“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times….” — Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
“Behind every man now alive stand thirty ghosts, for that is the ratio by which the dead outnumber the living.” 2001 — Arthur C. Clarke, A Space Odyssey
“The human race, to which so many of my readers belong, has been playing at children’s games from the beginning, and will probably do it till the end, which is a nuisance for the few people who grow up.” — G. K. Chesterton, The Napoleon of Notting Hill
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” — The Bible
“As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.” — Kafka, Metamorphosis
“There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.” — C. S. Lewis, Voyage of the Dawn Treader
“We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold.” — Hunter S Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
“Midway in our life’s journey, I went astray from the straight road and woke to find myself alone in a dark wood.” — Dante, Inferno
“‘Where’s Papa going with that axe?’ said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast.” — EB White, Charlotte’s Web
“If you’re going to read this, don’t bother.” — Chuck Palahniuk, Choke
“It was a pleasure to burn.” — Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
The way you start matters.
When I was a kid, I used to love running. After my father unexpectedly died when I was fourteen, it was one of the very brief moments in my day where I didn’t have to hear my mother crying or my teachers threatening to expel me or my friend’s obsequious banter or the demons of my own despair and fear. I was alone. And for those moments, my only responsibility was to put one foot in front of another. There was something comforting about that. My love of running has always stuck with me.
There is an old (and dangerous) platitude that goes something like, “it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish”. I’m not sure that’s entirely true. Sometimes, I think it’s the way you start that dictates whether you will finish. I think the way you start the production on your new play, or the marketing of your new website, or your speech at the next conference or the first couple notes in your new song or the summer menu at your new restaurant or your first week on your new diet matters. In fact, I would stipulate that it matters more than anything. Of course, that’s assuming you have the guts to finish what you start.
You only get one Start, so if you’re serious about whatever it is you’re doing, make it count.
Your Fellow Misfit,
This is an excerpt from The Life & Times of a Remarkable Misfit, which has been downloaded over 100,000 times since it was first published a few months ago. Based on the response, I have launched a project to bring the book to print. If you enjoyed this essay, then I know you will LOVE the rewards I handcrafted for my generous backers. You can watch the video about the project here. Thank you in advance for your support.
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