Thoughts on thinking, the brain, and coping with a crisis

Did you know that your thoughts are not real? What you think about reality is not reality. It is just a perception. Does this depress you? It should liberate you.

Do you wrestle with the way things are, because you think they should be some other way? How does that feel? For many people I know, this causes extreme discomfort. We wonder: Why can’t things just be the way we think they ought to be?

Of course, we all have ideas about “the way things should be.” These opinions help us make sense of the world, and there’s nothing wrong…

Is it an act of bravery to survive a crisis? Maybe. But if you have the potential to be remarkable, why wouldn’t you be? Now is the time to give your greatest gift to the world.

Photo by Imagesines.

I don’t know who you are or what you do or what you make of all this madness that is our world today. Every day, I wake up wondering where I am and what is happening, and it all feels so confusing.

And yet, there seems to be a voice inside me, wanting to say something. I don’t know if you hear this voice, too, but it scares me. If I’m honest, this is the place from which my best decisions have often been made:

  • It’s the tightening in my chest I felt as a teenager just before asking a…

You’re thinking of goals the wrong way.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

You and I have been told that you can have everything you want in life if you work hard enough and persevere long enough. But is this really the way life works? Is that even what you want? How often in life do we set our stubborn sights on some goal — a relationship, a kind of work, or even something we want to possess — and as soon as we get it, we are disappointed?

I remember, as a child, wanting a particular LEGO set and pleading with my parents to get it for me for Christmas. And one…

An excerpt from Real Artists Don’t Starve

Photo by Manolo Chrétien on Unsplash

The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.Michelangelo Buonarotti

In 1995, an American professor made an unusual discovery. At Syracuse University in Florence, Rab Hatfield was trying to match the scenes of the Sistine Chapel to the dates Michelangelo had painted each of them.

Since the artist had received commissions in various installments, the professor thought there might be a paper trail, so he went to the city archives. …

If you want to change things, remember that words can change the world

Photo by Matt Briney on Unsplash

Never, ever, ever underestimate the power your words can have. Take today—July 4th—for instance. In America, we call this Independence Day because it marks the beginning of our freedom. And it’s a testament to the power of communication. How did such a revolution begin? How they always begin: with words, of course.

This paradigm-shifting, revolution-inciting Declaration started like this:

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the…

Come prepared, hang with the right folks, and focus on using what you learn right away

Photo by Edwin Andrade on Unsplash

Should you go to that industry conference everyone is talking about?

Is it really worth your time and money to attend that summit or workshop?

No. It’s not… unless you know why you’re there in the first place.

When I first started out as a writer, I heard people talk about conferences. They said this one or that one was unmissable. It was a good way to “connect” with people, they said. You’d learn things, they said.

But what was I, a shy guy, going to do at a conference?

And was it really worth it?

Overcoming Conference Cynicism

I’d also heard the…

So instead, practice when no one’s watching

Photo by Ryan Wong on Unsplash

Most of us are waiting for our Big Break, and that’s the worst way to succeed. Let’s look at one of history’s most successful artists to see why — and what we should do instead.

When a young Michelangelo Buonarroti approached Domenico Ghirlandaio, the famous Florentine artist, he must have had a lump in his throat.

The boy was barely a teenager and about to ask one of Florence’s most fashionable painters to train him. …

Cityscape during Nighttime Near Body of Water and Sail Boat
Cityscape during Nighttime Near Body of Water and Sail Boat
Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

What does it take to succeed? You may have heard the adage “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” And there’s truth to that. But before you can find the who, you first have to find the where.

I’ve written before that every story of success is really a story of community. But community is not just a group of people. It’s a place.

This was one of the central ideas in my latest book, Real Artists Don’t Starve. You need a scene where you are challenged to do your best work.

So how do you find one?

Genius Is a Team Sport

7 lessons from a man who walked on the moon

Photo by Barbara Brannon

Recently, Alan Bean, the fourth man to walk on the moon, passed away. Though his body is now gone, his legacy remains — not just through the incredible feat he accomplished but through how he documented it.

In 2016, I spoke with Alan on the phone for a book I was writing with no idea that less than eighteen months later, he would be gone. Although Alan walked on the moon, he will most likely be remembered as an artist — the only man who has ever stepped foot on the moon and painted what he saw.

In our conversation…

Photo credit: Julie Rybarczyk

Somewhere, buried deep beneath stacks of comic books and other remnants of my childhood, is a trophy.

It’s old and wooden but in good shape. On the top stands a small figure made of brass. He’s playing soccer.

There are dark brown stripes along the sides of the trophy and decorations on the front. The whole thing is maybe 18 inches tall.

Near the base is a small placard. Somehow, over the years, it has never fallen off. There is an engraving, which reads:


Most Improved Player

I played soccer for only a few years. For most of my…

Jeff Goins

Writer. Speaker. Entrepreneur. Father of two. Bestselling author of 5 books. Read more at

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