An Interview With Danny Brown

A conversation about inspiration, life, and goals, with author Danny Brown.
An Interview With Danny Brown
  • Welcome to this special interview with Danny Brown, as part of the virtual tour to celebrate the launch of his new book, "The Little Book of Inspiration". Let's kick things off!

  • Having read your book, I see that you find positivity and inspiration in both the best and worst times. Is there anything you find too "difficult" to find inspiration from?

  • Oooh, good question. I'm not sure if it's lack of inspiration, or difficult to be inspired, but whenever someone ignores logic, or reason, or plain old facts, and continues to push personal agendas of hate and ignorance... well, that can be pretty sad to see.

    A perfect example is the gun debate in the US, which seems to be anything but an actual debate. I'm all for folks having rights, and have no issue with people who are responsible gun owners.

    But the right-wing rhetoric, and the NRA's belief that "more guns will make us safer", shows that the debate is a long way from any kind of sensible conversation.

    And when you see the lives of little children being taken in a school, just before Christmas, and there are no major movements on sensible gun control? No amount of inspiration can make sense of that...

  • An immediately the interview takes a dark turn! Well, we could both rant on and on about US gun politics, and trauma involving children... or we can try to spin this to a happy place. *Takes deep breath and reaches for zen*

    You've done a lot of charitable work, like founding 12for12k and cofounding The Friendship Bench, what would you say is your biggest accomplishment? 

    *exhales with a smile*

  • Ha, sorry about that - but you did ask! ;-)

    Thank you, and yes, both these organizations have been extremely fulfilling to be a part of (or have been a part of, in 12for12k's case, which was just a 12 month project).

    I think, in all honesty, my "biggest accomplishment" is yet to come (I know, boring, predictable answer!). But, in my defence, if we say we've accomplished everything we need to do in life, we may as well just give up now. We can always improve something, or do a better thing.

    For example, the Friendship Bench is just taking off, and our goal is to have a bench in every school and college in Canada. That's not going to happen overnight, but if/when it does, that would be a HUGE achievement.

    Or, seeing my kids being recognized as good citizens, and helping others become good citizens... that would be a great accomplishment to be proud of.

    So, yes, probably (hopefully?) a lot still to come. Although marrying the greatest woman I know counts as a pretty big accomplishment... ;-)

  • Well, for those who feel that they have accomplished everything they need to do in life, they might argue with your 'give up now' comment LOL.

    I read a different book of inspiration once, where the author said that she was in a position to write that book because she felt she reached her fullest potential. I think reaching one's fullest potential is different from saying you've accomplished all you need to. Slightly different, but different nonetheless. If you've reached your fullest potential, then I don't see the point of going on. Give up. But honestly, how could one know that they've tapped out on potential anyway? Needless to say, I had a difficult time reading the rest of that so-called 'inspiring' book, when all I could think about is this poor woman who is tapped out on life.

    If you've accomplished all you need to, it simply means that you are no longer setting goals for yourself, but that does not mean that you are at the end of your accomplishments. Pah - mind blown. You're right, your biggest achievements are yet to come because you have yet to see the end of your accomplishments. This is where I can nicely lead into the next question, or perhaps a rephrase of the previous question, do you have any projects lined up? What's next to check off your list of inspirational accomplishments?
  • That's interesting - see, I'd want to know how someone knows they've reached their full potential. Is there a checklist that you tick off, and then once done you can say, "Yep, full potential met."? Not trying to be facetious, more curious.

    There's nothing specific lined up at the moment. I'm enjoying this little virtual tour, and the various ways of interaction with each host (like this ReplyAll interview, for example). I guess if I was to put a thinking cap on, then I'd like to get back to Scotland for an extended visit within the next couple of years. It's been way too long since I was there, and now I have a family to take, it would make the experience even better.

    Professionally, I guess it would tie back to the Friendship Bench, and helping kids who might be afraid to talk about their mental health issues to open up, and remove the stigma once and for all.

    One step at a time, right? :)
  • One step, one person, one inspiration at a time!

    On that note, who is your biggest inspiration?
  • Am I allowed two answers?

    First would have to be my granddad, who taught me a lot without me even realizing it. It's only years later that I can really see what he meant to me, and how he shaped a lot of who I am today, whatever that may be.

    Second would be my wife. In the Blab I had with Mark-John Clifford as part of this tour, he asked me how much of an input my wife had had in what I've done, and it was an easy answer.

    From being the rock I need, and supportive in what I do, to how many things she has on the go (family, kids, job, entrepreneurship, etc.), she gets on with it all and excels at it, she never complains. Well, not much... ;-)

    So, yes, that'd be my two. I'm allowed two, right? :)
  • Nope, only one! Plus we've heard enough about your wife... I happen to know she's not that great! ;-)

    So... If you could have coffee with one person you've never met, who would it be and why?

  • Ooh, coffee with someone I've never met? What if they don't like coffee? :)

    Well, since it's someone I've never met, they'll have to still be living, right, as I can't have coffee with a zombie. So.... I'm going to go with Jessica Alba. And not just because I have the biggest crush on her... ;-) 

    I'm curious to ask how she managed the transition from, essentially, eye candy actress (even though she's played some great serious roles) to a very successful entrepreneur, who's built a business on ethical practices and is remaining true to them, and got people to take her seriously.

    We all know that women are treated way less fairly in the business world (and in life, generally, truth be told), so I'd love to know the battles she faced, and the strengths she needed to overcome them. Given I'm trying to move away from what I've been known for the last 10 years, almost, it'd be a fascinating insight on how to make a change from what people expect of you.
  • Well, I did mean to say dead or alive, but not zombies. Morning Rain Publishing has a no zombie tolerance!

    I'll accept, with little surprise, your Jessica Alba answer... But didn't she eat your hamster that one time? 

    OK final question... When you were in your twenties, and you thought about where you'd be twenty years later, what you have accomplished, where you'd live, what your family would be like, and what things would inspire you... How far off was your vision from the reality of today?
  • Wait - doesn't MRP publish the Freaky Flash Fiction winners? There are zombies in there, why am I being given the short shrift?? :)

    Ha, I recall that blog post about Jessica Alba eating my hamster! Though, man, that was a loooong time ago - can't even recall the details, although I think it had something to do with headlines that don't live up to their promise?

    And another great question, by the way - this tour has been full of them, and this one's another to add to the list! I'll say yes and no.

    When I was 20, I was engaged to my "first love", and - like all first loves - you make certain plans, because clearly you're going to prove every single teen/first loves wrong, and actually work. So of course you make plans!

    So, we'd be married by 25, have two kids by 30, retire at 50, travel the world. I guess one out of four ain't bad (although the "retire at 50 and travel the world" is still open to fulfilment, so....)

    Although I guess I should add the disclaimer that it's my wife who completed the "have two kids by 30 part". ;-)

    But, you know... Looking at my life now, and where I am... I'm very happy. I have a loving and supportive wife who I love dearly, I have two amazing kids, I have friends who I know I can turn to if the proverbial hits the fan, and I know that if I wanted to do something, I have a great support network that would help me try and make it happen.

    I may not have millions in the bank - but does that mean I'm not "rich"? Not from where I'm standing. And that's all I need to keep me inspired.
  • And on that note, thank you very much for your time, this interview has been a fun experience. You're a super sweet, kind, wonderful, brilliant, and inspiring man. I'm grateful to have this opportunity, especially on your birthday.

    Thank you, now lets go celebrate!
  • Thank you, this was a blast! Now, who's buying? ;-)