Originators vs Distributors

The one and only Martin Berkhan stopped by Stockholm and we hung out.

Then he got drunk for two days straight, woke up in the morning and won first prize in two separate fitness competitions (seal rows and deadlift).

For those who don’t know, Berkhan originated the 16:8 variation of intermittent fasting (which is now the most common type).

Been doing it for 5 years+ and don’t think I’ll ever stop.

Sometimes I do 24 hour fasts (1 meal per day) or 2-day fasts (as a way to Break out of Homeostasis), but probably 5 days out of the week I do the standard 16:8 (which means skipping breakfast).

But that’s not what I came here to say…

I want to expand on an idea Martin told me several months ago.

Originators vs Distributors:

Rarely the originator, the profiteer. 

The person who originates an idea will rarely be the one to capitalize on it. The money is made by popularizing the idea to the mainstream.

Originating and distributing are two different skills.

I can think of many examples where this is true. I can’t think of an example where it’s not true. (Please enlighten me)

Consider the following:

  • “The Secret” —> dumbed down Napoleon Hill’s Law of Attraction
  • Malcolm Gladwell —> Anders Ericsson’s deliberate practice
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy –> packaging of basic psychology

What Does it Mean?

Don’t confuse popularity or fame with real skill and knowledge.

There’s talkers and there’s walkers.

Some are charismatic, some have domain expertise.

Many people you see & hear about (in the mainstream) are talented at self-promotion (sitting in the TV couch talk show). This is common in fitness and finance. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s the paradigm we’re in.

But don’t confuse the two.

Now, Martin didn’t invent the idea that fasting is healthy. That’s been around forever as an ascetic practice (in spiritual communities and religions).

What Martin did do, was that he was the first guy to seriously delve into all the scientific material and written content about fasting. Then he was able to relate it to fitness and strength training in a way that no one had thought of.

It took fanatic zeal to do that.

If it didn’t, someone else would’ve done it already.

Unfortunately, Martin did not write a definitive book about his findings. And, unfortunately, Martin is not an expert at advertising and online marketing. So, more opportunistic people saw a market and appropriated Martin’s work and got rich off of it. There’s more to this story, but that’s the gist of it. . .

I was concerned this could happen to me too, before I got BOOH out. Maybe I overreacted. Breaking out of Homeostasis is a hard idea to “sell”.

My experience from blogging is that it’s a polarizing concept 1. Only highly motivated people take action on it. When they do, they experience the results first-hand.

Now that the book is out–even if someone appropriates my stuff–I was officially first. And it is easy to verify. This makes it harder for devious characters to do to me what they did to Berkhan.

What can we learn from this?

The Curse of Knowledge & Communication Barriers

The originator is on such a high level that it’s hard for him to communicate the concept in an emotionally visceral way to a complete novice. Especially if the idea requires effort or is uncomfortable.

When I spoke to Martin last week I asked him about this again.

What did he think about originators vs distributors? He said that, in his experience, the people who spend their time and energy into inventing and innovating are usually too busy with that to have mental energy left for refining the message (via meme-creation, for example).

This sounds about right to me.

But I think there’s an added component. The person who originates has so much commitment, the curse of knowledge seeps in.

It’s hard for the body to shift between emotional states, and even harder to change your physiological state. . .

. . . like switching between the Creative process and the Practical process.

I can feel it’s true in my own case.

For those who’ve read this site or followed me in some other way over the last years, I could easily jump into an in-depth conversation about almost any aspect of psychology, physiology, the human brain, and the BOOH-way of life. But I feel close to retarded when people (who have no idea of what homeostasis is) ask me about it.

When I do podcasts and speeches, I will struggle to overcome this.

Practical Takeaways:

Assume we have Originators vs Distributors:

  • These are two different skills.
  • It could be they are different personality types.
  • It’s hard and time-consuming to shift between the two roles.

What to do about it:

  • Don’t confuse domain expertise with attention-getting abilities.
  • Figure out if you are more of an originator or a distributor. (Think mad scientist vs populist marketer | Wozniak vs Jobs)
  • If you’re an originator, maybe partner with a distributor?

If it comes to you naturally, it makes sense to do more of it and refine it.

*  *  * 

Do you recognize this phenomenon?

*  *  * 

If you haven’t got my book Breaking out of Homeostasis yet, you should.

Because Berkhan scored 135 on my Homeostasis Breaker test in chapter 1.

By Monday I will double the price.

  1. in my old ebook “75 Practical Tips” I recommended skipping breakfast lots of times. I would get angry emails from people telling me I was an idiot and that I didn’t know what I was talking about.

14 Differences Between Homeostasis Dwellers and Homeostasis Breakers

“You will either step forward into growth, or you will step backward into safety.”

Abraham Maslow

Throughout history, starting with Socrates and Plato, many thinkers have wondered why most people are so “primitive,” for lack of a better word.

The psychologist Abraham Maslow, who pioneered motivational research, believed that less than 1% of the population were self-actualizers; people who prioritize mastery, learning, creativity, and personal achievement above more self-indulgent interests such as relaxing, socializing, collecting luxury items, having sex, eating tasty food, and doing drugs.

Maslow said that “The study of crippled, stunted, immature, and unhealthy specimens can yield only a cripple psychology and a cripple philosophy.”

Unfortunately, both psychology and philosophy have failed to follow this advice over the last 200 years (with a few exceptions, such as Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi).

Mainstream culture is rapidly becoming overpopulated by clever and devious characters that specialize in giving people a reason to feel that it’s “OK” not to try to become better. Like a second grade teacher who never informs the drooling kid that the other kids think it’s disgusting when he drools.

But what if there was a better definition for what constitutes a healthy and sane human being; a definition that might reduce the trickery of comforting beliefs and noble indulgences from spreading into popular culture?

The 14 Fundamental Differences Between Homeostasis Dwellers and Homeostasis Breakers

No one fits a template perfectly.

No one is going to be 100% a Homeostasis Dweller or 100% a Homeostasis Breaker. But going by my philosophy, this is what it would look like if that were the case.

Do you agree/disagree?

On Amazon:

If you had trouble displaying or buying the book before, that problem should now be gone.

Try again here:

Breaking out of Homeostasis

(If it works, it’s thanks to the advice I got from The Muslim Theist. Read his comment if you’re gonna put up a book on Amazon.)

Also thanks for the support everyone!

More posts to come. . .

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“I went on troubling myself about general
ideas until I learnt to understand the particular achievements of the best men.”



Trouble yourself about this.


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