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Be Your Own Tyler Durden, Raymond July 25, 2009

Posted by Brian Link in Uncategorized.
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You know that scene where Tyler stops at a convenience store and takes the guy out back and holds a gun to his head? Awesome, right? Fight Club is quite possibly my favorite movie ever. This is probably the scene I quote from the least, but it may be the most profound. For me, it’s all about *why* he does it.fight club

He asks Raymond K. Hessel, “What did you want to be?” and eventually Ray responds that he wanted to be a veterinarian. So Tyler Durden takes his driver’s license and tells him that if he’s not going back to school or somehow changing his life so that he’s on his way to being a veterinarian in six weeks that he’s going to be dead.

Remember, “On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero”. We really do only have so much time to live. As morbid as that sounds, it helps to think about that once in a while. You may look back at what you’re doing right now as that time your life stalled for 5 years while you waited for something to happen.

But if you become your own Tyler Durden and put a gun to your own head and really think about what you want to do, it could change everything. Jack, who witnessed the gun to the head scene says “I feel sick,” to which Tyler responds “Imagine how he feels. Tomorrow will be the most beautiful day of Raymond K. Hessel’s life. His breakfast will taste better than any meal he has ever eaten.”

I’ve been thinking about this concept lately. How my own life has evolved to where I am, and how utterly insane my weeks sometimes feel. It’s almost 3AM on a Friday night, and I’ve just spent a few hours testing and logging bugs for our website, Toobla.com. Next week I need to work on putting three pitch decks together, one to find more money for Toobla – my day job at which I’m CEO – and two for start-ups I’m working with on the side with my web accelerator/incubator company, weBuild. Toobla is literally jumping through hoops to secure one or two months of funding at a time from now to February. I work an awful lot of hours every week in order to keep everything I’m juggling up in the air.

But, as crazy as it may sound – not knowing if I’ll have a job in two months and blindly putting my faith in Internet startups and in my ability and my teams’ abilities to create successful products and solutions – I am doing exactly what I want to be doing. And it occurred to me, as I’ve been mulling this Tyler Durden scene around in my head, that it wasn’t really just one event that brought me here. There have been a number of decisions I’ve made since October last year when I left Digg that have guided and evolved me to where I am. Those decisions weren’t part of a master plan per se, but they were entirely about me following my passions.

The most important advice I could give an entrepreneur is to passionately pursue their dreams. Go boldly. Be confident. Surround yourself with excellent and talented people, but go all out – no regrets, as mightily as you can.

But you have to put the gun to your head first and ask that question.

So, what is it that *you’re* passionate enough about to risk everything?

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Comments»

1. Perry - July 25, 2009

Brian,

Terrific post! Don’t you think that most of us need our own personal “tyler” to put that proverbial gun to our head? This may be a situation, person, event, or something that pushes us to the point where the fear of the known exceeds the fear of the known. Once we find that “burning platform”, we will most certainly jump.
As you noted, the question becomes more about seeking it out or actively avoiding it.

Great stuff!

2. Brightstar Management Partners » Blog Archive » Be Your Own Tyler Durden! - July 25, 2009

[…] First off…..Giving credit where credit is due! Brian Link is a very smart guy and has a lot of great insights!: https://brianwlink.wordpress.com/2009/07/25/be-your-own-tyler-durden-raymond/ […]

3. Vinod Narayan - July 27, 2009

I have read a similar quote before that says life is shot at us point blank, it is here and now or never. I liked the analogy very much as no one tells the entrepreneur to get up and run when fallen. He has to do it by himself. In business falling is inevitable, the only thing one can do is get up and keep running 🙂

4. Mike Busch - July 27, 2009

Great post Brian! I love Fight Club too, and I don’t watch it nearly as often as I should. This has always been one of my favorite scenes from the whole movie… mixed in with all the others its easy to forget about it… but the profoundness of Tyler’s assertion that the next day will be the best day of his life.. because he’ll realize that he’s NOT complete until he realizes his dreams, and life is fragile, so there’s no time to waste to get there. Just wonderful.

AND also… you’re team DOES appreciate your hard work. 🙂

6. Chris Peters - August 22, 2009

Thanks for the reminder of that scene. That is awesome to think about in the context of entrepreneurship.

A little trivia… Edward Norton’s character is actually named “Narrator.” They never actually mention his name during the movie. The “Jack” thing is from a set of poems that he finds in the house.

7. RanWithTheBeer - May 13, 2010

Blinky ol chap…a very good, thought provoking post. I’ve seen Fight Club only once, but recall enough of it to relate to your analogy. You are good at this…keep it up!

8. gottapaythetrolltoll - May 28, 2010

I typed a quote from the movie into google to see what it actually was word for word, and this was the first link. I clicked it, read the article, and was immediately asking myself why the hell would someone go out of their way to explain something that directors and script writers spent two hours explaining to their audience in a carefully worded movie. Honestly I don’t understand the point of writing an article which basically describes the theme of the entire movie again and again. But thanks for telling us something that we already knew.

9. hermes kelly bag - July 6, 2010

typed a quote from the movie into google to see what it actually was word for word, and this was the first link. I clicked it, read the article, and was immediately asking myself why the hell would someone go out of their way to explain something that directors and script writers spent two hours explaining to their audience in a carefully worded movie. Honestly I don’t understand the point of writing an article which basically describes the theme of the entire movie again and again. But thanks for telling us something that we already knew.


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