There is no guarantee that you’ll ever make it.
I’ve never understood work for the sake of itself. I know there’s an idea that work is a good, on its own, and it’s the kind of thing we’re taught because it was taught to our parents, and our teachers.
The maxim is, if you work hard, you’ll be rewarded. There’s not necessarily a connection between the two though. And there’s certainly no guarantee. Every celebrity will get up on stage, hold up their reward and tell you, if you work hard your dreams will come true.
But that’s bullshit. It’s never going to be 100% true. I saw this tweet the other day, quoting Bo Burnham, and it truly stood out to me:
I can understand why people flock to believe this crap. Life is uncertain, and when someone, when anyone promises that they can give us a guarantee that we’ll make it, it’s appealing.
Here’s the sad truth of it. If you work hard, if you do the best work you possibly could, if you get the breaks, if you have the X factor, if you’re a visionary, a genius, or the second coming, you still can’t be sure you’ll win.
If you’ve founded an incredible startup, around the greatest product in your power to build, and you’ve gathered a team who are first class fuckers ready to take on the world, you still can’t be sure you’ll win.
If you get up and blog every day for 5 years, and never miss a day, and write insightful posts that slay every dragon and have the power to shift a Trump supporter’s paradigm, you still can’t be sure you’ll win.
That’s not a nice reality. Because it really doesn’t seem fair at all. The thing is, that lack of fairness is what makes it so true — because life is very rarely fair.
So where am I going with all this? Trust me, I didn’t wake up today and think Gee, how can I depress everyone who reads my blog today. That wasn’t my intention at all.
What I do want to say is this. If you’re a writer, or a creative, or an entrepreneur, you need to have a bunch of qualities that will help you to survive. You need to have thick skin, you need to be able to take it on the nose when people don’t pay attention. You have to be tough, and stick to your course when everyone else tells you it’s over.
But you also need to fall out of love with success. Because if you’re just creating your work to be a success, when it falls through, you’ll have to live with the consequences, and those consequences are going to be rough.
You don’t have to avoid it — that’s crazy. You should be chasing it. But you shouldn’t be ready to let it define you, who you are, what you’ve done, where you’re going to end up.
There’s never a guarantee that you’ll make it. Which means that you can’t put all your energy into trying to make it. Sometimes, you need to do whatever you do for the love of it. Because you want to, and you can’t stop thinking about it. Not because you think it’s going to put your name up in lights.