The following are five bullshit notions bartenders often hear that would kill the living beast in anyone:
1. You’re not smart enough
Do you remember your ABC’s?
Always be cogitating.
The truth is, it’s always, in principle, been simple to educate yourself. You must merely commit to learning.
One of the most satisfying things in the world is when you meet someone at a bar who’s spent her life in educating herself. You’ll then drink the rest of your whiskey and rise from that bar a far better and happier person, knowing that a great ideal has for a time touched you and sanctified your day.
Remember: it’s not how smart you are.
It’s how smart you want to be.
2. You’re not passionate enough about any one thing
Listen closely to what I’m about to tell you because it’s of the utmost importance:
Passion is willed.
If you have an interest in something — even if it’s at first only a moderate interest — and if you then pursue that interest, your passion for it will develop as your understanding of it deepens.
But you must want it first.
What, of the things that aren’t vice-ridden, do you enjoy doing or seeing or learning about?
Numbers and math?
Books and poems and languages?
Movies or music?
Politics and philosophy?
The planets and the stars?
Whatever it is, immerse yourself in the subject.
Make it your purpose, which is the secret key to human happiness.
Passion (from the Latin word for “suffering”) means to have powerful feelings for a thing.
The more time you spend with something, the more your feelings for it will grow.
This, incidentally, is why friendships forged in work are much stronger than friendships forged in, for instance, whiskey.
3. It’s too difficult
All worthy things are difficult. What of it?
Life is work. Life is effort. Life is difficult.
The reason that anything worth doing is difficult is that survival requires productiveness, and productive work, by definition, is difficult.
The paradox, of course, is that once you accept this fundamental fact, it ceases to be difficult.
Because at that point you’ve learned one of the most valuable lessons you’ll ever learn:
Be happy in your work.
4. You don’t have the time now (but you’ll get to it later) and, anyway, you wouldn’t know where to begin
You probably won’t get to it later. So you must make the time now.
If you don’t do it now, when?
Everything must start somewhere.
You simply dive in and learn your way out.
The very process will immerse you and give you a totally individualized perspective on your chosen subject, thereby making it uniquely you.
5. You’re not talented enough
There’s no such thing as talent. Didn’t you know?
Talent is a meaningless term.
You learn to be talented.
There’s a reason the smartest and cleverest people in school are almost never the ones who go on to achieve great things.
What is that reason? This:
Ambition is more important by light years than so-called talent.