When I was 22, I decided I was going to take a real shot at writing and publishing a book. I had no idea what a never-ending series of humiliations was heading my way.
I’m a firm believer in the positive power of delusion.
I had been writing little stories since I was a kid, but this was the first time that I was going to try to write out my science fiction novel and submit it to publishers. …
I’m sure being a billionaire is nice.
Plenty of freedom, influence, and status.
If a healthy bank account and good relationships don’t fill your cup, I promise, a billion dollars won’t do it either.
But there is nothing about becoming a billionaire that should appeal to us. And as far as I can tell, the reward is not worth the pressure, obsession, and sheer luck involved.
The question we should ask ourselves is not, “what does it take to become a billionaire?” it’s “What is wrong with someone that they would become a billionaire?”
Seriously, there has to be a god-sized hole in your heart to devote that much of your life to the game of money. …
There is a reason that we aren’t all perfect, and it’s not a mistake.
If your greatest fault were really a fault, it would have been weeded out by evolution a long time ago.
Our greatest faults are two sides to a coin. If you can learn to see the other side of your faults, you can begin to unlock your (nearly) unlimited potential.
Sometimes I’m jealous of people who had great gifts, discovered them early, and enjoyed a life of extreme success. Of course, these people exist — Mozart, Bob Dylan, Richard Feynman. …
Successful marketers use the unconscious desires of populations to move products.
Great directors tap into ancient and familiar mythology to spin a story that captures the imagination of millions of people. Marvel movies, for example, play on very old hero myths.
Great salesmen subtly play on primal hopes and fears.
There is a reason that J.K. Rowling can fill a stadium to listen to a children’s book and you can’t (notwithstanding recent comments).
“Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win.” — Stephen King
It’s not random. It’s not an accident. There are powerful, ancient, transpersonal forces that guide human behavior — your behavior. Most people are blind to them. If you accept them as a reality, learn about them, and accept your powerlessness in the face of them, then they can guide you to more success than you can imagine. …
I’m afraid to admit this.
I don’t feel an ounce of “natural” compassion for animals. I have no bleeding heart. I know that I probably would if I had to look them in the eye as they were being slaughtered — but that’s done behind closed doors, so I feel nothing.
The biggest issue with eating animals is not the lives lost. It is our own disassociation with that lost life.
Having compassion is not a good enough reason to stop eating animals.
The reason I don’t eat animals is complicated. So are the various exceptions that I have/would be willing to make. There is nothing simple or obvious about the choice. The way we process food is absolutely unprecedented in the history of the planet and anyone who tells you they have a simple answer is lying to you. …
Processed information is 24-hour news, clickbait, and endless news feeds.
To detoxify our minds, we have to consume enough “whole information” so we can actually sense how processed information makes us feel.
Just like when you begin to eat healthily, you reach a critical moment when you backslide into junk food, only to notice for the first time how sluggish it actually makes you feel.
We don’t have to totally ban anything from our lives, we just have to know when we are consuming junk, and when we are consuming healthy information.
Everything that you consume has a reason for existing and a charge associated with that reason. …
Being cheated on was the most life-changing event that I have ever endured.
We had been together for 4 years. We were living together in a beautiful apartment in New Orleans. I was a little down on myself because I wasn’t happy with my career and I was a new college grad. She left me for a much older man who was well established in a creative career and even had a Tony Award.
While I wouldn’t go back and change a thing about what happened, it took me about 3 years to feel that way.
She doesn’t want to get back together. She just feels bad for hurting you. …
What do you talk to your friends about? That’s what you need to write about.
When you say something that makes your friend’s face light up with understanding and interest, write it down.
When you’re talking to your friends in a deep conversation, your entire brain is focused on the task of expressing yourself to this one person who you know well. That’s what makes for good writing.
A good conversation is losing yourself in the moment. Flow, as it’s known. The time when you’re so engrossed in something that you lose all track of time. Do you ever talk to a friend and look up to find out that it’s suddenly 2 am? …
The biggest lie fed to us is that it’s totally obvious we shouldn’t kill ourselves.
To people who have contended with suicidal thoughts, nothing could be crueler. When in that state, suicide seems like an entirely reasonable course of action — anyone who can’t see it must be blind. We are a cursed creature who is aware of its own limits and mortality — who knows everything that it could be — but isn’t — who is given things to love and then all is taken away.
But, the answer is not despair. It’s to take on the suffering head-first.
“You think that all that suffering you’re doing is making you a better artist. It isn’t. Drop that shit.”
This was roughly what I was told by an acting teacher after doing a particularly emotional scene. I was profoundly insulted, obviously. It wasn’t like I was an actor, anyway. I was just in the class to become a better storyteller.
That sentence has bounced around in my head for years after that experience. I am a “soulful” guy. My go-to negative emotion is existential dread. I’m deep! What a dick that guy was!
It’s hard to realize that sadness, nihilism, and suffering are about as addictive as drugs. …