🦊 Stop Hesitating, Start Publishing
QBF #48 — The fact that you worry is exactly why your work will be genuine, interesting, and unique. It’s because you care.
I’ve been thinking about growth lately. I often reflect on the mindset I had when I started writing this newsletter: going against typical growth advice, flipping the script on the standard metrics of success, and choosing to explore my own curiosities. It’s been working well for me so far. The most important benefit is that I get to keep working on projects that excite me, fuel me, and energize me.
The other powerful benefit is the amazing folks I’ve met along the way. This newsletter is going out to 1,425 subscribers — thank you to each of you for joining me in this journey! As I noted in my last newsletter on curating the vibe, the work I put out creates a unique vibe, and my interactions with those who engage with it become more energizing as a result. This is both expected and surprising to me — expected because that’s how the nature of attraction works, and surprising because of how effective it is at bringing together a community of people with resonant energies. I have the privilege of getting feedback on my ideas through responses to this newsletter, Twitter replies and DMs, Clubhouse, and so on… and my work is far better because of it.
I’ve been getting this sense that there could be more. Not more in terms of volume of people, but in the volume of each person in my proverbial galaxy of stars. I’ve spoken with so many folks who share fascinating ideas with me in private, but they hesitate to share them in public. Maybe you’re one of them. Perhaps you worry that your work isn’t good enough, or that no one cares what you think. (There are, of course, countless other obstacles such as managing your energy or staying motivated, but today I’ll focus on obstacles of self-judgement.)
The fact that you worry is exactly why your work will be genuine, interesting, and unique. It’s because you care. But while you fret about how it might be received, countless others who seek to manipulate and divide are publishing with abandon. They don’t stop to think. They pollute the discourse of our world with no thought to the long term impacts. We can’t always control polluters, but we can counter them with genuine, thoughtful work. We can be the trees that breathe clean air into our polluted atmosphere. Let’s tip the balance in favor of genuine creators.
I’m here to ask you, plead with you:
Stop hesitating. Start publishing. (Please!)
I explored this call-to-action in a new video I’ve published to YouTube, which I hope gives you a tiny spark to push your idea forward. Beyond the need for rebalance, I speak about overcoming our fears of judgement, and how we can find the path to better work by trudging through the mud of our mediocre work. We must do the work to get to our best — and we only earn that privilege by putting ourselves out there. We must take the bold step of entering the stage.
Remember, too, that you’re not alone in this struggle. Count me as at least one person who’s here and willing to help! I try my best to read and respond to every single reply — send me your questions, ideas, thoughts and fears. I’ll do my best to support you, even if that just means serving as a sounding board. I don’t write to grow my following, I write to grow my friends. And friends look out for each other.
I’m learning that my role as a creator goes beyond my own creations. I want to unlock and accelerate the creativity of others. I resonated strongly with Sam Lessin’s recent advice on growing a following — he cautioned against growing too fast, instead suggesting a slower approach that builds healthier relationships along the way:
Contrast that with people who organically and naturally built followings slowly, comprised of people who are actually interested in them, want to hear what they have to say, etc… By and large, those people have much healthier relationships on social media.
When I think about the energy of this ‘slow growth’ approach, I’m reminded of the tale of the tortoise and the hare. Clearly, the winning strategy is to exude 🐢 energy. But as you know, my spirit animal is 🦊. This made me wonder: What if I combined the two? Smart as a 🦊 and steady as a 🐢?
With that dubious prompt, I grabbed my digital pencil, and Finny the furtle was born:
Stay smart and keep steady, my friends.
The Forest That’s Actually A Tree — In a recent newsletter, I shared some thoughts on finding meaning in the mundane, titling it Missing the Trees for the Forest as a coy turn-of-phrase. I later discovered my imaginary expression is not so imaginary after all. This short clip from Minute Earth shares the story of Pando, the worlds largest organism, which looks like it is an entire forest but is actually a single tree! Nature's sense of humor is one-of-a-kind.
Time Rebels — In an earlier video I published on the meaning and purpose of work, I shared my views on the need for an independent ‘philosophical arm’ in government to think about long term needs, and whether our existing systems (e.g. capitalism) are actually serving us in the way we need them to. In response, reader Nichola Sherriff shared this wonderful video on Time Rebels with me. It offers a fascinating look into the idea of embracing our role as individuals to think more long-term, and it highlights how certain governments have started to install positions and teams in order to do this work.
Until next time,
🌎 salman.io | 🐦 @daretorant
"I’ve spoken with so many folks who share fascinating ideas with me in private, but they hesitate to share them in public." That's the problem: we're much more comfortable sharing with friends than we are sharing with the public - and really, for most people "public" might just be 10 or 20 people. Few writers write to the general public. (You know, Ryan Holiday, Tim Ferriss, that level). Start adding a few more people to the list of folks who might see our work and it terrifies us. But the worst stuff happens in our heads - our judgments of our work.
"But while you fret about how it might be received, countless others who seek to manipulate and divide are publishing with abandon." Great point. People with good intentions need as much abandon as those with bad intentions. The problem, I think, is that people with good intentions tend to be humble. They think "who am I to..." and so they don't speak out. because they think their ideas don't hold any merit. But they do hold merit, generally. Speak up!
Great post as always, Salman.
Cool post. I just started my Substack last November and, although it doesn’t stop me from publishing, I always have this fear that my newsletter won’t be interesting to people and that I actually don’t know what I’m doing. But I’ll keep going and hopefully it will get better with time. Cheers!