Just A Normal Dude
My name is Blahoot. Yes, Blahoot, like the sound a lackadasical owl would make, “blah hoot.” I’m you’re typical entitled millennial Canadian white guy who can’t dance, is the hustle guy on sports teams because I don’t have the talent, and loves nachos.
Ever since university I’ve had one all-consuming goal.
My goal in life is to give a TED Talk. I mean a real TED Talk, none of that unofficial TEDx nonsense.
To have the honor of giving a TED Talk would mean I’d made a discovery or achieved something game-changing that the even best in the world could learn from. Only 92 people gave TED talks last year, including the Pope, Elon Musk, and Serena Williams. One year I want to be among them.
Back in college, I devised my plan: I’d start on the corporate ladder, learning the ins and outs of business as I climbed my way to the top, then I’d jump off that ladder, springboard into my own game-changing start up, change the world, and have TED come begging me to share my wisdom.
Oh the naive confidence of a young entitled millennial.
The Short Climb
I started off strong! Right out of school I got an awesome job in Geneva, Switzerland, where I performed well enough to earn an expat role to sunny, crazy Panama. Everything went exactly as I had planned.
Then everything went wrong.
To my frustration and despair, my climb up the corporate ladder stalled. My peers caught up and passed me, which forced me to question my ability and my potential. How was I supposed to be invited to TED if I couldn’t even get past mid-management?
I was a smart and talented, hard-working guy, and I even read nonfiction and listened to podcasts. My big fat brain didn’t realize the real reason they were succeeding and I wasn’t. Instead, I blamed my lack of success on bad luck and politics.
So what did I do? I quit.
I packed up my stuff and traveled the world to reflect, reenergize, and reevaluate as if I was Julia Roberts in some hokey movie like Eat, Pray, Love. “To find myself,” as Cosmo says. It was fantastic experience.
Three years later, though, I found myself back in my hometown of Vancouver, Canada and no closer to getting a TED invite.
Well, I guess I was physically closer. As if someone to rub my failure in my face, the annual TED event relocated to Vancouver. I couldn’t help but be reminded of my failure every year.
I started to give in to the foolishness of my dream and resigned myself to help someone with theirs instead. Maybe I could help them write their TED Talk or something. Uber had announced they were going to enter Vancouver and I lined up job with them. I was excited for this new chapter in my life.
But then the taxi-friendly local government blocked Uber—it’s still not in Vancouver—and my new plan fizzled even faster than my previous one.
Then, just when I thought all was lost, another opportunity appeared: to interview for the role of GM of Vancouver’s largest taxi company. (How that came about is a long story.) I befriended the outgoing GM, met with the board…
… and didn’t get the job. The outgoing GM decided to stay.
I was back at square one.
What an amazing stroke of fortune that turned out to be.
One Last Chance
Soon after, I read or listened to three different idols of mine preach the same thing: write something every day. It didn’t have to be much but it had to be shared with other people
I don’t honestly remember what compelled me, but I decided to give it a try. I set up a blog, and the next morning wrote my first post, “How to Feel Above Average.” The next day I wrote making the case for male laser facial hair removal for men. And so I continued day in, day out for weeks.
Almost nobody read or cared what I wrote, which disappointed me. It turned out that wasn’t the point.
One day a few weeks into my writing experiment, some friends and I were talking our usual nonsense when something strange happened.
My nonsense… made sense! Somehow I managed to pull a couple of the ideas I had written into my conversation and rehash them in the same thought-out structure that I had written them. Even better, these different ideas started combining. I felt the guy in the video below who does his first ever muscle up. “Where the hell did that come from?”
With the enthusiasm of a kid the day he takes his first steps, I kept on writing. On top writing of my own ideas, I started studying other people’s ideas and putting in my own words. And instead of just reading books I would re-read them, take notes, and write out the key lessons to teach others.
My brain felt superhuman. It was like Morpheus in the Matrix.
The Six Pack Brain
In time I realized the reason for this Matrix moment. All this time I had been using my brain as a tool, but I hadn’t been training it. My brain was as soft, fat and lazy as the body of a cubicle-bound worker whose only exercise is walking from their car to the elevator at work.
No wonder I plateaued while my peers whizzed by me! They were training hard to sculpt six pack brains while I was on my couch playing with mental shake weights.
Now that I was training my brain like a bodybuilder, I had changed.
Meanwhile my friends were looking at me the same way I looked at my peers who whizzed past me on the corporate ladder, making crappy excuses for reasons why I was taking off and they weren’t.
I kept training it just like my body. Lo and behold it got stronger and stronger. Even better, unlike my body there’s no limit to it’s growth. I started feeling like a fat guy who loses a hundred pounds and has a new lease on life. He can now go for hikes and fit in plane seats. I can go literally anywhere. Maybe even one day give a TED Talk. I feel like a superhero with a rippling six pack brain.
Have I been invited to a ted talk yet? No. But now I know I’m on the right path. It’s a path that most don’t know exist but is accessible to anyone. I suggest you get on and join me on the journey toward achieving your goals.