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Chapter 8: Respect the Process – Mastery (The 50th Law)

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ALL OF MAN’S TROUBLES COME FROM NOT KNOWING HOW TO SIT STILL, ALONE IN A ROOM.

—Blaise Pascal

Before music, the only way Curtis Jackson thought he could make money was to sell drugs, since all the people he knew that had money made it that way.

But selling drugs was a grind – it involved standing on street corners for many hours, often with nothing to do but wait for the same fiends to show up to pay for the same drugs, day after day.

There were ways of making more money, faster – these involved dangerous schemes that seldom worked. But still, some people chose that path, and when they were rewarded and flaunted their money, it would not be long before they went back to being broke. They would try to sell drugs again, but it was too slow, so they would again roll the dice. Things rarely went well for these people in the end.

Curtis saw this pattern enough times to learn from it. Instead of looking for shortcuts, he worked 12 hours a day, every day. And when there was downtime, he thought about his future, he planned to get into the music industry and then into business. He thought about tricks he could use while selling drugs. The main point being, he took advantage of this boredom.

Unfortunately, many people don’t develop this skill. They feel that every moment must be plugged in with something. If they are not working, they look for ways to entertain themselves, so that their lives are divided between work and entertainment for almost every hour of their day. This makes it impossible for them to develop any new skills that require patience and hard work.

Our ancestors did not have the luxury of free time, they had to worry about surviving. But technology, over time, has given people a new problem: boredom. For a while, only the elite had this problem, but today, almost everyone does.

The way you deal with boredom affects the way you deal with everything. If you have a need for constant stimulation and easy entertainment, then you will have a hard time executing a project properly. Many people have a tendency to imagine the final result before starting a difficult project, living in fantasy land, instead of being grounded by facts. So they spend their time inefficiently, looking for quick fixes, and instant gratification, instead of taking the time to fully absorb the problems they want to solve.

This is a ‘short-circuit’.

Geniuses like Newton and Da Vinci are credited for being genetically gifted, but an important fact about them is often overlooked. They both spent long periods of time focusing on a problem. For Newton, it was maths. For Da Vinci, it was art. Both delved into the details, and they used boredom to their advantage, to producing something useful. But it takes courage to do that, because doing so is time consuming, ugly, and does not guarantee glory, or even the ability to show off.

It is a commitment that few take, and a risk, but it is one that is more beneficial in the long run, than constantly attempting short-circuits to no avail. Instead of being like the drug dealers who constantly looked for more exciting ways to make money faster, take the slower path to success, like 50 cent, Da Vinci, and Newton.

NOW THERE ARE…INDIVIDUALS WHO WOULD RATHER PERISH THAN WORK WITHOUT TAKING PLEASURE IN THEIR WORK; THEY ARE CHOOSY…AND HAVE NO USE FOR AMPLE REWARDS IF THE WORK IS NOT ITSELF THE REWARD OF REWARDS…. THEY DO NOT FEAR BOREDOM AS MUCH AS WORK WITHOUT PLEASURE; INDEED, THEY NEED A LOT OF BOREDOM IF THEIR WORK IS TO SUCCEED. FOR…ALL INVENTIVE SPIRITS, BOREDOM IS THAT DISAGREEABLE “LULL” OF THE SOUL THAT PRECEDES A HAPPY VOYAGE AND CHEERFUL
WINDS.

—Friedrich Nietzsche

"A gilded No is more satisfactory than a dry yes" - Gracian

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