Find a Better Fuel

You don’t owe the world anything, and the world doesn’t owe you anything, either.

To believe otherwise on either count is a deeply unhealthy way to live your life. The biggest trouble, though, with operating from this sort of quid-pro-pro, back-and-forth sense of obligation, is that… at least for a while, it works.

It reminds me of a video I watched years ago. The author Neil Strauss was talking about an interview he did for a book with Dave Navarro – former guitarist of Jane’s Addiction and Red Hot Chili Peppers. Every 10 or 15 minutes, Navarro would take out his druggie paraphenalia and shoot cocaine into his arm. Strauss asked him about it, and Navarro put in novel terms: (I’m paraphrasing from memory.)

“When I do this, it’s fuel. It’s like when you put gas in your car. The only difference is that putting gas in your car won’t eventually destroy your car.”

To me, that is the perfect analogy. In the short run, making yourself feel guilty for what others have done for you, or making them feel guilty for what you have done for them, is a fantastically effective way to get shit done.

It works. Until it doesn’t.

There is a whole rainbow of different ways to relate to the world – you don’t have to stick with operating on the basis of what the world owes or you owe the world. You have to look for them, but they’re there. The sooner you start looking, the sooner they will appear.

Find a better fuel.

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