I Miss Nothing…

They fired me as CEO because I was so bad. A few months later they kicked me off the board of directors. I lost a ton of money and all my friends.

I wish I had just done nothing. I wish I had read books. I wish I had written that novel. I wish I had played more games.

People get up and say, “OK, today is the day of MAGIC!” I have to do DO something.

Why?

I turn on Facebook and there’s all of this “DO” porn. If you aren’t hustling you’re a failure. This is BS.

There’s nothing really to do. The world doesn’t need more DO-ers. A lot of people DO things that are meaningless and then they die.

 


Reading.

Almost every passion I have has been kickstarted by reading a book. Or watching a good movie.

When you read, you absorb the entire life of another person.

Every time I read a good book, it inspires me with ideas. Most of the ideas are really bad. If I did them, it would be stupid. I’d miss out on the next book to read.

But still…one idea out of 10,000 might be worth pursuing. But you have to read a lot by yourself, doing nothing.

 

Enjoying.

I like to walk around and look at people. People are ugly and gross and disgusting. That’s fascinating to me.

I like to play ping pong. Or hang out with my kids. Or make jokes with my friends. Or play chess with homeless people in the park.

Or watch videos of comedy. And laugh.

The opposite of doing. The opposite of loneliness.

 

Peaceful.

Sometimes I feel this pressure, “If I don’t do something then people will forget about me”. It’s anxiety. I hate it.

I asked Ice T once, “if you do nothing, how long will it take for people to forget about you”.

He responded almost instantly, “six months”.

So that’s it: if you don’t DO for six months, you’re forgotten.

But that’s OK with me. I can do nothing forever, and if I decide to do something, I’ll try to make it have enough value that it will have impact.

24 years ago I wrote novels that never got published. Now I write other things. I planted a seed all those years ago and now it grew into something I never would have expected.

Plant seeds. It takes a long time to grow.

 

Soul.

If you can’t inject your soul into something, it’s not worth doing.

When you do anything, you’re competing against the other 7 billion people on the planet who want to do things.

Who wins: the one who injects soul and experience into a project, or the one who is just DOING(!!!) it?

 

Stillness.

I failed at a company once. And I had to rest afterwards. At first I thought, well I better start another company.

But then I ended up doing nothing for awhile. No writing. No company-starting. Just back off. Just learn. I ended up meeting someone I was in love with.

I ended up writing random things without caring what people thought.

A lot of people said, “this is like watching a train wreck in real time”.

Doing nothing and not caring made me a train wreck. The book based on that writing has sold 600,000 copies so far.

I made some money doing consulting and speaking. I traveled a bit. I made friends. I kept afloat.

And then things started happening again. I started DOING.

But first I had to be still. You can’t appreciate the light until you are sitting completely quiet in a room filled with dark.

I’d walk by the Hudson River. I’d throw walks in. Sometimes I’d wade in until I was underwater, floating, thinking of nothing.

 

Related reading: How to be THE LUCKIEST GUY ON THE PLANET in 4 Easy Steps

 


The world is re-creating itself. It’s changing. It’s automating.

The things people used to be excited to do are now being done by robots.

Sleep a little later now.

Some days I feel I have to go on call after call, meeting after meeting, too many things to do. And then I’m tired because what was the result?

Then I miss what I truly love. I miss the reading, the enjoying, the people, the stillness.

Stillness ultimately creates, Doing often destroys.

Out of silence, the universe was created. Out of two people in love, in the dark, you were created.

 

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  • Lil Peck

    “If you can’t inject your soul into something, it’s not worth doing.” Actor Jack Lemmon’s father, a baker, said that when the day came that he didn’t find romance in a loaf of bread, he would quit.

    A similar motto I go by is, “If it isn’t fun, quit.” I think a lot of people get stuck doing stuff they hate, forever, because they don’t want to be “quitters.” I’m one of the best quitters there are, because when it stops being fun, I give it up. Of course, my idea of fun might look an awful lot like very hard work to someone else.

  • Rebecca Frankel

    This is My G-d by Herman Wouk – I highly recommend it – especially for someone who seems somewhat disenfranchised with our religion. In fact, I imagine that you must have at least a grudging respect for the person who wrote such classics as The Caine Mutiny, Marjorie Morningstar, The Winds of War, etc. Not the same radical style as Pynchon, but good, dependably good, reading.

  • If you need motivational posts to hustle, you’re doing the wrong thing.

  • Anouk

    if winning is just a matter of injecting “soul and experience” in a project, where is the syringe? in your books? which ratio of soul-experience is required?…

    Since “follow your passion” is a cliche that now stinks you say “passion your follow”. Good luck with that message but I am afraid it will start to stink very soon too.

    I don’t know how it feels competing with 7 billion people but it must be horrible. I think that if you are able to let your soul unfold in a particular project you already won no matter what and asking “who wins” is pretty much meaningless

  • Great post. You can’t do if you haven’t taken time to know what it is that you should be doing.
    Most ppl just do and do and do, then they find out they are doing what they really shouldn’t be doing.

  • Anny Smile

    You will be ok, I’m sure!

  • Brian Omv Dane

    To some people work is not work unless you kill yourself doing it, shame on them.

  • Thomas Dotson

    Beautiful and meaningful post my friend.

  • ObscurelyAgnostic

    As the old saying goes, “Work to live, don’t live to work.”

  • Shane

    I was created in the daylight, in the park under a picnic table… So I’ve been told.

  • This article is where I’m at right now.

  • Cat Volz

    Like your correlation of “doing” to “loneliness.” That’s why we need a break sometimes– because doing is impossibly lonely. There’s no inspiration in execution.

  • “I ended up meeting someone I was in love with.”
    In bold, no less.

  • K3vinF .

    I’ve been doing nothing for 13 years and I highly recommend everyone give it a try when they are ready. I was ready.

  • Really well thought out post, I like…no LOVE it. Funny that we get caught up in “doing” and often our super amazing ice cream sundae type of belly feeling is not around what we are “doing” … what if? What if we did EXACTLY what we loved to do, at whatever pace was our choice, and enjoyed our life more? Hmm….

  • James Buechler

    Lately during the midst of my high pressure day I just sit and it’s wonderful

  • Mony VK

    Awesome Article. Love doing nothing and just being….