Instigation Capital Is The Marching Power

“It is mankind’s evolutionary obligation to use all the powers at our disposal.” Love this passage from Inferno. It’s a good reminder that we’re much stronger, much smarter and a much more capable than we give ourselves credit for. We just need a testing ground. An enabler. A encounter that shows us what we’re made of. Like playing trivia in a bar. Ever notice how many answers you magically pull out of your ass? How the hell did I know what lunar excursion module meant? Love those moments when we’re obliged to go to our limits.

Instigation capital is the marching power.” If you’re waiting for someone to tell you what to do, it’s already too late. That’s what I tell the interns at my office. You have to create your own projects and your own momentum. This isn’t a job, it’s a canvas. You have three months to make it as beautiful and valuable as possible. Oh, and don’t forget to sign your work. Inspired by boxes.

“There’s a growing need for products that offer privacy.” This article on stealth wear got me thinking about the glaring hypocrisy in the privacy debate. On one hand, we don’t want the government reading our emails. On the other hand, each year we publish twice as much information online as we did the year before. On one hand, we despise surveillance cameras. On the other, everybody has their own reality show. So which one is it? Do we really want privacy? Let’s not shit ourselves. Everything is everybody’s business, and we like it that way. Once we tune out people’s words and tune in people’s actions, one thing is clear––privacy may be our inalienable right, but narcissism is our dominant posture. 

“Not a lot, but enough.” I don’t need as many friends as I used to. The older I get, the more concerned I am with quality, not quantity. As long as I have someone to call from jail in the middle of the night––and someone to share the cell with my while I wait––I’m good to go. I’d rather spend time with ten friends I totally love than collect friend requests from a thousand people I hardly know. Inspired by a commencement address by Melinda Gates.

Caring Used To Be A Calorie Burner

“It’s not like there’s a limited number of slots.” Aziz proves that the artistic pie has enough slices for everybody. That the path of bitter resentment and bullshit competitiveness is not worth taking. And that every moment we’re lost in somebody else’s orbit is a moment we’re not improving life on our own planet. If your whole schtick is undermining the work of others, that’s not art, that’s fear. It’s surrogate creation. A convenient excuse for not making stuff of your own.

“Caring used to be a calorie burner.” Ten years ago, demonstrating that something was important to us meant an investment of time, money and energy. We wrote letters, stopped by in person or brought homemade cupcakes on the first day. Caring meant work. And that’s precisely why it worked. Now, all we have to do is tweet. Or text. Or tap whatever digital shortcut we have at our disposal. And that works too. But it’s less satisfying for the recipient because it’s largely effortless for the sender. Which means it’s hard to tell the difference between people who care and people who type fast. These days, if we want to show people they matter to us, we need to show them the calorie counter. Inspired by Amanda Bynes.

“You have to be the factory and the warehouse.” If you don’t write it down, it never happened. No matter how good your ideas are, if you don’t have a system for organizing and finding them, consider your genius wasted. I learned this years ago from George Carlin, and was recently re-inspired by tweets from Carolla. I’m so glad I did this early and often. Smartest move I ever made. Everything I know is written down somewhere, and I can get to it in about ten seconds.

“Quietly willing an article you wrote to
go viral.”
 Over the years, I’ve published thousands of articles, hundreds of speeches and dozens of books, songs and videos. And yet, I’m still completely surprised to see which ones stick. That blog post I worked on tirelessly? Nobody cares. But that video I slapped together in five minutes? Goes viral. It’s almost scary how little control we have over the spreading of our own ideas. Sure, we can put systems in place to make our work as shareable as possible. But like most things in life, timing isn’t everything, it’s the only thing. Inspired by the new science of memes.

Resistance Has No Power Of Its Own

is more creative, nor destructive, than a brilliant mind with a purpose.”

Genius is a neutral entity. Like tofu, it takes on the flavor of whatever
sauced it’s immersed in. The hope is, whoever possesses that brain will channel
their power into a positive direction. The problem is, evil usually pays
better. And chicks dig danger. Stupid dark side and their amazing perks.
Inspired by Dan Brown’s new book.

nation is on a slippery slope to rationality.”
week’s article in The Onion made me smile.
Meanwhile, some people feel guilty for wanting progress. Not me. Consider
everything that’s happening: Pot is legal in eighteen states. Gay marriage is
legal in thirteen states. Atheism is the nation’s fasting growing religion. Climate
change was recognized by the president as the global threat of our time. Damn. Just when I thought our country
was blessed with a broken sense of
priorities. Finally some forward movement.

absence of a body against my body created a hunger.”

I guess I just haven’t found the right guy yet. Bullshit. If you wanted to find the right guy, you would have found
him. Why? Because that’s what human beings do. Whatever they look for, they
find. The end.

Resistance has no power of its own.”
All it does it feed on our fear of it. The more we try to run from it, the
faster it gets. The more excuses we create for not doing the work, the harder
the work gets. Resistance is a bully. It has no real power. But, the minute we
stand up to it, sock it in the gut with everything we’ve got, it crumples into
the corner like a pile of swept leaves. Until tomorrow. You better believe, it will come
back tomorrow. Thanks, Steven Pressfield.

“Make a discipline of it.” What drives me crazy about the personal development industry is, it’s all
systems and formulas. Five steps. Seven ways. Ten strategies. But success is
not a combination lock. In fact, most of it comes down to discipline.
Commitment. Showing up early and often. Working hard and long and smart. No,
it’s not sexy, but it’s worked for centuries. Inspired by Tiger Mothers.

A Look Back At All Those Times The World Didn’t End

“You don’t need a lot of downtime for your brain to turn on itself.” Action isn’t just eloquence, it’s the antidote to unhappiness. The smartest, healthiest thing we can do when the waves of sadness come crashing in is to start surfing. Or snorkeling. Or painting a picture of the ocean. Whatever. The waves are an invitation to do something––anything––that burns calories, makes meaning and transports us to a place where the head and the heart
are doing the dance they’re supposed to. Inspired by Carolla’s Law.

“I had to work in order to have any sense of being human.” If I was stranded on a desert island, I would still work. In addition to hunting for food, looking for water, building fires and keeping shelter, I would literally create a job for myself. I would create fake coworkers out of trees and mud, have an office that I commute to and hold meetings about various projects. That’s the only way I’d keep from going crazy––by installing a semblance of order, routine, meaning and labor. Of course, this is assuming I don’t get trampled by a wild boar on the second day. Inspired by an interview with legendary designer, Milton Glaser

“Starting work without a contract is like putting a condom on after taking a home pregnancy test.” Amazing speech by Mike Monteiro about getting paid. I wish I had that level of chutzpah when I first started my company. But collections always terrified me. I was just too nice. Until one day, my dad told me never to be afraid of asking for my money. Good advice. Ever since then, I’ve made it a point to be proactive and prolific when it comes to payment earned for value created. 

A look back at all those times the world didn’t end.” Years ago, my power went out in the middle of the night. When I woke up, I still starting writing early, but had no way of checking email. Oh well. So I worked all morning, ostensibly disconnected from the world. And by the time I got the coffee shop for lunch, I logged on only to discover something I’ll never forget. The world didn’t end. Nothing happened and nobody cared. Ever since then, I’ve stopped worrying about an overflowing inbox. It’s ninety percent spam anyway.

“Worrying over our anemic job
creation rate has practically become our new national pastime.”
Just read this piece on the latest unemployment statistics. Jesus Christ. What’s a brother gotta do to get a paycheck in this country? Hire yourself, that’s what. Tap into the entrepreneurial spirit. Start your own thing. Even if you work for someone else. It’s about agency. Not asking for permission. Not waiting for directions. Go, go, go, make something happen.

Time Ticks In A Really Weird Way

“Comedians are pastors who aren’t lying.” I’ve always appreciated a good preacher. Not from religious perspective, but as communicators and performers, those guys sure know how to deliver a message. When I used to drive across the country, one of my favorite rituals was scanning the radio dial for sermons from local congregations. I laughed. I cried. I took notes. I ran thought experiments. I even called in once, just for fun. Funny thing way, in most cases, the smaller the town, the more entertaining the preacher. Inspired by the podcast, You Made It Weird

“The sun has an economy.” Heard this statement during a heated discussion on climate change. What a fascinating juxtaposition. Not just of words, but of ideas. I remember the first time my mentor asked me how my economy was doing. His question threw me for a loop at first, but eventually, I figured out what he meant. It’s helpful when we treat everything as a system, with parts that need to be careful regulated and managed. Especially ourselves.

“Time ticks in a really weird way.” I don’t know if it’s the city I live in, the world I work in or the life stage I exist in, but I’ve completely lost all sense of time. My clock is fucked. I’m not sure what day it is. I can’t tell if time moves fast or slow. I barely remember my former life as an entrepreneur. And I don’t know if I’ve been living in my neighborhood for two years or two decades. It’s the strangest thing. Perhaps it’s the byproduct of major life change. Or maybe I just need a new watch. Do people still wear watches?

“When the camera was invented, artists didn’t just throw away their brushes and start taking pictures.” Hopeful advice from the last of the great ad men. Proving that no matter how amazing our new technology is, we still need artists. We still need dreamers and wackos and painters and makers. After all the startups die and the gold rush comes to a grinding halt, art will be the only survivor. Thank god.

A Sanctuary Where I Could Forget Who I Was

“I wanted to create spaces where people
felt held.”
 About a year ago, I started tinkering with scale. Not sure why. Probably because I moved to a city that was big enough for me. My first experiment was blowing up photographs to poster size. That changed my entire experience of what a picture can be. Next, I began thinkmapping on twenty-foot dry erase walls. That rejiggered my entire creative strategy process. Lastly, I started playing concerts in the park underneath the historic tunnel arch. That allowed me to find notes I didn’t know existed. Man. Scale changes everything. Inspired by an enormous yarn installation.

“You look down at all these hungry
little beaks, and you say to them, ‘Which of you needs to be fed?'” 
This article onjournalinggot me thinking. You don’t decide what you want to write, you listen for what wants to be written. You don’t decide how to solve the problem, you allow the solution to present itself. You don’t ring the bell, you invite the bell to sound. It’s like the Quakers, who practice silence until someone is moved to speak. I like approaching life in that way. It’s more relaxing.

“Don’t require them to think as hard about this as you have.” Awesome article about collaboration from Derek Sivers about minimizing the burden of your coworkers. I’ve been practicing that a lot at lately. Overthinking early and often, but then giving my team an annotated version. Look, people are busy. They don’t have time to go down the rabbit hole with me. Their brains need a break. Good advice.

“You only get so far if you work by
staring at a screen, because the resolution of the paper page is much higher.”
It’s not a waste of paper if it alters my perception of the work. That’s how I rationalize. By printing out pages of notes, sticking them on the wall and squinting at them from afar, I can see patterns previous unavailable to me. I can literally touch my ideas and become more intimate with them. Plus, it blows out the canvas. Why limit myself to seventeen inches of glass when I could spread my stuff all over the floor and stand above it like a mad scientist admiring his creation?

“A sanctuary where I could forget who I
 We all need a place where we can disappear. A divine refuge that allows us to lose all sense of self and just melt into the floor. No expectations. No accountability. Nothing but the people we were before the world told us who we needed to be. Pure freedom, pure creation. It’s the safe haven that restores us.Wow. I don’t know how people survive without one. 

Where Commitment Becomes Another Risky Venture

Molly makes you feel unplanned, and that’s not a common feeling.” The older I get, the more I feel like not doing drugs puts me in the minority. It’s crazy. Every time I smell pot on the streets or read articles about the high of the moment, another veil gets pulled back. Does everyone do drugs but me? Good lord. And yet, I fully support drugs. People should be allowed to consume whatever they want. It’s interesting, though. The less naive I become, the less I want to partake.

“I ran an extra mile just to find out how it ended.” Great interview with Dan Brown, one of my favorite authors. He seems like a solid role model for young writers. Reads a ton, always researches, loves language, dedicates himself to his craft, works every single day, stays out of the tabloids and creates the right environment for ideas to emerge. Sigh. Plus, he uses his work to take the piss out of religious people. Bonus points for that.

“Everything that’s good about this city
is outside your door.”
 By the time the weekend comes, I’m pretty worn out. But despite my desire to sleep late and chill at home all day, we usually go out and do stuff. That’s why we moved here, right? We’re not paying insane rent because our apartment is some kind of paradise. It’s the city. It’s the energy. The smorgasbord of opportunity that awaits once we step out the door. But we have to step out the door.

“My yoga is underlining sentences.” A famous line from Joseph Campbell. I’m kind of the same way. I can reconcile almost any activity––cleaning the house, sitting through a boring meeting, reading a crappy magazine––as long as I can take notes. That’s my thing. If I’m writing sentences, I never feel unproductive. It’s how I engage with the world. It’s how I metabolize my life. And it’s how I fill the reservoir to enable the creative process to flow quickly and easily. Every sentence is a blog post, a book or a song lyric waiting to happen.

“Where commitment becomes another risky venture.” Commitment is my thing. Always has been. A serial monogamist, as my friend used to call me. So when I read articles about people who can’t engage that muscle, it always confuses me. When did commitment stop being cool? When did we decide that sticking with something––or someone––wasn’t worth the effort anymore? Of course commitment is risky. That’s the whole point.

Dreams Always Bring More Questions Than Answers

“There’s nothing sexier than not having an agenda.” I’m not here to win. I’m not here to prove myself. I’m not here to be seen. I’m not here to get my name out there. I’m not here to be discovered. I’m not here to make money. I’m not here to network. I’m not here to create mutually beneficial relationships. Once I strip away all the striving, all the expectation and all the ego, it’s amazing how attractive I become.

“If you want what he’s got, you can’t get it anywhere else.”  This article on Steve Miller contains the true definition of value. Something exclusive, singular and scarce. The three most important words in business. And nowhere else. People don’t want duplicate happiness. When we offer them a one-time, limited edition, never
before/never again moment that actually captures their imagination, we win
their hearts forever.

“When you are gone I will miss your gentle noises.” Thiscartoonabout paper books becoming an endangered species makes me sad. I miss books. I mostly read digitally these days. And it kills me.  It’s just not the same without paper. You can’t smell a Kindle. A book is a device you can throw on someone’s
desk and start a conversation. A book is a contract between writer and reader. A book is an old friend that meets you where you are. I hope they don’t go away.

“It’s a long time for me to spend on
something that means absolutely nothing.”
 I could watch Jerry Seinfeld talk about his creative process until the cows come home. And I don’t even have cows. And his comedy is brilliant, don’t get me wrong. But his system for creating comedy is what blows my mind. Always by hand. Always with yellow legal pads. Always the little world he investigates to a great, high level. How is this not a graduate level course at art schools? Doesn’t anybody realize that half of being funny is being organized?

“Dreams always bring more questions than
 The first thing I do every morning is journal my dreams. It’s a ritual I’ve practiced for many years. But I don’t actually know anything about dream symbolism. Nor do I care to find out. I just write them down. Every day. And what happens is, I start to notice patterns. Certain themes reoccur in my dream life as certain things happen in my real life. It’s spooky as hell. Like the one about getting to school at not knowing where my classes are? Usually shows up when I have a high level of stress.Academic anxiety. Noted. Definitely one of the best daily habits I got into.

We See What We Can Afford To See

“Everyone who is making progress in today’s economy isn’t doing something with a certified skill.” When I retired as an entrepreneur and starting looking for a day job, the first order of business was to catalogue my assets. The frustrating part was, I had no advanced degrees, no designations and no certifications. And that made it very hard for potential employers to put me in one of their neat little boxes. On the other hand, I did have a wealth of experience as a professional, an amazing portfolio as an artist and a proven reputation as a strategic thinker. And although it took a few months, I finally figured out how to wrap those assets into a valuable package that was worth hiring. Thanks for the advice, Seth.

“There’s nothing more powerful than saying no to people.” I remember the first time I had enough money, enough work and enough confidence to say no to a prospective client. Greatest feeling in the world. Especially when you’ve spent years desperately saying yes to anybody, anytime, for no money, just to get your name out there. Nothing beats the sweet satisfaction of rolling your tongue back into your mouth and saying no to somebody who wants to give you money to do what you love. Inspired by aninterviewwith Louie.

“Cynicism presents itself as wisdom, but it’s really just a wound.” I went through a cynical phase a few years ago. Didn’t get me very far. Turns out, cynicism doesn’t make you look cool, it makes other people not like being around you. Fortunately, I had a friend who loved me enough to tell me how crappy my attitude was, and that he didn’t like the person I’d become. That whipped me back into shape pretty quickly. I confronted my wound, created a plan for healing it and crawled my way back to the person I used to be. Inspired by aninterviewwith Rob Bell.

“People’s attention spans are getting shorter, and I want them to suffer.” Judd Apatowmakes me happy. I love that he purposely makes his films too long. Fuck the networks. Fuck the standards. If you’re an artist, you have the right do make your work as long and prolific as you want. If you have something to say, say all of it. Who cares if the audience is bored? Who cares if people want the piece to end? Freedom means never having to say it’s almost over.

“We see we can afford to see.” Denial is a critical part of the human coping mechanism. What sucks is, sometimes people don’t have the emotional means to confront the reality of their situation. And there’s nothing you can do. You can’t fix them. You can’t persuade them. You can’t even lovingly expose them to reality. They’re simply not ready. All you can do is love them. All you can do is trust that they’ll see what they need to see when the time is right. Good one,Robert Langdon.

The Forces Of Denial Are Lavishly Funded

“My best experiences as a moviegoer are when I go in knowing as little as possible.” On a daily basis, I recite the mantra, “I expect nothing.” Those three words changed my life. They taught me the virtues of acceptance, mindfulness and relaxation. Why? Because expectation determines outcome. It’s been scientifically proven. If we want to set ourselves up for optimal experiences, it’s not about lowering expectations, it’s about losing them. Inspired by secrets from a trailer guru.

“You’re not waiting, you’re hiding.” Good point,Seth. Now that permission is a thing of the past, we’re all out of excuses. We no longer have the luxury of blaming the gatekeepers for our anonymity, blaming the marketplace for battering us into submission, or blaming the competition for keeping us small, scared and dreamless. Everything is up to us. The golden age of artistic agency is here. And if our art never sees the light of day, it’s because we didn’t want it badly enough.

“The forces of denial are lavishly funded.” Brilliant observation from thecreatorof the Internet himself. That’s my problem with politics. No matter how many blinding flashes of the obvious cross our path, if an idea is too convenient too be killed, our government will spend billions of dollars convincing the world that it doesn’t exist. Drives me crazy. Look, we all outgrow some of our beliefs. We all place our faith in ideas that fail us. Instead of clinging to hopelessly dated and naive perspectives, can’t we all just act like adults, rebuild our understanding and get on with it? God damn.

“Humanity in the abstract will never
inspire you in the same way as the human being you meet.”
 I’m a textbook extrovert. Engaging with other people gives me energy. Meaning, if I go too long without human interaction, I don’t feel like myself. If I spend two days without looking another person in the eye, I grow anxious and lonely. And forget about social media. Tweeting doesn’t satisfy my interpersonal longings. When I used to work out of my home, I would take breaks and go to Starbucks, just to talk to people. And I don’t even drink coffee. But when the soul needs humanity, the stomach shuts its mouth. Sparked from a commencement speech given byMelinda Gates.

“Hollywood is the only town where you can die of encouragement.” It’s an old saying, but I just heard it for the fist time onBy The Way with Jeff Garlin. Frankly, it’s kind of hard for me to swallow. I’m a fundamentally affirmative person. I find a way to love everything. Hurting people’s feelings isn’t my forte. Then again, there are some people who, despite their best intentions and boldest ambitions, are not going to make it as a full time whatever. Which doesn’t mean they need to stop doing what they do. But somebody needs to beat them with the practicality stick. And it’s not going to be me. I’m too nice.

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