When Big Ideas Make Us Small

Below is a transcription of this video.

I need to come clean.

Something has shifted in me over the last few years. And that is, I just haven’t been as excited to interview as many authors or read as many books as I used to.

These days I’m way more interested in sharing stories about real people going through real transformations.

I find books to be very polished and groomed and homogenized to be sellable and catchy. But they leave out how gritty and uncertain and nonlinear the growth process really is. They give so many folks the impression that lasting growth and change is really boiled down to a few simple steps.

But the thing that really turns me off about all of this information is that many of us think that devouring books and podcasts is the same thing as doing the work.

And it’s just not.

Be clear — I’m not against learning new ideas and I’m certainly not against knowledge.

But I am tired of seeing how the search for new ideas is a distraction from engaging our challenges and the opportunity to grow.

This is coming from a guy who spent two years reading about meditation before actually starting a meditation practice. This is coming from a guy who has devoured stacks of personal growth books and interviewed hundreds of experts. This is coming from a guy who is a recovering self development jackass.

I get the excitement that comes from learning a new idea. It’s a great dopamine fix. It gives us the impression that new possibilities are within reach. It makes us feel smart and special. I love all of that, too.

But I also spend my days in the trenches working with real people going through real transformation. They’re overcoming fears and doubts so that they can create the businesses, relationships, and lifestyle that they truly want. And while new ideas can be refreshing, nothing compares to what happens when we roll up our sleeves and get to work.

And there’s no book or new idea that will do that for you.

This kind of transformation — where we step out of complaining and blaming and get to work creating what we want — isn’t a “one size fits all” approach. It’s unique to the individual. It’s closer to art than building IKEA furniture.

And so my challenge for you is to look at how much time you may be spending devouring ideas and podcasts and books on personal development. And then I want you to compare that to the amount of time you may be spending actually engaging that process.

In other words, how much time are you spending as the spectator? And how much time are you in the game?

Now there’s no need to self-criticize or turn this into some kind of self-flagellation exercise. Just pivot. Ask yourself what’s the smallest, simplest action you could take today that would move things forward. It’s probably a phone call or a conversation with your business partner or your wife. It probably doesn’t require that you need to do anything drastic in your life before you can do this thing. It’s simply the next step that’s been obscured by all of the information and stuff we like to distract ourselves with.

What if you turned off this video — and right now — leaned in and actually did that small simple thing? And the next one? And the next one? How would you feel as a result of building that momentum? How would you feel as you began to make real, tangible progress?

That’s nothing you’re going to get from a video or podcast or book. It’s something you create on your own.

And that experience is what I want for you more than the next big idea.