Simplify Honesty: Luvvie Ajayi on How to Tell Uncomfortable Truths
If a friend of yours needed to hear an unpleasant truth, would you tell it to them? Or would you gloss over it in order to avoid an uncomfortable conversation? Many of us would probably opt for the latter to avoid hurting someone’s feelings, but sometimes loving criticism is necessary to make people understand that they deserve better — and are capable of achieving it.
In conversation with Caitlin, Luvvie Ajayi argues that honesty, judgment, and criticism shouldn’t always be perceived as negative — as difficult as it may be to tell someone you expect more of them. “Discomfort will not kill you, but it is necessary for growth,” she says, and speaking the uncomfortable truth will end up making your relationships more sincere and trustworthy.
“People would rather sit in injustice than discomfort.”
Tune into this episode to learn the practices of loving criticism from Luvvie Ajayi and find out the benefits of challenging yourself to always say what you mean.
Who’s Luvvie Ajayi
Luvvie Ajayi is an award-winning author, speaker, and digital strategist who thrives at the intersection of comedy, technology, and activism. Her debut book I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual was released to critical acclaim and became an instant New York Times bestseller. It is a series of humorous essays that dissects our cultural obsessions and calls out bad behavior in our increasingly digital, connected lives. Luvvie’s ability to create content that make people laugh heartily while thinking critically has been honed after 15 years of blogging. In her podcast Rants and Randomness, Luvvie covers her most pressing rants, raves and faves from this crazy thing called life. Set in the same honest and funny perspective Luvvie is known for, the podcast also features interviews with some amazing guests.
Luvvie Ajayi’s recommended reads
1. Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
Outliers is an examination of individuals who achieve a level of success—in math, sports, law, or any pursuit, really—so extraordinary that it lies outside the realm of normal experience. We often think these outliers possess some mysterious innate ability that helps them rise to the top of their fields, but other factors, like family, culture, or even birthdates, can have a huge effect on success, too.
Comment from Luvvie: “…Just the idea of like how success is essentially embedded in things like the year we were born. It humbles you because it makes you realize that your success really is, you can’t take full credit for where you end up finding yourself.”
2. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
Children of Blood and Bone is Tomi Adeyemi’s fantasy debut that instantly became a #1 New York Times bestseller. Emphasizing the issues that resonate in current social and political landscape—discrimination, injustice, and a struggle for change—Adeyemi tells a complex story of a heroine saving her own people using the magic powered by the strength of her heritage and ancestry. Inspired by West African mythology, with two female protagonists and all-black cast of characters, this book presents a fresh take on young adult fantasy that fantasy readers have not encountered before.
Comment from Luvvie: “That book is going to get made into a film by Fox Studios. So she’s [Tomi] 23 years old, and people are already calling her ‘the next George R.R. Martin.’ She’s incredible.”
3. The Broke Diaries: The Completely True and Hilarious Misadventures of a Good Girl Gone Broke by Angela Nissel
Having financial struggles during her time in college, Angela Nissel decided to take her mind off her empty stomach and start an online blog documenting her day-to-day trials and funny misadventures. Written with humor and irony, Angela’s Broke Diaries quickly gained a huge following with people sympathizing with her, laughing with her, and even sharing their own stories.
Comment from Luvvie: “It’s one of my favorite books because it’s the first book I ever read that made me laugh out loud.”
Extra Credit Reading
If you would like to dive deeper into some of the topics Luvvie Ajayi covers in this Simplify episode, check out this book list composed by Caitlin and Terence!
1. Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race: Understand Racism and White Privilege by Reni Eddo-Lodge
Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race examines the often-dismissed problem of racism in Britain and offers insight into how it might be overcome. Contrary to the title, this volume provides a starting point for productive conversations about racism in Britain today. It examines British black history, white privilege and the links between class and race.
Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race
- 15 min reading time
- 18.1k reads
- audio version available
2.Trickster Makes This World: Mischief, Myth and Art by Lewis Hyde
In Trickster Makes This World, Hyde narrates and interprets ancient myths about the “trickster”—a mythical character appearing across Scandinavian, Greek, African, Native American and Chinese cultures—a devious boundary-crosser, translator and negotiator between groups and occasional thief and rascal. Similar to his previous work, The Gift, Hyde applies his interpretation to modern day figures in our culture—everyone from Frederick Douglass to Allen Ginsberg—making the trickster mythology relevant to us all.
3. Radical Candor: Be a Kickass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity by Kim Scott
Radical Candor offers valuable tools that any team leader or manager can use to establish the best possible relationship with their employees. You’ll find an insightful approach to management that creates a working environment where great ideas emerge, and individuals can reach their full potential. It’s time to stop doubting yourself and become the kickass boss your employees will be proud to follow.
Simplify is a podcast for anybody who’s taken a close look at their habits, their happiness, their relationships, or their health and thought “There’s got to be a better way to do this.” We talk to bestselling writers, productivity wizards, sex geniuses, and happiness experts to find it for you.
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Who made this?
Your hosts are Caitlin Schiller, Ben Schuman-Stoler, and Terence Mickey.
Research and production assistance by Nat Darozhkina, sound and editing by Terence Mickey, Ben Jackson, and Ody Constantinou.
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