How to LIVE EVERY MOMENT Fully and Create New Memories w/ John Mashni

Oct 05, 2021

Welcome to episode 14 of the Mindful & Driven podcast! It’s all about how to not lose sight of what really matters whilst chasing your dreams.

Episode 14’s guest is John Mashni. He’s a full-time writer with four kids. He’s also written the best-selling children’s book called Cinder Toot. He had a miserable corporate career initially but an intervention with his wife encouraged him to change careers. She encouraged him to go back to law school where he reinvented himself and refound his joy. He has been writing about reinvention ever since to try and make others find a more fulfilling and happier life.

I hope you enjoy listening to our conversation! I’d love it if you could subscribe, leave me a review and follow me on social channels. 

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • How to be more mindful of the present moment.
  • How to make every moment special.
  • Why it’s important to pay attention to those around you.
  • How to be a better listener.
  • How to reinvent yourself.
  • Why you should always be open to change.
  • How to prioritize your goals.
  • How to create new memories.
  • Why the present moment matters.
  • “Right now counts forever.”


  • Introduction (0:00)
  • Time management, structure, and being open (1:40)
  • We don’t trade lives. (8:06)
  • Reinventing yourself (14:54)
  • Different challenges and a bigger purpose (18:59)
  • There are no ordinary moments (26:41)


Intro Music:
“Himalayas” by Mona Wonderlick —
Creative Commons — Attribution 3.0 Unported — CC BY 3.0
Free download:



[00:00:00] John: And it just always stuck with me, and the gentleman said right now, counts forever. Meaning this moment can live forever. It can last forever. It can be remembered by somebody forever. A conversation can be remembered or it could, it could just die, and not right, not last forever. It could be momentarily, it can be lost in time. And I think like for me, the shift is it goes even back to that 99 and one example I gave earlier. It’s like there are, and there aren’t any unimportant people. And another way to say it, which the author Dan Millman says is there are no ordinary moments.

[00:00:40] Amardeep: Welcome to the Mindful and Driven Podcast, where we help you to not lose sight of what’s really important whilst chasing your dreams. Today’s guest is John Mashni. He’s a full-time writer with four kids. He’s also written the best-selling children’s book called Cinder Toot. He had a miserable corporate career initially but an intervention with his wife encouraged him to change careers . She encouraged him to go back to law school where he reinvented himself and refound his joy. He has been writing about reinvention ever since to try and make others find a more fulfilling and happier life. I hope you enjoy listening to our conversation today.

Welcome John. It’s great to have you on the podcast.

[00:01:12] John: Great to be here. Thank you so much for asking me to be on.

[00:01:15] Amardeep: No problem. So one thing about you and I’ve mentored since the introduction is that you’ve got four kids and I find so much of the advice out there, productivity, anything to do with that is often for people who don’t quite have the same restrictions in that time that you might. So you might read some of the advice and imagine you might get a little bit frustrated by some of the things that they say, where you have to deal with a lot more time pressure than they might have to deal with. Is there any common advice you disagree with?

[00:01:39] John: I think, you know, and the other thing I would say is I have four young kids, which is different, right? So ages 11, 8, 6, and 4. But you know, by the time this ever gets released or it comes out or someone listens to it, then ages will probably all be different. So just because the nature of, you know, you have four kids, everyone’s got a birthday at some point. I mean, I think for me, I find it very hard, so there’s probably a different things, different ways we could go, but I always find it interesting when I hear, you know, self-improvement advice on time management. It’s very difficult. Sometimes when you have kids or sometimes it’s just, you have a spouse or a significant other right, to apply that in a way that makes sense. Like for instance, for a long time, I used to get up at like 5:00 or 5:30 in the morning, and then all of a sudden, my kids would be up at that time. And so then I would try to get up before my kids and I’m like, no matter how hard I tried, my kids would always get up first. Right. I don’t know if I was waking them up or whatever. It’s like, so then it’s like getting up earlier, actually made it worse, cause then I was like, had to manage kids forever. Right. So it’s like finding those moments of like, how do you manage your time or be efficient or be productive, right? When you have literally four other people that you have responsibility for that can’t do anything for themselves, right. As in my wife might say, well, you’re, you’re the biggest kid you cause the most problems, right? It’s like, okay, that may be true. The one advice I know you asked me this question or sent me the question, but one advice to like, I sometimes have strong reactions when there’s this trend, like the essentialism movement or minimalism sometimes. And I actually think it’s good advice for many people. Like, I think many people need to hear that, but I think for me, when I look at my life and I’ve tried to follow some of the principles without other context, it just hasn’t worked. Like, I don’t think it’s a good philosophy without some other principal that’s guiding you and for example, and I’m sure people in this, there is some nuance to my position and the best things in my life have happened when I have said yes to something that was not in the structure that I built for myself. So like everything, almost every, my favorite things in life, the best parts of my life, all came from saying yes to something that I, if I were following this principle of, in my mind, like only doing certain things or even this idea of like, hell yes or no, right? The best things in my life have come when it was something out of the ordinary that was outside of the structure that I had created or built or planned for myself and I said yes to it. It never, the best things have not come when I’ve said no to things. And so I just have a strong reaction when someone says, you have to say no more where I feel like for some people maybe, right. But like when I look at people that have really embraced this as a lifestyle, they might say no to a person, like a new relationship, cause it’s like, oh, I, I have whatever I have enough, but they might watch TV. Like non-stop I would value a relationship much more than a story, right, or a television program. And so my mind I’ve, I’ve had much better results in my life when it isn’t, I’m not, trying to plan my life and structure it, but I’m more open. And I say, how do I not prioritize my own needs my own goals, but I literally prioritize other people, and I say, how do I serve other people? How can I serve this person? And then go from there. And then have that be the framework, so then if I take that starting framework of put other people’s needs first, right. And I’m not saying do things that are unhealthy or let you come to harm, right. So there is some, that’s why I said there’s some nuance to it, where you can’t let yourself be drained or attacked or killed. Right. Like you have to be smart, at least be protected but also be way more open to possibilities. And my wife was actually just talking to me about this, she got invited to go to this concert and she didn’t want to go a number of years ago, and I said, why wouldn’t you go, someone wants to spend time with you. Yes, you will be out late. Yes. It’s like a work night, but why, why wouldn’t you say yes, like it’s not in your plan, but I’m behind you. I’ll cover. I’ll help. Go say yes. And she did and she didn’t want to go cause she’s like, I’ll stay up late. It won’t, it’ll be this big problem. But like the people that she went with to this day are like some of her best friends. In my mind, I’m much more, and I jokingly say like, I call it maximalism, right. Which is like John’s reaction to essentiallyism or minimalism, which is say yes to stuff. Say, yes, that’s the only way that you build relationships. That’s the only way that you create opportunities or find opportunities or see opportunities, right. Even when it’s not like, I absolutely want to do this and I journal and I set goals, like this is my unique opportunity. And if you, if you read Cal Newport’s book, So Good, They Can’t Ignore You, he actually, I think gives a label for it or provides a label, which isn’t exactly probably what I’m talking about, but it’s really close, which is like the open gates concept, which is once you develop a skillset, then you look for open gates. And that’s where you have to say yes to some of those open gates in order to move forward in your career. Again, I think a lot of people embrace minimalism because they like it. It fits, it’s a rationalization of how they want to live. They want that security. They want that structure where I, I certainly liked structured, but I realized that my, me creating my structure has never, has not led to all the great things that I would say are a big part of my life. Like even when I wrote a children’s book, I think that was an insane idea. Like, it’s crazy. Like if you even know the idea, it just doesn’t make any sense. I am a lawyer. I work at a big law firm. I, I do produce movies. Right. I teach, I have four kids. I have a spouse, I have family. Like I have all these crazy obligations, right. I write. I write, you know, on reinvention and self-improvement, and you know, there’s all this stuff. It made no sense to write a children’s book, but I had the opportunity. I felt like this has nothing to do with anything in my life, but it was an open gate to use the Cal Newport terminology, and I just said, yes, I’m doing it. You know? And then it turned into, okay, well, how can I do that and then do all this other stuff that I’m doing? Did I maybe sleep a little bit less? Possibly. But I think, and like I was telling you earlier, and if it’s the best thing I’ve ever done professionally, and it came because of something that was completely outside, kind of these, these parameters or these goals that I set for myself.

[00:07:58] Amardeep: Yeah. It makes sense. [unintelligible]. Minimalism is something which I kind of followed a few years ago myself and what I think it is for me is this idea that say no to the things that you don’t want in your life, you have to, because that makes time for you to say yes to random things. And that’s what I’m kind of getting in a situation where I’m working now, where I’m trying to counter some of the things I don’t really enjoy so that I can then have more time to like, if somebody asks me to do something out of the blue, I can take it. It could be in terms of that regards, if what you’re talking about, where maybe their match up is if they’re stuff which you’re kind of doing regularly, I guess, that you don’t enjoy and you don’t really want to do, if you can cut that out, that means that you can then go to this night [unintelligible] and things like that, which you might’ve been able to because, oh, I had to do this. Oh, I had to do that. And you made a great point as well about how it’s not often the things that we’re most excited to buy right at the beginning. That turned out to be the best thing, because we had this whole idea that when we meet new people, first impressions is so important. But sometimes it’s not always that case, right? Like you hear so many stories of where the people who have been like happily married for decades and when they first met each other, they didn’t like each other.

[00:09:03] John: Or hated each other.

[00:09:04] Amardeep: Right. Exactly. And, but over time, as they got to know each other, then it blossomed, the relationship. And I think there’s quite a few cases like that of even when jobs, people do jobs that they don’t enjoy, and then offer one. Oh, actually I kind of enjoy this now because things are often difficult right at the start, but if you can go through that hump, sometimes not all the time, but sometimes, it then turns out to something that you really enjoy.

[00:09:29] John: Yeah. And I think so to maybe put it in different terms, there is a little bit of an arrogance in it, right? If you, if you’re really going to say, like, I know what I want and I’m going to say no to everything, but I want right. There is, to me there’s a little bit of arrogance in that and maybe a little pride. What I found is that being open to whatever you want to call it, whether it’s God or, you know, universe. Right. For me, I think it’s like, God puts it in our lives, puts things in our lives. And there’s a great parable from the new Testament, which I think is really relevant to me. People think that rationality is the way to happiness, and I don’t think that at all. I think actually rationality, without anything else leads to being miserable, to be really honest. And it’s like this logic of the 99 versus the one. Many times if you like, there’s a parable that Jesus tells about the lost sheep, right. And the shepherd who says, well, if one sheep, if you lose one sheep, what does, what does the shepherd do? He won’t just stay in protect the 99. The good shepherd goes and rescues the one, right? Which to me that’s irrational. It doesn’t make sense. Why would you risk losing 99 if you’re going to, by going and trying to get the one. But I actually think most of life is like that, where these moments where it doesn’t make sense, like rationally to do something but when you tap, you almost say it’s a little bit selfless. Right? And you say like, no, I think the one is important, whether it’s a person, right. Whether it’s like, you can say, I have four kids, right. But why don’t I go love other kids? Right? Like there’s other kids out there. Right. It’s easy to think like, oh, I just got to protect my own kids or my own family and not care about anybody else. Or people in my community, but not other communities or however you want to do it. Right. There is some beauty in realizing like the power of one, the power of one person. Right. And that’s where I think to me, like rationality will actually lead you to marginalizing people. Where in my opinion, like, I want to go show that person love or show that person kindness, or be there for them or serve them where sometimes it might not make sense to serve them. And that’s where, to me, like, you get so much out of life when you have that 99 to one, understanding.

[00:11:44] Amardeep: What you’re saying, that sort of, one thing you have here is not quite the same level, but with the Avengers.

[00:11:49] John: Yes.

[00:11:50] Amardeep: You don’t leave one person behind. Right. We don’t make sacrifices.

[00:11:53] John: Well, that’s exactly right. And in, my favorite avenger has always been Captain America. We don’t trade lives. Right. And I think that’s why, like one of my favorite movies is, well, the, the arc of Captain America, right? From first Avenger, then this Winter Soldier, and then you see him kind of change. Right. And the beauty of the character is in most storytelling because I went to film school. I love stories. I could talk stories more than probably or movies, more than anything else in my life. But the beauty of Captain America is he never changes. He in most storytelling, the character changes over time. But really with Captain America is a certain kind of character where he doesn’t change. He changes the world because he has this belief, right. That he is there to serve other people. He is there, he has a belief, like one life is important and he will not compromise just to say like, oh, we’ll save everybody else. It’s like, no, he will sacrifice himself before he compromises who he is. And that’s like the greatest scene, I love the scene where he jumps on the grenade, the fake grenade where everyone else runs away, and then he dies on the grenade. It was like, that’s the most insane thing. That’s not logical. Right. It doesn’t make sense. But that in the movie, that’s what makes them choose him to be the experiment. Right. To be Captain America. And what makes him Captain America is not the fact that he has the serum. And I think that’s what, and I’ve written about this. So that’s why I’m very familiar with it. But, but what makes him Captain America is his sense of right and wrong, right? I don’t what he says right before when the Stanley Tucci character, is talking to him the night before the procedure, he says, he says, why, you know, Steve Rogers says, why did you choose me? And Stanley Tucci? His character says, well, I suppose that’s the only question that really matters. And he says that he was a good man. Right. That he is because he says I hate bullies. And that a man who doesn’t have strength knows what it’s like to be weak and so a man who’s always been strong doesn’t know what it’s like to be weak. And he can’t have empathy effectively. Right. Paraphrasing, but it’s that mentality that I think I find very attractive. And I have a deep seated belief that we need more of that in the world. Not less.

[00:14:08] Amardeep: Hi everyone. I hope you’re enjoying the episode so far. I want to take a quick break to ask you to check in with yourself. There’s many people struggling with balance and it’s nothing to be ashamed about. It’s tips that my guests might share can hopefully help you along the way, but if you already feel overwhelmed or burnt out, it’s probably best that you ask somebody for help too. For some, this might be a friend or family member, while others might feel like they have nobody they can talk to. If you’re one of these people, check out the link in the show notes, it’s for United for Global Mental Health. They’ve got health plans all across the world, with people willing to listen on the other side. It’s important to let somebody know how you’re feeling. Now, back to the show.

When is it time for you that you felt, I guess in that week scenario where you’ve been really overwhelmed and you weren’t sure what to do, and how did you get out of it?

[00:14:53] John: I think multiple times, there’s one time I’ve written about a bunch where a number of years ago, before I went to law school, I worked at for a company and my wife really confronted me and, if it’s kind of famous words in our house and in some of my writing, I came home from work late one night before we had kids, we just we’d been married about five years, I came in to the house and she was waiting for me and I didn’t even have a chance to say a word, and she said, we need to talk. And I literally thought she was leaving me and my, in my head I thought this sucks. My wife’s leaving me. But that’s not what happened. She basically said, John, you’re not the same person that I married five years ago. You used to be so happy. You used to be laughing and be a joyful person. You’re just not that way. Something’s wrong. Something’s changed. And she said, I think you need to change something. And she said, I think you need to go back to school. I think you need to go back to law school and I think you need to quit your job. I’ll work. You go to school and we’ll make it work. And she had it all figured out. She was like, hey you with your grades in college, you can get a scholarship to this law school and you can go part time or, you know, whatever. And it was just so amazing like that my wife, would, you know, take that, I think really courageous step and I give her tons of credit for it. She always laughs. She’s like, no, it was pretty easy. Like you were pretty, you were pretty, you were just different person. So I think like for me, I’ve been blessed that I had someone like her that would say that and then really like catalyze the change. And that’s what prompted me to start writing about reinvention and reinventing yourself. That’s my whole writing began online with writing about reinventing yourself. So I did so a month after my wife and I had that conversation that was February 2009 a month later, because we just said, we’re going to think about it, pray about it, just see, like, is that the right move. A month later, we said, let’s do it. So I would study during my lunch hours. I would get in my car drive across the street, so no one saw me and I would study for the LSAT, the law school admission test. And three months later I took it. I did great. I was accepted in a law school in September of that year. And then I literally quit my job in December. And then two weeks later I was sitting in a law school classroom. So 10 months after we had the conversation, I was in law school. It was just crazy. But that moment in that those months, that period of time really made me realize, like I have this unique opportunity. I can reinvent myself professionally. But also personally, and not many people get this opportunity, like I had, where I had all this life experience. I had had two different businesses. I worked in sales. I worked at a startup. I went to film school. I had all this just crazy experiences. Right. And now I got the chance to go back to school and learn something new, but apply everything that I had learned. And I’ve managed people and I built a department and I’d worked under people. So I just had, I felt like there’s a really unique perspective and that’s what I literally said, while I’m in law school, I’m going to try to apply all these crazy ideas that I have, and, and then I’m going to take notes along the way. And I still have these big Google documents of all these notes that I took, like a hundred. And that’s where a lot of my writing for reinvention came from. Those notes, those thoughts. And I was actually writing a book on reinventing yourself when I got the idea for my first children’s book, Cinder Toot. Like, but in my friend literally said, John it’s going to take you 10 years to write this book. Why don’t you just get out your Cinder Toot book? Right. And you know, that’ll be out next year versus when you’re like 50 years old for your reinvention book. And it just made so much sense to me, even though it’s crazy, but it made so much sense. So I think like part of it was, I was blessed, I had someone that identified it and then literally helped pull me out. And that’s sometimes what you need. You need sometimes someone to help pull you out. And if you don’t have that, that’s okay. But I actually have a whole reinvention framework that I think people could go through, where they, they need to take a few different steps from a strategywise, to really get out of that moment where you feel trapped or those moments where you feel trapped. That was February, 2009, so 12 and a half years ago.

[00:18:50] Amardeep: How do you feel it is for you now? Cause obviously you’ve just come out with a pandemic, and so you’ve now, you didn’t have four kids at that point, but you’ve now got four kids. Are you finding that now you’re in a pretty good place that you’ve got things somewhat under control or do you still feel it can overwhelm you at times?

[00:19:04] John: I think like the way I feel is I feel like things are under control, but also like not in control, if that makes sense. I love, like the opportunities that are right in front of me. I actually love it. I’m very excited. I think they’re challenging and I’m excited for the challenge. Like I feel energized. I think that it’s a different challenge now. Now the challenge for me is like, I look at my life and I say, I only have maybe the next seven to 10 years with my son, the oldest before he is going to kind of be embarking, so I want to maximize that time that I have with him, but not just time. Like, what am I teaching him? Am I just his dad? Or am I something else, right? So I want to model that. And sometimes I think it’s easy to think for parents, like, oh, I just want to spend all this time with my kids. And I’ve had this thought many times, which is if I’m a loser, I don’t want to spend time with my kids. Like I don’t, I think that will actually hurt my kids, if I’m a failure at what I want to achieve in life. So my number one priority is to succeed at what I want to do in life and to show my kids how to live life and to really push myself in that way. And then, then if I’m proud and I would like to emulate in my own children, what I’m becoming then, yes, absolutely. I want to actually bring my kids along with me. My dream for a number of years has been to do something professionally that my kids could watch me do. Like as a lawyer, they can’t really watch me be a lawyer, one there’s confidentiality issues. Two, it just wouldn’t make sense at this point. And then three, most of the time, I’m just either on the phone or at the computer. I’m not, I don’t go to court generally. So it’s very difficult. And that’s another reason why I pro I started doing the, the children’s books is like, I do that alongside my kids. Every step of the way I write a draft, I actually, I created an outline. I talked to the kids before I even do that. I will tell the story to the kids.

It’s a story I’ve already told them. Now it’s just, I tell it over. I say, do you like this? Do you like that? Right. We refine it together. I do the outline. I write a draft, I read it to them. I see what works, what doesn’t. And then we hired an editor together. We all agreed. We liked Brooke, right? Brooke’s amazing.

Brooks’ book is amazing. We hired a, an illustrator together, right? We market it together. We, I said, kids, whatever money we make, we’re giving away a percentage and you pick the charities, the kids pick the charity. I’m showing them, how do you build a business. This is how you build a business. I’m also showing them how to be creative, how to take something in your mind and turn it into something real, something tangible. And that to me is what excites me. Like I see my own kids. My kids will read one of the stories that we’ve told together, and then they’ll start drawing their own illustrations. Dad, can we use this? Can we, you know, what do you think of this? So that excites me to model the behavior that I’d want them to follow and to really get them in a position where they’re being equipped with skills that maybe I never learned until much later in life. You know, how do I think about now? I think I’m always, like I’m, I’m in balance, but not in balance at the same time. Like I am pushing hard, but I’m not letting it, I’m not, I’m still prioritizing, I’m actively looking for ways to involve my kids, involve my friends, involve my family, involve the people around me build a team of people that can help move us all towards a common vision. Like here’s an example I met when I was looking for an illustrator for my first children’s book. I talked to a girl, a great woman. But we met through mutual friends and I just said, I got to talk to you because my idea is really stupid. Like it’s really silly. If you’re going to be involved, you need to know what you’re getting into. And I just made sure, like she was comfortable with this silly, you know, Toot story, essentially

[00:22:36] Amardeep: For English people as well, they might not know this so, what does toot mean?

[00:22:40] John: Oh, like a fart story, right? What’s the best way. Sorry, I didn’t want to explain it if you didn’t want me to, but it’s, it’s the story that, you know, snapshot. My idea was, and it’s a story I told my kids, it’s the story of Cinderella, except when she, the clock strikes midnight and she’s running down the steps, she drops. Her slipper, picks up the glass slipper, but she actually farts instead of leaving her slipper and the prince comes down, prince comes down, and instead of him finding the slipper and trying to find his true love, all he has to identify his true love is the smell of her fart, her toot. And so he has to go around the kingdom, asking all the maidens to fart essentially, and that’s how he finds the toot of his true love. And so that was a silly story. I told the kids that no one would ever, no one would ever, I thought no one would ever know about it, except my kids. Right. So anyway, that’s my disclaimer. But essentially we turned into a book. Well, I was looking for an illustrator and I talked to this woman named Kate and she said, my goal, my entire life has been to illustrate children’s books. That’s all I’ve ever wanted to do. And she said, I like your idea. It’s clever and it’s fun and I would, I would be honored to illustrate it. And if you look at her art, it’s beautiful. It’s absolutely beautiful. And even her other works. They’re, it’s beautiful. But when she said that, I was like, that’s the kind of person that I want to expose my kids to. Someone that’s, this is all they wanted to do and now I can take my vision and express it through her, but this is actually what she’s wanting to do her whole life. Like that inspired me. And the more that I thought about it, the more I thought, well, I’ve actually wanted it to tell stories my whole life. Right. And so now I see like, there’s some confluence of, this is what she wants to do. This is what I want to do. And now I’m showing that to my kids. Together, we can, you look for people that have a vision, a purpose, a dream of what they want to do. So that’s the stuff that drives me now and that’s literally just this little sliver of my professional life, but it’s it’s, I think it’s a good, a good kind of analogy to how I try to approach the rest of my life professionally, is that, hey, I’m not just working to work. Like I have a purpose to work and it’s not just to make money. Like, that’s actually the bottom of the list, right? It’s like, certainly it’s like a non-negotiable you have to live, you have to make money. But to me, it’s so important to have this bigger purpose of what you’re doing, and then money is the by-product if you’re serving people well.

[00:25:05] Amardeep: Yeah. And I think for you, like the ideal lifestyle, the way is where you’re doing things that you enjoy. There’s also things that you can involve your kids in and involved [unintelligible], because that’s what the best thing, right? Is if you’re doing creative work, but you don’t have to sacrifice time away from your family or your friends. They’re part of that process and you’re getting their feedback and their ideas are going into it too. It’s kind of the perfect blend. Isn’t it?

[00:25:31] John: Yeah. And I’m modeling how I think they should live their life professionally and personally. Which I think is very difficult as a parent to do that. You can say, I got to go to work and I won’t see them for 12 hours or more, or I’ll come home from work, and I do this now because it’s the nature of what I do as a lawyer. I come home from work or I come up from the basement and, you know, I still have to answer emails. I still have to draft documents. I still have to do things. So it can be really challenging, how do you model healthy behavior to your kids when you don’t, you can’t do it with them. So you just kinda have to tell them, I think, and actually explaining things is, is the hardest way to learn things. But when you do it with someone and you see them do it right in front of you, it’s amazing. Right? And it’s such a better way to learn.

[00:26:18] Amardeep: What’s one mindset shift do you think, the person listening today could take with them and they’ll make a positive difference to their life?

[00:26:24] John: Other than right write a children’s book with your kids?

You know, I have a belief, every moment counts, like right, and I, and I express it in something and I closed a lot of my emails with it, right now counts forever. Meaning it’s easy to think that certain moments don’t. It’s easy when you have a discussion, maybe you’re waiting in line next to someone and then maybe they strike up a conversation. Or maybe they don’t. It’s easy to think that that moment doesn’t matter. Right. It’s easy to think that certain conversations don’t matter. It’s easy to think that certain people don’t matter. So I heard a great saying. I heard this, I heard this saying years ago and it just always stuck with me. And the gentleman said right now counts forever. Meaning this moment can live forever. It can last forever. It can be remembered by somebody forever. A conversation can be remembered or it could, it could just die and not right, not last forever. It could be momentarily, it can be lost in time. And I think like for me, the shift is it goes even back to that 99 and one example I gave earlier, it’s like, there aren’t any, there aren’t any unimportant people. And another way to say it, which the author Dan Millman says is, there are no ordinary moments. Like you would just want some ordinary, you think some moments are ordinary, but there aren’t any. You know, every interaction like this conversation. I think even with my grandmother who died, you know, 20 plus years ago, I have memories of her that will last forever. Like as long as I’m alive, but also longer than I’m alive cause I’ll tell other people about it. Because it affected me so much. So like, you could think like one, one phrase, one sentence, one conversation, it actually can last forever. if you really believe that and you do something that will last forever. So I don’t know if that’s a mindset shift, but that’s something I close, probably half of my emails with is right now counts forever. Just remember right now counts forever. Or there are no ordinary moments.

[00:28:15] Amardeep: And I think the bit about there being no ordinary moments, one of the excercises I kind of like to do sometimes is just, if you just look around you, it’s just about how incredible it is, that everything is how it is like that you’ve been, you’ve got paint on the walls behind it. Somebody worked out how to do that, that somebody worked out how to carve the door that somebody worked out to create. It’s insane when you think about like, if you’d be there, the beginnings of evolution or whatever you believe in where, how do we invent all this stuff? How did the things that we have around us? It obvious, the laptop and the camera, and that’s incredible. Just how much things that went into that, how much thought has gone into things, and we just take them for granted now. So I think if ever you kind of think, oh, life is boring or whatever, like that, just try to appreciate just how crazy everything is that it works.

[00:29:00] John: It’s amazing. Yeah. You’re absolutely right. It’s absolutely amazing. And yeah. Even to try to think about it. You can’t even capture everything or you just can’t because it’s, so it’s that incredible. And then even though we live in a time where it’s there’s peace, right? Where you, you know, we’re not at war, which is very abnormal historically, right. Where we can sit down and have a conversation and feel safe, right? I’m assuming you feel safe, but I feel relatively safe where I’m at, we’re in a pandemic where there’s just craziness going on, but we can still communicate. Or, you know, who knows where it’s going to go from here in terms of pandemic, but it’s just, it’s amazing. There’s just, it’s just so amazing. And even during a pandemic, I think people need to even think that way more, right. It’s easy to think. I’m going to retreat into myself and I’m not going to think about other people. It’s easy to think that I’ll just got to hunker down and just get through it. Where, you know, you can, and I’m not saying everyone will, but you can, or people can take these moments where you might be confined to your home or confined somewhere. You can take those moments and make them last forever. Like, you know, with your kids, with your friends, with your family, you can take those moments and turn them into something different.

[00:30:10] Amardeep: One thing I always say to think about, especially the writing or podcasts as well, is that if you think back maybe a hundred years, it would’ve been impossible for us to reach each other, basically, unless we were the very top aristocrats or whatever, right? Very few people have been able to contact other people across the ocean and to have their words be read or listened to by so many people. Yeah. We can just do it pretty easily today. And in terms of human history, that’s incredible. Again, like we’re so lucky that we can have our voices amplified to that level, which would have been impossible for anybody to even consider a hundred years ago, 200 years ago.

[00:30:45] John: Well it just opens up. I think what you’re, I totally agree. And then to me, I take it to another level of, I feel two things, one like gratitude, like you’re saying. But also a responsibility, right? To say to one, create a relationship, and if I can serve someone or help someone, then I absolutely feel some duty, right. To say like, okay, I want to share something useful, but then do I feel responsibility to like what I share? I care about how that affects people. So I just feel like this burden, and even when I write like something that’s intended for online, I really struggle because I care about how it affects people. Like there’s some things I probably wouldn’t share just because I know that it might affect someone the wrong way, or it could be misinterpreted. So I’m like, okay, well, I feel like even though that I’m comfortable sharing that, I don’t feel comfortable sharing it without context. Right. Because it could be misinterpreted. So it’s an interesting dynamic of, we have all these possibilities, but we still, we still have duties. Right. And that’s where, to me, that’s the selfless aspect of being a servant, right. Trying to help people is that yes, there are possibilities, but then there are corresponding responsible. And I actually love the people who take those responsibilities very seriously. Like there’s a, there’s a story I’ve told in a few of my articles about a television producer who refused to do a certain topic on any of his shows and because it increased this problem in the world and that he saw data that showed it. So he just refused to do that topic on any of his TV shows. And I just, that struck me as so interesting. So such a responsible attitude, you know, he, wasn’t trying to just get eyeballs. He cared about the audience. And I feel that as a writer too, like there’s, I just feel a responsibility, like, okay, when I share something, I want it to build people. I want it to help people. I don’t want it to be like, have a net harm. That, that to me is important.

[00:32:38] Amardeep: And on that note, it’s been a pleasure to talk to where can people get their eyeballs on your work or hear more from you?.

[00:32:45] John: Yeah, you can go to You can also go to Cinder for the book, if you’re interested in the book, and then I’m on Medium, and Instagram, and LinkedIn, and basically in Facebook, you know, John Mashni Facebook. So any of those places, but is kind of like the hub and there’s actually some fun surprises there. There’s a secret area. If we want to try to bust in or break in. A secret menu, if anyone wants, oh no, my, my cooking side hobby. So that’s, that’s probably the best place.

[00:33:12] Amardeep: And the final thing is finished off on is, what’s one small thing that’s brought you joy recently?

[00:33:18] John: One small thing that’s brought me joy? Planning my next book. Planning my next children’s book. It’s, it’s hilarious but at the same time, it’s a tribute to my own family. So that’s been really awesome to plot out and, and write. It’s just the biggest blessing for me to give honor to my family.

If you’re listening on Apple Podcasts, I’d love it If you could leave me a five star review, it really helps get the message out further. Wherever you’re listening, it would be awesome If you could subscribe and share in your social media channels. If you want to see more of my work and advice, you can find all of the links in the show notes.

Thank you again for listening and I hope you have a lovely day.

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