Just for kicks for my 29th birthday I decided to make a list of 29 quotes, ideas and nuggets of wisdom that have informed my life up to this point. Some are lessons I’ve embodied, others are ideals I merely aspire to but will never fully achieve, but they are all important in some way or another.
So here they are in no particular order.
- “Everything in moderation, including moderation.”
- Just about everything can be improved with simplicity.
- Capture everything or be willing to let it go. Capturing is one of the major principles of GTD but I believe it does not get enough recognition. Every idea, thought, obligation, moment that goes through your head is going to fall back out of it. Either write it down or accept the fact that it may never return (and that that is OK).
- Work hard. It pays off. However there is a clear distinction between working hard and working a lot. Smart, outcome focused work done for a short amount of time is infinitely better than misdirected indecisive work that drags on all day.
- Don’t work too hard. You’ll both burn out and miss out on other important things. I have seen way to many people in the Entertainment industry think they are acheiving success because they work 100 hours a week but that’s just not the way it happens. Work smart, not long.
- “I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.”
– Leonardo da Vinci
Ideas are a dime a dozen, action is far more valuable. Good intentions are only as good as what you do with them.
- Being quick to make informed decisions is the key principle to getting things done. This is true for small and big decisions. For example your e-mail inbox can be completely empty in a very short amount of time if you just buckle down and make a decision about what needs to happen with each item. Likewise writing music is really just about making decisions.
- Don’t judge. It does nothing but make you look bad. Even trivial things like someone else’s taste in music benefits in no way from condescension. Everyone has a reason for doing the things they do so live and let live.
- Be patient. Both in the long term and the short term. This is easier said than done when you are an ambitious person!
- Make little bets. Ship often and learn from every iteration.
- Major goals are often best achieved indirectly. For example making a lot of money may be a “goal”, but providing a lot of people with high value is an actual way to achieve it.
- “Do not push the river, it will flow by itself.” This concept is huge and probably deserves its own book.
- Writing is easy, sitting down to write is what’s actually hard. This is true for both words and music. If you can get yourself in the chair and eliminate distractions the rest should take care of itself.
- If you want better, do better. Conversely, if you keep doing the same things in the same way you should expect the same results.
- You can turn your phone off once in a while. It turns out the world won’t end. It’s actually pretty nice.
- There are no “right” answers in music or art. If you think what you write sounds good you are correct. Now there may be “wrong” piece for a particular client or purpose, but that is a different story.
- There will always be more music. If the director/producer/client asks for a change, just change it and keep your ego out of the way.
- There will always be more music. Don’t try to tell your life story in every piece. Make every composition focused and purposeful.
- It’s OK to give up on things once in a while. It’s necessary if you intend to keep any form of sanity.
- Change is inevitable. Get used to it.
- “A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do.” – Bob Dylan
- Having a child will change your life. But not in the ways you would necessarily expect. For me it has been the best experience yet.
- Life could be short, so don’t waste it. You might get hit by a bus tomorrow (or an illness in two years) so don’t squander your time with things that don’t matter.
- Life could be long, so prepare for it. Hopefully you’ll be around for many more decades, in which case make smart decisions now that will take care of your future self.
- Don’t hold yourself responsible for other people’s decisions. There is only so much you can do to help a self-destructive person, ultimately they are the only ones in control of themselves.
- Worrying about things outside your sphere of influence is a waste of time and energy. This is why I tend to pay only enough attention to the news to be well-informed but not emotionally invested. I am beginning to learn that it is far better to pay attention to local news and politics than national.
- There’s no point in clouding your head with “shoulds”. If you think you “should” do something, then either do it or get over it.
- Comparing your work to others’ can be demoralizing. Comparing your present work to your own past work can be inspiring.
- What’s important to you now will probably not be what’s important to you in the future. 10 years ago I would have had a very different list. And if my list is exactly the same in 10 years it will mean I didn’t grow or learn anything!
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