Experts and a Jackass

Whenever I send an idea that’s influenced me back into the world after running it through my little mental filter, there’s a voice in my head that, without fail, tells me that the idea’s already been expressed by someone more famous, more talented, more accomplished, and more worthy than I am.

My response?

Yes, but my beard is better.

Just kidding.

I mean, I do have a solid beard, but that’s irrelevant.

That voice is a particularly clever form of the Resistance trying to keep me from doing my work, as Steven Pressfield talks about in The War of Art.

Is it true that there are people who know more than I do about what I’m writing about?

Most definitely.

But I’m not an expert.

I, on the other hand, am like the friendly guy you went to high school with who ended up taking a weird left turn somewhere along the way and ended up somewhere off the beaten path indeed.

We look up to experts. 

We look over at weirdos. 

I’m a weirdo splashing around in the sea, laughing and calling to the person on the shore who wants to wade out there but isn’t bold enough yet.

At the moment I’m a 34-year-old lawyer AirBNB-hopping across the Balkans. I have a wonderful wife I haven’t seen in a month because she’s doing yoga on an Indian mountain. By most metrics I’m decidedly underemployed. I have no home to call our own and have been largely living out of a backpack since 2013.

And I’m loving it.

Do I recommend what I’m doing? Not particularly. It works for me; wouldn’t work for a lot of people.

But I most definitely recommend some of how I’m experimenting, which is to say,

I’ve prioritized spending more time doing things that make me come alive and less time doing things that don’t.

I don’t care who or where you are, we are all capable of at least tweaking how we’re going through the world.

My lifestyle is based largely, as Picasso put it, on doing things I don’t know how to do so that I might learn how to do them.

I’m no expert. You read something from an expert and say, ‘That sounds about right.’

When you read something from me, I’d much prefer your reaction to be something like,

‘Well, if this jackass can make this work, why can’t I?’

Come on in, the water’s fine.


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