I’m the most prolific person I know. But why am I so prolific?
I can obviously share with you tactics on how to be more prolific. For example, I don’t email, use social media, eat breakfast or lunch, I don’t network, I don’t have meetings, I don’t own a car, I don’t worry about finances, and I don’t fear bankruptcy.
So now, I can be prolific, because I have tuned out all my distractions (I don’t phone, I wear the same thing everyday, and I don’t read comments). So it is easy for me to be prolific.
But the more interesting question for myself:
Why be prolific?
What is the social purpose of being prolific, and why do I work so damn hard?
I. To help people.
Everything I write is just advice to my 18-year old self. I’m just giving myself advice I wish I had access to.
Of course, that means I’m not gonna help the masses. But if I can help 1 other human being, I feel personally satisfied and fulfilled in my work.
I’m lucky that I have a big audience on this blog. So even if one blog post helps 1% of people who read it, the work is justified.
Or even more subtle; if one thing I create helps shift someone’s perspective, world view, or inspires them just a little bit… my work is meaningful to me.
To me, I see blogging like photography. The more I shoot, the more lucky I get. The more I blog and publish, the more likely I am to hit a home run. The more I publish my art, the more likely I am to make a goal.
I don’t know what it means to write a “good” blog post. But I know what it means for me to write advice that could have helped me in the past. And I know what it means to publish a lot.
Lesson: the more you publish, the more likely you are to help another human being.
And for me, I only get joy when I help others, and when I’m in the “flow” of doing creative work.
II. Avoiding boredom.
I am easily bored. If I went to elementary school today, I’m sure I would have been diagnosed with ADHD, and made tranquil with Ritalin or some other drug. I cannot sit down. I remember as a student, I would go to the bathroom every 15 minutes, just because class bored me.
Even now, I’m easily bored. I only write to alleviate my boredom. I only photograph to avoid boredom. I have a simple guiding principle in my life:
Of course taxes are boring, but I still do them. But besides that, I avoid everything else that is boring.
I am channeling my inner Pablo Picasso, or child. I’m like a grown ass kid, with money, resources, a mind, and a bottomless pit of curiosity.
A lot of what I do is personal vanity. I’m really into myself. I’m very self-centered. I like to show off my 6-pack in public, brag about my 405 pound deadlift, and be the center of attention at a part. But that’s just who I am. I’m not gonna apologize for who I am, even though society thinks I’m an asshole.
Regardless, I’ve been inspired by kids. Kids are more fun to talk to than adults. I enjoy talking to college kids, they have more creativity and haven’t had the soul sucked out of them from the office environment yet.
I like to surround myself with dreamers, idealists, and those who believe in art. Cindy is my best friend, because she is the quintessential artist, historian, researcher, and my muse. She’s much better than the morning news; and she helps motivate me to put on my big boy shoes.
Lesson: to be more creative, be less bored.
My buddy Nassim Taleb says, “What fools call a waste of time is generally the best investment.” Which means, often when you’re being distracted by dumb shit, it gives you a chance to avoid boredom, to find more creativity and innovation.
Yet, a dose of salt: only looking at Netflix or YouTube all day is hazardous to your health. We need some food to sustain our life. Eating 10 T-Bone steaks is probably not going to settle well in your stomach.
So for me, I try to sometimes allow myself to get bored, by not using any internet connected devices. I’ll go on a walk, make some photographs, make small talk with Baristas at the coffee shop I work at, or just read books that interest me. And a pro tip: when you get bored reading a book, stop reading it, and move on. This will help you stay prolific reading books.
When in doubt, have another espresso.
No but seriously, (good) coffee is proof that God loves us.
I prefer to do creative work in coffee shops, because I prefer the hustle and bustle of other folks. I like to see other creatives making movies in iMovie, writing in their notebook, or sketching. It inspires me.
Also a big thing that helped me be more prolific: no breakfast or lunch. No more food coma. More opportunity to do more meaningful work.
Why drink coffee? It helps me focus more, I enjoy the taste, and the creative flow it gives me. I think caffeine is one of the few drugs that exists in which the positives highly outweigh the negatives.
Lesson: more espresso.
It can be tea, or other black coffee. Just avoid sugar.
And of course, if you’re enlightened and don’t drink any caffeine, you are a God.
I’m prolific because I like helping people. Why do I like helping people? Because it gives my life a purpose. Why do I need a purpose in life? Or else I have no reason to live. Why do I need a reason to live? Otherwise life would be boring, and I would prefer to commit seppuku.
I don’t know the answer for you, to have more meaning in your life. But my theory is this:
To be happier, help more people.
Pretty simple, no?
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