Liam Holyoak

This is where I write things.

Category: Uncategorized

Embracing the Weird

There’s this podcast I listen to where the interview always ask first time guests this question: “Were you a weird kid?”

After listening to this a few times it’s something I’ve started to think about, and yes. Yes I was. Not in a way that you’d necessarily see from the outside.

I was goofy, I liked to make jokes and play around. But I was also a loner. Maybe that was the product of being the youngest of five kids. Or just something built into me. But I spent a lot of time alone, making up stories, playing games.

Once I started going to school I learned I had a knack for finding the weird kids, the odd ones out. I spent as much time with them as I could. At a certain point I got good at pulling the weird out of people. I’d spend a science class with a “popular” kid in my school and by the end of the day I’d found the parts they’d kept secret, the weird bits.

I like to surround myself with weirdos. It makes things a lot more interesting.

So I guess my question for you is, were you a weird kid? If so, in what ways?


Before the end of this year I’ll have lived a quarter of my life. That’s if my lucky, and get to live to 100. I don’t like birthdays, I don’t like the reminder that I am aging. The reminder that I am not where I had always envisioned I’d be. They scare me, comparing where I actually am with where I intended to be. It’s hard. Self-imposed ‘hard’ of course. But I think maybe I should set myself some better markers. I’ve always measured a year by financial success, which isn’t really working out for me. Hell, I’ll only be 25 so I think it’s okay to choose different things to measure my success by. I could measure hours spent with loved ones, hikes with my dog, words written, jokes made, games played. I think there are a lot better ways to measure the success of year than simply how your career progressed. So I’ll start focusing on all the other things that matter to me, and maybe this year having a birthday won’t be so bad.

July 17th.

Long drives alone are good for the soul. I’ve had a lot of Ah Hah moments after spending 5+ hours in the car by myself. Yesterday, I made the eight hour drive from Salt Lake City, to Denver. This upcoming Saturday I’ll make the return trip. It was a beautiful drive. It gave me time to think about the things that really matter to me, and the things that don’t. There is a certain, no bullshit detector that the universe keeps throwing at me. I have to mean what I say, and my actions prove more than my words ever will.  Spending eight hours in the car with yourself is a place to be honest. You can’t run from the demons that have been chasing you. You have to face them head on, it isn’t easy. But it seems worth it. This isn’t making much sense. There is a vague message I’m trying to get across, and usually writing helps me do that. But, right this moment I’m not even sure I understand. I sort of do, I’m on the precipice. But I still haven’t’ figured out what the lesson is. I know there is one though, I feel it. I guess I’ll just have to keep acting, maybe someday it will come to me.

Self-love and crushing the bad guys.

Overall I really like myself. I’m aware of my weaknesses. But I know my strengths and where I have room for improvement. I like myself, I think I’m really great.
This thing happens to me sometimes though. I lose sight of that. I become someone pretty awful to the people I love, because if I can’t manage to like myself why would they. So I hold tight, and an almost suffocating type of love begins to appear, or, I disappear and even the people I live with don’t see me for weeks at a time. Which, let me tell you, that’s not good for anybody. So I have to remind myself: “Hey, I love you, I think you are great” and the more I do that the better things are. I don’t suffocate the people I love, I don’t get scared of time passing, I just live and I smile a lot because when you love yourself, really love yourself, you can’t help but smile.
It seems to be a cycle for me. I know the good that comes from loving yourself. Side note: If you don’t believe me you should try it. Read this
book “Love Yourself, like your Life Depends on it” by Kamal Ravikant. And every day for a week repeat in your head the words “I love myself” and see how things change. It’s miraculous really. Back to the cycle though. I imagine my Depression as this blue transparent being following me around and punching me, and depending how I respond to the hits I either grow stronger or I shrink. Lately, I’ve been shrinking. The other night I imagined myself growing stronger, each punch gave me power and soon I was big enough to crush it, I stomped on my Depression, smiled and went on my marry way. It felt good, I looked in the mirror and told me I loved me. I know it’ll probably come back, but that’s why this cycle keeps happening. As long as I keep fighting I’ll always win. As long as I love myself nothing is going to stop me.
Stay tuned for my 20 hour experiment update: I’m deconstructing and will be starting dedicated practice soon. You’ll be calling me a WordPress master in no time.
Smile today, and keep being awesome.

I’m really bad at this.

I have a lot of down time at my job. Which is lucky because that gives me a lot of time to learn new things, and that is probably my favorite thing to do. So I listen to a lot of audiobooks, podcasts, and TED talks. I wholeheartedly believe the Jim Rohn quote “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”, and since I’m not the best at making friends, I digitally fill my brain with words of incredible people.

In my pursuit of learning all of the things I stumbled upon this the other day. It’s an excellent talk, and it’s only fifteen minutes long. She talks about knowing yourself, and where your skills and weaknesses are. Things you needs to work on, that kind of thing. So I made a list, I won’t share them all with you. I am one incredible person, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a lot to work on. But, here is one of my weaknesses. If I manage to fix this thing I would by 100% more awesome then I already am. Here it is, drum roll please…FOLLOW THROUGH! Seriously, I am the worst. Clearly, when was the last time I posted on this?

With that in mind I am giving myself a challenge. Remember the 10,000 hour rule, well that is mastery. What about just being in the top 10%-20%, I know that’s not ideal but it’s better then nothing. So I’m taking the wonderful advice of Josh Kaufman, and that of Mister Tim Ferriss (4-Hour Chef) and I’m going to shortcut learning. Significantly.

Here is the general layout:

  • Deconstruct
  • Learn Enough to Self Correct
  • Remove Practice Barriers
  • Practice at Least 20 Hours

So, this is happening. I’m toying around with what to start with. I’m not entirely sure what it’s going to be yet. But I’ll figure it out, and I will actually keep you posted. Gee, that will be ironic if I don’t. Here’s to follow through! And all around awesomeness!

How many lives do you lead?

If you believe in the 10,000 hour rule, and you figure it takes you lets say 10 years to get to your 10,000 hours in any given thing. The average life of a woman in the US is 81 years you have the opportunity to master around seven things. Or lead seven different lives.

I’m greedy though. I want more than that, without getting into the study of human longevity and the probability of me living a much longer life then my ancestors because of some super cool advances in technology and science.  Lets just say I have until 80. I need to figure out a way to maximize this. I tend to try and follow the Tim Ferriss principles on rapid learning. Here’s the problem though. I want too many lives. I want to be a writer, master potter, an ultra-runner, a yogi, musician, artist, painter, martial artist, mentor, motivator, mother, rock climber, world-traveler, podcaster, teacher, avid-learner, self-improvement guru, boss, entrepreneur. This list could fill several notebooks full. There are just so many cool things I want to become. I don’t just want to do them. I want to do them on a level of mastery. Well lets define that a little more loosely. I want to be in the top 10% of all of these things.

Here is where I run into issues though. I wouldn’t call myself a fast learner. Have you heard of the Stanford Marshmallow Experiment? I would have been the kid who ate the marshmallow, immediately after the researcher left the room.

I have a tendency to get really, very excited about something, and read all of the things about one thing for a week. Then, well, I’m over it. I put it in the closet and move on to the next thing. Then I get discouraged, get a little down on myself, beat myself up a little for being a quitter, then I turn to bargaining. Maybe I’m just more of a learner, then a doer. I should stick to what I know. Woe is me. Life is hard.

What I’m saying is, I’m over being a quitter. Just because I ate the marshmallow doesn’t mean I can’t become great, that doesn’t mean I can’t lead 27 different lives. I’m forcing myself to become the exception, not the rule. And I’m going to document my never-ending journey of self-improvement. So here’s to me, kicking ass and taking names. It’s going to be a wild ride. I know it won’t be easy. I’m sure as soon as I press publish I’m going to want start bargaining, let my brain stay in it’s comfort zone. But not this time.

Here goes my journey. Wish me luck. And stay tuned.


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