“Learn to live on air… Avoid all messy and needy people including family; they threaten your work… Once you’ve truly begun, slow down. The difference between publishing two good books and forty mediocre books is terribly large.”
“I remember this old guy once telling me, “To thine own self be true.” And I was like: “Yeah, well, I’ve got some advice for you, pal: use real words that are actual words in our time right here, for starters.” And then he, red-faced, said: “O.K., well, so… be true to your own self.” The worst advice I’ve ever received was—well, it was that same advice. I tried being true to my own self for a few months but it was such a hassle. Honesty, self-disclosure, closely considering my own motivations? Ugh. I got absolutely nothing done. And once I started faking it again, everything got easy.”
“The solution came in a most unexpected way, on a flight between Buenos Aires and Madrid which, by chance, was commemorating the first flight between those cities (by an Iberian Airline Douglas DC4) on 22 September 1946. I bought at Ezeiza airport a copy of a short novel by Alejo Carpentier that I had not read: The Kingdom of This World. Nothing had prepared me for the surprise. From the first lines of the story, which recreates the hallucinating life of Henri Christophe and the building of the famous Citadel in Haiti, this superbly written and even better constructed narration in which, as in all literary masterpieces, nothing could be added or taken away, absorbed me body and soul and took away my surroundings, transporting me, for the ten hours or so of the flight, away from the frozen starry night into a prodigious epic account of Haiti in the previous century, where the most ferocious violence intermingled with the most fevered imagination, and everyday and trivial events blurred into miracles and legends. I read the final lines when the plane touched down in Barajas; the book had lasted the flight, and had taken away my fear for the entire journey.”
-Mario Vargas Llosa, “How I Lost My Fear of Flying”
I think some days, I’m so excited and so happy, and it’s such a driven, ludicrous life that maybe it will happen: I’ll just burst into flames. And I always have good shoes on, so it’ll be okay.
- Get up early (five o’clock).
- Go to bed early (nine to ten o’clock).
- Eat little and avoid sweets.
- Try to do everything by yourself.
- Have a goal for your whole life, a goal for one section of your life, a goal for a shorter period and a goal for the year; a goal for every month, a goal for every week, a goal for every day, a goal for every hour and for every minute, and sacrifice the lesser goal to the greater.
- Keep away from women.
- Kill desire by work.
- Be good, but try to let no one know it.
- Always live less expensively than you might.
- Change nothing in your style of living even if you become ten times richer.
Mostly good advice, save for #6. (Via)