What are you doing?! Didn’t you read the title of this episode?
I’m begging you: Stop listening to my podcast.
You’re still here? Okay, I’ll see what I can do to persuade you to stop listening to my podcast.
I’ll admit it: It bums me the f**k out that there aren’t more people listening to my podcast. I’ve been delivering an episode every week for the past four years, and I haven’t seen any growth at all for the past three of those years. If anything, my stats tell me I get fewer downloads than I did three years ago.
Before I get to why I want you to stop listening to my podcast, I have to be clear: Sometimes it makes me sad that more people aren’t listening to my podcast. And it’s not that I want to be rich and famous.
I decided what I wanted when I made the decision, four years ago, to double down on being a writer and a podcaster. I told myself, “I want to make a living creating. I don’t want creating to be merely a marketing strategy for other things?”
So, I sold everything I owned, and moved to the “third world”. I knew I would struggle to make money for awhile, but I never knew the struggle would take this long. I never knew it would be this hard.
That’s the reason I wish more people listened to my podcast. I don’t need to make enough money to buy a Bentley, or even a Toyota. I just want to make enough money from my writing and podcasting that I can do more writing and podcasting.
I wrote my first book ten years ago. I moved to South America four years ago. I don’t want to write so I can make money, I want to make money so I can write. And that’s the only thing that makes it f*****g heartbreaking about not having more people listening to my podcast.
What I learned on my media fast But there’s no denying that people shouldn’t be listening to my podcast. At the beginning of this year, I tried an experiment. I went on a “media fast.“ I stopped listening to podcasts. I stopped checking Twitter. I even stopped reading books. I stopped multi-tasking, and I started uni-tasking.
At first, it was agonizing. I felt like I needed more stimulation. But I powered through it, and it was like rummaging through the junk piled up in your dead grandmother’s dusty attic. I was surprised what I discovered underneath all of that clutter: My own thoughts.
Instead of listening to a podcast while cooking and eating lunch, I simply focused on cooking and eating lunch. If I was chatting with a friend on WhatsApp, I wasn’t switching to Instagram between messages. I was only chatting with that friend. I watched the sunset almost every day, and I didn’t post pictures of those sunsets to Instagram. I just sat there and watched the colors change, like some enlightened Neanderthal.
Eventually, things started bubbling to the surface. After lunch, I would jot down ideas on a little whiteboard. While watching sunsets, ideas would come to me for my next book, or for podcast episodes like this one.
Creating is better than consuming It was hard to admit it to myself: Creating is better than consuming. The more you consume, the less you can create.
Some people will protest: “If you aren’t consuming, where are you going to get inspiration!?” “Inspiration” is b******t. You’ve seen enough things in your life, and you’ve had enough damn ideas -- you never did s**t with most of them (neither did I). Your need for “inspiration” is a fear of your own thoughts. It’s a fear of doing the hard work of processing what’s in your head, breaking out of the b******t scripts that society writes for you, and having an actual thought. A true, sometimes uncomfortable, original thought.
You don’t need inspiration. You need action.
I can’t deny, from my own experience of going on a “media fast,” that much of the time, when I was consuming, it was standing in my way of creating. And w