This week’s message is stolen, lock stock and barrel from an old Austin Kleon post.
I’ve often wanted to riff off this message, ever since I read it in his book and it changed my life.
But it is perfect and short as it is.
Lots of people want to be the noun without doing the verb. They want the job title without the work.
“Forget about being a Writer,” says novelist Ann Packer. “Follow the impulse to write.”
Let go of the thing that you’re trying to be (the noun), and focus on the actual work you need to be doing (the verb).
Doing the verb will take you someplace further and far more interesting than just wanting the noun.
Hat tip to this awesome Ryan Holiday post, which sent me to Austin’s delightful post.
Ryan’s post spoke to what you’d feel like, once you gotten it all. (spoiler alert: nothing at all)
Which is why you need to know your enough.
Quoting a quote from the post,
There is a story I wrote about in Stillness is the Key in which Kurt Vonnegut and Joseph Heller, the authors of Slaughterhouse Five and Catch-22, respectively, were once at a fancy party in New York. As they stood in the home of some billionaire, Vonnegut needled his friend.
“Joe,” he said, “how does it feel that our host only yesterday may have made more money than your novel has earned in its entire history?”
“I’ve got something he can never have,” Heller replied.
“And what on earth could that be?” Vonnegut asked.
“The knowledge that I’ve got enough.”
This is actually the best place to work from, to live from.
As I age, I’m kind of falling in love with the craftsman’s approach.
The work, the process, the action, the doing, the joy of discovery, the building of grit; all of this is the reward.
And to me, that is enough.