And prepare for death. 

More thoughts from the #hughbook etc.]

YOU WILL DIE ONE DAY

“Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.” -Samuel Johnson.

“To study philosophy is to learn how to die.” –Cicero.

“Be happy while you’re living, for a you’re a long time dead.” –Scottish proverb.

“Life is short. Make it amazing.” – @gapingvoid cartoon.

The British author, John Mortimer once described Life as “A tiny blip of time, separating two vast expanses of eternity”.

The insanely brilliant stoic philosopher and Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius famously coined the phrase, “Live every day as if it were your last, for one day it will be.”

The great mythologist, Joseph Campbell thought that religion came about once human beings first became aware of their own mortality.

Ain’t that the truth. I believe all these great thinkers were right on the money, in their own way.

Without death, life would have no meaning. It is death that gives life its edge. And it’s that edge that gives life its meaning. That gives us the experience of being alive. Which is what the meaning of life is really all about.

To know life, is to know death. And maybe, just maybe, be OK with it.

Now go do good work, with all your heart. Yes.


You don’t need to do it full time.

More thoughts from the #hughbook etc.]

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More thoughts from the #hughbook etc.]

YOU DON’T NEED TO DO IT FULL TIME

You don’t need to do it eight hours a day.

An hour or two before breakfast is plenty. After few years it starts to add up.

The rest of the time, you can actually go out and interact with the real world, make a proper living, act like a grownup.

I did all my best work when I had a day job, when I had to “steal time” to get it done.

Stealing time made it more satisfyingly urgent and real, somehow,.

Sure, your bohemian friends will call you a sell-out if you take this route.

Fuck ‘em.


Get yourself a Creation Myth

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More thoughts from the #hughbook etc.]

GET YOURSELF A “CREATION MYTH”.

1. A very dated-looking pho­to­graph from 1978. Ele­ven young, goofy-looking techies. They turn out to be the foun­ding mem­bers of Mic­ro­soft, inc­lu­ding Bill Gates.

2. Michael Dell foun­ding his com­pu­ter empire in his dorm room at the Uni­ver­sity of Texas.

3. Ben & Jerry’s star­ted making ice cream in a con­ver­ted gas sta­tion in Vermont.

4. The busi­ness guru, Tom Peters often wri­tes about how his time as a young man ser­ving in the US Navy hel­ped evolve his now-famous worldview.

5. The Beat­les pla­ying those early gigs at The Cavern Club in Liverpool.

6. The famous tech blog­ger, Robert Sco­ble tal­king about his job wor­king in a dis­count camera store, back when he was a kid, and how that informed his career.

7. How a bunch of young, angry social mis­fits start a small nightc­lub, the Caba­ret Vol­taire, in 1916 Zurich [at the height of World War One] and in the pro­cess invent Dada, one of the 20th Century’s most influen­tial art movements.

8. Abe Lin­coln was born in a log cabin.

9. Mssrs. Hewlett and Packard starting a elecctronics firm in a garage in Palo Alto.

So… What do these all have in common?

They’re all Crea­tion Myths. That’s right; just like The Gar­den of Eden.

We humans seem to need them, somehow. They manage to arti­cu­late who we really are, somehow. The help explain our core values, somehow.

And for wha­te­ver rea­son, REALLY suc­cess­ful peo­ple are even more likely to have them, even more likely to need them, somehow.

Does your sch­tick have a good crea­tion myth? If not, maybe it needs one?

Think about it.


On joining a “Scenius”

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More thoughts from the #hughbook etc.]

ON JOINING A “SCENIUS”:

1. Eventually the rock stars leave when they no longer need you.

That’s what Bob Dylan did with the Greenwich Village folk scene. That’s what Madonna and Keith Haring did with the New York downtown scene. Ditto Kerouac and Ginsberg with the Beatniks.

And the ones who get left behind… feel left behind. So they spend the next couple of decades droning on about how great the scene was before so-and-so sold out etc. I can think of better ways to spend one’s later years.

2. Sceniuses have short lives. Very short lives.

The first year, nobody knows what’s happening. The final year, nobody notices the thing ending. In between that, you have maybe one to three years of people doing cool stuff in the spirit of mutual cooperation. Then the hangers-on move in and take over like weeds, the whole thing becomes tedious, the aforementioned rock stars move to Hollywood, and everything implodes.

3. A scenius is a great place to launch a career, not a great place to sustain one.

Like the previous point says, people move on, and move on quickly. So you need to be ready for when it happens.

4. It doesn’t seem like that big a deal at the time.

Me and my former scenius pals spend a lot of time on Facebook nowadays, posting old pictures from the scenius years, talking about how amazing and fun those times were.

The thing is, they may have been the best of times, we just didn’t know it then. We were too busy trying to hold down day jobs and pay rent and get laid and all that other day-to-day crap to notice. Had we known how special a time it was, we probably would’ve spent less time being miserable and insecure.

5. It’s nastier, more cliquey and more political than people like to admit.

Yeah, it’s junior high school repeating itself. Especially if the scenius revolves around a charismatic leader a-la Andy Warhol or Andre Breton. You have been warned.

6. You can’t plan for it to happen.

You may think the crowd you’re hanging out with is the most culturally significant group of party people since Max’s Kansas City, but the more seriously you believe this, the more likely you’re wrong.