Conventional wisdom is dumb

It’s almost midnight. I’ve stayed up late every day for the past two weeks working on promotional videos for the launch of my new book. Today I made a last minute decision to redo my YouTube intro. After everything I’ve learned about sound design and title animation over the last couple of weeks, a sleek new video intro sounded like just the thing my channel needed. Unfortunately, that also meant I had to redo the intro for all of my promotional videos for my book. There’s this adage that says you can only get out of something equivalent to the amount of effort you put into it.

I should probably mention this: I think conventional wisdom is stupid. I’ve seen plenty of people luck into huge payoffs, and other people toil for years only for it to all come to nothing. I’m not exactly lucky, myself. But I’m tenacious. Tomorrow, I have another video to edit. The day after that I’m plotting out a new short story. Then I’m writing, then editing, then rewriting, and so on. I have videos to post and even more videos to edit after that. All of this, and I have no idea if I’m going to get back even a tenth of the effort I put in.

I know I’m making it sound exhausting, but I’ve never been happier. This is basically my dream job. My tiresome dream job. I can’t wait for my book to come out. I’m proud of every single silly video I made to hype up my book. I’m even proud of my new intro segment (even though I still have a couple of kinks to work out).

There’s another adage I’ve heard used a lot: it’s not work if you’re doing what you love. See? This is why conventional wisdom is dumb. I love what I do, but it’s hard work. I feel it every time my alarm goes off and I crawl out of bed, sleep deprived, to spend yet another day staring at a computer screen that will never love me back. I’m not even sure I’m making sense anymore.

It’s past midnight and my video just finished rendering. It took an hour and a half.

If you ever wanted to be something – and I mean, like, really wanted it – people are going to tell you all sorts of things about how you can achieve it and how it will feel when you get there. People are always full of cheerful precepts that somehow never helped them in their own personal lives. Instead of following untrustworthy platitudes that do little more than ask you to work hard and get nothing in return, I like to follow a simpler kind of wisdom.

There’s a book in the Christian Bible called Ecclesiastes. It’s my favorite. Believed to have been written by King Solomon, who was gifted wisdom directly from God and was said to be the wisest man who has ever lived or ever will live, Ecclesiastes offers my favorite piece of advice: Stop chasing the wind. It basically says that all your worries about the future; all your toiling for fame, fortune, and recognition; and all the other silly things that we strive for are as meaningless as chasing the wind. We should, instead, seek satisfaction in our relationship with God and be content in the work that we do.

I’m telling you, Ecclesiastes is a game changer. All that hard work that I do every day is working towards something I can be content with. Instead of striving for fame and fortune as a writer, I’m just happy I get the chance to do the work. I would leave all the adages in the world in a trash heap just for Solomon’s simple observation that all the things we’re taught to care about aren’t as important as we think they are.

All of that to say that you should find the kind of wisdom that can keep you content in your work so you don’t burn out or give up entirely. Even if conventional wisdom is ridiculous, motivation is motivation. Shoot for the moon and you’ll land among the stars (or something equally as stupid).

I don’t think there was a point to any of this, I’m just exhausted and trying to pass the time while another video cooks. In any case, thanks for stopping by to witness my weird ranting. I’ll see you later!

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