High-Level Thoughts

A good kick in the ass to focus on the work that matters, and stop being an amateur.

Summary Notes

what ails and me has nothing to do with being sick or being wrong. What ails us is that we are living our lives as amateurs. (Page 5)

Sometimes, when we're terrified of embracing our true calling, we'll pursue a shadow calling instead. That shadow career is a metaphor for our real career. Its shape is similar, its contours feel tantalizingly the same. But a shadow career entails no real risk. If we fail at a shadow career, the consequences are meaningless to us. (Page 13)

The difference between an amateur and a professional is in their habits. An amateur has amateur habits. A professional has professional habits. (Page 20)

Enter: a drink, a lover, a habit. Addiction replaces aspiration. The quick fix wins out over the long, slow haul. (Page 25)

Addictions and shadow careers are messages in a bottle from our unconscious. Our Self, in the Jungian sense, is trying to get our attention, to have an intervention with us. The question we need to ask of a shadow career or an addiction is the same question the psychotherapist asks of a dream. "What is our unconscious trying to tell us?" (Page 28)

All addictions share, among others, two primary qualities:

  • They embody repetition without progress.
  • They produce incapacity as a payoff. (Page 34)

Resistance wants to keep us shallow and unfocused. So it makes the superficial and the vain intoxicating. (Page 39)

The amateur fears that if he turns pro and lives out his calling, he will have to live up to who he really is and what he is truly capable of. (Page 53)

the amateur's self-inflation prevents him I from acting. He takes himself and the consequences of his actions so seriously that he paralyzes himself. (Page 57)

In his heart, the amateur knows he's hiding. He knows he was meant for better things. He knows he has turned away from his higher nature. (Page 61)

The sure sign of an amateur is he has a million plans and they all start tomorrow. (Page 65)

When we truly understand that the tribe doesn't give a damn, we’re free. There is no tribe, and there never was. Our lives are entirely up to us. (Page 68)

What happens when we turn pro is, we finally listen to that still, small voice inside our heads. At last we find the courage to identify the secret dream or love or bliss that we have known all along was our passion, our calling, our destiny. (Page 70)

The amateur tweets. The pro works. (Page 93)

Never train your horse to exhaustion, Leave him wanting more, (Page 96)

The professional does not wait for inspiration; he acts in anticipation of it. (Page 99)

When we convene day upon day in the same space at the same time, a powerful energy builds up around us. (Page 110)

You and I can do it, too. We can work over our heads. Not only can we, but we must. The best pages I've ever written are pages I can´t remember writing. (Page 118)

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