I've held council with many people in the world. Some great in social status, others great in character. Only one, I felt, had absolutely zero redeeming qualities. And two offered pieces of wisdom that have deeply enriched and greatly informed the north star to my inner-compass, many times over.
The setting for the first piece of wisdom was a bar in San Antonio, circa 2008. My great friend Jared had just returned from something, somewhere, and somehow related to his band The Blowing Trees, who had just been signed to Glassnote Records.
We were discussing the process of recording their debut album, and the pitfalls of the engineering crew. Jared and the band were employing their friends, specifically a man named "Bryce" who wasn't bringing the technical value necessary to get the most out of the recording experience. Naturally, my 23-year old self lacking in all things empathy, grace, or basic human decency, asked why they couldn't get rid of the guy. And Jared responded, "I choose to reward loyalty with loyalty."
The setting for the second piece of wisdom was a restaurant in Arizona, circa 2018. I had been on tour with Porsche for two weeks on location, culminating in the celebratory final supper before returning to the home base in Phoenix. The "Porsche Across America" program - an opportunity for a limited number of Porsche's most valued customers to meet in Arizona and drive brand new Porsche's through the Grand Canyon - was still in its flagship season. My inclusion in the experience was about as fortuitous as Leonardo DiCaprio's character in Titanic, sitting on the finest ship in the world and sipping champagne with the type of people who pay too much money for machines.
I was, to paraphrase yet another 90s movie, out of my element.
Towards the end of the evening, I found myself sitting (and conversing) with one of, if not the wealthiest person in the room. His two most unique qualities were that he owned 47 Burger Kings, and his best friend was Nick Kroll's father. After three (or four) Old Fashioneds, I asked him the secret of his success, and he said, "You can't sell'em if you don't tell'em"
When I consider the legacy I would like to leave to the world, I imagine its akin to the story that The Alchemist tells the shepherd, about the soldier who confronts Jesus Christ, experiences one of the recorded miracles, and unknowingly has his words echo throughout all of recorded history. Only this time, instead of the Bible it's my blog, and I am well aware of what I'm saying. The wisdom I would like to impart upon any reader is this: I used to think it was cowardly to leave my hometown. Until I left.
Before leaving, the alchemist tells Santiago a story about Emperor Tiberius of Rome.
Tiberius had one son who was a soldier and one who was a poet. An angel tells him in a dream that generations of men will know the words of one of his sons. After Tiberius dies, he meets the angel from his dream and thanks the angel for saying his son’s poetry would become immortal.
The angel replies that people have forgotten his son's poem.
Instead, the son who was a soldier met the Son of God while looking for a healer for his servant. The soldier said that he was not worthy, and that the Son of God needed only to speak one word and his servant would be healed. These words became immortal.
- Paulo Coelho