Do you think it’s a question of how much you balance that drive to achieve with being present and enjoying the moment?
You know, it’s funny because I frequently get emails from young people starting out and asking, “How do I make a successful website or start my own thing?” And, very often, it’s tied to some measure of success that’s audience-based or reach-based. “How do you build up to seven million readers a month or two million Facebook fans?” But the work is not how to get that size of an audience or those numbers. That’s just the byproduct of what Lewis Hyde calls “creative labor,” which is really our inner drive. The real work is how not to hang your self-worth, your sense of success and merits, the fullness of your heart, and the stability of your soul on those numbers—on that constant positive reinforcement and external validation. That’s the only real work, and the irony is that the more “successful” you get, by either by your own standards or external standards, the harder it is to decouple all of those inner values from your work. I think we often confuse the doing for the being."
The path to what I’m doing started with not knowing what I wanted to do… Pursuing that feeling of not really knowing what to do, and choosing what doesn’t quite seem like the logical next step, but feels right at a gut level, is how I’ve pieced together where I am today.
Every time I tried something new, I realized that I had no experience in it, so it felt like the right move. There is a data line that suggests a connection between all of those experiences: whenever something made me uncomfortable, I would give it a try."