These are notes from my reading on January 14, 2018.

JOSH GORDON-LEVITT (p147)

“Our culture puts such a premium on the notion of originality, but when you really examine just about any ‘original’ thought or work you find it’s a composite of previous influences. Everything’s a remix. Of course, there’s such a thing as being overly derivative, but I tend to mostly value sincerity over originality. I think I perform better when I forcus less on being original and more on being honest.”

“I never really liked the glitz and glamor of Hollywood, so it wasn’t that. At that time, I’d never even cared all that much what other people thought of the movies and shows I got to be in. Mostly, I just loved doing it. I loved the creative process itself, and I realized I couldn’t let my ability to be creative depend on somebody else deciding to hire me. I had to take matters into my own hands.”

“I came up with my own little metaphorical mantra for this, something I’d think to myself when I needed encouragement, and that was “hit record.” I’d always played around with my family’s video cameras, and the red RED button became a symbol for my own conviction that I could do it on my own. I taught myself to edit video and started making little short films and songs and stories.”

“‘It’s really easy to say what you’re not. It’s hard to say what you are.’ In other words, you can spend all day undermining other people, and even if you’re right, who cares? Anybody can talk about why something’s bad. Try doing something good.”

“I think moving away from my hometown was one of the most fruitful things I ever did. We can’t help but define ourselves in terms of how others see us. So being around nothing but new people allowed me to define myself anew. I’ve since moved back, but the growth I got out of living away was huge.”

“My wife turned me on to Google Scholar. It’s like Google, except it only searches academic and scientific studies. So when I want to know something, rather than reading some sensationalistic clickbait, I can find out what the actual evidence says.”

“Fame is seductive…I’m not saying you’re a bad person if you want to be famous. I’m just saying you might be heading down a path that won’t lead to happiness. Of the famous people I know, the ones who are happy aren’t happy because of the fame. They’re happy for the same reasons everybody else is: because they’re healthy, because they have good people around them, and because they take satisfaction in what they do, regardless of how many millions of strangers are watching.

In any field, there’s usually some kind of mythological reward you’re supposed to receive if everybody considers you a success. But in my experience, there’s a lot more honest joy to be had from taking pleasure in the work itself.”

[when I feel overwhelmed or unfocused] “ I like to write. I sit down and describe my situation in writing. I type. I use complete sentences. I guess I write it as if it’s for an audience, even though I never show it to anyone. By having to explain it to a “reader” with no prior knowledge, I’m forced to identify and parse all the elements and nuances of what’s really going on. Sometimes I arrive at new answers or conclusions, but even when I don’t, I’m usually thinking more clearly and breathing a bit more easily.”

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