Hey Penguin Week of September 28

Silly Dreams + Compliments + Listening and Speaking with Robbie Crabtree

Inio Asano: おやすみ プンプン プンプン

Welcome to another edition of the Hey Penguin newsletter.

Consider this newsletter as evidence that there is no magic lottery ticket.

There is only process.

From the community

Favorite reader comments

Last week, I posted this:

The response?

This made my day. Thanks for doing something about the global shortage of smiles.

Creativity + Self-Improvement

Silly Dreams

I stepped out of the smoldering Vegas heat and into the cool of the restaurant. Murals of Totoro, No Face and Haku plastered the red walls. Slurps of ramen and clinks of Sake bottles filled my ears. I took a bite of “Burning Ass” Sushi - as hot as the summer Vegas heat. I put my chopsticks on the plate and looked up at the screen. A man was striding through a busy Tokyo street, sampling some kind of strange fishy looking food. There were subtitles on the bottom of the screen: “We Only Owl Here.” I let out one of those confused laughs under my breath. I was watching “Only In Japan,” a YouTube show created and produced by John Daub.

I’ve been a fan ever since that fateful day in Las Vegas.

If you were to tell me that starting a podcast would lead me to having a conversation with my favorite YouTuber, I’d call you insane.

But that’s exactly what’s happened.

My conversation with John Daub is, to me, the best episode of my podcast so far. How could I have known that starting a podcast would lead me to speaking with my favorite YouTuber? John Daub would have called this a “Silly Dream” - A goal that, along the way, leads you to unexpected places.

What was my silly dream? Was it to start a podcast? Be the next Tim Ferriss?

Sure, my goal was to start a podcast. And yeah, it’d be nice to achieve 10,000+ downloads. (And yeah[2]: Tim Ferriss is one of my heros) But John’s right: the journey is more important than the goal. All these awesome opportunities I’ve had so far, meeting these people and connecting over a shared love of books, art, and life itself, has brought me so much more joy than having a certain amount of downloads.

If you’re thinking about starting something, start it. (Unless it’s like a cult or something. Or some weird political movement where you put a bunch of Mangoes on people’s heads? Please don’t do that. Please don’t put mangoes on our heads.)

But, please! I beg of you — start something! I don’t care what it is! (see above) If it’s a podcast about startups or a YouTube channel where you interview local grandmas: start, start, start!

Your audience is waiting. You’ve got so many gifts to share with the world.

There’s a global shortage of smiles and it’s your job to do something about it.

You need to do something wild with this tiny life of yours. Never settle for the banal and ordinary. The banal and ordinary spots are taken, anyways. There’s a bajillion people living banal and ordinary lives, and you’ll never fit in if you keep your weirdness all to yourself. You fit in by standing out.

So, stand out. Do something strange. It doesn’t even need to be cool. Forget cool. Come up with your own uncool. Become the most uncool cat on the planet.


Whoever bullied you in school because you were uncool, they were right. You were uncool. But the good news is that no one is going to bully you now that you’re a big grown adult. And even if someone does bully you, know that they’re doing it because they’re insecure about themselves.

Bullying is an act of projection and jealousy. The bully sees that you have something (self-expression), and they want to take it away from you. In fact, the bully doesn’t want to take your self-expression away so that the bully can have it, the bully wants to crush self-expression itself.

How lame would it be if we just let all these bullies stomp all over everyone’s desire for self-expression? How many totalitarian regimes were started because some smooth-talking bully somehow rose to power? How many strange and fascinating art projects are we missing because mass swaths of people are told to keep their heads down?

Methinks that an external personae of busyness and intellect is oftentimes a mask to hide an unexplored Atlantis of insecurity. Tell-tale signs of a bully include…

  • Using big, ubiquitous words

  • Using the word methinks

  • Talkingwaytoofast

  • Talking down to people

  • Being “busy”

  • Pointing fingers and blaming others for their problems

  • Desires to become a totalitarian (aka a micromanager)

  • Treating themselves and their work much too seriously

A More Complete Version of You

Perhaps there’s a bully inside of you. A voice in your head telling you to stay quiet. Take a look at the bullet list above and ask yourself if any of those points remind you of the way you think about yourself.

The best creatives have done the tremendously difficult work of unifying all the knowable elements of their personality. Lately I’ve been seeking to combine my sense of humor (something that I relied on in my childhood) with my love of self-improvement, wisdom, and good books. What’s happening here is that I’m combining the stuff I used to do as a kid with the stuff I like to do now as an adult. The final result? A more complete version of me.

So, if you find yourself missing something, something really tough to put your finger on, think about what you liked to be as a kid. Don’t ask yourself what you wanted to be when you grew up. Ask yourself what you already were when you were a kid. The difference here is that you probably wanted to be an astronaut, but nowadays you don’t give a damn about the orbit of Jupiter.

Combine the stuff you used to do as a kid with the stuff you enjoy doing now as an adult. The final result will be a more complete version of you.

Desire Is The Illusion

You are not your desires.

Whatever you desire is only what you wish you had. But that isn’t you. You are not your imagination. You are not the thing you wish you had. You are that which desires things and circumstances to be this way and not that way.

The law of attraction tells us that the more we imagine what we want, the more likely it is that we’ll get it.

But what if we did the opposite?

What if we had a law of repulsion? What if we were so sickened, so repulsed by our constant wishing and whining for things and circumstances to be a certain way, that it disgusted us?

What if we stopped thinking about the stuff we wanted, and instead focused on doing what mattered most to us everyday?

Then the question becomes, what matters most to us?

This loops back to my earlier point about silly goals. By not focusing so much on getting 10,000 downloads of my podcast, I’m more likely to improve my craft. My craft isn’t to get a bunch of downloads. My craft is to put on a good show for my audience by making my guest forget that they’re on a podcast.

What will you accomplish when you quit grasping, reaching, and pulling at what doesn’t yet exist?

New from Paul

The PLP clip: “Do you know what time it is?”

Do you handle conflict like a child throwing a temper tantrum? Do you sweat if you so much as order an Iced Upside Down Caramel Macchiato from Starbucks? Then listen to Robbie Crabtree’s mini-masterclass on the sacred art of using words (and the lack of words) to get what you want out of life.

If you can’t listen, you can’t ask good questions.

-Robbie Crabtree

Enjoyed this email? Show your friends your exquisite taste in weekly newsletters.

Share Hey Penguin