I made a book! Hooray for me. In celebration, I’d like to tell you how I followed my dreams, and became the massive success that I am.
First of all, you should buy my book! Since I’m motivating you with this column, perhaps you could recognize that we are living in a post-permanent-job, post-employee-benefits, post-industrial, post-knowledge, post-gig, post-freelancers-get-paid-within-two-months-of-their-submitted-invoice creative economy, and spend some cash on the project I worked on. Bonus: you will have something to read!
I’m just kidding. Don’t buy my book. I mean, if you really want it, then go for it. But to tell you the truth, I made the book because I really wanted to make something. I bake cookies for the same reason: to create, and have something truly awesome at the end. If you don’t want my book, that is totally cool because I have reached peak satisfaction in the act of making, and I’m very happy right now. It looks great. I hired people I know who have major skills to help me make it. There are now boxes of glossy books in my living room.
So why don’t I move on to the business of telling you how you can be like me, in just a few simple steps.
1. Make Sure You Don’t Get Help From Anyone
Anyone who has truly “made it” has done it on their own. Forged their own path. Broken rules. Ignored all the people telling them they were doing it wrong, or had a bad idea. Did not learn the tools, techniques, or vocabulary of their chosen trade. Did not take lessons. Decided against going to a school that drew money from taxpayers, and made up all of their own ideas by themselves. Refused to use public transportation, or publicly funded roads to get to the place where they made the thing that made them a success. They did not have mentors or structures in place to help them move forward in their endeavour. These people did not need libraries to give them ideas, doctors to keep them healthy, traffic laws keeping them safe in their vehicles while they ruminated on their big ideas inside their cars, or schoolteachers to keep their goddamn kids out of the way while they were trying to think. They did it on.their.own.
If anyone tries to tell you to take a writing class if you want to write a book, or a piano lesson if you want to be a composer, or to read a certain magazine before you pitch an article to it, or to spend time understanding how different fabrics drape on the body before becoming a fashion designer, don’t listen to them. You’ve got it figured out.
2. Neglect Your Responsibilities
All of the great accomplishers of our world only accomplished their feats by ignoring what had to get done. In other words, they never said, “I Don’t Have Time.” The losers of the world are sitting on Facebook, scrolling through newsfeeds for two or three hours a day, instead of being innovative, interesting individuals. They are doing other useless things like going to several part-time jobs to make rent. They are shovelling carrots and other healthy foods into their children’s mouths because they forgot to hire a nanny to do so. Perhaps they are cleaning the house, looking after other people’s children, being forced to stay late at their jobs to serve important people a third bottle of wine. They are wasting time filing residency papers and finding places to live after fleeing war-torn countries instead of making cool stuff. Maybe they are stuck in a bus, sardine-style, in traffic, but are refusing to work on their great novel with this unexpected moment of free time. But you, wanting to be a successful person like me, won’t do that.
So don’t waste time! If someone asks you to stay late at your job, remind them that you are a “creator” and cannot give one extra second. If you are compelled to start the laundry at midnight because your child had the stomach flu and you are a single parent working two full-time jobs, do not use this as an excuse! You must get back on the path of achieving your dream.
Also, try to fit in a workout if you can. Most successful people are fairly fit.
3. Be Rich
Really, it’s just easier to follow your dreams if you have a trust fund. Even better if you can claim that you saved up your extra income over several years to retire and become a successful creator. People really admire that kind of shit.
So: make a lot. Especially if you live in a city with more than 500,000 people: you should aim to make about $80,000 per year. Maybe a bit more so you can buy a big house that has room for your creative studio, where all of your thinking happens (and perhaps room too for a library? They look great). And also to buy a car, because only losers take the bus. Anyway, maybe aim for $150,000 a year. Then try to put as much of it away into investments that have a good return. Get a broker who knows what he’s doing and won’t tell you what your money is funding.
Then try to retire when you’re 30 or so, because the longer you wait to be a success, the less you’ll look good in your head shots. You’ll have to make sure you create something fairly quickly for the same reason, so don’t get hung up on learning anything that takes up your time (see #1).
If you can, take one or two days a week and just eat ramen noodles or a couple potatoes; something cheap and not very nourishing, because if you can claim you were really sacrificing after retiring and living off your savings, your fans will admire the hunger that fuelled your creation.
My message here is: if you’re trying to create while preoccupied with earning money, you will probably not finish the thing you’re making. It will get pushed aside, and like all other losers, you will be “tired” when you get home from work, settling in for a night of Friends reruns and new episodes of The Bachelor while you make your lunch for the next day.
4. Don’t Be Sick
Okay, seriously, people who are sick are the worst. Clearly, they have done something wrong. Like, they don’t eat enough apples or work out like I do.
Let’s face it: all illnesses come from self-neglect. Only the people who do not understand nutrition or fitness get sick. If you’re following all of the above directions, you will be fine in this final category, because you’ll have enough money to buy good food and belong to a premium gym and take regular, restful vacations, and, if necessary, pay a doctor good cash to fix anything that may go wrong. You’ll have plenty of time for lots of sleep at night, because you chose not to waste it on empty endeavours. You will not be living in an apartment with asbestos in the walls or black mould in the bathroom; therefore you will not come down with cancer. You’ll be smart enough to call the authorities if you suspect your water is lead-poisoned or if nearby industries are leaching contaminants into the soil where your food is growing. You will not succumb to the temptation of easy tips by working in diners and bars that have second-hand smoke. It is choices like these, made by people who clearly have no desire to lift themselves out of their unfortunate circumstances, that you will avoid. Therefore you will not get sick.
While you’re at it, tell your employer (if you still have one) to cut costs – and thereby raise everyone’s salary (who deserves it) – by getting rid of health and dental benefits. You’ll be seen as an indispensable cog in the company wheel for finding such an innovative solution to budget problems, and perhaps may take home a bonus.
If by chance you do get sick, work through it. Nobody worth anything used illness as a legitimate excuse.
Should you follow these simple steps, you will likely be the success that I am. I know my art is borne of a particular, confusing mix of ambition, wealth, poverty and hunger at key moments, unique skills developed on my own, zero wasted time, and a singular focus on something that nobody has ever attempted to do before.
But luck and circumstance have no part. I have made my own way entirely. You can too.