Permission to be obsessed

  • obsession: “If Anything Is Worth Doing, It's Worth Doing To Excess” – Edwin Land, Inventor
    • "Don't be the best be the only" Jerry Garcia
    • creativity in one mind "Originality are attributes of a single mind, not a group…there's no such thing as group originality or group creativity.” — Edwin Land
  • Obsession + repetition = long term durability
    • Costco “profits in pockets” idea. Surplus for the long term game. Surplus is slack against Moloch
      • Moloch discards all values in the name of the legible ones. Counter by having “slack”. Living below means, underemployment etc.
  • Cal Newport ideas:
    • Slow Productivity: The Lost Art of Accomplishment Without Burnout
      • You can’t be busy and frenetic and bouncing off the walls with 100 projects if you’re obsessed about doing something really well. It’s incompatible with that. Now, doing something really well means you might have some really intense periods when you’re pulling something together, but it is incompatible with being busy.
    • The glue is quality first
      • Obsess over quality. Yes, because the other two principles are to do fewer things and work at a natural pace. However, if you’re only adhering to those two principles, you’ve set up a sort of adversarial relationship with work in general. It’s as if all you’re thinking about is how to do less. You see work as an adversary. You want more variety in your pacing. You’re just trying to reduce or change work. If that’s all you’re doing, you’re building up a negative attitude towards work, which I believe is one of the dominant reactions to burnout right now in, let’s say, elite culture. It’s an outright rejection of work itself.
        Like, any drive to do things is a capitalist construction. And the real thing to do is to do nothing. But that doesn’t last. And the people who are telling you to do this are not doing nothing. They’re striving really hard to ensure that their substacks and books about doing nothing will have a large audience. They’re giving talks on it.
        You can’t just focus on the doing less part. You need to obsess over quality. And that’s where you’re able to still fulfill that human drive to create. And that’s where you still build the leverage to control your life and make a living.
    • How do you figure out what to work on?
      • I think you have two options and you can do both. One option is to have a way of test driving ideas. Like with a newsletter or blog to test drive it. And the internet makes that easier than it was 20 years ago.
        Then the other option, and this is what I think of as the MFA option, is you have to develop really good taste.
        These MFA programs, which are creative writing graduate programs, they don’t really teach you. It’s not instructive. Like here’s how you do paragraphs or here’s techniques you didn’t know, but it increases your taste, meaning your ability to recognize what’s good and what’s not and what’s possible with good things.