“I think that the biggest life lesson I learned as a boy, that has helped me and is still with me, is that you really have to discipline yourself to do the work. If you want to accomplish something, you can’t spend a lot of time hemming and hawing, putting it off, making excuses, and figuring ways. You have to actually do it…. I want to write, so I get up in the morning, go in and close the door, and write. You can’t string paper clips and get your pad ready and turn your phone off and get coffee made. You have to do the stuff. Everything in life turns out to be a distraction from the real thing you want to do. There are a million distractions, and when I was a kid I was very disciplined. I knew that the other kids weren’t. I was the one able to do the thing, not because I had more talent, maybe less, but because they simply weren’t applying themselves. As a kid, I wanted to do magic tricks. I could sit endlessly in front of a mirror, practicing, because I knew if you wanted to do the tricks you’ve got to do the thing. I did that with the clarinet. When I was teaching, I did that with writing. This is the most important thing in my life, because I see people striking out all the time. It’s not because they don’t have talent or because they don’t want to be, but because they don’t put the work in to do it. They don’t have the discipline to do it.”

Woody Allen


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