I have a son, so this is for him, as much as it is for me. This advice was gathered from my own experience, from the face of Bull Creek, books, TV, podcasts, friends, twitter, strangers, and well, you get the idea.
Whatever your endeavor, whether creative, business, or straight-up whack-a-doodle, this shit holds up.
NOTE: Much of this I re-learn, over and over. Butchering and re-figuring the words of Nick Cage from, Moonstruck, I ain’t no freaking monument to this advice. Life is an ongoing work of art. Once you’re done, you’re dead.
1. Decide what to be, and go be it. Thank you Avett Brothers, Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise. Easier sung than done. Often, we are too close to our natural gifts to realize the potential. Nonetheless, get after it. What’s your passion. Where’s your joy. What do you, you unique you, bring to the table? Bring it, and keep working at it. Evolve or die. Set goals. Set intentions, and write them out. Declare them. Be you. Don’t be shy. Play the role. I remember Jim Carey once said his dad told him, you can play it safe, and still fail, or get fired after twenty years. So you might as well go for what your want, because nothing is certain, which can be freeing, if you let it.
2. Work. It’ll take work. Projects, start and finish projects. No one’s waiting to give you assignments. Get started. Today is good. Feel defeated? Fine, feel defeated, then get over it and get back to work. Grandma knew laziness was the killer of ambition, creativity and success. Work at it. If you want to sing songs, get to singing. Want to be a comic, get on stage. Want to be an engineer, get to calculating and engineering. Don’t let your fear, anxiety, race, gender, orientation, parents, or the world tell you, you can’t. If it’s important to you, then you will find the time, and a way. Produce! Do a lot. Play the numbers game, as Tom Lennon says, say yes. A lot may suck, but some will be great.
2b. Manage your time. What are you spending your time doing? Are you slacking? Working on other things? Check out how you spend your time. Document it for a day or two. It’s demonstrates what is important to you, and what is not. If you find you spend your time doing things that are not good for you, or helpful, or working towards your goals, then you need to look into that. Re-configure your day or your dreams. You have to do it, no one else will, so fit it in to your day. A time of relaxation is best after hard work.
3. Be cool. Don’t get involved with drama in your workplace. If you are easy to work with, people will choose you over the drama king, or trouble maker. Be compassionate and friendly and welcoming. Don’t isolate yourself. Treat others they way you want to be treated, it is the golden rule for a reason. Be helpful. Be useful.
4. Be positive. This is good for you, and others. Like Eddie Izzard, be a glass is 3/4 full person. Everyone gets depressed. Bounce back, that’s what is important. Don’t wallow. Even if you have a dark sense of humor, or you’re sarcastic, find a way to be positive with it. The comedian, Anthony Jeselnik is dark, but I think he is still positive. The laughter is invigorating, freeing. He is not negative. He isn’t depressing. Being positive doesn’t mean, don’t be yourself. Have hope. Believe in you. Don’t be a dick.
5. Be confident. Don’t worry what other people will think. Get embarrassed. Make a fool of yourself. Make mistakes. Be wrong. Then move on. Apologize if needed, but either way, don’t hold on to the mistakes, move on.
Desperation isn’t helpful, it’s a hindrance. Generally, people are pulling for you, or ignoring you, or so up in their own heads they see little but their own anxiety. If something fails, whatever it is, you know you’ll try again, or something new, but this won’t be the end. If you can approach your endeavors from a place of stillness (without succumbing to fear or desire) you’ll be in a good space to be the best you can be. Go at things like a kid at play. Be playful, open and enjoying. Make the space yours. Take your time. Don’t be rushed. You are your own. Some people say, once they didn’t care, was when their endeavor took off, but what they mean is, when they stopped trying to please others, or fearing what others thought, or better, once they were unabashedly going after it, was when they were at their best, and people took notice. People respond to confidence. They are attracted to it. Don’t give up.
6. Gratitude matters. Be thankful. Wake up and be thankful. Go to bed being thankful. Appreciate your good fortune. It helps alleviate the bad fortune, and keeps you in a good head space. When you read books on survival and catastrophes, the people with good attitudes and gratitude tend to do the best. People with hope survive and thrive. People who foster the darkness and depression tend to give up, or not make it. Of course, nothing is for certain, but being centered, and open, is the best place to be.
7. Get Outside. For me, this means nature, water, and all kinds of life. But it can mean people and events. Get out there. Be a part. Make friends. Visit your relatives. Volunteer. Make connections. Share. This is important to success.
8. Forgive yourself, and others.
9. Exercise and do physical labor. Garden or run or lift weights, or hike. Do something. Do it singing and gratefully. There is good magic in that. Trust me.
All right, that’s enough for now.