There’s a theory that anything said before the word ‘but’ is a lie…
Now I don’t want to suggest John Connolly is a liar —we can trust him; he writes fiction after all— and I made sure to mention to his face that he gives remarkably sage advice for someone in the habit of not doing so.
So here are four of John’s sparkling gems of wisdom that I have been admiring since his interview at Australia’s GenreCon 2013 (#GCoz):
1. Finish what you start. (This is sound, but Chuck’s “Finish the shit you start” has the euphony.)
John’s view is you not only learn nothing from abandonment, you have nothing to show for your efforts. Half a book is not a book. You cannot expect a mechanic to “half-fix” your car and consider it good enough. You cannot correct what it not written.
Actually, that’s very Zen.
2. You can have three of these but at any given time the fourth will suffer.
Experience has taught me this is often sadly true. Reminds me of the commercial adage: you might want it cheap, quick and to a high quality but we can only give you two of these options at any one time.
3. A chip on your shoulder is no bad thing.
Not noble but possibly a stronger powerhouse to achievement if properly harnessed. There is a lot of motivation in wanting to prove people wrong.
4. Do what you love as a hobby and figure out how to get people to pay you to do it. This way lies happiness: not only for you, but those around you since you’re not constantly bitching and moaning about what you always wanted to do and never did.
I’m going to add that I like this version a lot more than the “Do What You Love and the Money Will Follow” concept since it’s more proactive on the “make a living” part.
When John visits schools, he pushes the latter two points in particular as they are what ought to be told to children but seldom are.
A shame formal education still tends to emphasise the “Get a Degree and Get a Good Job”. This is advice that assumes degrees best suit everyone while also implying employment is the ideal outcome. (Note it’s not “create a new job” or “create an income” but receive what is given to you.)
You can tell I admire Robert Kiyosaki too, can’t you?