Link Love

Here are my favorite things I found around the internet this week:

  • I would really love to own this tote bag.
  • My desire to be productive seems to surge in the summer, and these two podcasts are providing lots of inspiration and ideas.
  • I kind of lost respect for the Emmy’s when voters repeatedly ignored Friday Night Lights and Gilmore girls. It doesn’t help that they’re now ignoring Orphan Black too. But thankfully, I’m not alone in that sentiment.
  • Pretty Little Liars is back, and with it comes these hilarious recaps and a collection of the best tweets about each episode. You really should follow the live-tweeting during new episodes, #booradleyvancullen.
  • A nice summary of why I’d like to hire Coach Taylor to be my life coach.
  • And another nice summary of why Tumblr never ceases to entertain.
  • I’m excited to read Megan Abbot’s The Fever (and only have 37 people between me and it in library holds), and thought this was a good interview.
  • I happen to really like commencement season, and Shonda Rhimes’ speech is one of my favorites. This part has been turning over in my mind since I heard it:

When people give these kinds of speeches, they usually tell you all kinds of wise and heartfelt things. They have wisdom to impart. They have lessons to share. They tell you: follow your dreams. Listen to your spirit. Change the world. Make your mark. Find your inner voice and make it sing. Embrace failure. Dream. Dream and dream big. As a matter of fact, dream and don’t stop dreaming until your dream comes true.

I think that’s crap.

I think a lot of people dream. And while they are busy dreaming, the really happy people, the really successful people, the really interesting, powerful, engaged people? Are busy doing.

The dreamers. They stare at the sky and they make plans and they hope and they think and they talk about it endlessly. And they start a lot of sentences with “I want to be…” or “I wish”

“I want to be a writer.” “I wish I could travel around the world.”

And they dream of it. The buttoned up ones meet for cocktails and they all brag about their dreams. The hippie ones have vision boards and they meditate on their dreams. You write in your journal about your dreams. Or discuss it endlessly with your best friend or your girlfriend or your mother. And it feels really good. You’re talking about it. You’re planning it. Kind of. You are blue-skying your life. And that is what everyone says you should do. Right? That’s what Oprah and Bill Gates did to get successful, right?

NO.

Dreams are lovely. But they are just dreams. Fleeting, ephemeral. Pretty. But dreams do not come true just because you dream them. It’s hard work that makes things happen. It’s hard work that creates change.

Lesson One: Ditch the Dream. Be a Do-er, Not a Dreamer.

Maybe you know exactly what you dream of being. Or maybe you’re paralyzed because you have no idea what your passion is. The truth is, it doesn’t matter. You don’t have to know. You just have to keep moving forward. You just have to keep doing something, seizing the next opportunity, staying open to trying something new. It doesn’t have to fit your vision of the perfect job or the perfect life. Perfect is boring and dreams are not real. Just…DO. You think “I wish I could travel” — you sell your crappy car and buy a ticket and go to Bangkok right now. I’m serious. You say “I want to be a writer” — guess what? A writer is someone who writes every day. Start writing. Or: You don’t have a job? Get one. ANY JOB. Don’t sit at home waiting for the magical dream opportunity. Who are you? Prince William? No. Get a job. Work. Do until you can do something else.

I did not dream of being a TV writer. Never, not once when I was here in the hallowed halls of the Ivy League, did I say to myself, “Self, I want to write TV.”

You know what I wanted to be? I wanted to be Nobel Prize Winning Author Toni Morrison. That was my dream. I blue sky-ed it like crazy. I dreamed and dreamed. And while I was dreaming, I was living in my sister’s basement. Dreamers often end up living in the basements of relatives, fyi. Anyway, there I was in that basement, I was dreaming of being Nobel Prize Winning Author Toni Morrison. Guess what? I couldn’t be Nobel Prize winning author Toni Morrison. Because Toni Morrison already had that job and she wasn’t interested in giving it up. One day I was sitting in that basement and I read an article in the NY Times that said it was harder to get into USC Film School than it was to get into Harvard Law School. I could dream about being Toni Morrison. Or I could do. At film school, I discovered an entirely new way of telling stories. A way that suited me. A way that brought me joy. A way that flipped this switch in my brain and changed the way I saw the world. Years later, I had dinner with Toni Morrison. All she wanted to talk about was Grey’s Anatomy. That never would have happened if I hadn’t stopped dreaming of becoming her and gotten busy becoming myself.

Happy perusing and happy weekend!

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