Welcome to Stuff I Learned Yesterday. My name is Darrell Darnell, I think the best Batman movie is Batman starring Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson from 1989, and I believe that if you aren’t learning, you aren’t living.

On March 17, 2014 I first launched Stuff I Learned Yesterday. Then after 562 episodes, I retired SILY at the end of 2016. Some of you may recall that I then brought SILY back for two eleven-episode seasons in 2021, with the promise of a third season to follow. That season never came, and this iteration of SILY will not be that season either. Let me explain.

I began podcasting in 2008 when FOX was about to launch their new sci-fi show, Fringe. That podcast was called The Fringe Podcast and I immediately fell in love with sharing my thoughts via podcasting. I continued to launch more podcasts and eventually launched a brand to encompass them all: Golden Spiral Media. My friend Clint was my partner in crime for most of my podcasts in those days. I love the way the sci-fi genre provides a vehicle for discussing topics that might not otherwise come up, or might be difficult to otherwise talk about. For example, in the 1960’s it wasn’t easy to talk about racial issues on television, but if you create a show with aliens and call it Star Trek, conversations of racism can be easily had, so long as they are disguised as alien injustices.

I loved that Fringe gave me the ability to not only talk about the incredible stories and characters in the show, but it allowed me to occasionally talk about deeper topics as well.  Our audience loved that too, and those discussions are some of my very favorite things from that podcast. Eventually I noticed a yearning to talk about more serious topics more often and with more depth than I could do via my sci-fi podcasts.  One day while trying to figure out how to satisfy that yearning, I encountered the garbage whistler. You can go check out episode 001 to hear that story.

As 2016 began to come to an end, I felt that I said all I had to say for that time. I was burned out, and therefore decided to retire SILY. That last episode was called Backside of a Sunrise because I knew that one day SILY might come back. After all, a sunset to one person is a sunrise to another. Thus what seemed like the sunsetting on SILY, might just end up being the backside of a sunrise.

When I came back with two seasons in 2021, I was motivated by something else. I had put together an inspirational speech called Let’s Get Dangerous and tried a couple of times to get accepted to present it as a conference speaker. However, those efforts didn’t result in me getting selected to speak, and I had a strong desire to share that message. So I converted that 30 minute speech into a 10 episode season of SILY. However, I wasn’t going to bring back SILY for just 10 episodes. I made a personal choice to bring back SILY only if I could come up with 3 seasons of content. The season about rewiring my car was an easy season to write, but the third season was elusive.

I’d been thinking a lot about legacy during that time, so I started trying to figure out how to create a season out of that concept. I struggled quite a bit with it, but ultimately decided that I’d read a few books, put more thought to it, and by the time it came to create those episodes, I’d have it figured out.  I guess you’ve figured out by now that I was never able to get it figured out. I had a few ideas for episodes, and a few ideas I liked, but I was never able to figure out how to create one cohesive story to match the format of the other two seasons. Thus, that third season never happened.

I’m happy to report that those ideas and individual stories about legacy will find their way into this new version of SILY.

So what is this new version of SILY and why is now the time to do it? Great questions! I’m glad you asked them! 

Some time around the middle of 2023 I started getting a yearning very similarly to that first yearning I had in 2014. I’d entered a new phase of life with becoming a (mostly) empty nester, gained more experiences as an entrepreneur, and had a deep desire to share stories about my faith. Sharing my faith has always been a part of my podcasting journey, even from the early days of The Fringe Podcast. However, with sci-fi podcasting, I have to look for spiritual elements in a specific episode before I feel it makes sense to talk about my faith in context of the episode. Furthermore, I have to make sure that what I’m sharing is in genuine alignment with the episode. That is, I want to make sure that I’m not forcing the topic where it otherwise didn’t exist. This means I don’t get to talk about it as much as I desire.

Two things happened very near to each other that helped water this seed of desire to bring back SILY. One thing was during an episode of my Twilight Zone podcast called Entering the Fifth Dimension. It was an episode where it made clear sense to talk about my faith. In these conversations, I not only try to be mindful of how the audience will receive my point of view, but I also try to be mindful of how my co-host will receive it. My co-host on that podcast is agnostic and was raised in a religious household. He very much enjoys deep conversations, religious or otherwise. I expressed my concern about talking too much about religion because I know it’s a sensitive topic and I don’t want to drive people away. He encouraged me to say more and to say it more often. Likewise, listeners reached out with encouragement and one even asked me a theological question via X. 

The second thing that happened was nearly identical. On my Fringe rewatch podcast, called The Fringe Podcast Rewatch, the topic of religious themes came up. My co-host, who also comes from a religious background but is not religious himself, encouraged me to say more and to say it more often. The listeners echoed his sentiment. Bolstered by their encouragement, the seed of relaunching SILY was now very much taking root and showing significant signs of growth.

As the year began to near its end, the yearning was so strong I began to share it with members of my family. To no one’s surprise, they were very encouraging. By this time I’d figured out the format and thought about several episode ideas. However, nothing was written down or set in stone.  Then on December 29th I was sitting on my couch scrolling through Facebook when I noticed one of my friends made a lengthy post about our mutual friend, Dan Miller. It was more than I wanted to read at that time but I thought it was nice that she was sharing about how awesome he was. The next day I was scrolling Facebook again and saw another friend post something about Dan. Again, it was longer than I wanted to read but thought it was nice to see him being recognized. Later that day while scrolling Facebook I AGAIN saw another friend posting something long about Dan Miller. At this point, I thought something might be going on, so I decided to read it. What I read shocked me. Dan Miller was dying. He’d posted an incredibly inspiring and courageous video to YouTube. Doctors gave him six months. Just over 3 weeks later, the world lost Dan Miller. Hearing Dan’s words of encouragement as he stared death in the face, hearing Dan talk about how he’d lived his life in such a way that he had no regrets, hearing him express how he’d told everyone what he wanted to tell them along the road of life was awe inspiring. His courageous final message was an inspirational call to live deliberately and leave a legacy of love, compassion and positive change.

Those few weeks between when Dan announced his illness and when he passed on to eternity was nothing short of inspiring. Scores of people flooded social media with videos and stories of how Dan impacted them. It’s no surprise that one of the biggest ways he’d left his mark on the world was through his podcast. Dan’s example lit a fire that further ignited my original drive to empower and inspire through storytelling. I committed to filling the months and years ahead with meaningful conversations and lessons learned from my lifetime of experiences.

What was once a seed watered by the encouragement of my co-hosts and listeners and fertilized by my family, was now an enormous Deku Tree sized calling on my heart. So I did what I often do: I set a goal. That goal was to write down episode ideas for a new run of SILY. Only when I had enough ideas to carry me through this year AND next year would I move forward with relaunching the show.  In case you’re wondering, that number was 86 episodes. Determined to make this happen, I set a timeline of January 31st to achieve that goal.  I created a Google spreadsheet to track my ideas. Any time an idea came to me, regardless of where I was, I could pull out my phone, access that spreadsheet, and write the idea down. I’m writing this episode on February 7th, and I now have over 100 episode ideas in that spreadsheet.

Here’s how this new iteration of SILY will work. New episodes will be released every Monday. When you wake up, you can expect an episode waiting for you in your favorite podcast app.  The first week of the month will be a story about faith. These stories will include my story of becoming a Christian, exploration of misunderstood Bible passages, and lessons I’ve learned through my faith journey. The second week of the month will be stories about family. These are stories about the family dynamics of my childhood as well as my adult life. They cover parenting, marriage, and extended family relationship lessons. The third week of the month will feature stories about career. These stories are taken from my nearly 20 years in the corporate world or from my decade of experience of entrepreneurship. Many stories will be lessons I have learned from specific books. The fourth week of the month will feature stories that either don’t fall into any of these categories or stories that could fall into multiple categories. 

Remember the Friday Forums from the original run of SILY? Any time there is a fifth Monday in a month, those Monday’s will be Listener Mailbag Mondays. The first one of those will be April 29th. With Listener Mailbag Monday episodes, you can send in your own personal stories and the lessons you’ve learned with them, or you can ask me questions about any of my stories. For example, I suspect that some of my faith stories may invoke questions, and I want to make a clear path to dialog for those questions or any other questions you have.

Here’s what I learned. 

When we feel a calling yearning within us, we should listen to what it is saying and ponder how we should respond. In my case, when I listened to the voices of all those around me, those voices all confirmed what my inner voice was telling me to do. We should also take immediate action before that excitement and vigor have a chance to subside. Making goals and setting timelines are great ways to leverage the momentum of an exciting idea. Coming up with over 100 episode ideas was very challenging. In fact, that process will have an entire episode dedicated to it soon. As I sit here in early February and write this I am full of excitement and energy. But I’ve been down this road before. I know that as I near the day when I publish this episode, those voices of fear and doubt will be strong. Imposter syndrome will kick in, and I’ll begin to wonder if anyone will even care or if I’ll make a positive difference in the world. You’ll probably encounter those voices too. Those voices are liars and oppressors. Don’t listen to them. After all, these Deku Tree sized dreams are now sprouting seeds of their own, and it’s up to each of us to go plant them.

I’m Darrell Darnell, and this has been Stuff I Learned Yesterday.

I want you to be a part of the next Monday Mailbag on April 29th! Monday Mailbag is your opportunity to Share what YOU’VE learned, so that other listeners and I can learn from YOU.  It can be a message as short as 30 seconds or several minutes long.  It really doesn’t matter just as long as it’s something that will benefit others.  You can send in questions or responses to my SILY episodes, and I’ll respond to them via Monday Mailbag episodes. You can participate in Monday Mailbags by visiting the Golden Spiral Media listener feedback page at goldenspirlamedia.com/feedback.