Like Unbaking a Pie


Living is a form of not being sure, not knowing what next or how. The moment you know how, you begin to die a little. The artist never entirely knows. We guess. We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark. —AGNES DE MILLE

Chodron, Pema (2012-10-09). Living Beautifully: with Uncertainty and Change Shambhala Publications. Kindle Edition.

This is so challenging. The basic premise is that you throw away “knowing,” and by knowing, the concept is more like “believing.” Here’s an easy example: Someone sees me on the street and how I dress and they might think I’m unemployed or quirky (Jacq says that’s not so, but it’s what I think). So, in that other person, there’s a belief about who I am and what I mean (or don’t mean) to them.

I do this. We all do this. We have beliefs about people, ourselves, everything and these beliefs are always limiting. The more I practice thinking about it, the more I realize that I need this.

I’m reworking a keynote right now. It was done. But when I did it yesterday, I could see all kinds of flaws. So, I’m at it again. But that’s like unbaking a pie. It doesn’t exactly work that way to me in the creative process.

Why? Because I’ve not yet learned to live with uncertainty. And though I have domain knowledge on what I’m talking about, I haven’t yet found the right kind of flow for every audience with this material.

So there. My #3bd is directly relating to my work.


  1. Follow your gut, Chris, as that’s what you’ve helped me do. Today I’m working on a non-fiction series and my “knowing” and “training” tells me to write it one way: self-helpy. But my gut makes me want to write it in a completely fun, character-based way. What the heck is all that about? It’s safe, this “knowing,” and it’s what is appropriate in the industry.

    The key for me is to let the creator be the one that sits at the keyboard and simply make some cool, interesting story art. That’ll be more fun for me (and keep me excited about it) because I want to have fun. So have fun (re)writing your keynote. It’s up to us to overwrite the beliefs that no longer serve us. Besides, we’re the ones that adopt our own belief systems anyway, so why not? Thanks. Keep it coming.

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  • About

    Chris Brogan is a business designer and CEO of Human Business Works. He is a New York Times bestselling author, sought-after keynote speaker, and publisher. Learn more about Chris at his primary blog, []

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