The Beauty in Imperfection


My warmest greetings from the air – It’s the middle of the night and I’m en route from Los Angeles back to London for 48h to record some podcasts, sign a few hundred copies of Feel-Good Productivity to go in bookstores, and say hello to the family, before flying out again to continue the digital nomad adventure 😂

I wanted to talk this week about a video I recently released titled Everything’s Changing – Life Update. It’s a 44-minute ramble where I share some updates on what’s going on my life, and then spend ages pontificating about money, business, growth, happiness, fulfilment and the pursuit of a meaningful life.

Of all the 750+ videos I’ve made in the past 7 years, this seems to be the one that’s had the biggest response, with thousands of comments from people all saying they really resonated with what I was talking about and grappling with, and they’ve been having similar thoughts and feelings in their own life. I even had lots of DMs from friends and fellow creators and entrepreneurs who’d seen the video and said that it resonated with them in various ways too.

This was super surprising to me. I thought this video was going to be a dud that only the “super fans” would care about. I didn’t think too hard about the title, we didn’t bother with a fancy thumbnail, the editing on it was very minimal, I didn’t think about “retention”, or “the algorithm” at all – I just decided to hit record, with no plan, and just speak from the heart. And somehow, that seemed to resonate with people.

My toilet time over the past few days has been spent going through the comments on the video, and feeling a glow of appreciation and gratitude for my wonderful audience, and a glow of delight that my unsophisticated, unstructured rambles produced such a nice response.

One key lesson I took away from the video was this – I spend a lot of time obsessing about improving the “quality” of my videos. From optimising the living daylights out of the title and thumbnail, scripting the “hook” so that viewers know what they’re getting, trying to find science and stories etc to back up the points I’m making, trying to cut out any rambling or repetition so that the video’s “concise” and doesn’t “waste” people’s time, etc etc. All that has served me over the past 7y of making videos, and is (partly) what has helped grow the channel to nearly 5 million subscribers (I think we’ll hit that milestone before the end of the year!) But… while that’s all well and good, it’s nice to know that every now and then, something more raw and relatable and less “presentery” can resonate with people too. And in many ways, raw and relatable and less “presentery” resonates with people on a deeper, more emotional level, than just “hey here’s another list of things that can help you improve your life”.

Maybe that’s why people seem to like these emails too? They’re not that structured, they’re more raw, and the replies I normally get to these emails are often way more heartfelt and sincere than the comments I see on most of my videos.

My takeaway from this is that, as someone famous once said, there’s beauty in imperfection. I’d like to remember this more often, especially when I let the desire for a “high quality” product inch into the territory of perfectionism, which turns into procrastination, which turns into a recipe for angst and burnout when it happens too often.

You don’t have to strive for perfection all the time. It’s okay to do things, and make things, that are “less good” once in a while. You might even find that “less good” in your eyes, becomes “relatable” and “authentic” in the eyes of others, which in many ways is “more good”. Plus, it’s more fun.

Have a great week!

Ali xx

PS: Less than 2 weeks until the book is officially released worldwide! If you’ve preordered a copy, (a) thank you! and (b) please submit your receipt / order confirmation HERE to get access to the “Plan the Best Year of your Life” live online workshop I’m doing on Jan 6th 2024. Lots of people have been very kindly sending receipts to my email inbox directly, but my inbox isn’t connected to the automated ticketing system so it makes it hard to keep on top of 😬 So please do send your receipt into that form to make sure you get access to the event and all the bonus goodies we’re giving away ❤️

PPS: If you haven’t yet preordered a copy of the book, now would be a lovely time 🙂 You can get it in hardback, eBook (including Kindle) and/or audiobook (which I spent 3 days narrating myself) – more details here if you’re interested. And if you order before Dec 30th, you’ll get a free ticket to the Feel-Good Productivity Annual Planning Workshop too!

☕The Newsletter That I Read Every Day

One of my favourite daily newsletters is Morning Brew.

Morning Brew has all the latest business, finance, tech and global news all in one place. Instead of having to keep up across lots of different platforms and email lists, this newsletter has everything covered. Morning Brew provides quick and entertaining updates, and it takes just five minutes to read.

It’s super accessible and completely free – I love having it delivered to my inbox each morning.

So if you’re interested in signing up, check out this link and enjoy 🙂

Thanks to Morning Brew for sponsoring this issue of Sunday Snippets 🙏

♥️ My Favourite Things

1 – Podcast Interview – Is it weird to say that one of my favourites for this week is an interview of me? Maybe… even so, a few months ago when I was in Austin, I had a fun conversation about writing, creating and entrepreneurship with my friend David Perell, for his fantastic How I Write podcast. I re-listened to the interview we did (a few months after the fact) and found myself thinking “huh this is some good stuff” (mostly the things he said, not the things I said). You might like to check it out. I love his episodes with Mark MansonSam Parr and The Cultural Tutor as well.

2 – Book – The Practice by Seth Godin – This is really really good. Highlighted so many bits. If you’re a creator / creative of any sort, and you sometimes struggle with it (hint: everyone does), you’ll love this book. It’s a simple message, but Seth drives the point home in multiple ways that helped it seep into my soul rather than just staying in my brain.

3 – Podcast – It’s another Mark Manson one, this one titled: “7 Life Lessons I Wish I Knew Sooner”. I love Mark’s stuff so much – he’s like 10 years older than me, and into the same general stuff (personal development, video games, etc) and is way more “successful” than I am in the same general industry (self-help writer / creator). So almost anytime he posts something on any of his platforms, it resonates – it’s like having a really wise, rich older brother who’s a little cranky at times (his whole online persona, although he’s much more chill offline) and gives great life and careers advice. I love it. Great episode, if you fancy having a listen.

🎬 My New Videos

🧠How to Be Effortlessly Disciplined: 5 Mindset Shifts – Being more disciplined is something that most people want but pretty much everyone struggles with it. So in this video I’m sharing 5 of my favourite tips to help you become more disciplined. Enjoy x

✍️ Quote of the Week

“Without effort, your talent is nothing more than your unmet potential. Without effort, your skill is nothing more than what you could have done but didn’t. With effort, talent becomes skill and, at the same time, effort makes skill productive”.

From Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth. Resurfaced using Readwise.

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