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  • 🏴 On art, love, and obsession. Ten Bullets.

🏴 On art, love, and obsession. Ten Bullets.

For The Obsessed

To the obsessed,

Here are your weekly Ten Bullets. A list of ideas I can't stop thinking about- to help you build companies, make art, and find your obsession.

1. On goals:

“If you want to be an artist, and you say you want to be an artist- how could there be any other goal but that?”

2. On love and obsession:

“As soon as Sanni got into the van, she broke down in sobs. She was terrified that I was crippled and that it was all her fault. I just lay in the back of the van trying to find a position that didn't hurt. I didn't really blame her-I should have asked how long the rope was, tied a knot in the end, and been generally more attentive. It was obviously her fault, since the rope went through her hands. But as the vastly more experienced climber, it was really my responsibility to make sure we didn't get into that kind of situation.

The next day, I was able to drive us home. It was somber in the van. I wondered if I could still fly to China. I wondered if I should even be dating Sanni. I've always wanted to be a good climber-my whole life is focused around that seemingly simple desire. I've always wanted a partner who helps me toward that goal, a partner who brings out the best in me. I worried that by crippling me, even by accident, Sanni was holding me back. I'd certainly ended plenty of other relationships because I felt like the woman might be holding me back.

Sanni and I stopped for burritos on the drive home. I started trying to express my feelings in my own halting, painful way. I told her that even though I thought she was great and I really liked being with her, I wondered whether it was really the best choice for my climbing.

She said, I know you're hurting. I know this is terrible. But is being single really going to make you feel any better?’

She had a point. But I just sat there in sullen silence.

‘This sucks,’ Sanni went on. ‘I'm so sorry. But this doesn't mean you have to be alone. You can be a good climber and still be in a good relationship. You can have it all.’

I hadn't ever really considered that. Could I have both?

We collected our roadside burritos and continued chatting. Over the next twenty minutes, she made it clear that I was not allowed to break up our promising relationship. I was relieved.

I hadn't really wanted to break up anyway, I just thought I was supposed to, as part of my commitment to sending the gnar. But I preferred to have both, just as Sanni said I could.”

3. On living:

Eat at a local restaurant tonight. Get the cream sauce. Have a cold pint at 4 o’clock in a mostly empty bar. Go somewhere you’ve never been. Listen to someone you think may have nothing in common with you. Order the steak rare. Eat an oyster. Have a negroni. Have two. Be open to a world where you may not understand or agree with the person next to you, but have a drink with them anyways. Eat slowly. Tip your server. Check in on your friends. Check in on yourself. Enjoy the ride.”

  • Anthony Bourdain

4. On art:

Life increased 10 fold when I started focusing on the art & left all the nonsense in the past.”

5. On taste:

“The only way to be happy with your work is to raise your skill to the level of your taste.”

6. On Kobe:

“Kobe sprinted through life like no one I've ever known.

He had no hobbies or distractions. Didn't play golf, didn't hang out with buddies, didn't go to parties. Occasionally, he'd decide to see a movie and would rent out the whole theater so he could take a small group of friends or family to see it privately, usually twice in a row.

Otherwise, he trained. He practiced. He studied film. Besides his beautiful family, which was his top non-basketball priority, his entire focus centered on one obsession: Winning.

For twenty years in the NBA, Kobe sprinted from season to season, game to game, quarter to quarter. He never slowed down, and he couldn't comprehend those who did. He'd hear about a group of players heading to a concert or a party or another sporting event, and he'd rarely join them. You go ahead and do that, he thought. I'll be right here doing this. That was his time to elevate himself, to do the work others weren't doing. He believed the extra work added years of advantage and experience to his skill set.

He had no patience for waiting or rebuilding. He began and ended every season the same way: racing toward a championship.”

7. On patience:

8. On design philosophy:

“This is because we do not make objects to entice responses of strong affinity, like, ‘This is what I really want’ or, ‘I must have this.’ MUJI's goal is to give customers a rational satisfaction, expressed not with, "This is what I really want" but with ‘This will do.’ ‘This is what I really want’ expresses both faint egoism and discord, while ‘This will do’ expresses conciliatory reasoning. In fact, it may even incorporate resignation and a little dissatisfaction. MUJI's goal is to sweep away that slight dissatisfaction, and raise the level of the response, ‘This will do’ to one filled with clarity and confidence.

9. On ‘personal brands’:

The biggest trap of 2010s was being a 'personal brand.'

The biggest trap of 2020s is being a 'creator.'

These are made up words designed to get you to playthe algorithm-pleasure machine- over and over and over. Build something bigger than you. Document the journey, if you want. No other option.

This might sound harsh, but the idea is- don’t get caught doing what other ‘content creators’ do. Don’t copy their content, their products, their strategy.

The only way to win at the content game (or any game) is to give people something they haven’t seen before. And that come when you remove labels, remove barriers, and just make something you wish existed.

Plan in decades and take advice from your 2043 self. They know what you need to do. And they're in zero rush.

10. On the arena:

“Choose the arena.

When faced with a fork in the road, there are two paths:
1. One that puts you in the arena.
2. One that puts you on the sidelines

Always choose to enter the arena.

It’s where positive optionality begs to be exploited.”

If you enjoyed this, forward it to an obsessed friend. 🏴

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