Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Letters to a young man 24

Hello my friend. I appreciate your kind words about my book and want you to know that I've thought carefully about your letter. It is indeed a difficult place you find yourself in, to have put so much effort into your creative endeavor only to find the world is less than interested or supportive in what you're doing. I know this is hard, for I've experienced this myself in life. Though you may not find this much of a comfort, I have some words that I hope you will think on. They are,

The world is full of people who judge themselves based on other people's opinions. Don't be one of them.

I wish that I could change people's minds and perspectives, to bend them for a moment away from their concerns and convince them to give you and your work the attention it deserves. However, we both know that this is not possible. In fact, you should be glad that I cannot do this. Why? Because the strength you'll gain from this adversity will temper you and make you stronger for any further insults that are hurled your way.

It took me many years, frustrations, and let downs, to finally understand that being happy with my own endeavors and the enjoyment of achieving them is what counts. You are the person that has to live with yourself every day. Imagine that you had a hit song, or a best-selling book. What then? What about the days when you have no ideas, when there's no work to be done, and what happens when the initial rush and spotlight have passed? If you cultivate good work habits and learn to enjoy the process itself without worrying about any rewards that may or may not come, you will always be the master of your fate. Yes, the world will sometimes kick you in the side, and spit on you, but it may also be kind to you. The point is that you should focus on what you're doing with your time, and not concern yourself too much about what the world brings your way.

All things move towards their end. All things gravitate towards the middle, the average. Some days luck finds you on one side, on some days, the other. Don't take it too personally.

My book on stoicism.