You’d Think…

You’d think that if by the time you were 21, you’d worked for four New York Times’ bestselling authors, helped sign one of the biggest bands in the world with the digital strategy you laid out, a major player in Hollywood had asked you to leave school to work for him, made enough money to totally support yourself, talked daily with the CEO of a publicly traded company and if sometimes if you decided to really push your luck, you could call up the greatest strategist since Machiavelli for advice, that maybe your parents would have done more than just “come to terms” with the person that you are.

You think maybe you wouldn’t be so angry. That you wouldn’t have to be so quick to turn on people before they turned on you. You’d think that veering slightly from the routine (10-2am daily, 20 miles a week minimum, 2.5 books) might be a source of anything other than anxiety. You’d hope to hell that the high of fitting in double days would last more than a few weeks.

Me: I think I know why I’m so depressed today.

Gf: Why?

Me: Nobody validated me.

Gf: That’s not very good reason to be depressed is it?

I doubt you’d ever say that. And mean it. And know exactly when you’re due for a crash…the day after something good happens. You wouldn’t ever think you find yourself at the top of the stairs to your girlfriend’s apartment and wonder why you did any of it at all.

But here you are.

It will never be enough. May I never be complete. You never fill that hole. Not this way. So if more is not the answer, where does that leave you?

“You’ve wandered all over and finally realized that you never found what you were after: how to live. Not in syllogisms, not in money, or fame, or self-indulgence. Nowhere.

Then where is it to be found?

Through first principles. Those to do with good and evil. That nothing is good except what leads to fairness, and self-control and courage and free will. And nothing bad except what does the opposite.

Meditations, Marcus Aurelius

Written by Ryan Holiday
Ryan Holiday is the bestselling author of Trust Me, I’m Lying, The Obstacle Is The Way, Ego Is The Enemy, and other books about marketing, culture, and the human condition. His work has been translated into thirty languages and has appeared everywhere from the Columbia Journalism Review to Fast Company. His company, Brass Check, has advised companies such as Google, TASER, and Complex, as well as Grammy Award winning musicians and some of the biggest authors in the world. He lives in Austin, Texas.