1. Wait until you get discovered.
Your day is coming. If you wish upon a star, it makes no difference who you are. Say your affirmations, do your creative visualization exercises, then sit back and watch the magic unfold without any initiative, risk-taking, or sacrifice on your part. It’s only a matter of time before you run into a celebrity at the grocery store and they beg you to star in their next movie. It’s your destiny.
2. Stand around doing nothing until someone presents you with an opportunity.
You’ve been to the movies. You know how this works. I’m just here to remind you of what you can already feel in your gut. If Isaac Newton can discover gravity by having an apple fall on his head, why couldn’t you discover health, wealth, and success by having an opportunity fall in your lap? Am I making sense or am I making sense?
You can create your own opportunities without waiting around for a big break, but that will only prove that you didn’t have enough faith to be an overnight success. Why in the world would you show up for your dreams without the slightest guarantee that you’re going to strike gold? Who does that? Let someone else do the heavy lifting first.
Don’t treat opportunity as if it’s earned through a process of investing in yourself and creating value for others. If you believe in yourself, people will just walk up to you and give you things. Ignore the haters who try to tell you that true self-confidence expresses itself through constructive action.
This isn’t a Disney movie. You don’t need to mop floors for your evil step-sisters just to motivate your fairy godmother to show up. That’s Hollywood logic. This is real life. If opportunities seem to come slowly for you, keep waiting. Whatever you do, don’t try anything fancy like creating your own.
3. Sit on the fence until the perfect day arrives.
There’s always a better time than right now. Look around you. Imperfections are everywhere. Plus, you already have a ton of stuff to do today. If you don’t have anything to do, then go find something else to wait on. There’s always something. Go find it. Then wait on it. Thank me later. Gratitude can wait.
4. Don’t put yourself out there until you’re perfect.
It’s a scary world. Have you seen the quality of talent out there? If you’re going to do anything special in today’s world, you’d better bring your A-game. Here’s my pro-tip: practice incessantly. You’re never ready. You could always use at least one more prep session.
Don’t worry about opportunities passing you by. If you keep practicing in private, someone will hear about it and they’ll probably invite you to perform at the White House. Practice makes perfect. So don’t put yourself out there until you’re perfect.
5. Delay all creativity until you’re rich.
I know I’m not the first person to say this, but it bears repeating: “It takes money to make money.” Write that down and treat it like a Bible verse. If you don’t believe in the Bible, treat it like a scientific rule. Don’t question it. Don’t look for evidence to the contrary. Just accept it and deal with it.
If you’re not already swimming in a sea of cash, I want you to do the following exercise every morning: get out of bed, look in the mirror and say, “I’m broke as a joke.” Then laugh at all the foolish people who sincerely think they’re capable of making an impact without having lots of money. Pat yourself on the back and thank the gods (or the scientific community) for having given you the wisdom to avoid such silliness.
Once you’ve broken free from the herd mentality of all the little sheeple who believe that creativity is more important than money, take a break from your dreams until you have enough money in your bank account to answer every tough question that can be asked about your future survival. Trust me on this one.
Better yet, don’t trust me. Take a look at every successful artist, innovator, or entrepreneur. Every single one of them had all of their financial ducks in a row before they started performing, creating, and building. And please don’t listen to people who bring up J.K. Rowling. How many bestsellers have those people published? Before you answer that question, finish point #6.
6. Don’t poke and prod; react and respond.
When people like Seth Godin go around saying nice-sounding things like “Poke the Box,” remind yourself how successful he is. Then ask the following question: who is this guy to think he can teach me? Do not—I repeat, do not!—try to answer that question. Also, do not question the assumptions you’re making when you ask questions like these.
If you’re ever going to succeed at being uncreative, you’ll have to master the art of asking really pointed questions and running in the opposite direction of anyone who claims to have answers. A true lord of the uncreative realm understands the real purpose of questions. While the foolish masses are content to ask a question because they’re looking for an answer, the wise ask questions because they’re looking for an escape. So if you ever feel cornered by an insight that threatens to hold you accountable to something higher, questions are your best friend. Ask them and run away.
But seriously, don’t poke and prod. You might embarrass yourself. And if someone sees you, you’ll probably be criticized. Nobody ever gets anywhere by adopting playful or experimental approaches to life.
In all things, be a reactor. Don’t stir the pot. Don’t try to shake things up. Take all your cues from predictable external factors and leave your curiosities and ambitions out of the equation. There was a villain in Ant-Man who ignored this advice and he ended up dead. You get the picture.
7. Always ask for permission.
I’m not just referring to the general practice of being considerate when it comes to your treatment of other people’s property. I’m referring to the art of making sure you obtain the explicit approval and enthusiastic affirmation of someone other than yourself before taking any creative risks.
In other words, don’t trust your tastes, or your judgment, or your intuition, or your own convictions regarding what makes you happy. Don’t just get a second opinion. Get permission.
Would you like to start a blog? Take a survey. Would you like to go out on a date with someone you’re interested in? Take a survey. Would you like to learn piano? Take a survey.
If you’re the only one who feels excited about a possibility, then that’s clear evidence that you have no business even thinking about it.
8. Make sure you feel “worthy” before engaging in new activities.
Whenever you feel inspired to act on a creative idea, refuse to take a single step forward until you can come up with an airtight logical argument proving that you deserve to do what you’re interested in doing. Don’t treat your self-esteem as if it’s something that can be gradually developed through creative risk-taking.
Instead, sit on your butt and refuse to move until you feel totally impressed with the fact of your own existence. It may take a while, but if you ever get there, you’ll really be impressed with yourself. If you learn nothing else, learn this: getting stuff done isn’t the goal. Creating actual results isn’t what being creative is about. The goal is to spend your creative energy trying to convince yourself that the gods (or the scientific community) have deemed you worthy of all you desire. Don’t ever lift a finger if you’re even slightly unsure about that. Insecurity equals the little angel on your shoulder telling you to sit down and shut up. Listen to it.
9. Never ever go beyond your job description.
Do enough to avoid getting into trouble, but don’t be a hero. If someone asks you to do a particular thing, I suppose that’s fine. If something needs to be done, however, and no one explicitly asks you to do it, turn a blind eye.
Job descriptions are divinely-inspired. They’re written by people who know exactly what they’re doing. If there were creative ways for you to add value to your organization, they would have already been listed in your job description.
Again, don’t be a hero. In the movie Zombieland, that’s rule #17. You’re welcome.
10. Get answers to all of your questions prior to any creative risk-taking.
There’s always another question to ask, isn’t there? Why would you waste your time creating something, when there are important questions to address? Isn’t life all about having certainty? Isn’t certainty a prerequisite for creativity? Isn’t it somewhat irresponsible to get started when there are things you still need to figure out? Is it ever possible to ask the last question? Can you at least see where I’m coming from?
I hope the sarcasm is clear by now. I don’t want you to follow the above 10 rules. I want your dreams to come true, not UNtrue. So if you want that to happen too, make sure you do the opposite of these 10 rules.
Don't Go Chasing Mudpiles
When you only work hard on your dreams when things are easy, you’re not following your passion. You’re following your obstacles, inconveniences, and hardships.