It’s 9am. I’m sat in my pants.
In a cafe in Camden.
I’m learning to be more shameless.
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Well, that’s a little misleading.
They’re yoga pants for a start.
And I’m one of four people in here wearing similar. (There’s only one bloke in his underpants. I have far more shame than him.)
The last bit is true though:
I am learning to be more shameless.
It’s a real requirement for running a startup.
Allow me to elaborate.
First of all- what is shame?
Here’s Google’s take…
Humiliation or distress; that’s the relevant point.
Because shame doesn’t happen in vacuum. It stems from how we think others see us. That’s what causes the distress.
The good news is it’s usually misplaced.
Room for Improvement
Shame is irrational.
I spent many of my younger years governed by it.
Even the 2019 silent retreat that proceeded Unplugged: It took me months to get over myself and book it.
What will people think? I thought.
But that retreat cleared up a lot for me. I came back far more shameless. Far less worried what everyone else thought.
That was enough to start Unplugged.
I’m grateful. No retreat and I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now. Shame is paralysing, and when it comes to Startups the first step is the hardest one.
But here we are, I made it through.
And yet, it doesn’t get easier.
I’d love to tell you I haven’t cared what people thought since. But it’s not true. The truth is everyday I could be more shameless.
I could ask for help more, pick up the phone more, put myself out there more.
I’m 1000 times better than I was but there’s still a long way to go.
I’m working on it.
So why is it important?
90% of startups fail. Let’s start there.
It’s hard. Surprisingly so. Hard to learn fast enough, build fast enough, improve fast enough.
Reid Hoffman’s bang on:
You need to learn how to build that plane. And quickly.
The good news is that the answers are out there. There’s someone who has the answer for every problem you face. You’ve just got to find them.
That’s where being shameless comes in handy. Figure out the best person to help and just ask. It’s as simple as that.
I’m not constitutionally built for asking for help.
Deep down I guess I don’t want to bother people.
But I’m learning there too.
People generally want to help. The blocker is us. It’s our ego.
So there you have it. My two cents.
Be a little shameless this week.
What’s the worst that could happen?
My Week in Books📚
The Man from the Future by Ananyo Bhattacharya
The life of John Von Neumann. Probably the greatest mind of the 20th century. 70 years later his work is still the cornerstone of everything from Computing to Game Theory to Genetics.
A remarkable character and a wonderful book
I’ll be updating the books I’ve read this year here. Any recommendations? Let me know! See 2021’s books here.
A Final Thought 💡
“Asking for help is never a sign of weakness. It's one of the bravest things you can do.”
― Lily Collins
Great one, I think we all can benefit from caring a bit less about what others think. Does wonders for our mental health, creativity, and overall enjoyment of life.