Why Do I Expose Myself So Much?



I wrote one very embarrassing story a few years ago and it got popular and I got a lot of pageviews, a lot of emails, and even a death threat.

I made new friends. It had been a long time since I had made new friends. Maybe ten years.

So I wrote more. I wrote the most brutal, revealing stories I could think of. Really embarrassing and painful stuff.

I didn’t care if they put me in a good light or a bad light. Entertain, honesty, and help, are my guidelines.

Honesty is not good or bad. “Good” or “Bad” are man-made. Truth is truth. But then everyone gets polarized. “He is THIS!” and “THAT!”

People would say things: “this is like watching a train wreck while it’s happening”.

The same people would write me on the side and say: “the same thing happened to me. Don’t tell anyone.” Because none of us are perfect but people try to be.

It took too much energy to pretend. Why be fake? I wanted to help people. To show that the path to meaning is riddled with misery and failure, rejection and discovery. Discovery about who you are.

Many of us wake up scared, anxious, nervous. Me too. Every day. Am I good enough? Will I survive? Will I thrive? I’m scared. Yes, yes. Me too.

I’m afraid, though. I’m always afraid. I like to be liked. What would happen to me?

But then it got bigger. More people were starting to come to my blog. I started holding Q&A sessions on Twitter.

I was seeing the kind of worries people had. We live in a time where many people are scared. Where so much uncertainty looms over our future.

  • “I’m afraid I’m going to get fired, what should I do?”
  • “I’m depressed and suicidal all the time”
  • “How can I find my passion in life so I can start to love what I do?”
  • “My boss hates me, what should I do?”
  • “My boyfriend left me and I have to support a kid and I have no job, what should I do?”
  • “I’m anxious all the time. Help!?”
  • “Should I send my kid to college?”
  • “Is it ok yet to buy a home?”

I’ve gotten over 40,000 questions in almost 200 Q&A sessions.

I would never answer directly. Who am I to answer another living being’s questions?

This is the problem I have with most blogs. Everyone writes from “authority”. In a world of mice, there is no one mouse with authority.

I would find where INSIDE myself I related with a story. I would feel the pain in my own body and try to tease it out with words. Sometimes it would come out, like a snake being charmed.

Then I would write my story. When did the question apply to ME! What did I DO to help myself. Sometimes I did things that worked and sometimes they didn’t.

But overall I learned.

Our true stories often show the dark side of ourselves. Without the darkness, how can we find the light?

I simply told what happened to me. When I was depressed. When I was suicidal. When I was an addict of some form or other. When I blew shit up. When shit blew up on me.

When I failed at businesses or relationships. When I lost control. When I had too much control. When I ugh, argh, and blahhed.

And in each of those situations, I described what I did. Perhaps I reveal too much. Who cares?

I then wrote a book. People who didn’t read the book said, “he wrote it for money” but if they looked at the first page they would see that I offered all the money back OR I offered to donate the full price to “Women for Women International” a charity I strongly believe in.

I let that offer run for three months, losing money on every single person who took me up on that offer.

I don’t say this to brag. The number of people who took me up on this offer was less than 2%. But I didn’t know that in advance. Claudia was afraid it would be 40%.

But as I mentioned in the first page, I wanted the message to get out to as many people as possible. I didn’t want to write yet another bullshit self-help book that would lie useless on your bookshelf.

I wanted it to have MEANING for people. To help people. If it didn’t help people, they could get their money back.

And it worked. Just seven months later over 100,000 people now have bought the book so far and rights have been sold in about ten countries.

Some people ask me: why do I expose so much about my failures? Won’t it cost me opportunities?

Won’t people think less of me? Will it cost me money and jobs and friends and won’t that then ruin my life?

Yes. Yes it will. And it did. My life turned upside down in horrible and painful ways.

I couldn’t believe the people who stabbed me. Sometimes my own family and friends. Sometimes people who never met me.

Writing honestly has cost me many opportunities. I did not grow up with a privileged background. I have nothing to fall back on.

My opportunities and reputation are all I have and I put it all out there for people to use or mis-use.

But then a funny thing happened on the way here.

Suddenly really special and magical people started to appear in my life. More than I could’ve imagined. My idea muscle went on fire.

I’ve been broke and desperate so many times. I was sick of it. And when I started blogging, I was really going nowhere in life.

I’ve created more abundance than ever since I started focusing on what I considered “my art” (which is a bullshit phrase but there it is) and forgot all about money. Money is just a side effect of abundance. It’s not the same as abundance.

Have I made enemies?

Of course!

People get upset when they read things they can’t understand. People who wear the cover of politics or economics or “guru” or “perfect” or “smart”.

People who are still afraid to reveal what’s underneath. The real person who we are. Nobody is smart. We’re all here for a tiny speck and during that time we do the best we can do, that’s it and nothing more.

But some people don’t like to see themselves in the mirror. So they attack and unleash. Something happens to them that I bet they don’t even understand.

They get angry and terrified at the same time. Sometimes they react to me through emails. Sometimes blogs. Sometimes phone calls. Sometimes they indulge in the outrage porn so common on the Internet.

I’ve had death threats. I’ve lost friendships in very hurtful ways. I’ve had people take out of context things I’ve said to try and put me in a bad light for reasons I’ll never understand.

And I don’t try to understand. What’s the point?

The most precious thing we have is our life energy. To use and waste and destroy that energy on things that are “crappy” (people or situations) is the fastest way to lose our life force.

I can’t ever let a crappy person become important enough for me to deal with. I can’t ever let a crappy situation waste my energy.

Energy builds up all of the time. But only if you don’t waste it. And when it builds up, the things that happen are beyond belief.

I will tell you what I truly believe in. This is my personal religion:

I believe the universe is curious. The universe’s only goal is to learn through our eyes.

It’s not here to help us solve our problems. It could care less. It wants us to have problems so it can see how WE solve them.

It can lend a helping hand, but only if we don’t waste energy fighting the fuckness around us.

I like to solve my problems. And then write about how I did it in an entertaining way. I spend all day studying how other writers work. And then I try to write 1/10 as well as them in order to share my experiences.

I do this now completely selfishly. Because of you. Because I’ve met you, my new friends, on this exciting journey.

Thanks for reading me.

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