The SHUT UP Show Hosts The Life and Times of a Remarkable Misfit LIVE! – Episode 87

Brace yourself… for so many reasons. I say that a lot with this show, but for me, this one touched me in places I didn’t know existed. Today’s episode is longer because it’s The SHUT UP Show’s first LIVE event sharing the stage with our featured guest, AJ Leon, and in front of a LIVE audience.

We were not sure how it would go given we were streaming the Google Hangouts On Air like we do every Tuesday, while addressing a great group of people in the room. It turned out just as I hoped it would. Full of life, energy, inspiration, love and hope. Hope for those who felt they didn’t fit in… last night was evidence there’s a place in this world for remarkable misfits. It’s with each other. Doing good shit. All over the world. Together.

The entire interview is roughly 50 minutes long. To forward to the Q&A following the interview, skip to track time 49:40.

Watch the show (uncensored & unedited)

Listen to the podcast

Share Some Shut Up Love –> Joy is the only currency that really matters. – @AJLeon #remarkablemisfit #shutupshow (click to tweet)

Fun Facts:

  •  Since AJ’s first web appearance on The SHUT UP Show, his Good Misfit project (which included Berni) raised over $20,000 in the single month of June 2013 and a windmill was built in Gambella in August of 2013.
  • AJ’s MisfitCamp contest winner, Tyson Adams, who was flown into Milwaukee in January 2013 to launch Jhai Coffeehouse project successfully raised over $15,000 in August 2013 (which included Berni) and the world’s first philanthropic coffee roaster was built in Laos in October 2013.
  • AJ’s first appearance inspired Berni to view herself as the protagonist in her own novel, which led her to author the entire draft of her one-year memoir on a single Saturday three weeks ago. AJ has agreed to write the foreword.
  • AJ launched TrendyMisfit, handcrafted goodies made by misfits for misfits.
  • AJ’s self-published book has just arrived from the printers! It came just in time for the event and before the new book website will be available. Stay tuned by going to
  • This was The SHUT UP Show’s inaugural LIVE EVENT series, which means Berni and Phil are taking Google Hangouts on the road and collaborating with YOU!

Defining Shut Up Moment:

You always have a choice. I never recognized that early in life. The clear delineating factor for me for my life and how I was gonna live it was, that day it was not about success or winning or losing anymore. I recognized that this life was mine. That it is my one and only. There’s no redos. No encores. This is all I get. And if I accept this right now, I’m gonna end up forfeiting 40 years of my life to a system I didn’t design nor did I intend to ever play by. While it sounds like very esoteric or hippie speak. That’s the most pragmatic statement on this planet. That’s was when everything changed for me. It wasn’t how I was gonna define my life in terms of parameters. It was about living life with intention and doing work that matters. When I leave this planet, it will just a little different because I was here.

Shut Up Tips:

In my mid-20s I had a six-figure salary, a corner office, an outrageous bonus. But, the tiny little problem, I was outrageously unhappy and I was in the midst of living some other dude’s life. – AJ

Joy is the only currency that really matters. – AJ

We have this relationship with money that is odd. We created it, but it owns us. The more we make, the harder it is to walk away. – AJ

I’d rather live with the real you under the Brooklyn Bridge than the impersonation of you somewhere else. – Melissa (via AJ)

It’s easy to look back retroactively at a story. But at that time all I thought was, I didn’t want a prison sentence of going back to an office every day. But you can end up creating your own prison. Only this time you’re locked inside holding the key. – AJ

I recognized the impetus was polluted. When your starting place is polluted, you can’t get away from the perversion of everything after that. – AJ

What if today is day one? What would I do? Let yourself dream for a minute. – AJ

When you’re living life as an adventure, all the context of what one would consider normal–the comforts we were taught to not embrace–that goes away. – AJ

When you view your life as a novel. When you view yourself as a protagonist in a grand adventure, everything changes. Because the times you think, “Man this is awful, I’m sleeping under a bus bench in Victoria train station,” you recognize if I were reading this, that would the be the part keeping me awake at night as I’m paging through it. The struggle. That’s the interesting piece. – AJ

I think the greatest regret people have is living a sanitized life. It’s not living a hard one; it’s living one that’s too rounded at the edges. – AJ

When you try really hard at something, you’re completely exposed. That’s the reason I almost didn’t publish. In the end, I hit the publish button. When I last counted, the manifesto was downloaded a half a million times. It sailed around the world in a way I didn’t expect. – AJ

I believe in small batch. I’m not against infinite scalability but I refuse to worship at that altar. – AJ

We live in a world now where we’re all part artist and part entrepreneur. And that gradient is getting blurred. Where you fall in that spectrum is gonna be very important with respect to the decisions you make. – AJ

I would rather own a corner coffee shop–one shop–that everybody loves than having 150,000 stores where everyone’s like “that’s just okay.” – AJ

If you’re good at what you do, it’s just gonna keep on taking you towards growth. But you have to hold on and say, “Wait, do I want to go in that direction?” – AJ

This life is mine. It is my one and only. There’s no redos. No encores. This is all I get. – AJ

Be flamboyantly you! There has never been a human being who is exactly like you, with your DNA and your unique set of knowledge and experiences. Figure out what your personal USP is, and get out there and tell the world your story. – AJ

AJ Recommends:

Live a deliberate life. What turns me on is hearing stories of people who are going out and making a difference. Tell Misfits about it!

Find AJ:

AJ writes at

Get a FREE COPY of AJ’s manifesto, The Life and Times of a Remarkable Misfit, which has been downloaded over a half a million times.

Tweet with AJ at @AJLeon

**Huge shout out to Melissa Whidjaya and the amazing team at, our amazing sponsor!**