I actually did it! I purposefully threw my life off balance and attempted to make a giant change. I wanted a remarkable life, I made a plan to do it, and I followed it— the plan to Stop Sucking and Kick Ass. (Video below.)
You know people who say things like, “If only I had enough time, I could write my book. If only I was understood, people would finally appreciate me. If only I had the right job, I’d be happy. If only I, ifonlyI, ifonlyI …” Most of these are falsifiable hypotheses, but they don’t test them. They don’t actually make the time to write, work at being fully understood, or look for a better job.
(I bet you have a few yourself.)
The big question I answered is this:
What do you learn when you actually do the thing you tell yourself will make all the difference?
This is clearly the most difficult article I’ve written. I’ve spent many hours trying to assess the past year, and while this is hardly comprehensive (you’re welcome), it’s the result of an enormous amount of reflection and analysis. There are gems here. I hope you find them.
At the request of many, I continue the tradition of lo-fi, uncomfortably self-revealing video tours of my weird brain. Then, there’s a song I sing at the end. No kidding.
And I ask you for your feedback. I need to know: Is there something here for you? Please tell me.
This presentation comes in 5 parts of a 24-minute video. Here’s a guide.
0:00 – Intrigue. Why I screw up my life?
4:26 – Drama. Witness though the magic of childlike drawrings the valiance of an archery contest, the agony in a battle pitting money against denial, and finally triumph through surprising circumstances. Is it death or enlightenment lurking in the murky shadows? Maybe it’s both.
13:01 – The Goods. What worked. Did I accomplish what I set out to do?
19:10 – David Delp Sings a Song.
Here it is in one picture.
The Goods: What Worked.
Goal: Complete 10 valuable attention management tools.
Mostly I did this. They aren’t all ready for primetime. Most of them are well-tested. I need a few more months to package all of them up. What isn’t linked below, you will see soon enough!
- The famous Attentionometer refactored for production at the San Francisco facility.
- SMART & SEXY Goals Checklist
- Pilot Fire Starter Kit (updated, offered on every page)
- Kick Start Your Dreams class (4 super helpful worksheets)
- A new social network called The Pilots of Pilot Fire (+ 3 more tools)
Goal: Get to 10,000 readers.
I found out pretty quickly that was a stupidly unrealistic goal. Instead, I increased readership by 430%. Creating the Pilot Fire Starter kit made a big difference. I’m getting more and more feedback from it every week. Writing for other blogs is a huge help in spreading the fire, as is giving talks and going to conferences. I’ll be doing more of that for sure.
Goal: Sing through my bridge with ease.
I don’t sing through my bridge with ease, yet, but I have to say that pursuing this goal has revealed more about life, liberty, and fear than I can say in a few sentences. I think the video explains it a little better.
Goal: Exercise everyday.
The point was to make sure I moved vigorously regularly to keep my Vitality burning bright. Energizing is the E and key to SMART & SEXY goals, and exercise is the fastest way to get motivated. I ran into lots of problems though. I got injured. I can’t run any more. Most of what I learned is personal. Glutten and dairy aren’t a big problem for me. Sleep loss is.
Stop Sucking. I got our new house completely and new bank accounts and finances in order, and completed an inspiringly easy divorce. I learned how to edit videos and customize WordPress, and I quit getting so many parking tickets. Plus I learned how to make some super tasty, healthy bachelor meals I can make in my underwear and eat over the sink. I almost completely don’t suck at anything that really matters.
Stop Sweating. I didn’t sweat most of other the roles I play. I just showed up without much of a plan and for the most part everything went fine— except with the winter thaw when the Breadwinner had to come out of hibernation That included a fair amount of sweating.
Stop chasing girls. Yup. Didn’t. That’s amazing.
Stop TV, movies, porn. Another ridiculous goal, but I’ve written about reasons for rigid rules. This one left me with only YouTube and the Daily Show. When my shadow roles took over, I plunged into the dark world of pickpocket demonstrations which lead to magicians and then debunkers, atheists, death, and finally mindfulness. It turned out to be a profound experience to follow this path.
The surprising 7 answers:
Did David Delp kick ass?
(There’s magic that happens to writing in the second person, even if I reveal the trick. What follows are some lessons I learned. If I frame them as lessons you can learn, you’re more likely to find them valuable. Tricky.)
I list them here in poster-ready form. Feel free to spread these around as quotes attached to images of Gandhi, Eleanor Roosevelt, or Jackie Chan.
- Only true commitment, the reality of making a solid decision, will reveal what’s most important to you.
- What’s more telling than connecting to your dreams, is discovering what you will regret.
- Your own Vitality is by far the most important factor to managing your attention.
- Marketing works. Do it.
- Singing is a microscopic map to deep fear and liberation. Everyone would do better to unlock their voices.
- Shadow roles actually shine the light on us, not the other way.
- Death is real. Death is awesome. Life is short. Just Breathe.
Now imagine Gandhi with the quote, “Marketing works. Do it.”