Lowering the shields and exposing your flaws

Earlier today, I came across the following post by Tim Ferris which talks about the ongoing challenge and sometimes outright fear that most of us have when it comes to thinking about giving a speech, writing an article, series of articles, publishing a book or when giving a major presentation, Ted talk, etc.

I first discovered Tim Ferris from reading his book The 4 – Hour Work Week a number of years ago which started me down the path of playing around with both life and work productivity hacks. Packed with useful content, some obvious and some not so obvious tips on how to turn things around. It’s an enjoyable read, filled with a number of great personal/professional productivity tips, useful insights and humorous stories from Tim’s own journey.

It’s fair to say that reading his book one Christmas a number of years ago and along with a number of other books from the same genre, triggered my slow and sometimes painful awakening into the world of hacking my way towards improving the way I approach things in life, from both a personal and work perspective. While I’ve only scratched the surface to date and have failed more times than I’ve succeeded, there have also been some notable wins along the way which keep me keen to explore further.

People likely look at him with all his exploits, publications, successful tech investments, global speaking etc and likely think he has his life sorted. As a result, some people hate the guy and everything about him, while others love him, swear by his advice and follow his exploits.

Personally, I just liked what his writings and various experiments triggered within me to start evaluating my own situation. The way he explained why and how he attacked productivity problems while giving practical steps on how you or I could do the same.

Refreshingly in his blog post below he opens up, saying that he’s as messed up as the rest of us when it comes to the fears, paranoia, self-doubt, etc when trying to deal with both work and life situations, then goes into detail how he personally approaches dealing with those challenges.

In his post: “Productivity” Tricks for the Neurotic, Manic-Depressive, and Crazy (Like Me) there’s the quote below which for me sums up nicely what I feel when I’m trying to get something more substantial than a tweet out the door.

“The moment that you feel that, just possibly, you’re walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself. That’s the moment you may be starting to get it right.”– Neil Gaiman University of the Arts Commencement Speech

I must have been in a similar frame of mind to Tim when I penned this blog post “Congratulations you’ve failed, now what?”. It was the first blog post where I lowered my Teflon shield, unbuckled the body armour, exposed some frailties along with how I personally try (and regularly fail) to address them.

Short excerpt from that post:
I fail every day, I fail with family, friends, work, projects and in hundreds of other ways. Over time, I’m learning that failure while sometimes very painful at the time and might take a long time to get over is something that I have some level of control over and can learn from.

  • If I blindly do what I did before, I will likely fail again.
  • If I modify what I did before I may still fail or I may succeed.
  • If I reflect on why I might have failed I’m more likely to succeed.
  • Failure is an opportunity to learn, failure is not always a bad thing.
  • Typically I can recover from failure, it may hurt, it may take time.
  • There is no shame in admitting that you were wrong and asking for help.

But hey, what do I know, I probably failed to adequately proofread this post before posting it!”

It’s been one of my most popular posts to date but was one of the most excruciating posts for me to write, because I was laying bare for all to see my flaws rather than hiding behind the usual Teflon shield.

To be continued…

Also by Niall O’Gorman