Imagining a New Story for Work and Life


Clint Murphy Paul Millerd


Clint Murphy, Paul Millerd

Clint Murphy  00:00

Paul, welcome to the growth guide podcast. Where I’d love to start is can you give our listeners a brief bio of yourself? For those who haven’t read your book yet? And then we’ll dive in to the pathless path?

Paul Millerd  00:15

Yeah, so the short story is I grew up in a small town in Connecticut in the US. And pretty much growing up was pretty happy kids spend a lot of time around family was not really exposed to the sort of success, achievement world that I think so many people I now talk to were, I was good in school like school, but there’s never a lot of pressure to like, go be something other than well, you should probably go to college, I ended up going to college. And for the first time was surrounded by what I call world class hoop jumpers. These are people that know how to work backward from getting impressive achievement, or title or grad school or job, etc. , and know how to work backwards and then do whatever you need to do. braids, activities, certain way of dressing a certain way of acting in the world. And doing that. I eventually adopted a lot of that stance toward life, tried to keep doing better and better. I went to work for GE, which was the best company out of my school. Then I went to work for McKinsey and Company breaking into strategy consulting, which was really my goal in undergrad, I was sort of like, upset that people told me you can’t work at these companies, you didn’t go to the right school. So I just kept trying to apply and ended up getting really lucky, I think getting a job at McKinsey, I just kept getting rejected from every other firm. So I ended up getting a job there and over the next nine years, had a lot of amazing opportunities, ended up going to grad school at MIT, ended up working at another consulting firm Boston Consulting Group, and learned a ton. I actually love Consulting at the beginning and highly recommend it as an early career. But over time, I realized the whole game was just to keep moving, keep accelerating your career, to actually stay in a role and not strive towards success was seen as failure in that environment. However, that’s sort of what I wanted to do. And it’s what I’ve been able to recreate working on my own since quitting my job about six years ago, I wanted to be an individual contributor, I didn’t want to climb the ranks and start worrying about the politics of an organization, learning how to dress and act a certain way learning how to jump when clients worry and are anxious about what they’re trying to do. So yeah, I sort of just became disconnected from myself over the years. And in the last couple of years before I quit my job in 2017, I was just so frustrated, stuck, and eventually just sort of blew up my life. And then over the last six years, I sort of accidentally fell in love with writing, started leaning into that sort of built my life around enabling that to happen, because for five years, I didn’t make any money writing, but it was my main attention and energy source, and ended up publishing your book about all my explorations, all the curiosities, the weird experience I had working in these elite institutions coming with all these questions about the works role in our life, etc. And, yeah, that’s my story that’s a little longer than I intended. But hopefully that was helpful,


Clint Murphy  03:40

Super helpful, we’re going to dive into all of that. And I can say that I 100% relate, given my childhood, my hoop jumping, I’m still jumping through the hoops 23 years after I started my career, and I’m on my path towards my pathless path, which I won’t give the exact timeline. But it’s in St. Paul. And for that reason, I really appreciated everything I read, and will resonate with a lot of this conversation we’re going to have today. So let’s jump back to a section of the book, I’m going to provide an outline and we’ll let you color in for the listeners what’s going on. And so there’s a section of the book where you say, and you just talked a bit about it. But I had been following a formula for life that was supposed to guarantee happiness. It didn’t. Confusion kept me on a path that wasn’t mine for more than 10 years. Along the way, I learned how to play the game of success and achievement, but never pause to find out what I really wanted. I found myself in a room surrounded by business leaders and didn’t quite fit in I was in the wrong rooms, asking the wrong questions about how to live. And so at that point in time, you were on the default path, not that there’s anything wrong with the default path. But let’s take America as an example. What is the default path that we’re taught? How does Protestantism and Catholicism play into the creation of it over time? Because that was a really interesting digression. You took us on there? And when did you have this realization that you were in the wrong rooms, asking the wrong questions?


Paul Millerd  05:38

So a lot there that that’s why I wrote the book because it took me longer to discuss this.   first things first, the default path. It’s sort of the story. Everyone has this, I’ve interviewed hundreds of people on their relationship to work. And I start with a question what are the scripts and stories you grew up with that told you this is what you’re supposed to do as an adult to be seen as a good person, everyone has a story. It either comes from their family, their culture, their personal beliefs, sometimes it comes from movies, or just social media or things like this, do these things I will be seen as a successful person. In the US, there’s sort of an upper middle class dream that everyone is aiming after. New nice cars,have a house that you own, have kids, send your kids to elite schools, have a job that pays you a lot of money. Often, for many people, it’s both partners and a marriage that’s working and like maybe the new, maybe the new American Dream is like hire a nanny to take care of your kids, you can both keep striving in your careers, right? And there’s this never ending ratchet of what that is. And it’s always just a ratchet on what was the past story, right? So and this story has been evolving in the last 75 years, around a job, jobs or new jobs didn’t exist more than 200 years ago, right? People just did stuff. But we’ve created these jobs, which are actually in innovation. They’re amazing. Billions of people around the world now constructed their lives in a predictable and stable way, and afford things that go far beyond their basic needs. This is incredible, right? But we’ve narrowed our conception of life as life is centered around a job, the way you prove membership in society is by participating in formal work, which is, when I left that path, it felt really weird that when I didn’t have a story of what comes next, people just sort of treated you like sometimes a bad person. Oh, you’re just not going to work? What are you lazy? Are you wasting your degrees? These are all things people said to me early on. Now, I was trying to do stuff. I was trying to freelance, but it was illegible to people. Right? And that fascinated me. What is this gap? Why do people only see like formal salaried paycheck work as the only kind of work? Right? And then I started exploring these things. And one of my hypotheses early on, was that there aren’t off ramps, like there aren’t stories that enable people to figure out how to find their footing on a new path. Right. So like you said, Before, you said, Oh, I’m heading toward my pathless path. This is really what I tried to do with the book, which was I tried to create, like a broad meta story that people could use as their own, hopefully write your own down the road that says, I don’t know what the alternative to the default path is. But I don’t like the default path. And I talked to hundreds of people. And they would all say things like, Yeah, I’m on this path. Ultimately, I want to do my own thing I want to leave I don’t like it. Some people gravitate to financial independence, retire early. That’s an escape script. Other people want to do entrepreneurship that, like everyone just wants off this path. And I think they want off this path because it’s not producing what it used to. In the 1950s, to probably till the early 2000s. It was sort of like, if you do this, you’re participating in society. This is the only path. There weren’t alternative gig economies, the creator economy, these things didn’t exist. So everyone you knew was also doing it. So there was a collective sense of, you’re all in it together. These are the only options. But that’s not true anymore. And people are really struggling with that dissonance of being on a path in No, they’re not supposed to be on and the existence of alternatives that are so obvious right in front of them. And it leads to this deep like self discomfort and anxiety that so many people are dealing with.


Clint Murphy  10:13

And when you look at that there’s so much to digest in there, one of the things you talked about is how the past isn’t working anymore. And when you look back in time, you look at, let’s say, post World War Two, with decimated every country that has machinery that can compete with us. So everyone who gets a job, stratospherically climbs up the social ladder decimates their parents before them in quality of life, and thinks well, because I was able to do it, forgetting the fact that they were able to buy a house for, you know, $50,000 on their $80,000 salary. And they think, well, that same exponential increase in quality of life that I had, my children should have. How is that missing congruence with what we’re actually seeing? How much is that tying in to people’s dissatisfaction with the default path? And I might have missed some there, if you want to want to expand a little for the listeners on that.


Paul Millerd  11:24

Yeah, I think it’s a complicated thing. I think what’s happened over the last 25 years is we’ve shifted to a different kind of economy, we’ve shifted away from the industrial economy to a digital economy. And what that has really done is amplified both ends of the spectrum. So you just don’t have this massive middle class anymore, you have an upper class. And that has grown a lot that this often doesn’t get talked about, because people focus on inequality and the lower end, but the top income proportions in many societies around the world have increased, which is amazing, right? You want more people wealthier, you want a more prosperous country. But what’s happened is the middle class has shrunk and the lower class has increased. Right? So there’s anxiety in each of those three areas. At the bottom level, it’s like, I’m never going to make it I’m always going to be struggling, I’m never even going to make it into the middle class, the middle class is afraid, they’re going to drop into the lower tier, or they look at the people succeeding above them and say, I can never have that I’m a failure. Right? And the upper class, like the ratchet of working in the places you need to live, to exist in the creative economy, the digital economy, the ratchet of prices around real estate, and things like that have gone up globally. And also people’s expectations have gone up. Right? So when people are saying things like, I find this funny, because people say, hey, it’s so expensive, deaf kids these days, 100% of the time, people saying that it’s always people with lots of money. What they’re really saying is the life I want is expensive. The life of sending my kid to private schools, paying for college, living in a nice neighborhood with a big house, having cars, having two careers, and then having daycares and nannies to make that all work with kids. Yeah, that’s crazy expensive. I have no idea how to thrive on that plot path. Nor do I want it. Right. That’s what I was headed toward.


Clint Murphy  13:35

Exactly. Yeah.


Paul Millerd  13:36

And I’m trying to invent something else. Like I have a daughter. Now she’s four months old. You might have heard her a little bit. She’s crying, struggling to go to sleep, but sounds like she’s sleeping now. But yeah, we’re trying to figure it out. We tried to figure it out day by day. But we don’t have a strategy. We just know that the default path for us is not a path where we think we can thrive and build an amazing family, which is our core drive. That’s so important to me, my family being a good father, and staying energized. I did not know how to do that in the default path. I would have solved my money problem, but I wouldn’t have solved my life problem. Now I’m trying to start with my life problem, and then fit my money problem around that.


Clint Murphy  14:23

And Paul, I can say probably, if you’re optimizing for that, then your ability to be there. As a father, we’ll be higher. And for our children, that tends to be what they need. And I can say as an example as the guy that was still hoop jumping, when my kids were that age, all the way until about nine years old. I missed a lot of that life. And so what is being a better parent hoop jumping and not being there or really devoting your time and being there for your children. So that’s, it’s huge that you’re going to have the opportunity to do that on your path. One of the other things you talked about there was expectations. And so if you look at social media, you and I are on Twitter a fair amount, I don’t know if you’re on Instagram as much where it’s more visual. But how much does people seeing everybody’s best life? Or reading everybody’s best life? How does that influence their unwillingness to jump off the default path? Because they just think they need so much more than they have?


Paul Millerd  15:41

This is an interesting thing. It’s making me think, too, I’m not a super visual person. So I’ve never really gotten bothered by Instagram. I get excited using Twitter just because I love ideas and love sort of building relationships. I found that a very positive place. But yeah, I don’t think it’s that. I think that’s often something people say, it sounds good, it sounds smart. And people blame social media for everything. But if you look back, people blame television for everything. People blamed radio for everything, people were blaming bicycles for ruining culture. 150 years ago, electricity was seen as ruining culture, and all these things. I honestly think it’s just fear. It’s scary to do what I did. And I think what’s resonated with my book is, I sort of just wrote the honest account of what it felt like it felt really shitty. People didn’t support me at first, people still don’t enthusiastically support me, I had to basically reinvent new friend groups and find new people to kind of be my peers and root for each other and find a new way on this weird new path. And it’s hard, I’ve lowered my salary. If you compare it to my earning projections on my past path, I probably gave up like a million dollars over the last six years. So it was hard, it was costly. But it the all the like space I created in my life by purposefully lowering my income, traveling, I’ve become so much more resilient and calm. And at ease with the uncertainty of life. I still have financial insecurity, I still have fear of the unknown. I have no idea what I’ll be doing next year. Some days, I’m just like, What the heck am I doing. But then I remember how I used to feel on my previous path. And like that tension of like, oh, I have to power through this task, right? Make it to the weekend, and I can drink and relax. Like drinking fell out of my life on this new path. Because I feel at ease. Most days I feel connected to the work I’m doing. I have great people around me, I have a great partner that is on a similar path and supports me. So yeah, it’s, I couldn’t be the parent, I’ve been able to be in the last three months without quitting my job and working a lot less.


Clint Murphy  18:09

So let’s rewind the clock. Back to when you were a prototypical hoop jumper, you were doing it with gusto, climbing the ladder, making it into the inner circle and achieving the prestige that you’d always chased. And then you lost your grandfather, you had a health scare. And with each of those events, cracks started to appear in your default path. And you started to ask yourself some deeper questions. What were some of those questions you started to ask yourself and in how did they ultimately lead you to this default path?


Paul Millerd  18:51

One thing I would say though, on the inner ring is you never actually make it to the inner ring. There’s always another inner ring. And this is one of the most craziest things about these competitive successful paths is there’s always another thing you think you’ve arrived. And I think for me, I always had this tension where my desires were not as much as the people around me. So I went to work at McKinsey. And then I worked. Then I went to grad school at MIT. And like, I actually felt like pretty good about that. I didn’t need a lot more, but everyone around me is like, oh, what’s the next step? Are you going to try and break into private equity? You’re going to try and work in investment banking, you’re going to try and work for this global hedge fund. You’re going to try and work for this big consulting firm, corporate strategy, you’re going to try and climb the ladder. There’s always another rung. Right. And I still talk to business school friends. They might be like a vice president now and they’re like, I really just want to be a CEO. Right? It never ends. But I just wasn’t that hungry. I think business goals the first realization me that I was just less ambitious than people around me. Now my relationship with ambition has changed a lot. I’ve come to see that word in a new way. But those experiences being a business school losing my grandfather and then having a health crisis after school. It was, it really was reminding me that work is not that important. And this is something you read Five Regrets of the Dying this favorite at favorite essay. It’s like one of the big regrets people wish they didn’t work as hard. Right? Tuesdays with Morrie, another favorite book, it’s like don’t worry about the work, live your life fully. Don’t worry about what other people think. And I think the part of me inside was like, I just want to test this. Now. I don’t want to wait  till I’m 70 to start living, which is what I see a lot of older people do. And the truth is that never actually started living.


Clint Murphy  20:57

And what did that look like for you? When you so you had a health scare? You came back to work. But what I read it didn’t sound like you actually ever came back. Yeah, as if you had quiet quit before anyone have any of us knew what quiet quitting was right. So here’s Paul, you’re back in the office, you’re somewhat recovered, but you never really bought back in. And then finally, at some point, you write an email to your boss, it says, I think we have to leave it here. What did that oh, you know, what, what did that look like? And how did you start this quiet quitting trend before the rest of us knew what it was?


Paul Millerd  21:43

Yes,  I think I was quiet quitting my entire career. I wish I had that term, just it probably would have helped me be more self aware. I remember my first internship, it was an absolute bullshit job. I was doing very little, I think I got the job because of a family connection. And it was just sitting around all day, me and my cousin actually hacked the internal. Like, we hacked the internal network to send each other pings from the command line. So I don’t know if people know this, but like this was before like chat tools or anything. So we would like send each other pings to each other’s IP address. To communicate, when we’d go to lunch, I would take like two hour lunches. And it all just seems so silly. All these grown men just like sitting around everyone surfing the web is everyone started at WebAccess. I didn’t know what was going on. Even at McKinsey, I worked like 40 hour weeks. Turns out, you don’t have to work long hours if you don’t want to. So after coming back from the health crisis, though, it was just much more powerful. It’s like well, now I know this doesn’t matter. Because I lost my health. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to return to work. And I was somewhat okay with that. Like I sort of let go of that part of me successful, Paul. But my entire life was built around being successful, Paul. Right. Even though it didn’t work. Allies still always had these impressive accomplishments. Right. So when I returned, I actually ended up going to more jobs before I sent that email. But that email was really like the last breath of like, any chance of staying on that path, there was no like moment where I knew I had to leave. I think it just kept self sabotaging myself, because I didn’t have the courage to actually just make a bold bet toward the future. I wouldn’t say it was like running toward a new life, I was kind of like, I don’t know, I started just like, fell away from my old life, and sort of found myself lost.


Clint Murphy  23:54

And when I talk to young people about this and about transitioning, I usually talk to them about two approaches, we have what we call the Viking approach. We burn the boats at the beach, and we just go for it. That’s as you said, making that bold move, this is where I’m going and you go, then we have a bit of the Spider Man approach. We’re shooting our webs. We’re not like letting go of the current building until we’ve attached to the next one. And when you started, you started with a bit of a spider man approach. You were doing a little bit of side hustling with the coaching, getting that up and running. And then all of a sudden with that email. You went from Spiderman straight to Viking without a plan, but I’m going ahead with this. So you talk to young people, how do you describe that? You know that first step onto the pathless path? Do you just go for it? Or do you design a plan to work your way out of it? Maybe it’s not full fire, but it’s something along that path. off the default path onto the pathless path.


Paul Millerd  25:05

Yeah, it depends. I think, sometimes I’ll get angry notes from people and say you can say this because you saved up stuff, I actually think has little to do with money and is much more to do with temperament. I think I lasted a lot longer than some other people, some people just can’t put up with it. Like they can’t work in the corporate world, either their temperament or psychology and they just like run away at first glance. And I think a lot of people are like me, they have no other choice. They don’t know what else to do. Like staying on the path that was not. If I was to run an analysis of my life and 2017 Staying on the path was not actually an option anymore. It just seemed so dumb, disconnected from what I cared about, I was not showing up as the person I wanted to be. So sort of ran out of moves. And I think it is tied to money, though I was living very frugally. I started living a little more frugally in that last year. And I had built up enough savings where I was like, Okay, I saved up $50,000, it’s probably good enough, if I want to take a year off. It’s sort of shocking how naive I was about what I would need. I totally just underestimated all the inner game of what I would need to actually navigate a path like that it was way harder than I expected. Not that’s a lot of what I’ve written about


Clint Murphy  26:35

And when it comes to money. When you first left, you still had what you describe as a scarcity mindset. And how did that scarcity mindset negatively impact you early on the journey? And how did an evolution to an abundant mindset help you both financially in terms of what you were achieving in your life?


Paul Millerd  27:00

Yeah, at first, there’s just the holy crap, what have I done? Okay, it’s two months now, I still don’t have any freelance clients lined up, can I actually do this? Do I know what I’m doing, I’m just sitting at a computer, sending out emails, but not really doing much, because you’re just waiting for people to respond to you. So that drove a lot of energy of trying to land projects. I landed a bunch of freelance projects in my first seven months. And I think I was able to make, I don’t know, maybe 55 to 60 grand in those, like in the first nine months of my path. And that felt good, that was a big relief of, okay, I can ramp up energy and land some projects. I can figure this out. Now, the work wasn’t what I absolutely loved. But it was way better than the past path. Because I had more time and space and flexibility in how I was doing the work mostly remotely, which was awesome. Then after that, I decided I would just stop working for a while and see what happened. I think I’d read an article by Andrew Taggart saying if work dominated your every moment with Live View worth living, I decided that my answer was no. So I wanted to test that. So I went three, four months without working on any paid work. And I’d say starting in 2018. For about two years, I probably made, I don’t know, $25,000. Total, and worked very little. But a lot of the stuff I was doing started to emerge, the writing the podcast, and I just felt better and better about my life. I was starting to like reconnect with myself, I started doing mindfulness stuff, started reading more expansively like, I just felt like I need to keep going in this path. I don’t know where I’m headed, I might go broke, but I need to keep going. And then I moved abroad to Asia, in 2018. And I discovered, oh, wow, I can live very cheaply here. And I push this to its extreme, I got my expenses down to under 1000 a month. So from October 2018 to I don’t know, April, maybe a year, I was basically living on 1000 or less a month. And the game then was just extend the runway, but I was so afraid to spend money because I had this traditional mindset of you don’t spend money if you’re not making any, right. And I’ve since changed my mind on that because you sort of need to raise the stakes on yourself. And if you’re actually excited about something it can be, it can be magical to sort of bet on yourself. So eventually, I got sick of like playing scarcity, like taking these projects I didn’t want to do and I was like you know I need to be bolder about what I’m actually doing. I started spending a little more it was really slow at first but I’ve just, it took me a really long time, this seems to come very natural to some people. I see some people that like quit their jobs and spend 10 grand on their podcasts. And like, I’m like, Whoa, that still scares me. But yeah, I’m still learning to have an abundance mindset and trusting the journey. I now know, I’m doing stuff that I want to do for the rest of my life, or at least indefinitely. conversations like this, writing about our relationship to work exploring my curiosity. And I’ll just keep doing those. And I sort of have faith that those will produce opportunities for me, and I can keep doing them.


Clint Murphy  30:44

And I’m interested in that, Paul, because I said to my wife, recently, I had a realization, I had all these things on my list that I want to do when I hit my pathless path. And then I said, I think all I want to do is podcast and write. That’s it. And then every once in a while, I still find myself saying, But wait, there’s that other thing that I said I wanted to do is start all these businesses and private equity. And part of me realizes and I’m even having this debate with myself today, how much of those things are the ego hoop jumper, who even though I’m going on the pathless path, still wants to jump through hoops, versus that guy who says when he’s out for a walk with his dog, and he’s super calm, all I F#cking want to do is talk to interesting people have good conversations, and write about all of it. Like, are we still hoop jumping? Even when we’ve got off the path?


Paul Millerd  31:47

Yeah,   think I call this a hustle trap. Right? It’s, it’s basically taking what you see other people doing and taking it as your own journey. I think ultimately, if we’re going to pursue our own journey, there needs to be a season of contemplation and a season of calm. Right? I think the mistake I see people do is they go from one hustle to the next, right, and they don’t actually figure out what they want. The cheat code I’ve seen is taking a three month creative sabbatical, right and just do the simple stuff. Actually do less than that. Only do what feels right in the moment. And just trust that. A couple of things will happen. One, you’ll realize you’re not as excited about some things as you thought. And two, you’ll experience feeling bad. You’ll experience feeling like the bad student, I’m not doing my best. I’m wasting my potential. Other people are asking me what my plan is, and I don’t have a story. But actually sitting with those will actually enable you to lean into things you actually want to do in Boulder ways down the road. But most people just aren’t willing to embrace that season of contemplate. So I think that’s the hardest thing is figuring out how can I purposefully build that in such that I don’t have to do go straight into doing something right? Because I think it’s a mistake in framing as I either do it or I don’t do it, right, either do business or don’t do it. There’s always a third option, which is decide not to do anything for six months. Right? We underestimate time is a dimension in our thinking in our lives.


Clint Murphy  33:39

So take that pause in what you’re describing is what you did in Asia, which you refer to as non doing, which is very hard for traditional hoopjumper. While you were doing that, you noticed, hey, people who are doing what I’m doing, who are on this pathless path, they tend to embody for specific behaviors. They see their own suffering, which reminds me a little of Buddhism, which feels like it aligns well with the pathless path. Curiosity emerges for them. They want to stay on the path. And what really jumped out at me was they wrote, so what was it about these four habits and behaviors that you saw in people on the pathless path?


Paul Millerd  34:29

Three career that’s often just sabbaticals. So I mean, the term path is path pretty loose so people can use it as they wish. But yeah, it just happens over and over again. I started noticing these things happening, and then people would talk to me about their sabbaticals. And then I would say, Wait, let me guess what happened to you. And it would be very easy to see what happened. Another thing that happens is people’s forgotten hobbies reemerge right  their deep curiosities and things like that. And I’ve come to see this as one of the most important aspects of my life. Building in the seasons of contemplation for two years, I did every seventh week off where I did no work, I got more done, worked less, and was more inspired. Because it was able to tap into that deep wisdom. I heard something today in a podcast that was like, language is so limited, like the spoken word, the written the spoken word existed after humans who had existed for a very long time, the written word didn’t really exist as it does today, until the last 500 years. These are very new forms of understanding and communication. We’ve sort of lost touch with this more ancient, natural intuition about what to do. And I think it’s so hard to find in today’s world, but I think, I mean, this is like we’re real advices like, and this is not me saying, This is me channeling what people have been writing about in poetry and literature for hundreds of years, is that you need to trust yourself, but figuring out how to get in a state to trust yourself is incredibly hard.


Clint Murphy  36:15

And, Paul, how many people have you seen, you know, you talk about you said, this happens to people when they’re on the sabbatical? How many people have you talked to her seen, and I’ve seen a few where this happened. So I’m interested in your perspective. They come back, and they say, Fuck, I had some realizations while I was gone. Like, things are not going to be the same. I’m going to work differently. I’m going to behave differently. I’m going to prioritize my health, my family that to , you go down the list. And then three months later, they’re right back to jump in the exact hoops they were before they went on sabbatical.


Paul Millerd  36:52

You know, they don’t reach out to me again, and they’re probably embarrassed to talk to me. Like, if I know it happens, the people that tend to reach out to me are typically much more gung ho on average. So it’s a self selecting group. But yeah, I, I’ve seen it. I will say that, I think three months or years is too short of a timeline. What I’ve seen it I think resonates with my case, like my health crisis was 2012 to 2014. It took me another three years to really go through a bunch of experiments, but trying things, all these things. And 2017 was when I left and 2018 was when I started leaning into a more creative career. So it takes a really long time. This is one of my hot takes. I think the awakening from COVID. And working from home hasn’t really emerged yet. Right? There was this whole fake narrative around the great resignation, really, that was just a hot and tight labor market driven by boomers and dropping out of the labor force and less immigration. That’s reverting now, as you would expect, as the labor market cools, I think the amount of people I’ve talked to that have had realizations like they’re in jobs now. But they’re asking questions. People like you are asking questions, people that exited startups who have money in there asking questions, people that save 20 grand, and they’re asking questions, like it’s really starting to bubbled to the surface. And I could be wrong. But I think this is really going to be a big movement over the next five years.


Clint Murphy  38:40

I align with you in in I’m a little bit different, Paul, and that I had expressed in January 2018, that I had roughly a decade left in working. And that you Yeah, well, it was a conversation at work. It was what I thought was my last inner circle jump to move from the C suite to being a shareholder. And I was told to your point, there’s always a next step. And I was told no, that’s not you know, that’s not going to happen. And so I said, Okay, well, I’ll give you guys 10 more years and then I’m going to retire. And all right podcasts public speaking, coaching, consulting, private equity, real estate invest. I had been thinking what if they tell me no. So I had it planned. And in COVID, I started early, because I’d never plan to start any of it until I got closer to the date. And then COVID locked down. Kids activities canceled. Working from home, you go down my list I just had all this time that had never been into your point that opened up the door to well, what should I be doing with this time and started to do all those things that I plan to do? Five years later in? I’m interested in your thoughts on this is it gave me a taste and a flavor of what my path would be, and how much I enjoyed it. Which makes going back into work, which I love, by the way, but being the default path you’re going back in, but you’ve got a flavor of what’s coming.


Paul Millerd  38:55



Clint Murphy  39:28

And it just makes, it makes it so much harder to sit there every day, knowing what’s on the other side of having that hard conversation.


Paul Millerd  40:38

Yeah, you raise the opportunity cost on your life.


Clint Murphy  40:41



Paul Millerd  40:42

Relative to work, right?


Clint Murphy  40:44



Paul Millerd  40:44

Often look at opportunity cost is like not working or giving up salary or potential. But yeah, this is what happened to me, I did these silly side, things like career coaching, it was hardly making any money. I didn’t even see it as a reasonable path. But there were so they felt so exciting, that, uh, just, I knew I didn’t want that feeling to fade out of my life.


Clint Murphy  41:09

So to what you’re saying, it’s that energetic transfer, you wake up in the morning, and I had, you know, probably 10 meetings today. And a lot of great questions raised a lot of great work done. But what was I energized this morning for when I woke up. I was energized that at 630, at night, I was going to jump on a podcast with you, and have this conversation that deals like it become a little problematic for someone to get that taste, and then put it away.


Paul Millerd  41:43

Yeah. And that’s why a lot of people are doing things like podcasts, podcasts don’t often make economic sense. I’d say this is one of the purest creative channels in the digital world right now. Because the only way to win in an economic sense is to play a long game for years. Right? Exactly what the intrinsic rewards of having great conversations and challenging yourself to become a better interviewer and things like that. They’re very rewarding, I found the same thing. I broke even on my podcast after five and a half years of doing it. Maybe I’ll make money from it in the future. But if the rewards are so valuable in and of itself, and most people aren’t doing podcasts these days, maybe in our circles, we know more people doing them. But in the real world, most people don’t do podcasts and most people don’t do them over the long term. Most people quit by episode.


Clint Murphy  42:40

Yeah, the podcast graveyard is usually episode 14. So my number one rule was only assess yourself at episode 100. That’s where we’re gonna be, you know, you look at some of the best podcasts out there. And you look at their first 100 episodes, and they were okay. And now they’re interviewing some of the biggest people in the world. So you just keep improving, keep showing up. And to your point, just the reward of having some of these conversations is exponential. And part of that, you know, you take faith in the future. And you talk about the importance of faith and the pathless path. And for you one of the spots, you demonstrated that you’re in Asia. Your girlfriend says she’s going to a different country, you’re supposed to go to another country. And you took a leap of faith. What did that look like? And why is faith so important? On this journey fall?


Paul Millerd  43:37

Yeah, that was a I remember that moment. She’s like, I’m gonna go to she was quitting her job at the time, too. And taking some time off to travel, Thailand, which he had wanted to do for a while, even before she met me and i She just said, Well, what’s your plan? I said, I won’t come with you. And I think she was a bit thrown aback, but she just sort of went with it. And I think we both took a leap of faith on that relationship at the time. We ended up moving in together after four months of knowing each other in Taipei, and I basically, at that point was committed to staying abroad. I had no idea what I was going to do. People were saying, We can’t hire you remotely remote work using an A work. For us. This was 2018. So I just That’s why I lowered my income because I had a bigger reason. And I had found this partner. She’s not my wife and we have a daughter. Yeah, I mean, it was just magical. And I started just trusted that and in our first couple of years together, we spent every day together. We really built our life around spending time together spending quality, like exploring our creativity, exploring the world. We worked very little. It was a glorious time. And it really helped set us up to be like, I feel like we’re doing pretty well, four months into parenting, whereas a lot of people’s relationships really suffer in those early days. Like we’re very aligned. And we know each other so well, at this point, even though we’ve only been together for five years. Yeah, and it’s all just about like, opting into other stuff that other people are not valuing.   live in a world where everyone thinks everyone should be thinking about work and money all the time. The truth is, you don’t actually have to do that. If you don’t do that, you’re gonna feel weird, and people are gonna judge you and  you might even lose love from people. But it would be pretty freakin awesome. People are underpricing, the rewards of all those other non monetary things.


Clint Murphy  45:45

Well, anytime you start on a journey that’s not in what other people would describe as their conventional box.


Paul Millerd  45:54



Clint Murphy  45:55

Or said differently. Almost everybody wants you to be in what they think the conventional box should be. And let’s call that the default path. Ad when you’re not in it. they don’t support it. It can be, I call it for on a creators journey. It’s a long and lonely path until you start to hit certain milestones, where people outside can say, Oh, well, wait, hey, yeah, I like what you’re doing. Makes sense. Paul, like you’re a successful author now. I totally make sense what you did. And you’re like, Yeah, well, where are the F? Where are you for five and a half years when you were like, get a job, loser, you know, like, so it takes a long time. And then you’re an overnight success. And they’re all your fans. But for that 5,6,7 years, that you were journeying yourself on that path to get to where you are, you didn’t have that support? Does that resonate on your journey?


Paul Millerd  46:56

Yeah, definitely. Yeah, the book has like changed people’s perception of me. And it’s weird, because I appreciate that there’s more support now. But it’s like also, like, not many people were supporting me actively. Five years ago, or four years ago, or three years ago, or two years ago, I felt very alone, I needed more support than I had. But I also really valued the people that did support me early, there’s probably a handful of five to 10 people that were so supportive, every step of the journey. And those people are so important to me, I and I think this is something people should think about too in their lives. If their kids are taking weird paths or doing things that make them uncomfortable, their spouse wants to take a weird path, their friends are doing something, you can actually make a profound impact on their life by rooting for them, not just silently supporting and being around them, but actively encouraging  . We’re in a great deficit of belief in others. We sort of just have this construct of well, if you’re working in a full time job, everyone implicitly supports you. Well, no one’s actively supporting anyone. People feel uncertain, even on the default path. Tell people you’re impressed by what they’re doing. And you hope they keep going. Tell them you’re inspiring them. All these things. It’s so important. It’s still important for me, like, I feel so appreciated if people see me for the things I’m actually trying to do often like the generous things I’m trying to do helping other people and say like, Oh, that’s awesome. I hope you keep going.


Clint Murphy  48:39

And I think you wrote something. It was either last night or today on Twitter talking about this idea. And I may have replied to it and said, Yeah, Paul, it’s a long and lonely road for creators in it. I don’t think I called her out in the reply. But I Rachel Wiseman, on Twitter, she sent me a message the other day, just said out of the blue, you know, one of those Hey, thanks for all the content you’re putting out. I know how hard it can be and appreciate what you’re doing. And just like that message, it just, there’s a feeling in the heart where you’re like shit, okay, like I am. I’m doing something here. People feel it. But you’re right. Like, you don’t get that much as a creator. Everyone thinks, Well, Paul, successful. Paul’s the best selling author, Paul Ryan is on Twitter, like everyone must be telling them he’s great. Well, how many are actually reaching out and saying, Hey, Paul, I really appreciate you.


Paul Millerd  49:39

I’ll be fair, I do get a lot now because of the book. It’s hard to reply to all of them. But I am sort of making it my mission. Okay, if I’m able to reach a higher level of financial security, how am I thinking about supporting others like that is something I really want to do for other people. And I know how much you’re meant to me when others supported me. So I’m thinking about how I can do that, like, how can I support my wife’s journey? How can I support my children’s journeys in life? How can I support my friends’ journeys? And yeah, it’s super valuable. And these paths are so weird. Like, it never stops being weird. You’re always having to constantly re choose your path. reaffirm your principles, I had this offer from a publishing agency to buy my book in March. And it totally threw me for a loop. Because I think I’ve just been coasting along and creator mode, my Creator mode is now my new normal, I just do what I did the last week, right. And it made me sort of like, it threw me out of that they offered me a bunch of money to sign with them, and play the prestige game. And it was pretty easy to turn down. I think the economics of it are bad. And I also just don’t work well with authorities. Like I don’t want a boss. But it threw me for a loop because I think I had not reflected on the principles and why am I doing this? What’s the game? What’s my strategy and reaffirming that to myself writing it down. That was a really helpful inflection point. But I don’t think those ever disappear. You’re always having to re reflect and reaffirm. And I think this is why having friends in the path is so important. So you can have these conversations where you don’t have to be talking with like your parents. And they’re like, Well, do you think you should get a stable job? Aren’t you worried about retirement and you’re worried about health care, you can skip all that. And you can just be like, Well, how do you deal with the random fear of financial insecurity on a Thursday afternoon? And they’ll be like, oh, yeah, I have that on Sunday. Here’s how I’m grappling with it.


Clint Murphy  51:47

Yeah, there’s very few people generally, in our everyday lives who are on that journey. And we tend to find them through social media or through podcasts and build relationships, in those conversations really move us forward on these journeys, where have you tended to find most of the people that are on similar paths that you can have these conversations with


Paul Millerd  52:16

Twitter and my newsletter and also on my website for four years, I had an open calendar every Wednesday, and I talked to about 400 people, some of those people become good friends, some of the people I’ve met in person and hang out with they’re few and Austin I hang out with all the time now. So that’s been the number one. And I’ve always just been open with connecting people. I’m messaging people all the time. I’m very comfortable doing that. I grew up in the internet. I like using tech and the Internet doesn’t really drain me. So it’s very natural for me.


Clint Murphy  52:53

In Austin from when I was there, for a short period of time over spring break seems like a mecca for people who are on the pathless path like it was everywhere.


Paul Millerd  53:06

Yeah, there’s a high density of underemployed weirdos, as I say,


Clint Murphy  53:11

Who are performing at reasonably high levels in what they’re doing too, though. So it was I found that super interesting. And let’s go in a different direction. So we talked about having faith going that way. And we’ve talked a bit about striving. And so the next question ties to that. And it ties to the fact that we all think, well, I’m going to be happy when I’m going to be happy when I get that promotion. I’m going to be happy when I reach that FYI number. And whether it’s Durant with basketball, Ryan Holiday with writing, it doesn’t happen. We don’t get happy when we reach something and you talk about this. Dr. Ben Shahar’s arrival fallacy. What does that look like? And how does that play out on arteries?


Paul Millerd  53:58

Yeah, I’ve been thinking about this too. I don’t know if I suffered from this a lot. As much as when I was discontent with the path, I would cling to something else to save me. So it’s a slightly different form of it. It’s like the save myself fallacy or something. Where it’s like, okay, I was a bit bored at a job and it’s like, Okay, this next one is going to be awesome. All my jobs, eventually disappointed me. Maybe that’s just everyone. But yeah, I think what I’m doing in my current path is designing around never becoming discontent on my path. So I designed for liking work. I designed I’m so protective of things that feel like there are things I don’t want to be doing. Right. And I’m willing to give up money to do that. Lots of money sometimes. So yeah, I haven’t really had that urge to escape my path in six years, which is pretty cool. I haven’t come close to burnout. I’ve really enjoyed my path. I mean, my only regrets, or sometimes maybe I was wish I was a little more ambitious. But I think early on in my path, I sort of saw this ambition as this seeking arrival energy. And I rejected that so aggressively. And I think what I’ve come to see is that real ambition is living a life that is true to who you are, right. And Kevin Kelley said, this thing, like, the best goal of life is to at your deathbed finally become the best version of yourself. And I think I sort of underestimated this idea of ambition is the most ambitious thing you can do is live the life you actually want to live.


Clint Murphy  55:42

I’m going to have a chat with him next week, about a new book, it just came out. So I’ll definitely bring that up. There’s two things you talked about there that I want to dive into with you, we’ll go to defining enough second, because that’s an important thing for us to do on this journey. And before that, you use the word design. And you talked about the intentionality not only of what you want on your path, more importantly, what you don’t want. And so one of the things you’ve done on your journey is to use that inversion technique of looking forward and saying, What does failure look like? And where don’t I want to end up? I don’t want to be that 50 year old fat out of shape Dad? What is inversion? For our listeners who don’t know what it is? And how have you used inversion, to reverse design the life that you want to live?


Paul Millerd  56:38

Yeah, inversion is a technique that scrambles your brain a bit. It’s saying, Okay, I don’t want to be a disgruntled 50 year old working in an office job, and then working backwards and saying the opposite. What am I doing now, that might raise the odds of me achieving that? And then inevitably, you start seeing things you’re doing that are leading you toward that, and then you’re left with the question of what should I do about this, this is scary information. And this has been a much easier thing for me to do. For some reason, I just don’t gravitate to, to models that I want to emulate or copy, which I think is a good thing. Because I think that’s a huge trap for people, they see what other people are doing, and then try to copy their path without adjusting for their own psychology. I’m very good at seeing other people that are burning out and being like, okay, what are they doing? How do I avoid that? How do I make sure I don’t integrate that into my life, I want to enjoy every month of my path and life. So the reserve costs of giving up my time to do something is extremely high. And, yeah, it’s a constant struggle. Because I mean, in 2021, there was a clear opportunity to make more money. If I leaned into turning my self paced course around consulting skills into a cohort based course, I definitely could have made a lot of money. But I asked myself, What would I do if I made a lot of money? And my answer was, Well, I would right. And so I just wanted to skip that and just go right. So I spent most of the year writing my book.


Clint Murphy  58:17

But part of the reason you were able to do that, is you got your costs significantly down when she told us about when you’re in Asia idle. That’s vital. And part of it is this idea of in not enough people realize this. We all define what success looks like for us. We all define what is enough. And so what was that exercise for you of designing? Or defining enough? And how can more people get into that? Defining enough for them?


Paul Millerd  58:57

Yeah, I think it’s hard people seem to have insatiable desire in today’s world. And I think it leaves going through a period of testing yourself with having less is super important. I think, the first couple of years after I quit my job, I eventually got rid of my stuff lived on very little, but was super happy. So I had to deal with that disconnect and realize, oh, I actually like a lot of ownership over my time. So that’s super valuable to me. This is the thing people don’t understand. They’re like, well, I have a mortgage. I have all these tuitions. I have many of these car payments. It’s like, yeah, that’s a choice. You can stop paying for all that you could sell your house, you can get rid of the cars, you can rent, you can move to a walkable area, you can ride bikes, but like people just don’t want to test it. That’s what I say like don’t blow up your life test it. Go somewhere a month where you can test out a different way of being and basically that’s all I did in my early 30s was test things and I kept fine coming up with clear answer you like time you’d like creative space. And that’s super valuable. So some people want a giant house in, that’s their success. For me, it’s a lot of time and space. But that’s not legible to other people. So that’s not going to impress other people. And I have to deal with the disconnect of that. Some people think I’m a bad parent by not owning a house. Just what some people think. Pretty sure my daughter likes me being around and hanging out with her for 10 hours a day.


Clint Murphy  1:00:32

Yeah, 100%. And more over time, I mean, I’ve chatted a little bit on Twitter about my son was about nine years old, and he stopped looking me in the eyes. And he stopped saying, I love you. And we’d said, I love you every night of his life up until then, took a few days before I pulled him aside and said, Hey, are you behaving this way? Because I’m not here. Like is, is that setting you? And I was working pretty stupid hours. And Paul. And he said, Yeah, and up until a certain age, you’re their hero, just for being dad. And then you cross a heartbeat, where they’re, oh, like, I get emotional every time I think about it, because it was the worst moment of my life. Like it was this kid who, up until a week before I was his hero, just for being his dad. And then that was the moment where he was enough of a human to say, Well, wait a second. Are you my dad, like you’re not here? Like you tell me you love me. But you’re not home? And I’m not sure I love you anymore. And that was like, whoa, whoa, and where I had to really reassess life and have the deep conversations at work. And probably not surprisingly, it’s not far off of when I had that conversation to say, I’ve got 10 years left. And so you have that moment, and your kids will say, yeah, you being there was one of the greatest things in my life. And even Bill Perkins in di was zero. That’s one of the things I think you wrote about that book the other day, that’s what he talks about, and he talked about on the podcast is your time with your kids is one of the most important things you can give them. Yeah, so 100% love where you’re going there. And I definitely got lost a little on where I was going. But where I’ll take it to Paul is this idea of as we continue on our journey, and we’re moving forward in life, needing to always reinvent ourselves, which on the pathless path is probably happening even more then on the default path. Because like you said, I don’t know what I’m going to be doing next year. So how does that reinvention process work? And what do we need to be focusing on so that we can be reinventing ourselves as we go through our lives?


Paul Millerd  1:02:57

Yeah, I think it’s hard. It’s something I am always looking for ideas and thinking about my strategy has been to follow my curiosity, and see what that leads me to create. I think by continuing to share ideas connect with people, things happen and emerge. One thing I’m thinking about at a higher level, though, is that helps sort out like the short term waves and identify opportunities, but like, what is the next like, meta season of my life? I don’t know if I’m doing this 10 years from now. And if that’s true, how do I pivot to the next chapter of my life? And I think this is very hard. That’s my base assumption. And I need people like you that are going to share ideas and other friends that are doing the same thing to inspire me. I think, increasingly, I’m looking to people who are dads now doing these weird paths and saying, Okay, how are they showing up? How are they dealing with the financial insecurity? How are they dealing with the identity and role of being a father and things like that? So? Yeah, I don’t know.


Clint Murphy  1:04:09

That’s, that’s generally the answer for a lot of us and being comfortable. Part of what you’re learning on your journey is being comfortable with not knowing I’m assuming, and how long did it take for you to get comfortable not knowing the long term plan,


Paul Millerd  1:04:26

I’ve always been somewhat comfortable with it. I think I was always driven by discontent. So with the discontent, I would look for an escape, and plan that next move, and I was always really good at planning the next move. I’m an engineer at heart and I can solve problems. I can find target X and work backwards to figure it out. I can solve hard engineering problems and I can certainly solve career problems. I’d never needed much of a plan. In fact, like my career looks impressive now, but I was jumping around before I got promoted, I was making moves that people were telling me it was a bad idea. And I just kept chasing the learning and energy. So I think I’ve gotten definitely more comfortable with it. Now, the way I talk about it is that you have these fears. They’re hidden on the default path, because everyone agrees, don’t talk about it, you don’t talk about it, I won’t talk about it on the pathless path, you can avoid your own fears, your own fears come up and slap you in the face and say I am Here I am hanging out with you. Eventually, they get less aggressive and they’re just floating around, right? And you start to just learn to walk around with them or dance with them. And know that like, some days, they’re really bothering you. But then they’re gonna go away. So it’s just like, becoming aware. And awareness lets it like, drift away. It’s sort of a mindfulness practice, I think. And the longer you’re on this journey, I mean, six years? I don’t know, figure it out, maybe it will keep working. It sort of surprises me every time I reach another year, it’s like, wow, this is crazy.


Clint Murphy  1:06:10

Well, I would think at this point, you know, it’s, it’s gonna keep going and how is your mindfulness? Not completely, though. Okay.


Paul Millerd  1:06:20

I don’t feel how do I know? Like, I don’t know, my book. I assume my book sales are gonna decline over time. But like, I have this course it’s been selling, but like, maybe that will decline over time. I guess I can keep sharing ideas and like, my audience will grow. So maybe opportunities will increase. But I don’t I have no idea.


Clint Murphy  1:06:40

You have no idea. But what you ought to, I have confidence in.


Paul Millerd  1:06:46

I know, I know, I can earn a certain baseline.


Clint Murphy  1:06:50

Yes, right. Yes,


Paul Millerd  1:06:51

I have enough bet that like, I’m not going to go broke fast. So I’ll have enough lead time to prepare, right? I have in cash about two years savings, which is a lot more sensible now, given higher savings, interest rates. And then so if I’m spending 70 grand a year, and I’m only making 40, for a few years, that I’m not going to do the math, but that might take five or six years to run out of money. As opposed to like, if it went to zero, I’d run out in two years. Right. So I have time to like prepare, if things shaved got


Clint Murphy  1:07:34

five years, five years, four and a half. But good math, you also have skills and an ability to learn and write and do so many things that add value to the world. So going back to your abundant mindset, the skills and abilities you picked up over the last six, seven years. I don’t think you’ve been sitting idle, you’ve been adding new skills in new tools to your tool belt. So I would think that your earning potential is only going to increase over the next decade.


Paul Millerd  1:08:15

Maybe it doesn’t feel that way. And this is something I’m still exploring like I think I still have remnants of a scarcity mindset. I grew up in like New England of like this Puritan legacy of like, I don’t know you’re never in, you’re gonna run out of money. It’s not a big fear. But like my base case is not that I’m going to keep increasing my income. My base case is that it’s like flat or declining. I


Clint Murphy  1:08:44

n the interesting part, Paul, no matter how much money you have, always think you’re going to run out of money. I billionaires, multimillionaires, they always have that same, maybe not I’m going to run out but that same insecurity of, well, what will two years look like? What will three years look like? Yeah, in Do I have enough.


Paul Millerd  1:09:05

I think my base case, it’s more I think I worry about it more with a daughter. Because I don’t want to get to the point where I’m compromising on stuff. I definitely am like, I’m totally okay, compromising myself if I don’t buy another new T-shirt for the next 30 years. And that’s what it costs to like, protect my time. Hell yeah. Oh, man. Sounds fun. I don’t need new shirts. I don’t want to do that with a family. I mean, the US is very expensive. Maybe we will move abroad. But yeah, I’m on a path where I’m constantly learning new things. I’m intellectually stimulated, I feel alive. I’m excited. I love what I’m doing. And those are way more valuable than money. And those are the things I’ve discovered on this path because those things were dying on the default path for me, except I was solving a money problem on I was solving a spreadsheet life but not actually living a life and now I’m doing the opposite. But I also sort of cured my fear. I just did the math on retirement, I went into the Social Security site and calculated what my payout would be, and then calculated, what would I make in retirement, I didn’t even come my wife in this, like, if I count her, it’s going to be higher. It’s like if I just broke even for the next 30 years, and then retired at 62 or 25 years, what would I make per year and it was like 50 grand a year, would like retirement savings that I didn’t touch. And so security, it’s like, I’ll just, we’ll just go live in Thailand, we’ll have a blast.


Clint Murphy  1:10:41

I think I’m in that  I think I’m in that same situation where, given the real estate I’ve acquired over the last decade. If I do nothing, or break, even for the next 20 years, I’ll be 65. And those properties will be paid off. I’ll live lavishly for the rest of my life, I just have to break even for the next 20. So it’s, I hear you, and I’m on the same same mission. Although I don’t want to just break even similar to you. I want to have a bit of a bit of a cushion for my two sons in what’s happening. But I always fall back on that, well, worse comes to worse. I’ve just got to survive 20 years, because 65 on. life’s gonna be gravy. Yeah, exactly. Which brings me to the last question on the book, and then we’ll fire some rapid fire questions on you to wrap it up, Paul, in you kind of hit on it on that last one about living on the spreadsheet versus living life is what is the mantra coming alive? Over getting ahead? What does that mean to you?


Paul Millerd  1:11:44

Yeah, it’s just a way of reminding myself that that’s what it’s about on this path. Right? I think I’m aiming at a feeling and a vibe and an energy. And I’m not trying to be in a path where I’m trying to jump to the next step, playing somebody else’s game. It’s living alive in the moment being connected to the work being connected to what matters to me and things like that. And it’s something I repeat to myself over and over again, it’s a great reminder of like, this is what it’s about. Because if you don’t define what it’s about you default to other people’s metrics and measures of success to


Clint Murphy  1:12:21

so rapid fire questions. Paul, what is one book that you’ve read that’s had a massive impact on your life? You may have mentioned a couple of them already in the convo.


Paul Millerd  1:12:31

Yes. So many, I’d say David White’s crossing the unknown see, and David White three marriages, all of his books, really, how he injected poetry, and he sort of opened a portal of a new way of seeing the world so magical for me. But yeah, tons of books I mentioned in my book as well. But yeah, the David White books have been transformative for me.


Clint Murphy  1:12:54

And did he not mention this concept of the pathless path, which you incorporate it into your pathless path?


Paul Millerd  1:13:02

Yeah, is beautiful and discovered the phrase so yeah, thank you, David.


Clint Murphy  1:13:06

And what are you reading? Right, what’s on your shelf?


Paul Millerd  1:13:09

What am I reading? So I just bought die with zero. I’m reading that amusing ourselves to death. I just read that. What else am I reading Ben Mercer’s end game. I reading a bunch of stuff. I’m reading Robert Anton Wilson, Prometheus rising. Yeah, so I read a lot. So it’s always a mix of different books I’m reading at once.


Clint Murphy  1:13:31

I mean, that’s, that’s one of the best aspects of living the life you’re designing right now is that I’m looking forward to is just reading non stop. What’s one thing that Paul has spent less than $1,000 on in the last year that you’ve said, Wow, I wish I’d bought that sooner.


Paul Millerd  1:13:51

Can I say over 1000 I make sure you’re okay. Why the bike? I just love biking. I ride more now that I own my own bike. It’s awesome. It Yeah, I should have bought it sooner. It’s about $1,200. And yeah, they’re amazing.


Clint Murphy  1:14:10

I need a new bike. So that might make sense for me in because the growth guys is about growth development. What is one mindset shift, habit change or behavior change that you’ve had in your life that has had an oversized impact for you?


Paul Millerd  1:14:27

Practicing nonwork so being intentional about creating space in my life, whether it’s a couple hours a week, or a month or three months, creating spaces in my life where I’m actively aiming toward work or outcomes. Those are the periods in which I was able to get in touch with myself and basically get to know what I really wanted in my desires. My interests, my curiosities, and that’s what I always come back to really connect with myself.


Clint Murphy  1:14:53

And it sounded throughout the conversation like you have a bit of a mindfulness practice potentially. Have you done it? A silent retreat on this journey of yours, Paul.


Paul Millerd  1:15:04

I’ve never done one. My wife’s done one, I do a lot of sort of walking, mindfulness. Now I did a lot when I first moved to Asia, I think it was really important in terms of dealing with a lot of the disconnects. And that just like embarking on that new non doing path. But yeah, it’s not super active in my life. Now, it’s sort of integrated into a lot of things I do. And I think honestly, spending time with my daughter is where I’m able to be most present these days.


Clint Murphy  1:15:32

That’s beautiful. We went pretty wide, pretty deep into the book. Is there anything that we didn’t hit on that you want to make sure the listeners pick up before they buy a copy of the pathless? path?


Paul Millerd  1:15:46

I don’t think so. I mean, you did such a great job covering a lot of the ideas. It’s really a choose your own adventure of all these different ideas and my own failures and slow realizations that you can sort of use as inspiration to say, Oh, I’m not crazy. I’m not alone. I’m not the only one taking these things. So yeah, if you’re thinking about, if you feel like your relationship with work isn’t great, check out the book, I think you’ll really like it. And if you don’t have money for a book, just send me a note happy to gift you digital copies or mail you a copy as well.


Clint Murphy  1:16:23

And where can our listeners find you?


Paul Millerd  1:16:27 or the pathless path podcast is where I’m sharing most of my ideas these days. Definitely hanging out on Twitter, though, probably going to be on Twitter a bit less in the coming months as I go into deeper reading mode again,


Clint Murphy  1:16:42

with Book Two, which is excuse me, maybe yeah, idea. We’ll see. Yeah, there’s a table. I mean, you put out a table of contents, I mean, that steps away from having a book finish.


Paul Millerd  1:16:53

Yeah, a lot of writing to go, we’ll see. It’s fun. I love having sort of aim for my writing.


Clint Murphy  1:17:01

One of the hacks I’m somewhat trying, you may have done this already is I have a table of contents. And what I’m doing is chewing through the chapters by writing articles for my newsletter. So it’s, you know, putting out a teaser or a taster and then saying, Okay, that’ll eventually end up in the book. So a way to get a bit of a pulling adjusting Welsh writing once, using twice. I think he says you use it eight times. But you get that. Yeah,


Paul Millerd  1:17:33

Yeah, I think I did a similar approach with my newsletter is less than formal, I did find one challenge of putting it into book form. It’s like you can’t repeat ideas, so you need to connect them. And yeah, I think the book is a little more complicated than dropping a bunch of newsletter posts. But yes, it was a good strategy.


Clint Murphy  1:17:54

I’m gonna have to test it out and figure out how to pull it all together. It’s gonna be fun. Paul, thanks for conversation today. Really enjoyed having you on the show.


Paul Millerd  1:18:03

Amazing. Thank you so much, Clint.

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