Freaks, Systems, Mental Spring Cleaning

I had forgotten that I had contributed a few things to Chris Brogan’s book, The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth, which apparently came out in 2014; wow, has it been that long?!

I was reminded of this from a digital friend, Andy, who’s a Church of England vicar, DJ, musician, artist, magician, and entrepreneur… among many other things, who wrote me a great email full of encouragement.

But I had forgotten my contribution to Chris’ book and, in fact, I’m not sure I had ever read a copy or seen what was ultimately put in the book! I asked Andy and he transcribed the section for me. What a guy!

In any case, here’s a little bit from Chris Brogan’s book that might resonate with you (or not):

Create Systems That Work for You

Blogger, entrepreneur, and friend John Saddington recently made a public announcement to his community that he is dealing with autism, specifically Asperger’s syndrome. Before I go much further, I should remind readers of the saying: If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism. That is, everyone’s different—and John’s difference requires an interesting system.

John can remember things much better visually. Visual presentations stay with him much more clearly than audible ones; if John takes a picture, it will stick with him. For example, John would likely forget a grocery list’s details, but if he photographs the list, he can navigate the store without a problem. He can remember people, but if he sees their photo, it’s like opening up a mental database of what he knows about the person—even if they’re just on the phone with him.

Because this is just how John is wired, he’s developed a system to handle it best. And as a software entrepreneur, he’s also created software to support that system.

So before we go on to talk about systems, think about how this story relates to the freaks concept. John’s a freak just like you or me. His challenge is his autism, and building a business that he wants to build while living the life he wants to live. I can tell you that John’s business is paying him well enough and he’s living on his own terms, which sounds like success to me. The choices he’s made have allowed him to inherit the earth he wants—specifically, his choice to build systems that work for him.


Thanks Chris for sharing part of my story with your audience. I’ve appreciated our virtual friendship over the many years.

I’m still building these systems, by the way. It’s not like this activity or endeavor every completely stops. You just get slightly better over time and you learn to refine your systems faster and with even more resolve.

This doesn’t mean that they don’t break, but you recover faster when they do. I actually am feeling this pressure right now and this week I plan on going through a massive “mental spring cleaning” if you will. I share a few more thoughts on this via today’s vlog:

I’d love to hear from you and if you have any personal thoughts or experiences with making more mental space for yourself so that you can be the best version of yourself for others… and, well, yourself.

And don’t forget – everyone wins when you do.


Also published on Medium.