A couple of days ago, Will Ferrell did a video of himself screaming at Derek Jeter for 4 minute straight. Being the Will Ferrell fan that I am, I of course watched it in its entirety. It was comic genius. But I was thinking about it today and how I am still chanting “Derek Jeter” in a Boston accent four days later, and thought: why would Will Ferrell do this?
Because it’s what he does. He’s a comedian. It’s his work. And because he doesn’t want to be the guy who was.
The guy who was on SNL.
The guy who was in Elf.
The guy who was in Anchorman.
All of these things are awesome and they have value. A ton of value. Just because you made some cool art that one time, just because you wrote a hit song, just because you were in a few crazy funny, crazy successful movies, doesn’t give you permission to stop making good work. Nobody wants to be the guy who was. Everybody wants to be the guy who is.
Don’t settle for being the guy who was. That sounds too much like a eulogy. You’re still alive.
Be the guy (or girl) who is.