Today I learned that it is time for me to start doing good and/or great work, and less mediocre and/or average or bad work.
As a child I grew up listening to Garrison Keillor and his radio show, A Prairie Home Companion, in which his signature closing line during the story-telling segment is, “Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.”
In all the many years I have listened to the show, I never really gave those famous words any real significance, until now. Today I did some introspection and sorted through much of what I have created over the past decade, and what I have noticed is that although the quality seems to be gradually improving, there are still a few pieces that for whatever reason, were published to the Internet that simply were not my best work. Too often it seems, at list historically over the past 10 years, I have formed a habit of publicizing work which falls very short of my standards for the sole purpose of simply posting it online.
So now I understand what Garrison Keillor was speaking of when he spoke of good work. Good work inspires, it lives, it draws attention, and it was worth the time and effort it took to create it. Everything else is fodder to be filed somewhere and (hopefully) forgotten about.
Perhaps the biggest aversion to good work is the amount of time, effort, and resources that are required to produce it. Corporations and many employers focus too highly on production when what they should be focused upon producing a quality product. Perhaps the most valuable commodity is time itself; in a world where almost anything can be replaced or replenished, the one thing that nobody can ever replace is time. At age 18, I earned certification as an EMT/Firefighter, despite the fact that I always felt as if my true calling in life was writing.
Above all else, I have always wanted to produce works of brilliance and excellence, but unfortunately works of this caliber require the greatest allocation of resources and time. A sad realization is that our modern society simply lacks patience, determination, and time, even for things that are so amazing and innovative that they require a lifetime to create. Sadly, people often times seek employment doing something that they themselves or others feel they are skilled to perform, when in reality, most of us have skills and talents that are totally unrelated to our primary occupations. Ideally we should all find ways to combine all of our individual skills and talents into a single, unified occupation.
As far as I’m concerned, a person has wasted their life if they die having had the opportunity to do good or great work, and never acted accordingly. Remember, it has been said that the greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do. If you have the inspiration, create it. If you discover something, share it. If you know about something, teach others what you know about it.
From this point forward, I will only be posting work on my website that meets my own personal standards. I’ll also be posting a lot more notes that I have written over the years; nothing that is personal in nature, I’m just an avid note taker. Also, a Wikipedia-style rating system will be used to determine what is fantastic and what crap, and everything in between. All in all, there will be a lot more things done on my website, the most of which are ideas laid out in the book Mindhacker: 60 Tips, Tricks, and Games to Take Your Mind to the Next Level.