Advice to My 18 Year Old Self

Asymmetrical Press released a book called “Advice to My 18 Year Old Self.” Branding is not a logo. Branding is who you are and where you’re going. Who I am has not changed significantly over the years as much as my comfort with who I am has. At 40, I give myself significantly more permission to be myself than I did 22 years ago. I have become more confident in the brand that is me. This same concept applies to artists, businesses and products.

Here’s my letter to me, at 18.


Dear Joshua:

ME at 18You are smart and see things differently. Stop worrying that people don’t think you’re smart. Your confidence will be far more useful than trying to prove how smart you are. Don’t try to suppress your imagination and A.D.D., use it like the FORCE to envision millions of ideas, all while everyone else in the room is still listening to the question.

Embrace mistakes. Make a ton of them, as quick as possible. Try new ideas. Experiment with the old. Question everything; this will get you in trouble, but just smile and take it as a compliment. Read Socrates and Aristotle.

Be kind. Not everyone sees things the way you do. Warning, the way you see things can create a very real threat to other’s status quo. Don’t feel so bad about the relationships that didn’t work outyou’ll soon meet a girl, marry her and have a super amazing kid.

Who you say you are isn’t interesting, people don’t care. What you do is everything. Just do things. Create. Make the world better. Do, and then you’ll never have to tell people who you are. They’ll know.

Serving your community will be your everything and that look will way different than you think it should look at 18. The more you learn how to speak for others, the more you’ll gather people and empower them to speak for themselves. Remember, a great leader works their way out of a job. Also, remember, sometimes, silence justifies those who are doing wrong, so don’t be afraid to speak up. Freedom comes with responsibility, so, don’t waste your liberties by watching tv and wasting time.

Don’t worry so much about finding a jobget some experience under your belt, and when you’re ready, make one up and be the best at it. Live in such a way that you won’t need to retire.

Finally, Joshua, know that all that you do for the world is great, but that the sooner you catch on that your humor is the best way to warm people up to the real lessons you want to teach, you’ll see that everything goes better. It’s like that great philosopher said, “Just a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down.” Humor is how you’ll remind everyone that they will inherit the earth.

Sincerely,

Your 40 Year Old Self

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Creativity on Demand

Most of us are really creative (whether you believe that or not)…all the time, however we have been told that in order to be effective we must sort of shut that part down. When asked to pull from it, we can be confused and frustrated. Setting aside time in your day to unleash the creativity within…everyday, even if you think you don’t need to…is part of the key.

Diving into the “realm of possibilites” without allowing excuses or difficulties to control your session is an amazing discipline.

Alice laughed. “There’s no use trying,” she said: “one can’t believe impossible things.”
“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
(Through the Looking Glass, Chapter 5)

Turning the creative madness into effective ideas that will change the world is the next step. Take your new creative ideas (as strange as some of them may be) and set milestones and a definitive goal.

Do this everyday. Choose which ideas are worth working on in the now…and which ones should be tabled.

As far as “on demand” goes…well, sometimes I feel life is like trying to focus intently on a thin line in the middle of a busy freeway of ideas. Like a kid with A.D.D….doing my best to focus. When provoked for an idea…it seems it may be as simple as looking around you…eyes open and grabbing all you can, like a an old lady in a game show money machine.

A new book by Todd Henry named, “The Accidental Creative” was referred by Michael Buckingham of HolyCowCreative on a post. It’s a book that supports you in establishing effective practices that unleash your creative potential…every day. Sounds like a great book…I’ll put it next to my signed copy of Linchpin…you know, so they can play.

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