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The irony of obsessing over what works…

… is that it usually leads to the very opposite of actual work.

People who wait on guarantees rarely ever get started. People who act on their interests, even when they act imperfectly or unsuccessfully, end up doing things that result in a greater sense of confidence and creativity.

Moving in the direction of what moves you is much more productive than agonizing over what will work.

Paradoxically, it works better too.

Bring it Forth

“If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.” -Gospel of Thomas

Self-censorship is a subtle demon. It robs us of our beauty in the name of keeping the peace or staying out of trouble.

It always presents itself as our ally, as a benevolent friend who is only there to protect our best interests. And in the process, we find ourselves never laughing at the jokes we really think are funny, never making the observations we really think are fascinating, never arguing the points we really think are compelling, never investing in the causes whose effects we really wish to see produced, and never living a life that really feels like living.

I’m not sure if there’s any greater enemy of all that is good than self-censorship. Certainly there is room for diplomacy and tact, but what use is there for diplomacy and tact if one is not rigorously involved in the act of self-expression? Diplomacy and tact are there to support, not stifle, self-expression.

Maybe all the world’s evils come not from the unregulated expression of impulses that should be kept in, but rather from the fear-based suppression of ideas, inclinations, and interests that should be let out.

Maybe evil is nothing more than the distorted sounds and horrific sights we create when we respond to our convictions by smothering their voice and strangling them to death.

Maybe the best thing we can do for the world is to risk sounding dumb, risk being misunderstood, risk irritating someone, risk being condemned by those who tell us the world doesn’t need anymore noise, and assert our right and responsibility to bring forth what is within us.

Be a person, not a parrot

Spread the ideas that turn you on, not the ones you think people will like you for; not the ones that create the fewest amount of enemies; not the ones that grant you immunity from ever being thought of as strange, odd, or eccentric.

The risk-free stuff is already spoken for.

The world is already inundated with approval-obsessed conformists who will never deviate from what they believe is guaranteed to work. Don’t join their clubs. Don’t reinforce their philosophy of fear. Don’t humor their idolization of the known, the familiar, the tried, the safe.

Be a person, not a parrot.

Speak the message that your true self demands of you.

On Telling “It” Like “it” is

If your version of “it” is always dreadful, discouraging, and gloomy, then it is highly unlikely that you’re someone who describes “it” as “it” really is.

Sometimes “it” is okay. Sometimes “it” works. Sometimes “it” is helpful. Sometimes “it” is easy. Sometimes “it” is rewarding. Sometimes “it” is worth appreciating. Sometimes “it” is moving in a good direction. Sometimes it is acceptable to acknowledge these aspects of “it.”

Being realistic encompasses the negative, but it by no means excludes the positive.

It’s In the Doing

One begins by doing things. Then, by virtue of having done something, that person becomes someone who does that particular thing.

A person make a film. Then, by virtue of having made a film, that person becomes a filmmaker.

A person writes. Then, by virtue of having written, that person becomes a writer.

A person builds a business. Then, by virtue of having built a business, that person becomes a businessperson.

In the creative process, doing precedes becoming.

There is no meaningful sense in which one can BE a filmmaker, BE a writer,  BE an entrepreneur, or BE anything else without actually doing the things that correspond to those labels.

Creativity is a pretty word that often seduces us into overlooking an ugly fact:

Creativity isn’t about how you look, how you smell, how you feel, or who you are. Creativity is about what you do.

If you want to BE more creative, DO more things that create results. If you want to BE different, DO things that are different.


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