I pitched a story for this American Life. The title of my pitch was: Follow your passion; Is it really a good idea?
I went through the story of being sick of my day job and having a deep yearning to do something creative. I stumbled across the idea of starting a talk show and dedicated my self to it. The talk show can be viewed here http://www.dukefightmaster.com. I didn't end up replacing Conan O'brien (Which was the original goal) and I caused myself, my family, and the friends around me a lot of stress.
(Just a side note- My son Stone is blasting the movie Cars in the background right now and I can't think worth shit. I think it's part of my mind trying to get me to not write. I have the voices telling me to stop, but I'm going to keep going. Now my kid is yelling, but enough of this let's continue writing.)
I have a problem with emailing famous podcasts. I emailed Marc Maron about how we should be friends. I didn't hear back from him for what seemed like forever. I went through all the self hating doubt and "You suck Duke" type thinking. Just when I settled in on the thought that he probably thought I was a loser the producer emailed me and said Marc wanted to talk with me on the phone for the 100th episode. I stressed over how the phone call would go, then I did the phone call and then I stressed about how it went wrong. Then I went to Marc's show and sat next to him on stage without hardly talking to him. I just wasn't feeling a friendship brewing.
I emailed Dave Hill and asked if I could be a field reporter for his show. I never heard back from him and had convinced myself that I was the lamest person in the world. After the depression of my email to Mr. Hill had long since sunk into the core of my being I got an email from him telling me, "Sure send in a field report."
I hear Dave Hill talking about how he is a contributor to This American Life and I listen the Marc Maron talk about how the coolest people listen to this American Life and how the TAL never ask him to be on a show. I said, "What the Fuck" and decided to email TAL my story.
Same thing. If I don't hear right back I feel completely rejected because that's how amateurs feel when they put themselves out there. The pro doesn't take it personally and keeps his head to the grindstone, focusing on what's important, the work. I just wish I knew what the "work" was when it comes to me.
To my surprise I heard from a producer of TAL. She left me a phone message saying she was interested in talking to me and that it seemed from my pitch that things got pretty bad for me. Then she chuckled at my life's wreckage and then she apologized for laughing at my pain.
My head can go from the worst to the best so quickly it's surprising I don't get sick.
When I spoke with the TAL producer on the phone she opened the questions with, "Did you really think the universe would take care of you just for doing something you're passionate about?"
I replied, "Yes."
She shot back, "That's sounds so naive to me."
Right then my heart sank. I'm overly sensitive but I felt like I was being ridiculed from the start. Sounds stupid but it felt like I was being bullied. She wasn't bullying me on purpose, it just felt that way. When someone disagrees with you and it comes from a place of, "There is no chance in the world that Duke could of been on to something." It felt like she was saying, "How stupid are you to believe the universe would take care of you?" She kept saying over and over that it sounds very naive.
Then she asked, "How old are you?"
I said, "Are you trying to tell me I'm naive again?" She already mentioned that I was naive like 5 times by now and we were only a couple minutes into the phone call.
She knew how old I was. She just wanted to slam me with the whole you're naive thing again. She told my that she thinks life is just choices, you make them, and you live with the results. I started to feel that she's from NYC and people from NYC think they are better than other people. People from cities are like that, it might even be true to some extent but I was feeling the opposite end of that perspective. When I lived in San Francisco I probably felt that way a little.
I wonder if when you question someone's entire perspective on reality it makes them defensive? I think that is how I choose to look at her opening barrage of questions, designed to label me as wrong, now. Maybe something from her ego had to slam me down because if that statement were even slightly true her reality would be smashed.
I had to think about it for a while. I'm in between perspectives right now. Is there things in life that are meant to be? Or is life just a series of choices that you need to live with?
I was listening to a podcast host speaking of how physicists say that Deepak Chopra's physics don't match up to science. It's probably true but I still enjoy his book on the 7 laws of success. The seventh law is called Dharma. Basically Dharma is knowing what you were meant to do. Every person has a unique gift that they can express better than anyone else, Dharma is the expression of this gift and when you are in Dharma basically the universe takes care of you.
---------------The procrastination demons have taken me over, I can't write anymore so I will finish this later------------------------
--------It's hours later. Both kids are here with two more kids and they're playing the wii in between going crazy, being hysterical, and laugh-crying. So I'm attempting to ignore all this and continue writing.-------------------------
I think there are certain truths that words can't explain. Words can give you direction to the unspoken but you must let go of them once you make it there. That's how I answer the criticism to Deepak. His science doesn't match up because maybe it goes to a place that science can't answer yet and words can't quite describe. We can't hold on to words or truths too hard. Just enough to let us maneuver through the world. I personally live on different levels of perspective and it gives me the flexibility to move through the world and into different realities with ease. I know this doesn't make much sense and I don't have the energy to go deeper into it but I will throw down an analogy.
I am a spiritual tool man. A tool man collects all the tools and learns to use them all. A tool man understands that some tools contradict each other. A philips head screw driver and a flat head screw driver contradict each other, but this doesn't bother the tool man. He knows that one tool is for one job and the other is for another job. Then we have the hammer which is for a different job altogether. Could you imagine what a house would look like like if the carpenter only used a hammer? Some people find one tool (perspective) which allows them to deal with life. (Ex. Life is choices, you make them and then you live with them.) And then they live their whole life just on that perspective.
All I'm saying is that if you can collect multiple perspectives you can keep your peace of mind in different areas of life. Bruce Lee said, "I can kick everyones ass in a minute." (I'm paraphrasing) Bruce Lee studied all forms of martial arts to he could beat anyone. What if we didn't limit ourselves to one religion? What if we were like Bruce Lee and took the strengths of all the religions? That's what Bruce did, took the strengths from all of them and kicked ass.
So do I believe that the Universe will take care of you if you find what you are passionate and good at? I do. I also believe the world is choices and we live within them.
Was it naive for me to start a talk show? It was naive if I was only going to settle for the result of replacing Conan O'brien. Was it naive to try to replace Conan O'brien? No. I don't think there is anything wrong with setting your goals high. Setting your goals high somehow gives you momentum. When I think about it now it was when Jimmy Fallen was announced to take over the show that the wind was knocked out of my sails. The naive part was too not course correct and set a new goal. When there was no replacing Conan I was just wondering the desert for the remaining episodes looking for a direction.
I'm at my best when I'm having fun and my life has some order. Clutter, chaos, and confusion took over the circumstances of my life and I was no longer having fun. It's hard to be funny when you're not having fun, that was one of the big lessons I learned from the experience.
Calling someone naive is a mask to hide your own fears of what might amount to walking through fear. No one wants to walk through fear. So much so that we don't even want to look at our fear and we want to criticize those who do as naive or whatever other name works for the situation.
This is what I believe. You can't just choose something and be passionate about it and that's it. Some of us (I'm talking about me) have hidden who we really are deep down. We don't know what's deep down inside of us and it's scary to look. We don't know who we truly are. This is me. I don't really know who I am. The thing with me is that I'm looking. I'm trying. I believe that you need to know yourself, know what you are good at, know what it is that you can really do. What's your thing? Discover this, cultivate it and I do believe that the universe will take care of you if you are trying to do something with this talent.
I heard someone say, "If you try to make something happen, then something might happen. If you don't try to make something happen then something probably won't happen."
Just trying to make something happen is the key. This is how something might happen and it might be something completely different then what you were trying to make happen. But it's the trying to make something happen that gets something to happen. And this is the choice that must be made.
Get to know yourself, try to make something happen, and then listen to what the universe is telling you and follow that.