Sick and Tired

I’m alive! It was touch and go for a while, but I made it through about a week of being sick. Aside from a persistent cough, I got better yesterday, which was my birthday, so this is the first day I’ve had to catch up on things. I owe people some readings and phone calls, you know who you are, I’m on it!

PeterMichaud.com Begins Video Casting

In the spirit of expanding my horizons, I taught myself all I could in a short period about shooting video. After some initial failures, I feel like I’ve now turned my video-producing enterprise into something passable enough to make public. Some keen observers may have noticed that I put the video up on my about page for a few days. That is the very first of many videos I will produce. It’s not the about page now, but you can see it at the bottom of this post.

Honestly, the “first” video you see here is my third attempt. The first was riddled with a plethora of issues. The second attempt solved many of the issues, but I had tested my new microphone on my computer without realizing that my camera would just about double the gain. I also didn’t double check how it actually sounded via the headphone jack in the camera.

I was pulling my hair out in frustraion

This is what happened to my hair. Tragic.

Gain: it’s the sensitivity of a microphone—the amount of sound that goes in. If you set it too high, background noise becomes overwhelming. If you set it too low, it won’t pick up the audio you actually want.

Did you know that? I sure didn’t before I started down this path. In any case, the audio in my second attempt was unusable.

So I went back, reset the gain, even set up the whole studio for a test shot for only a few seconds, that I imported and tested on my computer just in case I had gotten it wrong. I also had to get Adobe Soundbooth instead of the open source audio software Audacity that I had been using. That’s because Soundbooth integrates with Premiere, but Audacity doesn’t, and to really get rid of the background noise (even with the good audio) I had to use one or the other.

I’ve learned a lot in the past months, from lighting and makeup, to audio and video post-production. It’s a steep learning curve, but I’m pretty happy with how everything looks. The biggest problem now is that I’m not polished enough on camera. I’ve spent years honing how I come across in writing, and only a precious few hours on video. My taste is better than my skill to make videos. That will come with practice.

I know I come across as stiff and insincere in the video, and I’m going to be working on that in the coming weeks and months. I want my energy to really come through, and it’s really not yet. I know this.

I put my “art gallery” out into the world, and embarrassing or not, that’s the first step to achieving my goals.

The Post That Will Change Your Life

… isn’t this one. Sorry about that.

I’ve been skipping my usual Friday posts for two weeks now. You might think I’m slacking, but actually I’m just expressing my inner non-communicative workaholic. Non-communicative because I should’ve warned you two and a half weeks ago, when I first planned my radio silence. I always expect things to go faster than they do. Workaholic because I’ve been hard at work during that time on a project that might change your life.

I’ve met a lot of people drifting through life. I’ve been one of them. Even those of you who have dreams and goals often don’t understand why you aren’t getting closer to achieving them.

This project will change that, if you let it. Later this week I’ll write about why you’re stagnant, and about what you can do about it. Then I’ll release the project I’ve been working on. I don’t want to oversell it, but when I first tried the technique a couple years ago, it set me on my current path into fulfillment and financial freedom. I hope it sets you on the right path too.

Update: Here it is.

Techzing Interview Tuesday March 23rd

TechZing, “News and views from the front-line of tech & startups”, was crazy enough to invite me to do an interview tomorrow at 6:30pm EST. I’m not sure when it will be available for listening, but I’ll be sure to let you know when it’s up.

We’ll be talking about my publishing company, Kenrose Media, and how less than a year of unglamorous work (read: flailing) granted me financial freedom at age 25. We’ll also talk about fear, clarity, and reaching your goals.

here I am, naked and vulnerable before you, in soul-deep honesty

On a personal note, I had strange, heartbreaking weekend. The details are boring, but let me leave you with this: you should be brutally, radically honest with someone you care about today. Whatever dark secret you’re carrying, whatever burden you think will lead them to reject you, just let it go. Say: I’m terrified to tell you this, but here I am, naked and vulnerable before you, in soul-deep honesty.

I think that simple action may change the course of your life.

Content Survey Results

I let the poll run for two weeks, got plenty of responses, and the results are in.

What kind of content do you want to see?

Getting Your Mind Right: 50%
Productivity Tools: 0%
Building Income: 50%

I’m planning some “Building Income” posts for the near future, look for them. I’m still going to publish some stuff about productivity, but it’ll be put on the back burner for now.

Are you interested in an “Essay Preview” newsletter?

Yes: 66%
No: 33%

So, I’ll be starting a mailing list in the near future. Any suggestions on software?

ps. One response to “what kind of content”:

This site is similar to many other sites that I like, however, yours doesn’t have pornographic images on it. Please add them.

Gold.

The Pete Michaud™ Message

I think what I’m trying to build here is a self-help website. Personal Development for People who aren’t Gullible Fuckheads. Something like that. But a lot of the self-help industry really turns me off because they’re selling something to starry-eyed dupes that is untested and often self-evidently bullshit.

I actually identify more closely with the rationalist movement from places like OvercomingBias/LessWrong than I do with the self help movement. Rationalists are in many ways the real self-helpers, because they actively seek to improve their perception and understanding of the world.

On the other hand, I am also an outlier from rationalists because my focus is on meaningful improvement in life, not about the nuances of logic. They have an important exploratory role to play, but I’m not writing about the frontiers of rationality.

What I’m trying to do is bridge the gap: I want to offer people a chance to improve their lives that’s based on evidence and probable outcomes, instead of anecdotes and magical thinking.

The Main Problem: We’re All Idiots

It’s difficult to think clearly. We aren’t evolved to think correctly, we’re evolved for tribal grandstanding, identifying prey moving across a grassy plain, and avoiding predators.

You will have to abandon the beliefs that comforted you as a child. If you fail to abandon those beliefs, then you’re done.

In addition to your evolutionary inheritance, you were given a set of beliefs as a child about the order of the world, your place in it, and how you are expected to behave and live. Those beliefs are likely to be wrong.

Part of thinking clearly is dumping the accumulated slush out of our brains. That’s painful. Your ego will get bruised. You will have to abandon the beliefs that comforted you as a child. If you fail to abandon those beliefs, then you’re done. You lose. You’re left behind, because you if can’t move on from your schoolyard mythology mentality, then you just won’t ever get what it means to live fearlessly and authentically.

The problem is that our minds are awash in bullshit—a precarious tower of superstitions and self-serving rationalizations left over from the gurgling of a Blind, Idiot God. That’s why a theme in my writing is slashing, burning, tearing, clawing at yourself: it’s about clearing away the cruft in your mind, and exposing the clean slate underneath it all. My goal is to help the ones who already realize their situation and who are looking for the next step.

It hurts to really look in the mirror though. I say “Writing is Thinking” and thousands of people agree. Thousands more think I’m a douche bag desperate to defend my myopic worldview. Aside from a razor thin margin of fence sitters, the people who agreed with me did so because they write, and agreeing with me boosts their ego, while the people who think I’m a bloviating asshat think that because they don’t write and agreeing with me would require they either begin reflective creation, or get comfortable with being shallow.

My goal is to teach people to cut through all that grandstanding. Whether a particular belief makes us feel special isn’t relevant to whether the belief is true. What we need is to look at the world with clear eyes.

Rolling in the Mud

We have to stand up from this shit romp, and look down at all the other pigs rolling around and say: “wait a second, why are we all rolling around in our own shit here?” Then we need to figure out what we should be doing instead of shitrolling. After we figure out a plan for what we do now, we need to attack it like a wild animal until we can drag it home and gorge on its liver. Yummy.

The Process

The process goes like this:

  1. Learn to Think Clearly
  2. Use your ability to think clearly to make a plan
  3. Execute the plan

And that process informs itself, so if you learn to think a little more clearly than you thought yesterday, you change the plan a bit based on your new understanding. And so it goes.

My work here is to share insight about how to think clearly, how to plan effectively, and how to execute your plans.

Magic of the Mundane

But that doesn’t capture it all, otherwise this would be easy. Pete Michaud™ would be the “think clearly and achieve your goals” guy. There’s more. There’s the part where you actually exist—you are not the plans you execute, as Tyler Durden might say. You have to look at snowflakes, you have to be in love, you have to get your face pounded at least once in your life or you’re missing it.

You’re here on planet Earth, maybe just this once, so you should try really hard to be here. You should play with toys, and act like an idiot. You should chat up a hotty that’s out of your league. You should roll around on the grass with your dog, even if you’re in public.

Clear your mind. Consciously choose your life. Give roses to someone you love. That’s the Pete Michaud™ Message.