Can't believe it's been a week since I've published here. To be honest, I kinda miss the rhythm of daily publishing, and have been feeling adrift without it. Even though I'm still publishing each day into The Forest, it just doesn't feel as rewarding or productive when it's private. Even on days where I've published 3-4 new pages, and thousands of words, it doesn't feel as satisfying as publishing one short thing publicly. I don't know what to make of that dynamic, but I find it interesting.
Speaking of The Forest, today I'm giving myself a public deadline. In typical Rob fashion, I've been making this project harder and more complicated than it needs to be, and the scope of version one has been expanding. If I don't set some hard constraints for myself, I suspect it'd take me a year to get this across the finish line. Which is no bueno. I've lived most of my life as a chronic perfectionist who hides my work until it's "ready." That approach has only ever led to unnecessary suffering, and less of my work in the world.
So, I am committing to release V1 of The Forest on April 28th. It will be incomplete and imperfect. But it will also be more than good enough to start exploring.
For this first version, my scope is to cover the four pillars of the Ungated philosophy in way more depth than I have elsewhere. For each of the four principles below, The Forest will include an interconnected set of exercises and experiments and practices that’ll help you begin embodying this philosophy in your creative business.
Work from the inside-out: Industrialized education conditions us to seek external answers, and to follow other people's paths. But the more you explore your inner world—your desires, values, fears, worldview, experiences, etc—the more raw material you'll discover for creative work that is uniquely your own, and a business that's intrinsically joyful. The keys to walking your own path are already within you.
Build from the bottom-up: Our intellects are great at spinning up stories and plans that help us feel certain, safe, and in control. But alas, those plans rarely seem to survive contact with reality. Instead of doubling down on control, which only makes our lives smaller and more rigid, the baller move is to surrender and explore. When you let go of how you think the world should be, experiment frequently, and trust your felt sense of resonance, you can iterate your way into a business that fits you better than anything you ever could have planned for.
Cheerfully subvert the status quo: There's a part of you, deep down, that sees how your corner of the world is broken, and knows that your work can help make things better. Heed that call and be courageous enough to subvert the status quo. Be the change you wish to see. Do it with love and earnestness. Not only does operating this way nourish your spirit, but it attracts friends and allies, is great for business, and makes the internet a little bit better.
Market yourself non-coercively: Most marketing is rooted in coercion and disempowerment. It's about hijacking people's emotional states so they make a compulsive short-term decision to purchase something. This is the exact opposite of the game we're playing in The Forest. You can't coerce anyone into becoming a true, lifelong fan. You can only create the circumstances under which they can make an empowered "fuck yes" decision for themselves. We do this by building a delightful world (an oasis). We do it by being prolific, authentic, friendly, and trusting. When you tell the full unvarnished truth, and invite people into the meaningful experiences you're creating. it won't resonate with everyone, but the right people will be thrilled you did.
So yeah, that's what you can expect at the end of April. If you resonate with this approach to 1,000 true fans, and with the idea of trusting yourself more deeply, The Forest is gonna be "lit" as the kids like to say. I hope you'll join me.
Go for it, Rob! Cheering you on!
Question: Are you ever afraid to be prolific? As I read this, I realized that I am. I wonder if that's part of why I push my own creative work to the side. I have tons of ideas but often feel like they have to be perfect before I put them out into the world. Or I feel overwhelmed by the number of ideas and cn't find resonance/joy/stability with any of them.
Any of that resonate?
Great post. I resonate with it a lot as part of my own journey of creating something that is uniquely my own. Keep going, Rob!