My name is ... I contacted you a couple days ago after being completely taken by your about page. I'll keep my introduction brief.
I am 19 years old, and I am a freshman studying --- at --- University. I spend my time preparing school work, writing code, playing and writing music, trying to to take care of myself, and always looking for the next big step. Regardless of the present activity, I tend to lose myself if I am not, at least at some level, processing my thoughts and external stimuli toward a general direction of realizing ever changing day-dreams. I feel incredibly grateful to have experienced (what I consider to be) success and fulfillment in this regard thus far. So much to do, so much to learn, so much to improve, so much to live. Always.
What struck me about what I've read of your content so far is that our philosophies have many intersections—an utter refusal to settle for the status quo when it can be improved, the desire to optimize the overlooked and the under-appreciated, an insatiable thirst for knowledge, and the need to produce and contribute creatively, to name several. However, your approach seems wonderfully more refined. I've explored your writings only briefly, and already I have learned much. I very much look forward to diving deeper.
It's a pleasure to talk with you Sebastian. The fact that you make yourself available as you do is greatly appreciated and deeply humbling.
Wow, that's like, one of the nicest emails I've gotten in a long time. Thanks.
I wrote up some quick thoughts in reply -
I like what you believe in - it's good stuff. I think the key thing that ties it all together is produce and ship things while you have a current interest. I have a friend who made rap music about 5 years ago. Now he's a buttoned-down business guy, he doesn't even really listen to rap any more, so that phase of his life is dead. But it's sad, some of his tracks were pretty cool. He made like 5-6 of them with his own beats, but he never shipped them.. now it's something he'll never do, y'know? It'd be much cooler if he'd put out an EP. If nothing happened, no problem, it'd still be something he did. Or maybe it would've blown up a little bit and had some success? Either way it'd have been cool.
So yeah, even on fleeting interests, try to ship something or produce somehow. That's what I'm thinking these days.
I started exploring this in, "What Separates a Generalist and a Dabbler?"
More and more, I'm thinking produce and ship stuff. Even tiny tiny things. If you get into a new kind of music, write up your thoughts and first impressions on it - either on a blog, or even just Amazon reviews. The mindset shift from being a consumer to being a producer is huge, even if what you produce doesn't see all that much use at first.
Your interests flit around to different stuff? Yeah, me too. But more and more, I'm looking to build/produce/ship things when I have a passing interest. Obviously you can't do that for everything, sometimes you can just be a consumer and be happy with that. But if you have a sincere interest, then why not try to write an analysis or critique or use guide or quick start manual or observations or... something? Producing, shipping... it's cool. I think it's basically the way for people whose interests jump around to achieve lots of good stuff in the world.
Miguel Hernandez of Grumo Media and I have swapped some really good communications recently. Super sharp guy, he sent this observation and question to me -
Here is a suggestion for a future post for you. Today I met with a friend who has been friends with the [recently very successful movie director] for many years. He noticed I got some attention from Ashton Kutcher and is convinced that my career is going to skyrocket too (he is dreaming of course) and I am going to become yet another of his friends that "makes it" and he doesn't.
He is a hilarious dude and very talented movie editor and wants to succeed and make a difference on this world, like all of us really. Today he took me out for lunch to pick my brain a little and get some advice. He had a great point which I totally agree with. Here it is:
So I keep saying that to succeed you have to welcome failure and keep trying continuously. But that really works if you actually have an idea of what your passions are. The problem, the big problem most of the world have is that most people don't have a clue of what is that passion for them.
I have had that problem myself, well, my problem is that I always had too many passions and wanted to do everything which is fun but also dilutes your chances to be very good at something specifically.
I'm currently attempting to immerse myself in country music. Being born and raised in Texas, I feel it's only natural that I embrace my inner cowboy. And, with the possibility of going to school next year outside of Texas, I want to be able to answer "yes" to the question, "Do you ride your horse to school?"
I jokingly told a friend I'm going to be the next country music star, to which she replied, "All you have to do is sing about beer, tractors, and girls."
I laughed at first, but then I realized that the statement was surprisingly accurate. Ok yes, there are songs out there that aren't. But those stereotypes do have some degree of truth.
Then I thought about rap music, the genre I've mainly listened to throughout my life. It's practically the same: artists rap about girls, cars, and alcohol.