A Love of Fate
I have this email from Tucker in 2006 right when his book came out. What I remember to be so striking about it was how sure he was of its success. It made sense to me then because I was starstruck by the whole thing and it makes sense now in light of what has happened, but objectively, by the facts of the time, it is unbelievable. What’s impressive about Tucker’s is that his ego hasn’t changed since I first met him. His confidence wasn’t bolstered by selling over a million books. He’d already absorbed that, factored it in and reflected on it…before it happened.
If you’re someone prone to self doubt or discouragement or despondency, you probably wish he could bottle that elixir and sell it. I know I certainly wouldn’t have felt, as he did, that it was only natural that a book that dipped off the bestseller lists almost immediately after release could eventually pop back into frame and burn them up for more than 100 weeks in a row. I don’t even feel that way about smaller things that are much more certain, where credit it probably due and the stakes are not so high.
But on the other hand, I wonder if he can truly appreciate how insane that all is. That he’s driving around the country in a bus with his name and likeness on the side. That he’s now on the edge of cracking into a part of the cultural consciousness. Or if he’s already somehow taken this into account and moved onto to something else that hasn’t even happened yet.
I wonder if that trade off is worth it. Or maybe there is a middle way that avoids the pitfalls of my anxiety and his assuredness: living in the moment. To be content with what happens, as it happens. To have no ‘way’ the future needs to be to confirm your perception because you don’t have one. For each moment to be a refresh, wiping clear what came before and what you thought might come next.
Burning Man Rocked! Needless to say, I didn’t run into TF again this year. You need to go, you would love it the most. The thing I have noticed about those meteoric swings is that they really feel natural, like you were meant to do it. The people without that in their personal make up just don’t ride the wave. They cash out and take the sucker bet of a fixed income. (or the equivalent of it – See Steve Pavliva’s blog post today :http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2009/09/a-fixed-income-is-a-sucker-bet/)
There really is no middle ground. You either cash out and take the safe road or you ride the wave until the end. And some times that end is crashing on the rocks.
If you like the thrill, the trade off is well worth it.
Out of curiosity, how often is Tucker wrong about his predictions/assumptions?
What are you even talking about?
And @Hegemonicon – like everyone else, he gets it wrong all the time.
I’ve generally found that people lean toward one end or the other. Some believe that anything is possible, and they are always challenging themselves to grow and help others in new ways. Others think the world is set up against them, and they spend their lives aspiring, but never reaching, dreams they inherited from others.
The dangerous ones are the vocal minority of the latter. They will tell you and others that your personal stories are lies, because they can’t see it ever happening in their life. They will take action against dreams happening for others.
The valuable ones are the quiet of the former. They go about their lives making the dreams of others come true, and their dreams come true tenfold in the wake.
The hard part is tuning out the vocal disdain and searching out the active support. It would be great to hear your thoughts on strategic ways to accomplish this.
Look people, I appreciate your comments but this section is not the place for you to pontificate ridiculous jibberish.
Chris there is literally nothing in my post that remotely has to do with whatever your talking about. And even if it did, it still sounds douchey. Seriously, what the hell.
Living in pure immediacy and discontinuity with the past is untenable and desperate.
You don’t say…
Ouch. Alright, I can see douchey. I will cut to the chase.
You said you are on the anxious end of the scale, but want to be in the middle. Have you been acting uncomfortably confident to get past it, or just using your anxious energy? Or was this post to just get it out of your head, and you aren’t doing anything?
I think what Ryan is saying is to take success and failure in stride is no ‘way’ at all but an innate feeling of how to live in the moment. At least that is how I perceive Tucker’s life and what Ryan is trying to internalize.
Maybe most of us are just like Tucker. We know with clarity what we will do and have already factored our future achievements into who we are. We just know that ours are mediocre and that we aren’t going anywhere.
I like this post; it’s more positive and progressive than what’s been popping up lately. The last paragraph reminds me of a Buddhist prescription for happiness, which is to give up any expectations and “want”‘s for the future and, as you wrote, live in the now.
Do you see that decision as one you can immediately consciously make, or as something to be chipped away at daily?
For me, it’s a combination of both, but I thought I’d ask.
Matt, please. You’ve managed to top Chris. What are you talking about?
Tucker was an admitted narcissist before his rise to fame. It’s possible that this trait helped him strongly believe in the quality of his work before the rest of us caught on. There’s a certain comfort in having a huge ego. It buffers against self-doubt and insecurity. In addition, dude knows his shit. I’m not saying he’s always right, but he’s not some guy talking out of his ass. He puts in the work to study and learn the ins and outs of things. The dude might be an asshole, but he’s a smart asshole. I guess in his case intelligence, plus talent, plus ego yielded certainty.
I just think that what Ryan is trying to say, is like deep. Like you can’t internalize the external. It’s like the macrocosm is way too big to be the microcosm. Somewhere in the continuum is the right answer, and you just gotta go with it. You know?
Shit, gotta go..gonna be late for my community college philosophy class.
You have been found guilty of misleading and perverting the young. I decree that you be hung by your underdeveloped testicles. – ZORRO
Ug. It’s not that indecipherable. You are talking about confidence, but also the fact that he predicted his success. Yes, the confidence was necessary but it was not sufficient to create everything that happened; it took more (not to mention all the work and talent) and it’s not productive to talk about it in isolation.
Ironically enough, one of Tucker’s gifts is judgment. We talk about the confidence, you want to bottle up it or whatever, but that’s not the whole picture. There are plenty of confident douchebags that end up dumbfounded by their own eventual failure.
So taking that a step further, if we could bottle whatever it was that let Tucker predict his success, and drink it, it might just tell us what we are trying isn’t going to work.
And that could cause a lack of confidence.
This is just something to consider if you are trying to figure out the difference between Tucker and others. I’m not pushing any view or lifestyle, nor am I trying to vomit all over your blog. I just saw a perspective that was missing and tried to point it out it as succinctly as I could.
Ryan, I see two things here.
One: his certainty was insane. Even with lots of personal drive, external variables could have made the book unsuccessful. The fact that the outcome was a success proves nothing about the a priori probability that it would. This is called optimism bias.
Two: optimism, even when unfounded, seems to breed personal motivation and bring more people to your side. So, one’s choice of attitude in the process changes the outcome’s probability to the better, contributing to (but not determining!) a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Which reminds me of Henry Ford: “If you think you can, you are right; if you think you can’t, you’re right, too.” I am sure it’s not that deterministic, but as I see it, this is quantitatively right.
I’m an unabased Tucker hater, and by extension a Ryan hater, and I am loving watching Tucker’s self-certainty turn to bitterness.