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This 3-Minute Decision Has Led to More Than 3,000 Hours of Joy

It’s okay to do something stupid… an inside look at the decision

John Mashni
5 min readJun 10, 2021


I had just finished writing a tax opinion for a sophisticated client. It was near the end of the fiscal year, so my mind was swirling with thoughts of accounts receivable, bonuses, and which clients could pay by December 24.

I had all of three minutes to stop and reflect before the next meeting would start. It only took 10 seconds before I asked myself the question that was buried underneath the legal jargon.

“Am I crazy?”

I wasn’t thinking about being crazy for practicing law at a big firm, but about something else.

“Am I crazy for wanting to write a children’s book?”

Yes, I was considering writing a children’s book. But there was more to it than that. Lots of children’s books are cute, fun, or playfully creative.

“Am I crazy for wanting to write a children’s book that retells the Cinderella story, except that instead of Cinderella losing her glass slipper, she toots, and the only way the prince can find his true love is to ask each maiden in the land to pass gas so that he can find the smell of the girl who captured his heart?”

The phone’s about to ring. A client needs help with a $20 million decision. I am contemplating writing a Cinderella fart book called CinderToot. For children. That might be redundant. Maybe not, though.

“Yep, I’m crazy,” I say to myself.

A Crazy Idea Seems Crazy Until It Works

I had recently read a book by Richie Norton called The Power of Starting Something Stupid. It became a personal challenge — what’s the stupidest thing I could do right now?

The book about a farting Cinderella was the clear winner. I hesitate to share the other two of the top three.

I started to think about all the crazy ideas that my clients have tried. There’ve been many. Some worked. Some didn’t. But here’s what I learned: I couldn’t predict which ideas would work after hearing only the idea. The only way to predict what would work was to look at the person with the idea.



John Mashni

I only write about what I have done: no theory. Writer, Attorney, Entrepreneur, Movie Producer, and more… the ONLY 3 ways to reinvent: