January 03, 2013

The Future? It's yours.

As 2013 is getting underway I'm drawn to consider all of the different ways people talk about how they're going to change their lives, bring in new things, turn over new leaves, etc.

My word of advice? If you want to have something you've never had before, you have to DO something you've never done before.

It would seem simple and obvious, but I suppose I shouldn't be shocked by how many people act like Jerry Seinfeld in "The Bee Movie".


And the operative word in my first piece of advice is "DO".  It's so easy to fall under the spell of things like the so-called "Law of Attraction".  After all, what could be more seductive than a philosophy that tells you that you just need to pretend that you have something to get it, and if you didn't get it, you just weren't pretending hard enough.  I can tell you from personal experience that I wasted years of my life vibrating but not actually going anywhere.  Yes, we're spiritual beings having a physical experience, but my life didn't start to become more prosperous until I got off my duff (with a nice assist/kick in the arse from my wife - thanks, sugar).  If you want physical things, you have to perform physical deeds.

My next word of advice? Never take advice from someone who's made their primary fortune giving people advice.  It means that the best thing they know how to do is give advice.  So, unless you're planning on getting into the professional advice-giving business (which is apparently ridiculously lucrative - just look at the Rich Dad guy, or the people who wrote The Secret), they clearly don't really know much about doing anything else lucrative or useful.  If they did, they'd be doing that.

In my humble opinion, you're better off listening to the words of the people who've succeeded on a path similar to the one you'd like to tread.  As a producer, I think a lot about George Lucas.  As a writer turned director, I look at Francis Coppola.  As an author, I think a lot about Clive Barker.  As an engineer, I study Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey.

My final word of advice?  There are no short cuts.  Period.

If you want to be rich, start a business.  If you want to be fit, join a gym.  If you want to be smarter, crack a book.  Whatever it is you've resolved to do this year, you need to make a blood oath to yourself to do it every day because that's what it takes.

I once heard a story about a high school basketball coach who had a bunch of players who thought they were NBA material.  He took them to Philadelphia to watch a practice by Temple University's varsity basketball team.  The Temple players asked the high schoolers how many practice free throw shots they take in a day.  The kids guessed dozens, many a hundred.  The truth was that they took close to a thousand.  Every day.

And Temple hasn't been to the Final Four since 1958.  Imagine what they do at Duke.

In closing, here's a little pep talk for the mission before us all this year that, given the day today and the speaker, couldn't be more appropriate:

2013 is yours.  Go take it.
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