A modern hammer and nail
Push through. Get past all the filters and the judgments about whether or not what you're thinking about is worth doing. What's in your guts? Trust them. Even, and especially when, they lead you astray. Hone that instinct, that part of you that does.

That's the problem with faith, and oddly in the same sentence, academia. They lead you to believe that you have some sort destiny. They'd have you believe some marvelous calling will present itself to you. Nope. You simply have to pick a direction on a hunch and run full speed toward it. You can teach someone just about anything. Give someone a few months and they'll be able to play "Stairway to Heaven" on the guitar. They can read your big important book. And they can learn to hammer a nail. What you can't teach someone is to trust themselves. That's what people can't do, to recklessly, impulsively, and foolishly run into the night.

I could have just as easily been working in Seattle doing computer programming, running a home theater installation company in Nevada, or pursuing a PhD in Texas at this moment. Maybe not so much the last part. I didn't get in to Rice, but that's not the point.

Dozens of yous exist in various degrees. There's the party animal, the student, the kid who plays video games until dawn, the businessman, the husband, the artist, the fuck-up... We are multifarious to a fault. Neither is more real than any other. They are all you. I'm not sure it even makes sense to choose a favorite. For some reason we expect the universe to choose for us. As if it didn't have enough to do infinitely expanding the abyss of space. But by all means, take care of my stupid problem.

Just pick one. When it sucks, pick another one. This isn't Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. If you choose incorrectly, nothing bad happens. So above all things, do. Do often. There is no more elegant phrase. Do. A version of yourself that you respect, admire and love will emerge.

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