Keys to a Life Dedicated to Something Unconventional
Your Selflessness will be Tested
It's easy to go home after work to watch TV, eat food, and hang out with loved ones—there’s a reason conventional lives are so popular! Meanwhile, unconventional lives are unregulated, unformulaic paths with little certainty. Bukowski didn’t make it until his 50s. Henry Ford went bankrupt 5 times. The writer whose material you’re reading right now also wrote the reference book on the self-discovery side of going an unconventional path, but blogs...circulate more easily. The reciprocity is complex like Marc Ecko’s magazine.
Progress is Intrinsic
It’s almost like there’s another person inside you telling you what to do and doing what he/she says is the fulfillment. But no one sees, experiences, or understands it but you. No pats on the head. No sharing it with casual friends. No social trophies. Just the compounding feeling of falling asleep every night saying, “Well, I did what I’m supposed to do on this planet.”
Social Things Become Secondary
What good is a comfy couch if you’ve set up a life where you’ve tasted inner fulfillment and the universe is showing you how to get more? But, you know, couches have value, too, like instantly. But using your time and energy to fuel the fan of your inner fulfillment is like pouring liquid gold through your highway of feelings, but it'd be weird to invite your friends over and have them sit on that.
Other People Have to be Part of the Equation, but How?
As close friends? As peers who compete? As haters who motivate you? As an audience? But is that audience just supportive friends? How’s this supposed to work? There is no clean answer, except being true to yourself and letting the authentic relationships form as they’re supposed to. Remember the opening scene of The Social Network where Zuckerberg’s date says, “Just because something is trite doesn’t make it any less true”? Yeah, trite things stay around and become trite for a reason.
Nothing Makes Sense Immediately
You get a crumb of progress with your idea, you take more action towards that crumb, nothing happens from that action, then something else happens that takes you down a different path and you forget about the crumb, then what you did with the crumb becomes necessary, then things work and your time with the crumb makes sense.
Everything is a Test
Every situation is a test to see what you value most. Do you really want that outside-the-box thing? Netflix is calling. The job you work pays enough to hang out at night. Using your valuable time to build even an average emotional bond feels good for a while. Avoid it and keep going. I dare you.
Everything creative builds in layers: paintings, businesses, wrestling matches, stories, fashion lines, etc. You do everything you can on the first layer, then the universe kicks in and takes you to the next layer without you even knowing, and so on. No one, not an internet celebrity, not Steve Jobs, not an ill-ass creative person you’ve never heard of, skipped levels. It simply does not work and never has. Sidenote: Try to find the layers in things. In a painting or drawing there’s a foreground and a background; in a movie there’s the introduction of a character and their motive; in a business there’s a community level that comes first. It's all layered like cakes and the Malbec named after them.
Authenticity is the Core of Everything
Being authentic is hard because you’re conditioned to be something else to get acceptance: Act like this because boys will like you; dress like this to compete with others; eat these foods because we are. It’s the momentum of the pursuit that’ll peel back the layers of your conditioning—it’s the only thing strong enough. If you’re knee-deep in making it happen and you have to admit that how you dress isn’t real to you, what are you gonna do? Stop the journey or head to Goodwill?