Below is a transcript for my Kilroy Cafe Podcast, Episode #3, released on 6 Jan 2021 but recorded on 12 February 2016. It is a repackaging of my video, If you want to pursue a better life it has to start today.
This episode is available on major podcast platforms, including Podbean, Apple Podcasts and a video version on YouTube. See the description on the YouTube version for extensive annotations, links and corrections. You can also comment on this episode there. This transcript was derived from the automatically generated YouTube transcript, with only minor editing for clarity.
I'm Glenn Campbell, and this is Kilroy Café, my place for random downloads of data and wisdom. This is Episode #3, and I'm trying out something I plan to do a lot of, which is recycling my old philosophy videos that haven't got much notice. I've put out maybe hundreds of these things, dating back to around 2010. They are appropriate for a podcast because they are mostly talking videos. They may be recorded in exotic locations, but the location is irrelevant. If you look at the YouTube version of this podcast, you may see a low-resolution version of the original video, but the visual portion isn't important. It's the words that matter.
Repackaging these videos as podcast episodes gives me a chance to do a little editing to reduce repetition, but today's video doesn't need any. Today's video was originally called Glenn Campbell on Change and it was recorded in the basement of a hostel in Toronto in February 2016. I'm not exactly sure why I was in Toronto in February, because the weather was brutal and I could have been in Florida, but I guess I wanted the adventure.
In this video, I've turned myself into a pretty effective self-help guru with a simple message: If you're going to change your life, you have to start the process right now. I get even throw in a reference to my favorite Monty Python sketch, the Philosopher's Football Match. So let me turn the rest of this episode over to the 2016 Glenn Campbell and let him explain things...
[Transcript of Video:]
I'm here to talk to you today about change. Whoever you are, whatever walk of life you're in, there are things you want to do that you're not doing. You have dreams that you're not moving toward. At the same token, you have habits. You have bad habits, things you know that you should not be doing but you continue to do. So I'm going to talk about that today, why are you not doing these things you claim to want to do and why are you are doing these things that you claim not to want to do.
Well, there's always a million excuses. For example, if you're a young person you could say, “Well, i've got plenty of time. I've got an infinite life ahead of me. I'll change later. I'll do other things, and whatever my dreams are, i'll work on those dreams later. I'll do it later because I have plenty of time.”
If you're an old person, you're going to say the opposite. You're going to say, “well, I'm too old now. I'm too set in my ways. I can't change anymore, so my dreams will just have to be unrealized, and my habits will just have to go on forever because I'm old and I can't change.”
You could also say, “well, I'm not changing because nobody is giving me the opportunities. Nobody is encouraging me. No one cares what I do. No one is rewarding me for what I do, so I'm just not going to change. I'm not going to even bother.”
So that's what happens: People come up with excuses, and they don't change. The fact is, people are creatures of habit, and no matter how miserable they are in the moment, they're going to repeat the same patterns that they've done day after day after day. That's the natural state of the human condition, that we repeat the habits of the past, and if you're going to change, if you're going to move in any other direction, it takes conscious effort. It takes initiative. It takes a real kick, a real decision that you're going to move, and that's something that I can't give you.
I can't give you initiative. You have to find it within yourself to get up in the morning and say, “Yes, I'm going to do this now,” and it has to be now. You can't pursue your dreams tomorrow or next week. If you have dreams and you're serious about them, if they're are things you want to accomplish and you're serious about it, you have to do it right now. Today. Otherwise, these dreams are just smoke. They're just daydreams. You have to do it today, now.
I'm not saying that if you're in a dead-end job, today is the day you're going to quit that job. I say that today is the day that you're going to start doing stuff, start building the skills, start improving yourself in such a way that you can quit that dead-end job eventually. The point is, you have to start the process. You have to start laying the foundation for whatever it is what you want to do.
Maybe you don't know what you want to do, which is perfectly reasonable, but you knew tend to know the direction you want to go in. I want to be an artist. I want to be a an actor. I want to be a writer. I don't know what I'm going to write, but I want to be writer. If you want to be a writer, you have to write. And you have to write something TODAY. It could be crap, but you have to do something to start improving your skills. If you're not, if you're not doing anything today, then you're just another dreamer.
I'm reminded of that old Monty Python sketch called the “Philosopher's Football Match.” You have the Greeks on one side, and you have the German philosophers in this side, and they meet on the soccer field, and they're going to have a match. So that the whistle blows, Confucius blows the whistle, and they start talking about it. All these philosophers go off. The Greeks go off and talk about it, and the Germans go off and talk about it, and nothing happens because no one actually does anything.
And that's the state of humanity at large everybody talks about things [but] no one actually does something. The match is resolved only when Archimedes has this brilliant idea. He says “Eureka!” And Archimedes hits the ball. And that's what you got to do every day. You got to get out there and hit the ball. If you don't hit the ball, nothing is going to happen. If you do hit the ball, maybe something will happen, maybe it doesn't, but at least you've got a chance.
So every morning. You got to wake up and say, “How can I improve myself?” If i've got this goal, what little thing can I do to move toward that goal. And if you find you're in a situation where there's nothing you could [do] to move toward your toward your goal, I think you have chosen the wrong goals, because a dream is useless if there's no way to achieve it. If you're living in some backwater place in the world and you decide you want to be a movie star, well, [there] just isn't any tools available to let you achieve that.
On the other hand, you do have tools. You have—through luck or skill or whatever—you have certain resources at your disposal, if nothing more than a pencil and a piece of paper. You have resources, and you have ways of using those resources that no one else has. You just have to see those potentials and use them.
Your dreams should be tailored to what where those potentials could lead. You can't be going back and trying to reproduce some other famous person's life and doing things that they did, because your resources are different from their resources. You have a unique set of circumstances, some of which you have no control over. Some of it you were just born into. Some of it was just happenstance, but you have resources. You have things. You have special abilities, special superpowers at your disposal, if you choose to use them.
You just have to have the resolution, every morning, that I'm going to wake up [and] I'm going to hit the ball. No matter what I do, I'm going to hit the ball I'm going to move the story forward. I may not know where I'm going, but I do have something that I can use, and I'm going to use it. I'm going to, at the very least, improve my skills.
Now, if you're going to be a success at something, if you're going to be famous at something, if you're going to make money, it's something you need the cooperation of other people [for]. You need somebody else to give you that success, so that success is really something you don't have control over. Many famous artists have gone through their lives without any success, only be to be recognized after death. Well, that's not something you really have control over.
You don't have control over success, per se, [but] the thing you do have control over is your skills. If you're a writer, you need to have writing skills, and you need to develop those skills by writing and by continually challenging yourself with interesting projects. That's something you don't need anyone else for, and in fact no one else can do that for you. You have to develop those skills. You have to have the initiative to do it every day.
Now, I don't know who you are how old you are, where you come from, what your special skills are. All I know is that you are not using your resources to their maximum effect. No one is. And you need to be working toward that goal of taking those resources that are right in front of you and developing them into real skills that will give you at least more options in the future. [They] may or may not lead to success but you don't need anybody's permission.
You don't need any praise from anyone to be a great writer. I'm not saying a “recognized” writer. I'm saying a “skilled” writer, [which is] is something that entirely comes from inside you. Being a skilled painter has nothing to do with anybody else. It is how well you paint and how well you hone those skills of whatever art form you're working in and how coldly you can look at your own work and say this is good this is not good. This is where I need to improve myself. You know, all these skills are entirely within you, and no one can give that to you. No one can take it away from you. And it's something you can wake up every morning and do.
So my only real sermon here is: Today you've got to get off your ass and do something. You've got to get out there and hit the ball in some way that improves your skills, that improves your position for whatever dream you're dreaming, because otherwise dreams are useless. Dreams are just fantasies on the movie screen if you don't sit down and actually do something about them. And today is the day to do it.