Austin Kleon, whose ideas we love, talked about John Waters’ life lessons the other day. In the commencement speech that he gave at Rhode Island School of Design, Waters said that the true wealth he possesses is not letting assholes to be in his private life or business life. He added: “And not being around assholes should be the goal of every graduate here today.”
I would like us to look at our own lives in light of this. Are we surrounded by people we love and respect or people who we wouldn’t want to see if conditions were different? Do you think that it might be in our hands to change those conditions? Could small changes come together to create a space of freedom?
Maybe by doing something less and doing others more.
Sometimes I observe people’s reactions filled with surprise as I talk about the great qualities of people around me. I believe this is because most people are disgruntled with the people in their lives. I think that maybe we all have a quota. If we fill up that quota with those who we feel we are obligated to be with, then maybe no space is left for those who would be good for us. In all of these years, what I observed in my life is that the more I moved away from those I didn’t like, the more space there was for those who inspired me.
Now, think for a moment and give a genuine response: who do you not want in your life?
Translated by Talya Arditi