So it seems that an annual reminder is a valuable exercise in allowing myself to be seen more fully.
When you’re a public figure, people assume that you’ve got all of your shit figured out. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am a fallible human being just like everyone else (and if someone you follow ever claims to have a perfect life… run).
So, here are 23 facts about me, to remind you of just how imperfect I am.
1. I have been careless with people’s hearts.
Several times over the last fifteen years, I have broken people’s hearts. While I never cheated on anyone or did anything overtly malicious, I did rush into relationships where I knew there was fundamental misalignment and ended up having the other person pay the emotional price for my lack of initial boundaries and/or discernment.
2. I have thrown away things that could have been gifted, recycled, or donated.
This point is two-fold. First, I was wasteful and not thinking about the planet… and I was also being selfish and not thinking about others in my immediate community who could have benefitted from those items. Just because I didn’t want it didn’t mean that someone else couldn’t have benefitted from it.
3. I have deleted hundreds of reader emails without replying.
When I first started writing online, I prided myself on replying to absolutely every email with an in-depth, valuable response. With time, this became far less possible.
Now, with my writing being read by anywhere from 1-2 million people per month, the number of emails that I get on a weekly basis simply aren’t keep-up-with-able.
I mean, sure, maybe I could hire a full time assistant to manage my email inbox for me, but that somehow feels worse, and dishonest. Someone replying to people as me when it isn’t me is a weird idea that doesn’t sit right.
Anyways, so yes. I have deleted hundreds of emails without replying to them at all. If someone has a quick question that I can answer in under two minutes, I do my best to reply to those. But when someone sends me a 15 paragraph email about their entire life story and it takes considerable effort to even find out if they have written any discernible questions in there (no bolded text, no question marks, etc.), more often than not, I just delete them and keep moving through the rest of my email onslaught.
4. I have an arrogant side.
Arrogance (and it’s unavoidable counterpoint, low self-worth) have been aspects of my mind for as long as I can remember. It is often easy for me to dismiss people in my mind because I see myself as better than them. When in truth, no one is inherently better than or less than anyone else, this is just a construction and projection of my mind that wants to play ego games of separation.
5. I bit my nails for the majority of my life (only stopping just over two months ago).
It’s a bad habit that I picked up young and just never stopped. I stopped two months ago, but I still did it for 30+ years. Gross.
6. I eat animals.
I know that many people advocate for veganism and I loosely know that factory farming is bad for the planet in many ways. But honestly, I haven’t done that much research into the whole thing, and I don’t really care to. I tried being a vegetarian for about four months a few years ago (and I did that in a very researched way to make sure that all of my nutritional requirements were being met fully), and yet my energy levels absolutely tanked. So I still eat meat, fish, eggs, and other animal products, and who knows… maybe that’s bad for the planet. But my brain and body feel better when I do, so I will continue to do so until I hear a compelling enough of an argument to do otherwise.
7. I have purchased pre-packaged food in single serving plastic, without thought for the environmental impact of my decision.
I prioritized convenience over the planet, and that’s a lazy way of approaching things. Especially when I have the time, resources, awareness, and ability to make more planet-honouring choices.
8. I have been dismissive of people who work minimum wage jobs.
This ties into my arrogance and impatience, but I have (many times) been frustrated by people with “normal/basic” jobs and assumed that they were only capable of holding such a position, and so I rationalized that they didn’t deserve the best of me (even though I myself had many years of minimum wage jobs when I was 13-22 years old). It isn’t that I am outwardly rude to them ever, but I have been unkind to them in my thoughts, and that still counts because it has likely transmitted in my tone on occasion.
9. I have walked by homeless people without making eye contact.
Even when they were speaking directly to me.
Even if I didn’t have anything material to offer them, I could have still given them my energy via eye contact. And yet, I have chosen to not extend that kindness, many times.
10. I sometimes ejaculate faster than I want to when I am having sex with my partner.
Gasp! Could it be? The guy who obsessed over his sex life for the entirety of his adult life still cums faster than he wants to on occasion? Yup! And I imagine it’ll still happen, at least a couple times per year, for the rest of my life. Because I’m not a perfect robot. I’m just a soft bodied mammal who shits and sleeps like everyone else. Go figure!
11. For several years of my twenties, I entered women’s bodies without offering them my full heart… knowingly keeping them at an emotional arms distance.
I had pain in my heart that I was unaware of, and was not yet willing or able to process it, and innocent women who just wanted to hold me and connect to me paid the price.
12. I have wasted dozens of hours watching every episode of Jersey Shore.
Literally every single episode.
It was an absolutely inexcusable waste of time and I did it so that I could watch them and feel better about myself.
13. I have under-extended to people in my immediate family because of a faulty belief that my six year old self invented about how I fit into my family system.
And I am still repairing this process today, in my current life.
14. I fart. Quite a lot in fact.
They almost never smell (seriously) but they happen a lot. And I don’t hold them back when I’m around friends, family, or my girlfriend.
15. I have had long stretches of time in the last seven years where I prioritized my work over my health, and over-extended myself in the name of service, while harming my body in the process.
I was quite the little workaholic from 25-29 and only really started slowing down and honouring my body in a significant way about 2-3 years ago.
16. I can be impatient, defensive, and dismissive.
And these things can show up in all of my relationships and pillars of my life. I have made progress on all three of these themes compared to a few years ago, but they all still bubble up from time to time.
17. I have absolutely no university credentials for the work that I have been doing for the last ten years.
Some people see that as a bonus and they appreciate my out of the box, self-taught approach, and see me as a genius and a guru… and others see me as a hack/charlatan/snake oil salesman, etc.
I like to think I’m somewhere in the middle. Not a guru, and not a hack. Just a guy who has had a lifelong passion and made it into his life’s work. An amateur who turned pro by choice.
18. I have been judgmental of other writers/coaches/public figures in the relationship space because of (what I viewed as) their sub-par, naive, or outright damaging content.
Speaking of hacks, I have judged other people in my industry as ill-equipped and have actively wished that some people would quit and change careers. But honestly, when someone you meet is obsessed with their performance metrics (readership, revenue, following, etc.) and they never talk about the substance of what their business is about, it’s hard to not judge them as opportunistic and in it for the wrong reasons.
19. I have been lazy and unintentional with the money I have made over the last few years.
I logically know that you should be proactive about investing your money so that you can at least beat inflation and not have your money collecting dust in a no-interest chequing account, and I still just barely care about it all and have often left my money just doing nothing. But I’m getting better. And this service has helped me a lot.
20. I made a conscious decision in my mid-20’s to de-prioritize my friendships in order to get my business off of the ground.
While some sacrifices likely had to be made, they certainly didn’t need to be so severe. And I know that I hurt many people (including myself) in the process.
21. I have skipped voting in provincial and federal elections several times.
I find politics quite boring (which in itself is an incredibly privileged position to be able to take) and I think that entrepreneurs and artists often have a greater impact on the world than most politicians do.
I mean, yes, Obama absolutely brought a ton of value to the world… but so have Jeff Bezos and Steve Jobs. So I’d rather shut off the news, stay ignorant about the vast majority of world politics, and get back to work in a way that I believe adds value to society in a more tangible way.
22. I have done indoor tanning dozens of times over the last fifteen years, while being fully aware of the skin damage risk, because of my vanity.
No excuses here. I did it. Many times. And I may even do it again at some point.
23. I often am too focused on the future and I under-appreciate what I already have.
This can sound like the internal dialogue of…
“Sure, I’m glad that I’ve written 600 articles… but I can’t wait to get to 1,000 articles!”
Or… “100 million readers is cool… but what if I had 100 million readers in a single calendar year”
You get the point.
I hit a goal, and then I move the milestone forwards so that I’m perpetually running forwards. And while ambition is nice, I’ve also seen the research on what gratitude does to our brains (spoiler alert: amazing things) and yet I have not had a consistent gratitude practice in a couple of years.
You might be thinking that I’m going to wrap up this article in a nice, neat little package, but that’s not the point of this piece.
I have hurt people. I have been hurt by people and allowed myself to be a victim of that pain. And the more clearly I can say that, the more likely (I hope) more people can take me off of a pedestal and see me as the flawed, often-wrong, frequently arrogant/dismissive/impatient me that I am.