I’ve been on a weird path this year. Early in the year, I wanted to improve my marathon time, so I needed something to listen to while I ran. That brought me to the “Joe Rogan Experience” podcast.
A Surprising Message
I didn’t listen because I’m a fan of his MMA career, or even because he’s a comedian; I just really liked his guests. Rogan brings all kinds of different people on his podcast to talk about everything from ancient civilizations to moon landing conspiracies. One person he brought on the show who really stuck with me was Penn Jillette, the magician.
Jillette is best known as being half of the Penn and Teller magic duo with Raymond Teller, but he is also an expert skeptic. During his interview on “JRE,” Jillette talked about how he used to be really stuck in his beliefs. Once he’d made up his mind about something, his knee jerk reaction was to shut down whenever everyone brought up a contrary opinion. He wasn’t interested in learning new things. Jillette described it as “joining a team.”
“I realized I didn’t want to be on any team,” Jillette said. “I want to be one of the 108 billion people who have lived on this planet.”
Top 3 Books of 2019
Jillette went on to talk about how he learned to be open-minded and explore new ways of thinking. This really resonated with me. So often we join a political party team, a religious belief team, or a brand of car team, and decide everyone else who isn’t on “your team” is wrong and dumb. This is a pretty close-minded way of living.
I took Jillette’s message with me into everything else I’ve done this year. This is really obvious when you look at what I’ve been reading. In years past, I’ve read or listened to mostly business books. This year, my personal library has evolved quite a bit. Here are a few of my favorite books I read this last year.
“Own Your Day, Own Your Life” by Aubrey Marcus
This is a book I ended up reading because Aubrey Marcus is business partners with Joe Rogan. I really enjoyed this book. It was all about reinventing your daily routine to get better control over your life. There were strategies I adopted when looking at my own routine.
“Can’t Hurt Me” by David Goggins
I’ve talked about this book at great length before. This is another book I found through “JRE,” after Rogan had David Goggins on his show. Goggins is a Navy Seal and ultra-endurance athlete who is just about the most inspirational person I know. His memoir shows what we’re really capable of when we get out of our own way.
“The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield
Not to be confused with “That Art of War,” Steven Pressfield’s book talks about how our resistance to new ideas leads to a creative sump. Artists, entrepreneurs, and even athletes struggle to express themselves creatively. This leads to a struggle to accomplish our goals. Pressfield looks at how to open your mind and tap into your creativity.
I have learned so much this year. They aren’t all lessons I incorporated into my life or even things I necessarily agreed with, but I’m glad I learned about them. This year has broadened my mind and expanded the way I see the world. It’s a great feeling.
I think we’re all guilty of joining teams without realizing it. There are things we decide about ourselves that suddenly put us in an “us versus them” mentality. It’s great to have our beliefs, but that shouldn’t come at the cost of learning something new. Rather than join a bunch of teams, I’d rather keep an open mind and learn what the world has to offer.
Thanks for reading,
Randy Sklar, CEO
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