Savour Obscurity While It Lasts

Wow we really want things to come to us quickly.

Fast cars, grand houses and grand fortunes.


And our journey can be frustrating.

We are impulsive creatures and we don’t like playing the long game.

If we had it our own way, we’d want instant resounding success and all the fame and money that goes hand in hand with instant resounding success.

But what if you achieved all that success?

What would you do?

What would the next thing be?

I guess you’d do nothing but go through peak experiences and make the most out of life and sample all the best that life has in every area of life.

But isn’t that sort of like completing the game? The game of life.

It’s like you’re at 95% and it will be much tougher to get those last 5%.

Like in GTA, you’d have to do side missions, look for hidden packages, all of which are really just a supplement to the overarching theme of the game.

You probably actually had way more fun when you started the game, intent on building your empire, going through all those missions and getting rich by hook or by crook.

So is it all about the journey rather than the destination?

As Robert Sapolsky, professor of biology and neurology at Stanford University, said:


“Dopamine is not about pleasure. It’s about the anticipation of pleasure. It’s about the pursuit of happiness rather than happiness itself.”

There’s something special about “obscurity”

And in Hugh MacLeod’s book Ignore Everybody, Hugh actually mentions how artists (musicians, painters, writers etc) might produce their best work before “they’ve made it”:

The funny thing is, when you hear the “rock stars” talk about their climb to the top, the part they invariably speak most fondly is not the part with all the fame, money, and parties.

It’s the part before they made it, back when they were living in a basement without electricity and “eating dog food”, back when they were doing their breakthrough work.

When it’s just you, a dream, and a few cans of dog food, there’s only one person to worry about. But when the dream turns into a reality, there’s all sorts of other people suddenly needing to be taken care of, in order to keep the engine running.

Publishers, investors, managers, journalists, retailers, suppliers, groupies, employees, accountants, family members…and the paying customers. They all have a stake in your act, and they all want a piece of the action.

Of course, one reason the rock starts can speak of their basement-an-dog-food era so fondly is because it eventually came to an end; it didn’t last forever.

And with all the world tours and parties, this era of creating their seminal work soon became a distant memory.

So quite naturally, they miss it. But if they were still “eating dog food” after a few decades, I doubt they’d be waxing so lyrically.

The message is savour obscurity while it lasts.

It’s the pursuit of happiness that’s the best thing about life.

So don’t wish away the now. Enjoy the phase of life you are currently in.

Because you’ll make it. It will all turn out well in the end.

Only for you to realise that it was all well and good all along.

What My Bro Said


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