I laid out why I started blogging:

Why?

Start a blog, that is. My answer: Why the hell not? But my granddaddy taught me to never trust a man whose motives you don’t understand. Having now passed that advice on to you, I feel I should explain my reasons for writing Freedom Twenty-Five.

Or at least try to. “Why the hell not” pretty much covers it. I woke up one day, took a look at my life and decided it wasn’t the one I wanted to be living. I realized that I needed to radically change my habits if I wanted to radically change my results. Writing prolifically and publicly about my dreams and fears seemed like a major, comfort-zone-shaking change, so I started doing it.

Passion and a manic episode will only take a man so far though. Why am I channeling my surplus energy into writing instead of, say, cocaine? Well, starting a blog is cheaper. But it also benefits my life in a few other specific ways:

Selfish blog rationale #1) I can open up my goals to the world at large, and subject myself to ridicule if I don’t follow through on them. If I publish my plans to, say –  make a billion dollars, sleep with Beyonce and replace Keith Richards as lead guitarist for The Rolling Stones, all in a single weekend – then I’d better actually do it, or I’ll have failed my legions of devoted readers.

Selfish blog rationale #2) Writing for an audience forces me to be honest with myself. I had thought that I understood my situation and thought processes perfectly, until I tried to write them all down. Then I realized that my razor-sharp self-awareness was actually just an amorphous blob of unarticulated feelings, half-thoughts and unfocused energy.

Selfish blog rationale #3) I want to get paid to write. If this blog becomes wildly popular, I can sell ebooks, “real” books, and give paid talks. Or, I could just cover the site with pop-ups and sell my mailing list to Nigerian ex-royalty.

Selfish blog rationale #4) Why does a man do anything in his life? I want to meet hot babes who like bloggers. Ladies, you know you’re out there. Until I achieve C-list internet fame though, I can still somewhat-plausibly tell girls I meet that I’m a “writer.”

Selfish blog rationale #5) Not to get all mushy, but I think a lot of people my age are feeling the same malaise I am. Maybe I can inspire a few of them to snap out of it. That feels good.

So that’s where I’m coming from. Freedom Twenty-Five is going to help me set goals, sort through my thoughts, and let me sleep better at night knowing I’m trying to make the world a better place. Also, I want to get money, get famous, and get laid. Don’t we all?

And that’s the mentality that made writing Freedom Twenty-Five enjoyable for me in the past.

In Zen, there is a concept called Shoshin, translated as “Beginner’s Mind.” No twenty-five year old, no matter how awesome and destined for greatness he thinks he is, should even consider discarding his Beginner’s Mind. So you know what? Fuck trying to edit posts into perfection. Fuck tweaking this site’s appearance, unless I wake up one day I and decide I really want to do it. Fuck SEO, fuck grammar, and fuck Twitter.

In a decade or so, I’ll write a serious, carefully-edited book about the 14-step program I used to effortlessly earn millions, assemble a harem of supermodels and conquer the world. Until then, I’m going to chill out and work on my Shoshin.

 

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Neill June 1, 2011 at 8:10 am

Exactly. Fuck it!

Princeps June 1, 2011 at 4:54 am

Good shit. Can you tell us more about Shoshin?

Do you know any mind-expanding techniques? And if one more person suggests LSD, I swear I’m gonna punch somebody.

FordRangerGuy June 1, 2011 at 9:41 am
HollowedMan May 31, 2011 at 11:17 pm

Glad to see you’re back. I’d been missing my same-age peer who is trying to kick my ass at life.

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