Hey Penguin: You Need To Clean Your Room + Coach Steven Diaz on Leadership

A preview of a draft of a long-form writing project (a book, maybe)

Photo credit: r/shittyfoodporn

Hey, it’s Paul. 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.

New from Paul

Here’s a preview of a book I’m writing. It’s called (subject to change):

You Need To Have A Life: A Penguin Latte Guide to Living A Life That Isn't Bad


  • There will be somewhere between 20-30 chapters. Some chapters will be short, some chapters will be long.

  • Every chapter begins with a Friedrich Nietzsche quote. Every. Chapter.

  • It will cost money (but I’ll be dropping previews here and on my blog)

  • I wrote it. Not Margaret Atwood. Me. I’m the one who wrote it.

  • It’s like a self-help book for people who don’t like self-help books but still want to help their self(?).

  • The book will have a cover. I don’t know what the cover will look like.

  • I’ll probably release it before the end of 2020. I’ve yet to give myself a deadline.

  • You won’t like the book.

  • You will like the book.

You Need To Clean Your Room

"There are no beautiful surfaces without a terrible depth."

Here's a picture of my room.


And here's a picture of me.


Can you see all my beautiful thoughts? Can you see how wonderful my life is? Every second, an iridescent image of a world free of oppression, injustice, violence and White Claws rushes past my eyes. I've achieved nirvana. I've opened my 6 gates of Chakra. I've defeated all my demons. I'm now ready to write the next best-selling self-help New York Times Bestselling Salesforce sensation.

How is this possible?

Because I've cleaned my room.

Psh. As if. Get out of here with that Marie Kondo nonsense.

Actually, we're about to get real Marie Kondo, real fast.

Dr. Jordan B. Peterson has a personal monopoly on clean rooms. You've probably heard the spiel before: clean your room, slay the dragon. Yadda yadda, you get it. But let's humor the Canadian psychologist for a second. Let's start with a presupposition. Your room is a physical manifestation of your mind. And if that's true, what happens when you clean it? Do you transcend this limited, fleshy experience? Do you reach nirvana and smoke a blunt with the ghost of Post Malone in the 22nd dimension? Does a vacuum cleaner have the same effect on our consciousness as a microdose of LSD?

Probably not. But you should still clean your room. Because the effect it will have on your mind is just as mind-altering as a hit of your favorite psychedelic.

Look at this runway.


Wrap your head around this runway. What do you see? How does this runway make you feel? Does it help you reconnect with your deadbeat father? Does it remind you of your family, friends, all those beautiful people you easily take for granted? Rest your eyes. Close the blinds. Make room in your calendar to take in this runway and all its concrete pleasure. Breathe it in. Let it envelope your soul. If you're getting a phone call from Betty, let it go to voicemail. Betty can wait. All Betty ever does is call you to complain about her sickly aunt.

Ignore Betty. Look at the runway.

Pay attention to how the runway makes you feel. Close your eyes. Listen to your heartbeat. Focus on your breath. Focus on the breath coming in through the nose and out through the mouth. Pinch your index fingers to your thumbs. Sit upright. And when you start losing focus, return to your breath.

"Meditation is not evasion; it is a serene encounter with reality.”
Thich Nhat Hanh

Doesn't this feel great? This is what you've been missing. We get so caught up in the day to day routine, the hustle and bustle of our lives. When we get so busy that we lose sight of ourselves. We forget about how amazing life is when we stop to appreciate everything we have. There's no need to wish and desire and grasp for what we could have. Instead, we can appreciate the moment for what it is.

But like the ocean, our thoughts can crash down on our ship of consciousness like an Atlantic hurricane in June. And that's okay. That's natural. When we meditate, we come face to face with unresolved internal conflict. It won't be easy, this journey through your consciousness. But you're strong enough to deal with these difficult thoughts and feelings. I believe in you. Meditate for as long as you need. If you can't yet make it to twenty minutes, that's okay. Come back tomorrow. I'll still be here. I'll be ready and waiting for when you return. Be easy on yourself. Let yourself relax every once in awhile. Meditation is to be enjoyed, not to be treated like a cram session before the day of an exam.

I'll give you a few minutes. Once you get back, we're going to take a deeper look at our friend The Runway. And don't worry, I promise that by analyzing it, The Runway will keep its magic.

Do you still have the picture of the runway in your mind? NO? You've forgotten it already? You imbeci-- no, no, it's okay. I'll show it to you again. Look, I won't even make you flip back to the previous page (or scroll up if you're reading this on your Personal Computer).


This is what your room should look like.

Your room should be a runway for good thoughts.

By cleaning your room, you invite the airplanes of good thoughts to land on the tarmac of your mind. By cleaning your room, you open yourself up to new possibilities. By cleaning your room, you allow other planes from other runways to come and land on the tarmac of your mind, and populate your brain with foreign, fresh ideas.

I know what you're thinking. "Tarmac of your mind? Planes of thoughts landing and soaring through the sky? I thought this book was supposed to be free of any woo-woo nonsense. What the hell is this Marie Kondo Rhonda Byrne bullshit?"

Fair enough. You're right. You've reached the most woo-woo nonsense chapter of this book (besides the one about cats). But unlike the Law of Attraction, this idea is falsifiable. You can run the experiment for a few days and try it out yourself. Clean your room and see what happens. You don't need to do it perfectly. Start with the smallest corner of your room. Tidy it up. Get those dirty clothes off the floor. Donate your old stuff to goodwill. Throw away those old bottles of PBR and 7-11 iced coffee.

It's exhausting work, isn't it?

Here's a few ways to make it fun.

  • Listen to music while you clean your room (see chapter on music for recommendations)

  • Listen to a podcast while you clean your room (I recommend mine. Hey, this is my book. I'll plug myself all I want.)

  • Invite your friends over to watch you clean your room.

  • Reject your friends invitation to go cow-tipping because you've got a room to clean.

  • Get hammered, clean your room, and wake up the next morning with a tattoo (???)

  • Take a picture of your clean room, post it on social with the hashtag #hashtagcleanroom, and enter a sweepstakes to win a free meal at Benihanas (see disclaimer below).

A room unorganized is a mind unorganized. You can't know where you're going, what you're doing, and with whom you're doing it when your room is as messy as Uncle Craig's Thursday Sloppy Joes.

A room full of garbage is a mind full of garbage.

A room clean and inviting is a mind clean and inviting.

You need to clean your room.

New from The Penguin Latte Podcast

I sat down with Steven Diaz last week to talk about coaching, leadership, creativity, and why it’s so hard for many of us to believe we’re capable of doing work we’re proud of. Steven’s a wild one. He’s energetic, magnetic, and most importantly, he cares about people. And that means, he cares about you.

I do believe that a lot of leaders could take coaching more seriously to unlock a lot more in others.
Steven Diaz

And here’s a preview of my conversation with my buddy Daniel Bustamante. Daniel’s got a brilliant mind for art, communication, and how to set yourself up to be smarter and more creative.

PS: Does The Penguin Latte Podcast remind you of the excitement of fresh presents on Christmas morning? If so, please consider leaving a review on Apple Podcasts/Itunes. It takes all of 60 seconds (or 120 seconds if you’re feeling extra spicy). By leaving a review, you’re making the podcast 1% better. So, if 500 of you leave reviews, the podcast gets 500% better (if I have my math right). Plus, I love reading all of your juicy comments. Thanks so much!

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