Here’s My Advice — The 15 Minute Rule

People email me — mostly young adults, but sometimes older people too — asking for advice. They want help with writing, music, other things.

Mostly, they’re trying to figure their life out. As if life were a puzzle to solve or some shit, a video game where if they just get to this level, they’ll have made it.

My advice is rather simple. If you want to do something, just do it. And do it for 15 minutes. If you can do 15 minutes, consistently, do it longer. Then you’re on to something.

You want to lose weight, eat a little less, work out a little more. It’s not a drastic act. You don’t need to kill yourself. But start with 15 minutes.

You want to make music, try 15 minutes of it. Every day. For a week. Then a month. Then a year. By the end, that 15 minutes a day might be an hour, two hours, three hours. But start with 15 minutes.

Writing — write a sentence. Then write another. And another. For 15 minutes. Just try to get a paragraph. I mean, you can’t write a novel if you haven’t written a paragraph. But all anyone wants to do is write a novel (even I haven’t written a novel). But start with 15 minutes.

My point is this. Nothing is stopping you except you for you. You are thinking of these things as mountains to climb instead of a series of small hills, none of which you have even tried getting up yet.

If you can’t work 15 minutes at something, how will you spend your whole life? Start with 15 minutes. Every day. Day after day. Until that 15 minutes is no longer enough, and the days add up, and you’re like — look at me, I’m doing it.

Wrote for the New York Times, New York Magazine, Esquire, Rolling Stone, Vice, Fader, Vibe, XXL, MTV News, many other places.

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