Warning: This Letter Might Make You High

A Life Worth Living | Feb 11, 2023

Every Saturday I share a story about my life in a way that you can hopefully relate to. I believe we are all here to share our journey, both the highs and the lows, as this is how we collectively raise the consciousness of the planet. If anything resonates with you, please share! πŸ™

Is what you're creating the equivalent of a McDonald's McFlurry?

That's not meant to be disparaging and I'm not here to call out anyone specifically, but stick with me here.

If you think about nature of mass media, be it TV shows, magazines, blog articles, podcasts, Instagram posts or TikTok reels, most people create content in the hopes that it will reach the widest audience.

So what we're left with is a lot of 'carb-loaded' content that fills you up in the short term, but leaves you feeling hungry afterwards.

Robots Don't Cry

With the explosion of ChatGPT-3 content appearing seemingly overnight, it's becoming more important for anyone creating content to separate themselves from the pack. The way you do that is by creating non-obvious content.

Jay Acunzo lays out the case succinctly in his recent essay, How We Got Here: the Real Reason So Many Creators Worry About Chatgpt and Generative AI. This is one of many highlights:

β€œIf you know how to imbue your work with things that feel personal, then AI is your intern. If you create things that are formulaic, that just about anyone in your space could have created, then AI is your replacement.β€œ

Jay Acunzo

My belief is that the people that are creating something unique and special will be the ones that stand out and build an audience. As someone looking to contribute to humanity, I want to always ensure I don't forget to include the 'human' aspect of my journey.

One of the books I'm currently reading is Snow Leopard: How Legendary Writers Create A Category Of One by Christopher Lochhead, Nicolas Cole, and Eddie Yoon. A trio that has released a series of books under the collective of Category Pirates πŸ΄β€β˜ οΈ . Now see? This is a group that knows how not to take themselves too seriously.

In the book, the authors talk about the difference between being a thought leader (I know this term is approaching mouth-barf levels) and being perceived as one. They argue that most people want to be seen as thought leaders without actually having to contribute new and meaningful ideas. This results in the creation of "Blinding Glimpses of the Obvious" (BGOs) in the form of non-threatening content that is easily digestible and unlikely to cause controversy. Sound familiar?

To be a real thought leader, they write, one must lead with their thoughts, take the world to new places and be willing to think deeply about their audience and the difference they want to make.

This strontly resonates with me and it's something I'm always conscious of when I sit down to write these letters.

The book outlines five levels to becoming a legendary writer, creator and thought leader. The first level is consumption, followed by curation, obvious connection, non-obvious connection and category creation.

Empty Intellectual Calories Suck

The authors argue that those who want to make a difference must divorce themselves from public approval and be willing to create meaningful and non-obvious content that takes time to understand. AKA, the hard stuff.

Most people are content consumers, not content creators, and this can lead to what they've called 'intellectual morbid obesity' where they continue to consume empty intellectual calories without contributing their own ideas.

The book contrasts the work of Nassim Nicholas Taleb (author of The Black Swan) and Gary Vee, with the former being a Non-Obvious Connector and the latter being an Obvious Connector. The authors point out that aspiring writers, creators, and industry thought leaders often make the mistake of wanting the impact of Taleb but measuring success like Gary Vee.

If your goal is short-term impact, then you can keep creating obvious connections, but to have a long-term impact and build a unique and differentiated category, one must create non-obvious connections.

It's important to keep in mind that readers, listeners, viewers and potential customers are not looking for the creator but for the category that the creator has built.

Not that this should be the goal but, if done well, a successful and differentiated category can lead to multiple revenue streams in the form of digital products, physical products, services, tools and ongoing education.

The experience we want our audience to have is akin to a "Thinker's High" which provides a rush of endorphins and changes the way one sees the world. I go into each one of these letters with this intention. I don't always feel like I succeeded, but that gives me more room to grow!

3 Key Takeaways From Snow Leopard

  1. To be a real thought leader, lead with your thoughts and create meaningful and non-obvious content.

  2. Most people are content consumers, not content creators, and to have a short-term impact, you should create obvious connections.

  3. To build a unique and differentiated category, create non-obvious connections that push the boundaries of what is already known and accepted.

It's been one of my most highlighted books recently and really had me take a close look at what I create, with an eye towards formulating new and unique takes that give you a fresh perspective on the world and make you think different.

Your marching orders for next week: Create Non-Obvious content!

πŸ™ with gratitude,


Wall of Love

OK, this is a section I made up just so I could give a shout out to loyal reader Robert, who was kind enough to mention me in a tweet this week! πŸ™

What I Created This Week

🎧 Vertical Farming Podcast (Season 7) sponsored by Cultivatd

🎧 Podcast Junkies sponsored by Focusrite

πŸ™‹β€β™€οΈ P.S. When You're Ready...

Here are a few of ways I can help…

✑️ Download a free copy of my Conscious Voice Expansion Plan. The most powerful way to transmit and elevate your voice is with a podcast. This plan will outline for you the pillars of success needed prior to the launch of your show!

πŸŽ₯ Watch my free video, 5 Key Pillars of a Profitable Podcast that every business owner needs to know prior to launching their show.

πŸŽ™οΈ Subscribe to Podcast Junkies + Vertical Farming Podcast to hear inspiring stories guaranteed to make you a better host.

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