The First Rule of Fight Club…

I’m arguably a more effective former Naval Officer than I ever was on active duty.

This is why we have guest speakers at RINGKNOCKER Meetups. My role is to create a venue where far more accomplished people can come dispense the actual wisdom. I’m the guy who built the lecture hall, leaning on his shovel and listening in for free.

Still… since my face is on this thing, people sometimes assume a level of qualification and come to me for advice. Last week, for example, I had an exchange with a young officer who is recently out of the Marine Corps and is having trouble finding his feet in the World. He doesn’t have a strong master plan. He knows he should be eating that elephant one bite at a time, but the number of bites on his plate has him paralyzed.

Well. Sadly, I’m more than qualified to answer that one. My response:

Don’t worry about the freaking elephant.

You don’t have to win your life today. There’s nobody keeping score anyway. Just win the right to wake up tomorrow and take another whack at it.

You don’t need a master plan. You don’t WANT a master plan, because they clearly don’t work for you anyway. Instead, go to bed each night feeling like you’re in a measurably better position than you were in when you got up this morning.

If you’re into planning, plan THAT: a minor win, every day. A single positive step. Do that, declare victory, and sleep soundly. Leave tomorrow to Tomorrow You.

And that was that… until this morning. I was walking on the beach, listening to Tim Ferriss interview Chuck Palahniuk, author of the iconic novel Fight Club. (Side note: if you’ve only ever seen the movie, do yourself a favor and read it.)

Tim asked Chuck about a line from a 2018 Guardian interview: In creative work, resolution is death. How do you maintain a satisfying story arc if you never intend to close the circle?

The author’s answer went off in my ears like a grenade. Here’s what I should have told that young Marine, if only I had an eight-figure novelist’s way with words…

Motion carries its own authority. You don’t have to resolve the entire world; you just have to resolve one piece of it.

That’s the stuff. 👊

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