October 27, 2009
more thoughts on “evil plans”
Now that my October travels are over, I’m sitting at my desk again, working on my second book, EVIL PLANS. Here are some notes:
1. The definition of an “EVIL PLAN” is, quite simply, a great idea that the world isn’t quite ready for yet, or at least, doesn’t think it is. Think of all the world-changing ideas that met resistance when they first came out. The motor car (“What’s wrong with a good horse?”). The telephone (“Hey, if someone wants to speak to me, they can damn well come and visit me at my office, or write me a letter.”). Universal Education (“We can’t have commoners learning how to read– it’ll give them all these fancy ideas they have no business thinking!”). Personal Computers (“The world is perfectly happy with $5 million mainframes, Laddie.”). Women’s Suffrage (“Women? Voting? But they’re not mentally stable enough to choose a good leader!”).
2. Everybody needs their own EVIL PLAN. Because that’s our ticket off the treadmill, the nine-to-five, the working for The Man. Being a wage slave in the post-industrial world sucks. Besides, the latter doesn’t pay very well.
3. Everyone needs to find meaning in the brief time they’re living on this planet. Besides Love– friends, family, babies, your fellow man etc– I believe the best way to achieve that is to find a way of making a living that (A) pays the bills and (B) creates something that you can believe in. We are happiest when the work we do fulfills a sense of purpose. This isn’t rocket science. This is just an EVIL PLAN to get our sorry asses out of the salt mine and on to doing something that matters.
4. EVIL PLANS are not really “Evil”, of course. Maybe “Impish” would be a more accurate term. But calling it “Evil” is really pretty “Impish”, so hey, it works. There is something rather mischievous about having something up your sleeve that will surprise everybody eventually– something that will carry “the joyfully unexpected” to a place it wasn’t before.
5. My good friend, John T Unger once said, “Probably the easiest way to create good in this world, is by starting a small business that makes cool stuff.” I totally agree. That’s how I’ve chosen to spend my life; the point of EVIL PLANS is to reach out to those who have done the same. There are MILLIONS of us. It’s damn exciting.
6. “It’s not just enough to make money. One needs Personal Sovereignty as well.” My Scottish grandfather was poor as dirt his whole life. But he died a free and proud man, and loved by countless many. One thing Grandpa didn’t like, was being told what to do by other people. Especially bureaucrats. “Wee Mannies”, he called them. Small men who used their State-given authority to push bigger men around. They never really pushed Grandpa around, though– frankly, they weren’t that dumb. As I get older, the more I realize how much I take after Grandpa MacLeod. Which is why I own my own business, which is why I would never do well in a large corporation. I don’t like having bosses. I don’t like being told what to do. Again, there are millions of people out there who feel the same. Again, it’s exciting.
7. I’m not writing a “How-To” book. A library of How-To books won’t tell you as much as the following sentence: “Work your ass off for twenty years and THEN, JUST MAYBE you’ll finally get a frickin’ clue.” Like my first book, IGNORE EVERYBODY, I’m just compiling a list of all the stuff that has helped me over the years. But it’s true– a little talent & a good work ethic goes a lot farther than a lot of talent & a poor work ethic. As a lot of my hapless, talented-but-lazy friends found out far too late.
8. I’ve been an artist, I’ve been an entrepreneur. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference– they’re far more similar than the popular myths would have us believe. A fortysomething musician sent me an email recently. He told me that, although his life for the most part has been a happy one– good health, lovely wife, great kids, good friends, nice house, etc– his career has always been a bit foggy for him, like he was never sure what would happen next. I replied, “No worries, your situation happens A LOT with creative people, even among the super-creative-successful types. The never-ending fog of being an artist.” Whether we’re talking art or being an entrepreneur, “The Fog” is always with us. There is no cure, there is only building up a tolerance. And a good sense of humor helps, as well.
9. I think human beings inherently want to do “Something That Matters”. I think it’s in our DNA. I think the people who say they don’t want do something that matters are liars. I also think having an EVIL PLAN constantly in the back of our minds– quitting our day job and opening a bar, writing the Great American Novel, whatever– is also in our DNA. EVIL PLANS is a meditation about finally waking the hell up and going off to do something meaningful.
10. Life is an adventure. EVIL PLANS is my way of proving the preceding sentence correct. And the people who want to prove me wrong? They’re welcome to try– even if they’ll probably fail. Screw ‘em anyway.
[Backstory: About Hugh. E-mail Hugh. Work with Hugh. Twitter. Cartoon Archive. Newsletter. Book. Interview One. Interview Two. EVIL PLANS. Limited Edition Prints. Essential Reading: “Everything You Always Wanted To Know About ‘Cube Grenades’ But Were Afraid To Ask.”]
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