Book Review: Reach Out by Molly Beck

I got this book after seeing Zak Slayback show it on an Instagram post. I decided to read it because I wanted to know a bit more about how to create and cultivate relationships.

This book gave me solid advice on effective email etiquette, but perhaps more importantly it made me realize how many opportunities I’ve been leaving on the table by not reaching out regularly. I always felt it should be a rare thing to reach out, especially when it came to people you had no connection with.

I was shocked when I read that Molly advocated reaching out to 5 new people a week! Then I thought about it and realized, “why wouldn’t you?” Why not make it a routine to reach out? I could see nothing but upside if you do that.

Here are some of the benefits if you do it regularly:

  • You will increase your network
  • You will become a killer email composer, and a more effective communicator overall.
  • You will get less hung up if someone doesn’t respond or if you get rejected after making an ask.
  • You will make other people feel good, since every email should include a compliment and a gift. (a gift could be a book recommendation, an invitation to an event, some sort of e-favor etc.)

There are four types of reach outs (or ROs):

  • The Re-RO: Reaching Out to someone you already know from the past or is on the edge of your network. This one has the highest response rate.
  • The Follow-up RO: Reaching Out to someone you have met in passing in real life and want to build a deeper connection to
  • The Borrowed Connection RO: Reaching Out to a friend of a friend who has suggested you two should know each other
  • The Cool RO: Reaching Out to someone who you have no direct connection to at this time, formally known as the cold email. This one has the lowest response rate.

The thought of reaching out is very scary, especially when it comes to meeting someone person-to-person. Looks like it’s about time to face my fear though. Wish me luck.


Favorite Quote:

“You have to reach out to get noticed. You have to volunteer to stand in the spotlight. You have to raise your hand. You have to send the first email. You still might fail to be noticed if you do these things, but you definitely won’t be noticed if you wait for somebody else to reach out to you. So what are you waiting for? Reach out!”

Radical Self-Acceptance

Radical Self-Acceptance

Today I started reading Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach. It crossed my radar because Tim Ferris has strongly recommended it in the past. I gotta say, so far it's looking to be a book that I didn't know I so desperately needed. 

In the beginning, Dr Brach told a story of a woman who was on her deathbed. Before she passed, she was able to reveal this profound and heartbreaking insight to her daughter:

You know, all my life I thought something was wrong with me

For me, this really hit close to home because it's what I believed for so much of my life. It also made me think of how horribly damaging this feeling of unworthiness can be. For example, it can lead to a drug addiction or dependence upon an abusive partner. 

This is not part of the book (at least not that I'm aware of yet) but I think this feeling of unworthiness exists largely because of how we are treated as children. It comes from being told that we are "bad" or "wrong" for expressing ourselves in such a way that an adult doesn't approve of. 

In a more indirect way, it can also come from the belief in original sin.

Evidently, most of us are raised so that our acceptance of ourselves is strongly tethered to how others feel about us. The stronger this connection is made the more fragile we are. And the more fragile we are, the more we suffer. Think of the people who gauge how they feel by the number of "likes" that they get. 

I think a mentally healthy person generally has an opinion of himself which is unmoved by what others think of him. (Of course, this is excluding the close people who he respects). I think this is a path to true happiness. Or at least a path away from suffering. 

I desperately don't want to live the rest of my life feeling unworthy. Luckily I've already made great progress in getting that out of my system. And I have this blogging journey to thank for that. I'm slowly but surely disconnecting what others think of me from what I think of myself. So far, this has done so much for my own happiness.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to learning the insights that Brach's book has to offer.

Featured image by Grant Ritchie on Unsplash

Effortlessly Listen to YouTube Videos in Podcast Form

Effortlessly Listen to YouTube Videos in Podcast Form

Have you ever wanted to listen to an awesome conference talk from YouTube but needed the freedom to leave your computer desk? One obvious solution you have is to play the video on your phone, but then you run into the annoyance of carrying around a phone with the screen turned on - not only do you have to be careful to not accidentally touch the screen, but it also drains your battery life. 

Needless to say, this was a constant problem of mine. For some reason, I'm always drawn to audio-centric YouTube videos. If only such videos were in podcast form - life would be much simpler.

Take Be. Busta for example, a YouTube channel about horror stories that doesn't put the visual aspect to much use. This channel would be better served as a podcast, in my opinion. Well, now I don't have to nag the creator into making it available in podcast form because I've found the perfect solution for myself:

That solution is podsync.net

With this free tool I'm able to turn any YouTube channel or list into a podcast. 

So how does it work?

The way Podsync works is surprisingly simple. All you have to do is copy and paste the page of the YouTube channel of your choice. Make sure it's the page that has all of the uploads, otherwise it wont work. Once you enter the YouTube url, you will get back a different url. Then, in your podcast app, go to where it says "add podcast manually" and paste that url. Click subscribe and that's it! Now every time there's a new upload on the channel, you will recieve it on your podcast app too.

The coolest thing about this tool is the ability to have your own playlist as a podcast. This is done the same way. Once you have that playlist on your podcast app, you can instantly send any video to that app just by adding it to the playlist. Check out the gif below to see how easy it is:

Now, when I stream the "podcast episode" it automatically starts to play the video. In order to play only the audio, I have to click "done" and then the play button. At that point it gives me the playback option of video or audio. Once I click audio, it's just like listening to a podcast. I use a podcast app called Downcast, so I'm not sure how different things are with other apps. I do know that this tool is not supported on Overcast. 

I think this is an awesome little hack. It sure has streamlined my ability to consume content that I care about.

If you find Podsync helpful too, you might want to consider supporting the creator on Patreon


Photo by William Iven on Unsplash

My Favorite Album (Currently)

Listening to music is something I rarely have done ever since I discovered podcasts. As a result you may find that my music taste is of someone who got stuck in 2012 (the year when I basically stopped listening to new music).

Every once in a while, though, new music slips into my ears, and that is what happened with Maria Mena's album from 2015 called Growing Pains

I discovered this artist through her hit single I Don't Want To See You With Her. Maria's ability to be vulnerable by writing very personal lyrics combined with her voice got me hooked, so I knew I had to hear more.

With all of her insights and wisdom on relationships, listening to this album is almost like therapy. Speaking of which, I wouldn't be surprised if Maria has been through a few sessions herself as her album is filled with honesty and self-awareness. 

Though it's the most simple, my favorite song from the album is Where I Come From. It's a song where she expresses that she doesn't want to repeat her parent's mistakes.

I wish I could find more self-aware artists like Maria Mena.

Listen to the whole incredible album here.

Thoughts On Lady Bird (Movie Review)

Thoughts On Lady Bird (Movie Review)

Yesterday I got the chance to see the movie Lady Bird. Like pretty much everyone else, I loved it. I don't usually watch a movie twice but in this case, I'm sure I'll make an exception. I feel the need to talk about this movie because I'm sure what I got out of it is very different than what most people got out of it.

From the reviews that I saw, most people say that this movie is mainly about a struggling relationship between a mother and a daughter. From my perspective, this movie is about a young girl filled with creativity and passion who's parents, school and society in general tries to undermine her full potential. Of course, like with any great movie, it is more complex than that, but this is what I view as the main point.

Here's the trailer:

It was almost physically painful to watch all of the mistakes that her mom and her school made. Evident by the fact that she gave herself her own weird name, Lady Bird was a radical individualist. Tragically, the world around her was trying to get her to conform. 

Just imagine if this girl was unschooled. If she could pursue her passions and fully experiment with her level of creativity from the beginning without being distracted by years of compulsory schooling and parental coercion, imagine where she'd be at 18!

Lady Bird wanted to blossom and do extraordinary things with her life but she was given a lot of restrictions. Of course, one of those restrictions was lack of money, which is part of reality, but there were many more unnecessary ones. For example, her mom had a habit of imposing limiting beliefs on her by telling her she isn't good enough. That's either because she didn't believe in her daughter or because she didn't want her daughter to move far away from her. I think it was a little bit of both.

One of the more heartbreaking scenes was when her mother said "I want you to be the very best version of yourself that you could be" and she replied, "what if this is the best version?" I know this may not have been what the writer intended, but this exchange of words perfectly shows one of the biggest mistakes that the mother made: she didn't accept her daughter for who she was. She didn't love her unconditionally, something that is crucial for children to flourish. Well maybe she did but she just didn't realize that her actions didn't show it. That makes it all the more tragic.

So yeah, those are some things that I got from the movie.