Neil Gaiman’s Stirring Address To Graduating Class Of 2012

“If you cannot be wise, pretend to be someone who is wise and then do as they would do”. Add this amazing speech to the already bloated list of reasons why Neil Gaiman is awesome. posted on

Video available at: http://vimeo.com/42372767.
Brain Pickings / Via brainpickings.org

People who know the rules know what is possible and what is impossible. You do not and you should not. The rules of what is possible and impossible were made by people who have not tested the bounds of possible by going beyond them - and you can. If you don’t know its impossible, it’s easier to do and because nobody has done it before they haven’t made up rules stopping people from doing that particular thing again.

Cat exploded? Make good art. Someone on the internet thinks its stupid, or evil and its all been done before? Make good art.

It’s easy to get work. But people who KEEP work in a freelance world - and more and more it is freelance - it’s because their work is good and because they’re easy to get along with and because they deliver the work on time. And you don’t even need all three.

Two out of three is fine. People will tolerate how unpleasant you are if your work is good and you deliver on time. People will forgive the lateness of the work if it’s good and they like you, and you don’t have to be as good as everyone else if you’re on time and it’s always a pleasure to hear from you.

The best advice I ever got that I never followed was from Stephen King. It was at the height of the success of Sandman. I was writing a comic people loved and Stephen King liked Sandman and he saw the madness the long signing lines and his advice was this: ‘It’s great. You should enjoy it’.

And I didn’t.

The best advice I ever got, I ignored. Instead I worried about it. The next deadline, the next idea, the next story. There wasn’t a moment for the next 15 years I wasn’t worried about it. I didn’t stop and look around and go: ‘this is really fun’. I wish I enjoyed it more.

That was the hardest lesson for me. To let go and enjoy the ride. The ride takes you to some remarkable and unexpected places. And today on this platform is one of those places, and I am enjoying myself immensely.

(I put that in brackets just in case I wasn’t).

If you cannot be wise pretend to be someone who is wise and just behave as they would.

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