"This isn't my first time at the gym", he said while rolling his eyes. I'd just told him he was on the express train to Snap City (not a fun place to be, especially as a teenager). His deadlift form was horrible, which could've led to a serious injury, so I corrected him. Yet the kid was having none of it.
I fell head first onto the concrete. It was ugly, painful, and (lucky for my face) metaphorical. This educational fall determined how I'd live the next four years of my life - working a 9 to 5, slowly sinking into an existential abyss of my own making. Every time the alarm rang and I didn't feel like getting up, was a painful reminder I had failed at making it on my own. It was a tough pill to swallow. Barrels of coffee and the occasional energy drink I consumed helped me stay awake through the toughest of times, but there was nothing that could help with the growing frustration. There I was - trapped once again. I had to get away.
"You haven't changed a bit", I said. It wasn't a compliment. I'd been talking to the man sitting across from for the past hour. He was a childhood friend of mine and we hadn't seen each other in 10 years. During that time, he had stayed in the exact same position physically, mentally, career-wise. In every conceivable way, he was in a time capsule.
As a society, we are truly, madly, deeply in love. We glorify and idolize the object of our adoration with the vim and vigor of a Romeo, desperately longing for the affection of his Juliet. And like in the Shakespearian tragedy, this affair does not end well. But it's high time we finally admitted it to ourselves - this is a toxic relationship and we need to end it. While it may feel good in the moment, it's doing more harm than good in the long run. I'm talking, of course, about our obsession with "overnight success".
Her tone suddenly changed. She had just asked me how much I would charge for a brand strategy and the answer damn near shocked her. That's the trouble with intellectual work - like art, many people think it's easy. And even though it's the thing that can make-or-break their business, it's oftentimes the thing they least want to pay for. Which is awesome, because many disqualify themselves from working with me. This way, when I actually take on a client, I know two things: they're serious and they respect my work. A positive working relationship is impossible without either of these prerequisites. So when someone doesn't take "thinking" seriously, I know we're not the right fit.
It's 3 AM. The hour of poets, artists, writers, and passionate lovers. No people bustling around, talking on the phone or shouting at their kids. No cars speeding through the busy streets like workers in an ant farm. It's quiet. Only a powerful thunder occasionally breaks the silence with a loud roar, as if to remind me the outside world still exists.
Even someone brought up in the concrete jungle, such as myself knows there's a fundamental principle in fishing. You catch fish with what fish likes, not what you like. This concept is equally important to both fishermen and business owners.
I've been thinking about this moment for a week. The moment I finally sit down and words begin to appear on the canvas in front of me. Few things are more intimidating to a writer than looking at a blank page.
Less is sometimes more. This is one concept new business owners have a hard time accepting. Oftentimes when I consult a new client, it turns out they try to be all things for all people. Then I start to explain why that's a bad idea. But even then, there's some doubt lingering in the air.
There used to be a cute little cafe in my town. They had the best coffee selection for miles. Not to mention the place was very tastefully decorated and had a welcoming atmosphere. The only problem? It was on the other end of town. Since I don't have a car and I rarely use public transport, I had to walk for 40 minutes to get there.