From Dale Carnegie's "Seven Ways to Peace and Happiness"
Be yourself. Act on the sage advice that Irving Berlin gave the late George Gershwin. When Berlin and Gershwin first met, Berlin was famous but Gershwin was a struggling young composer working for $35 a week in Tin Pan Alley. Berlin, impressed by Gershwin's ability, offered Gershwin a job as his musical secretary at almost three times the salary he was then getting. "But don't take the job," Berlin advised. "If you do, you may develop into a second-rate Berlin. But if you insist on being yourself, someday you'll become a first-rate Gershwin."
And he did. I challenge you - and myself - to be a first rate Us. Not a second-rate (insert name of your favorite author). In my case, I will not be a second rate Toni Morrison, Neil Gaiman, or Dale Carnegie.
Friday, February 4, 2011
I don't look to jump over 7-foot bars: I look around for 1-foot bars that I can step over.- Warren Buffett
I'm reading The Snowball an authorized biography of Warren Buffett for the second time right now. Buffett takes great pleasure in teaching and he has a fan in me. All of the insecurities I harbored as a zygote (still in my first quarter of life here, so I was a zygote before, now I'm more embryo) have largely played themselves out. The biggest trick to getting where you want to be in life? Compounding. Put your money away consistently and let it draw interest - compounding. Learn what you can from whomever you can and then try that knowledge out for yourself, make it your own - compounding. Keep saying "yes" even if later you rather wished you'd said "no" a few more times - compounding.
Whatever you do the most of, you get more of. Doesn't the bible say that? Maybe it was just Billie Holliday. Them that's got, keep getting and all of that.
Can you look at your life with the same simplicity? Can anyone? Is that what we're after as writers, understanding our lives? I ask myself this question, it's one I've often used as an explanation to others for why I work out my compulsions in tiny script on paper, but it's not true. I write to amuse myself and to feel as though I will last longer in this world than I actually will. I write to draw attention to myself. It's like dancing - you get some training and it feels good to surprise other people. AT least, it does for me.