Tuesday, March 11, 2003

South by Southwest 2003 XVI

Po Bronson: What Should You Do with Your Life?

Author Bronson wrote the books Bombardiers and What Should I Do with My Life?. Here is an extremely abbreviated transcript of his remarks:

What should I do with my life? Often, we don't like having to answer that question. It's itchy and confusing. We feel about destiny the same way we feel about inheritance. We want it to come easy. We feel that if it doesn't come easy, it's wrong.

We know the text and the subtext. The text is never enough money, never enough time. The subtext is psychological hurdles. Some people feel the question is self-indulgent. What is freedom if not the chance to live for yourself? In farming, success doesn't come at the expense of another man.

We equate money with freedom. True economic freedom is the confidence that you can live within the means of something you're passionate about. It's a dangerous thought that you're environment won't get to you. Academia compared to Hollywood is like bathing in altruism.

It's wrong to assume that it's in good times that we can change our lives. It's the bad times that force us to change. Sometimes the answers aren't out there. They're in here. How many events in our lives do we just ignore? Learn to love what you get, not just get what you love.

If you're open to strangers, willing to be empathetic and willing to learn from their stories, you can have a new life every day.

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