A garden of new possibilities
In which Rob starts designing his new product in real time
Ok, so The Forest has officially become an all-consuming project. No matter what I'm doing, my mind is constantly gravitating back to it, and churning through ways to make it awesome. So today, I'm gonna use this daily writing practice to think through an important aspect of this in real time.
My main goal is for The Forest to be insanely practical. I've got a ton of conceptual stuff to share, and it would be easy for me to overload the experience with theory. But that would 100% defeat the purpose. I don't want people to come into The Forest and be like "wow Rob sure has a lot of smart thoughts." I want them to start doing things, experimenting, and learning through direct experience as quickly as possible. The vast majority of online courses are more "edutainment" than anything, and that's a trap I've fallen into in the past, but won't this time. If wandering through The Forest doesn't lead to new ways of behaving and relating to creative work and marketing, it's not doing its job.
So a heuristic I'm playing with is that you will never be more than a click or two away from an invitation to try something practical and real. I want to over-index on practical stuff, so that no matter what, you're constantly reminded to shift out of consumptive mode and into active "doing shit" mode.
As I've been thinking about this today, I've found a few different categories of practical activities that I'm going to incorporate into V1. So here's a taxonomy of actionable stuff you will encounter all throughout your travels through The Forest.
A core pillar of the Ungated philosophy is this idea of building from the inside out. It's about understanding the contours of your inner world—your desires, beliefs, fears, gifts, etc—and using that as the foundation for creating work you care about, and attracting fans who resonate with you. So much of the work of breaking The Pattern comes from stepping out of mimetic ecosystems, where we take on other people's desires and strategies as our own. So a big part of walking through The Forest will be discerning what's true and alive for you, and following that aliveness regardless of what everyone else is doing.
Over the years, I've developed all sorts of cool ways to explore one's inner world for the purposes of creative work and marketing. This used to happen mostly through stream of consciousness writing (freewriting), along with some targeted prompts, but increasingly I'm playing with speaking and somatic work as well. Lots of possibilities here.
So the first big layer of The Forest will be these small targeted inquiries into your inner world. It'll be something like, "The Desire Audit," where you set a timer for 10-20 minutes, and then start freewriting based on a handful of prompts designed to point you in the direction of desire. I've already got like 5-6 of these things planned, and I'm sure there will be plenty more to come. Learning more about ourselves is the work of a lifetime.
There are a handful of strategic concepts I teach that have multiple components to them. Things like "oasis building" or "finding the others" or creating a "container of aliveness." All of these things have multiple steps, and will take more than 20 minutes to make real progress with it. That's where workshops are going to come in.
I'm imagining a format where I package together a handful of inquiries and exercises into a specific sequence. The idea is that you'd set aside 90 minutes or so, maybe put this on your calendar, and work through that sequence in real time. At the end, you'd have a strong strategic foundation for your digital oasis, or your manifesto, or whatever.
For example, if I do a "find the others" workshop, it will be a combination of 2-3 different inquiries (identity, desire, connection), plus some of the audience research strategies I teach in my old niche course. It'll all be broken out into digestible 10-20 minute chunks, and by the end of the workshop, you would have made real progress on discovering the corners of the internet filled with your people, where you feel a sense of nourishment and belonging. That's a pretty solid outcome for a 90-minute self-guided workshop!
I suspect one of the biggest components of The Forest will be a library of potential experiments. If there's a secret sauce to how I approach my creative work and business, it's that I'm always experimenting with random shit. The more I experiment, the more I learn. And the more I learn, the more interesting things I find to experiment with. It's a profound self-reinforcing feedback loop, and it leads to much better outcomes than my old approach of overthinking everything and trying to solve problems in my head before doing anything in the real world.
So yeah, this section of The Forest would be full of invitations to experiment with specific things that I've done, that my friends have done, or that seem worth trying. They could be tiny experiments (like writing an essay in a totally different style than you're used to) or big and radical experiments (like switching a chunk of your business into the Gift Economy). My guess is there will be dozens of these smaller potential experiments in V1, and in future versions, perhaps that will grow to hundreds. Like I said, experimenting constantly has been my secret weapon for breaking away from the status quo, and I want my Forest homies to never be at a loss for intriguing new things to try.
Last but not least, I think I want to include some potential practices. For me, this means meaningful activities you do consistently that help you grow into the person you want to be. They're the "chop wood, carry water" of creative individuation and entrepreneurship.
For example, right now I'm committed to daily publishing and invitations. That's my creative/business practice. I've also got some spiritual and emotional and psychical health practices woven into this 100 day container as well. For me, these practices are about so much more than just "building good habits" or whatever. They're sacred. They're helping me align my external life with the desires of my soul. It's about showing up consistently, and focusing on those few simple, but not easy things that matter for me to grow into the man I want to be, and build Ungated into the business I want it to be.
I'm not entirely sure what this'll look like in The Forest yet, but I will definitely be sharing the practices that have been essential to my journey. But ultimately, I suspect that we all have to find our own sacred practices, and mostly that comes from our own experiments and intuition. So yeah, gonna play it by ear on how to execute on this one.
Rob's Daily Invitation
So uh, yeah. Based on all this cool "thinking in public," would you like to join me in V1 of The Forest? Lol.