Why I started this blog - One fear, two interviews and one too many conversations.
Updated: Jun 11, 2020
Let’s start with the experience of awe. Think of the moments you listened to a lecture or had a conversation with a friend and they said something that gripped you. And you felt this rush of energy, this “yes!!” moment -- this liberation. It’s the kind of liberation that tells you something about yourself. Why? Why does it grip you? Admiration? Respect?--- Probably. But it’s bigger than that. It’s a connection. A connection with this person, but more importantly, with a part of you. A part that you didn’t know existed until this person articulated it. And so, in that moment there’s a realization that this person is more of you than you are of yourself. This is both amazing and terrifying at the same time. Amazing because this person just articulated something you didn’t know was a part of you and terrifying because you didn’t know it was a part of you until this person articulated it.
That’s how I felt when I heard Evan Puschak speak about this in an interview on the Impact Theory (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYzGv6Tfu_0). He talks about his experience of awe when he was reading Ralph Waldo Emerson, who was the one who said it in the first place:
“The young man reveres men of genius, because, to speak truly, they are more himself than he is."
Puschak said this helped him understand the role writing played in being a better thinker. He wrote his way through his existential confusion. Articulating thoughts is, in a huge sense, a journey to self-discovery. For me, an idea that demanded to be explored.
So that’s the first reason I’m starting this blog -- to discover myself and the world around me through articulating feelings, thoughts and ideas.
Now let’s talk about fear. One of my biggest fears is waking up twenty years from now and having regrets. It’s not about missing things. We’re always missing things. It’s about missing things we know we cared about. Waking up twenty years from now and saying “Something about blogging gripped me, I wish I had given it a shot”. That’s the kind of stuff that keeps me up at night. And so instead of focusing on generating the million reasons why I should not spend my time and resources to maintain a blog -- this is me making a decision.
A decision to stop working against my instinct and start working with it instead.
However I know that while starting this blog deals with a fear of regretting, it simultaneously creates a fear of failure. A fear that this blog is going to be just another thing left undone. Which brings me to another Impact Theory interview with Tim Ferris (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kd06uvinqLI&t=628s) who talks about asking yourself questions and generating hypotheses from them. Here’s one question he asked himself -- “if I had a gun to my head and only worked two hours per week, what would I do?”. That made me realize by asking myself, “Will this blog be of use to me or to anyone around me?” I was asking myself the wrong question. And so instead of thinking of this blog as something that is going to guarantee value to me or to anyone around me -- I decided to think of it as an experiment. A good hypothesis by nature is falsifiable and so it not working out is simply indicative of the need to generate a new one. I guess that’s kind of how life works anyway. You try something you feel is worth trying and if it doesn’t work out you reflect, revise and restart. Jean Piaget was the first Psychologist to think of humans as scientists -- living life as we learn information that confirms our existing beliefs (assimilation), but more importantly seeking information that challenges it (accommodation). Together, they help us grow.
So that’s the second reason I’m starting this blog -- in the spirit of generating the best possible hypotheses I can, to allow for the best possible experiences life has to offer. In this sense it’s more about what I learn from the experiment (the process of maintaining this blog) as opposed to confirming the hypothesis (making sure it delivers value to me and the people around me). Although that, of course, is the ultimate aim.
Finally, that brings us to the conversations. I was talking to my roommate the other night and the “I-like-the-idea-of-starting-a-blog” topic came up -- a conversation I’ve had too many times with too many people. It was a conversation I was tired of having because it was just a conversation. And so that night I decided to go one step further. Rather, I let myself go a step further -- instead suppressing the urge to start a blog, I surrendered to it.
And so, that brings us to the third reason I’m starting this blog -- to go beyond conversations. To not just say -- but to do.