Do the Work

A child has no trouble believing the unbelievable, nor does the genius or the madman. It’s only you and I, with our big brains and our tiny hearts, who doubt and overthink and hesitate.

A child has no trouble believing the unbelievable, nor does the genius or the madman. It’s only you and I, with our big brains and our tiny hearts, who doubt and overthink and hesitate. Don’t think. Act.

At least twice a week, I pause in the rush of work and have a meeting with myself. (If I were part of a team, I’d call a team meeting.) I ask myself, again, of the project: “What is this damn thing about?” Keep refining your understanding of the theme; keep narrowing it down.

A work-in-progress generates its own energy field. You, the artist or entrepreneur, are pouring love into the work; you are suffusing it with passion and intention and hope.

Discipline yourself to boil down your story/new business/philanthropic enterprise to a single page.

Don’t prepare. Begin.

Don’t think. Act. We can always revise and revisit once we’ve acted. But we can accomplish nothing until we act.

From the day I finally finished something, I’ve never had trouble finishing anything again.

It’s only you and I, with our big brains and our tiny hearts, who doubt and overthink and hesitate.

I was thirty years old before I had an actual thought. Everything up till then was either what Buddhists call “monkey-mind” chatter or the reflexive regurgitation of whatever my parents or teachers said, or whatever I saw on the news or read in a book, or heard somebody rap about, hanging around the street corner.

No matter how great a writer, artist, or entrepreneur, he is a mortal, he is fallible. He is not proof against Resistance. He will drop the ball; he will crash. That’s why they call it rewriting.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Our greatest fear is fear of success. When we are succeeding—that is, when we have begun to overcome our self-doubt and self-sabotage, when we are advancing in our craft and evolving to a higher level—that’s when panic strikes.

problem with friends and family is that they know us as we are. They are invested in maintaining us as we are.

Resistance cannot be seen, touched, heard, or smelled. But it can be felt. We experience it as an energy field radiating from a work-in-potential. It’s a repelling force. It’s negative. Its aim is to shove us away, distract us, prevent us from doing our work.

Rule of thumb: The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more Resistance we will feel

Sometimes on Wednesday I’ll read something that I wrote on Tuesday and I’ll think, “This is crap. I hate it and I hate myself.” Then I’ll re-read the identical passage on Thursday. To my astonishment, it has become brilliant overnight. Ignore false negatives. Ignore false positives. Both are Resistance. Keep working.

Start before you're ready.

Stay stupid. Follow your unconventional, crazy heart.

Stay Stupid The three dumbest guys I can think of: Charles Lindbergh, Steve Jobs, Winston Churchill. Why? Because any smart person who understood how impossibly arduous were the tasks they had set themselves would have pulled the plug before he even began. Ignorance and arrogance are the artist and entrepreneur’s indispensable allies. She must be clueless enough to have no idea how difficult her enterprise is going to be—and cocky enough to believe she can pull it off anyway. How do we achieve this state of mind? By staying stupid. By not allowing ourselves to think. A child has no trouble believing the unbelievable, nor does the genius or the madman. It’s only you and I, with our big brains and our tiny hearts, who doubt and overthink and hesitate. Don’t think. Act.

That was when I realized I had become a pro. I had not yet had a success. But I had had a real failure.

The creative act is primitive. Its principles are of birth and genesis. Babies are born in blood and chaos; stars and galaxies come into being amid the release of massive primordial cataclysms. Conception occurs at the primal level. I’m not being facetious when I stress, throughout this book, that it is better to be primitive than to be sophisticated, and better to be stupid than to be smart. The most highly cultured mother gives birth sweating and dislocated and cursing like a sailor. That’s the place we inhabit as artists and innovators. It’s the place we must become comfortable with. The hospital room may be spotless and sterile, but birth itself will always take place amid chaos, pain, and blood.

The drawing is also a reminder that there’s an artist within each of us, and we must encourage that artist to do the work, to make something that matters, regardless of anything else that is going on.

The enemy is Resistance.

The opposite of fear is love - love of the challenge, love of the work, the pure joyous passion to take a shot at our dream and see if we can pull it off.

The Problem Is the Problem A professional does not take success or failure personally. That’s Priority Number One for us now. That our project has crashed is not a reflection of our worth as human beings. It’s just a mistake. It’s a problem—and a problem can be solved.

The problem with friends and family is that they know us as we are. They are invested in maintaining us as we are. The last thing we want is to remain as we are.

The song we’re composing already exists in potential. Our work is to find it.

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” Begin it now.

You may think that you’ve lost your passion, or that you can’t identify it, or that you have so much of it, it threatens to overwhelm you. None of these is true. Fear saps passion. When we conquer our fears, we discover a boundless, bottomless, inexhaustible well of passion.