This Isn’t Even My Final Form!

Warning: This might be the nerdiest post I’ve written to date (wait for it).

The Gap

There’s always a gap in everything you do: the gap between who you are currently are and what you’ll one day be capable of. That effing gap. It’s the worst thing in the world. You want to cross it and just get it over with, but that’s not how it works. You have to take it step by step. Effing gap.

Ira Glass has a few words to say on the gap when it comes to creative work.

Ira’s talking about art but he could just as easily be talking about life.

Where you currently are is not where you’re destined to stay. You don’t have to keep staring at that gap. You can bridge it. And there’s one phrase that will keep you from having that gap drive you crazy while you do:

This isn’t even my final form.

Your Final Form

The phrase is a Dragonball Z reference. Frieza is essentially a transforming character who wows his opponents through his transformations. While they’re all gasping at his second or third transformation, he laughs and taunts them, saying, “You fool, this isn’t even my final form!” before transforming himself yet again. (Yes, I know this is super nerdy – Steve would be proud).


The internet has turned this into a popular meme (you can read the full details here), but the message is the same: this is not my final form – there’s more to come.

Be Like Frieza

You can be like Frieza. When people gasp at your transformation, you can smile to yourself and know the truth: this isn’t your final form.

Here’s how:

How To Keep Transforming

If you want to take things to the next level, you have to do a few things.

Take The Compliment

If you’re doing anything worthwhile, you’ll probably get a few haters, but you might also get a few compliments. At first these might seem strange (are they mocking you?). But, as crazy as it sounds, sometimes people actually make sincere compliments or are impressed.

If/when that happens, take the compliment.

Don’t be a jerk. Take the compliment. You’re not being humble by deflecting it and pretending it’s not true. You can’t continue to grow unless you take an honest look at where you’re at.

This can be the hardest thing to do starting out, especially when you’re looking at that stupid, stupid gap, but take the compliment anyway.

Start Now

Okay, that’s enough. Snap out of it. Stop basking in your own glory. You’re not done (remember that gap?). Well, it’s not gonna fix itself. You gotta start.

You’ll want to make a lot excuses. I can hear them already: “but…but…but…but…” No.

No buts. Start or shut up.

Try New Things

You have to be willing to experiment to grow. Try something new. Try even newer things still.

Try something – fail  massively – keep going.


Only by trying new things can you evolve. Which brings us to the next point:

Keep Evolving

Note: More than anything, this is the one thing I keep coming back to. Experiment constantly.

Nothing is set in stone. As soon as you think you’ve figured something out, you realize you’ve only just begun. Keep experimenting. Evolution happens when you try something and it works. Then you do it more and more and more until it turns into something else.

You’ve run your first marathon. Cool. What’s next? There had better be something next, otherwise it’s all downhill from here…

You started a blog. Neat. What’s next? What will you do with that? What’s your next evolution?

You quit your job. Good job, Tonto. What are you going to do next? How are you going to make an impact?

Don’t be static. Keep evolving. If you want something you’ve never had, you’ll have to do something you’ve never done. No way of getting round that. What’s the next step? 

You Have Not Yet Arrived

It’s good to remember that, as much as you might like to think you’ve arrived, you have not…yet. It’s tempting to think that you’ve made it and slide into a bed of comfort. Being on the receiving end of a load of compliments can make that option even more tempting so, next time someone compliments your current form, graciously accept the complement but remind yourself: this isn’t even my final form.

There’s much, much more to come.


Oh, and in case you wanted to see all of Frieza’s transformations (nerd), you can see the video below:

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  1. says

    Hey Joel, that makes a lot of sense – sometimes you just have to take the compliments. It’s so weird to go from a state of total obscurity to having people ask questions and for advice as I’m sure you know :)

    But of course I’m not anywhere close to my final form – my power level is wayyy under 9000.

  2. Sarah says

    “Try new things – Fail massively – keep going. Repeat.” LOL! Love it! Somehow, that line is very, very encouraging. This is just what I needed to read. . Thank you thank you thank you!

  3. says

    The “stupid, stupid gap” is right on point, Joel. Yes, WE can see the stupid, stupid gap, but others can’t.

    It can be encouraging (this isn’t even my final form!) or discouraging (isn’t this good enough already…?), which is entirely dependent on our perspective.

    That looks like a painful transformation, but you can see the dogged determination on his face.

    Sometimes the gap from our current state to the next transformation takes a little longer than we want. It helps to remember that things are going to get ugly while we transform and people will not understand why we’d want to go through that when we are comfortably fine already.

    But I know there’s still a gap and ugly or not, here we come!

  4. D.B.L. says

    For me, evolving is growth and life. I am at a space where nothing could hold me back except me and my craziness. I’m trying to get this under control and know that someday I will. You inspire hope and determination in others (me). Thank you.

  5. Steve says

    Hey Joel,

    Loved the post and the concept. Not sure if you remember the episode(I do, showing how much of a nerd I am), but Goku also undergoes his own transformation into a Super Sayan. I really enjoyed how you stressed growth and how we never really stop growing so to speak. Life’s a journey not a destination as they say. Thanks for helping me keep moving on my own path. Peace.

  6. Johnny Bronx says

    You’re right about taking compliments. A compliment is a gift and, when you deflect it, you’re refusing a gift, a social faux pas about as bad as grabbing your grandmother’s chest. ALWAYS except a compliment with a “Thank you” and you’ll hear them more and more often. And why not? If someone turned away a gift you gave him/her, would you ever give that person another one? But, if they accepted your gift, you wouldn’t be afraid to offer another if you wanted to, right? Take the gift, take the compliment, reciprocate, build trust and rapport, and you’ll find your circle of friends, supporters, and potential lovers increasing. Do the reverse, and get the reverse.

  7. says

    Ah, nerdy metaphors. They make everything easier to understand. =)

    This post really speaks to me. I have recently realized that I’ve been getting too comfortable in my current form and too lazy to keep leveling up so to speak. This is just the right kind of energy to spark that fire.

    Damn it, now I really feel like yelling that the next time someone gives me a compliment. Probably should keep it to myself though…

    Great post, Joel. And keep the podcasts coming, my gym sessions wouldn’t be the same without it!

  8. says

    Joel, I really like this perspective! I’ve been struggling with some negative self talk recently so for this “chapter” of my life I have settled on the mantra: Good enough. I am good enough, this work is good enough, I can pause because this is good enough. I have a tendency to expect perfection of myself and we all know that is unattainable. After reading your post I think that I will add one more line to my mantra, “I am good enough AND this isn’t even my final form.” Thank you!


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