My Daily Walk – The Aristotle Quote
My Daily Walk is a podcast with a Holywood personality who records a podcast when he goes for a walk. The Aristotle Quote, AHG talks about a project he’s working on and how an old quote describes where he is.
Well begun is half done. Now, that rolls off the tongue pretty smoothly, poetically in English. But that’s Aristotle. He didn’t speak English. But he said something to that effect. Well begun is half done. Good morning, and welcome to my daily walk. The daily half hour podcast where this anonymous Hollywood guy walks around and talks. Walk and talk.
So yesterday’s topic was … I don’t know. I don’t know if I really even stayed on topic, or had a topic per se. Was living as though you believe in God, whether you believe in God or not. Something like that. But I don’t know if I had a clearly thought out notion. And that’s the nature of this beast. I am speaking extemporaneously and picking topics that strike me as something I might be able to babble on about for half an hour. Maybe not. Maybe I’m overestimating my ability to yammer on in an interesting way.
But this isn’t so much about entertaining anyone, it’s about documenting a journey that I’m on. As I mentioned, as I frequently mention, I’m the Hollywood guy. Good God, that’s not at all what I am. Not in that sense. But I do work in the entertainment industry, and I have multiple projects that I’m working on. None of them that pay me. No, I mean, I am and have been a paid worker in the entertainment industry. But there’s one particular project I’m working on right now that is occupying 100% of my efforts. And I suspect it could turn into something interesting to people.
And so this daily walk, it’s an honest, sincere, straightforward, from the heart running commentary on my day-to-day thoughts. Every now and then I’ll introduce something that is going on. Maybe. There’s things called NDAs. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned that here before, but that’s just a kind of baseline legal contract. In any business when there are deals or projects a nondisclosure agreement is the protection of the confidentiality. NDA, non-disclosure. You can’t talk about certain things.
So what can I say? Maybe I’ll just get to today’s topic, earlier than normal. Another formatting issue is, I will start with a tease, I guess. Do an intro. I haven’t even gotten intro down, the good morning. I don’t know what time it is where you are, but it’s morning here. Welcome to my daily walk. I don’t know. I guess I’ll come up with a catch phrase, a slogan, all of that stuff. Why? People like structure and people like familiarity.
So it’ll go, tease, some kind of prepared intro, and then a review of previous topic, previous day’s topic. Another thing that I was thinking about doing … Review of the previous day’s topic, and then move on to the day’s topic. And sometimes, I think it was Tuesday, I went 20 minutes in to a 30 minute session before I even got to the day’s topic. So I’ll try not to go more than 10 minutes before getting to the topic because that’s an unfair tease. I’m already eight minutes in on this one.
But another thing I’m thinking about is maybe announcing on Mondays the list of topics for the week. I don’t know if that’s a good idea or not, but … Since this is day four, tomorrow’s topic, I think … At least this will have written down. And I don’t remember exactly what I was thinking when I wrote it down. Meeting the author. Meeting the author. I don’t know. I have a few ideas as to what I was intending. Maybe we’ll hash it out tomorrow.
So today. Well begun is half done. I’m surprised I’ve come this far in my life without actually having heard that. I heard that for the first time only a week or two ago, maybe three weeks ago. I haven’t studied the ancient philosophers and all the pithy quotes, but that one struck me because it was pertinent. I am at a point in the project where I can reflect back on how it’s been going. And that was when I … Those words, I don’t even remember where I heard it. I don’t know. But it struck me, “Oh, that’s exactly how I feel.” Or that’s how this feels, well begun is half done. Even though, technically, this specific part of the project I’m working on now, I’m not halfway through, technically. But getting that first section … I mean, the very, very beginning. I don’t know how much I want to reveal.
Gosh. Let me just ask … I started this section of the project 15 times, at least. 15 different starts. And every one of them went into the trashcan, metaphorically. And then I came across the right beginning, irrefutably. Again, without disclosing anything, like, “Oh. Yeah, there’s no other way to begin this project. There’s no other way. That is it, hands down. No more questions asked. It’s the best possible beginning.” And the amazing thing, one of those … Sometimes you think procrastination is bad, and then when you’ve procrastinated … And I’m not saying I’m procrastinating, this is an example, because I do procrastinate. This isn’t a case of that. But this is another experience I’ve had. When you procrastinate, and then finally you get to the thing you’re supposed to do, circumstances have lined up to where you do a better job at that moment than you could have done if you didn’t procrastinate.
I don’t know if that makes sense. Like there are circumstances that lineup where if you had started on this thing … I don’t want to give people excuses to procrastinate. But if you’d started on a certain thing when you first had the inclination to, but didn’t, and then you procrastinate, procrastinate, and finally … Maybe if there’s a deadline, it’s like, “Ooh, can’t procrastinate anymore,” and you get started on it. And there’s either knowledge that you have at that point that you didn’t have previously, or there are circumstances that have arisen that hadn’t arisen previously that make the starting or the completing of the task better than it could have been if you hadn’t procrastinated.
I know that’s an odd thing to justify procrastination. One of my favorite quotes from a college professor. “Procrastination is my sin. It brings to me great sorrow. I intend to repent, but I’ll begin tomorrow.” I love that. Okay, so getting back on track.
I had started this phase of the project multiple times, months and months ago. Taken stabs at it, “Let me try this. Let me try that.” And then as I was just describing, circumstances … And it’s not that I was procrastinating, but I had at least 15 false starts until I got a piece of information. And it was almost random. It was something I had requested. I’m like, “Oh, can you give me this bit of information?” And as soon as the person gave me that bit of information, I looked it over and I’m like, “Oh my gosh, this is it. No question about it.”
So you get that beginning right, you feel like you’ve gotten over a huge hurdle. And that’s the sentiment, well begun is half done. And that’s kind of how it feels. It’s downhill. Like it’s all rolling downhill, running downhill from here.
But there’s another phrase or expression that I heard as a young man, a young college student, that seemingly contradicts that notion, well begun is half done. Which emphasizes starting well is a big deal. Starting well is very important. Emphasizing the importance of beginning well. This other expression is seemingly contradictory, yet I would also argue is true. And that is, “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.” Which means, don’t worry about … I mean, here’s how I would interpret that, or how it has been interpreted. We all make mistakes, we all stumble and fumble. We do things in our lives that we regret. And often tend to beat ourselves up. Fixate on, “What an idiot I am. I can’t believe it. I’m no longer worthy, or I’m embarrassed and people will look down upon me”. Or any number of lies, any number of thoughts that go through our head that will prevent us, or take away our motivation for proceeding.
And then this phrase is supposed to be that encouragement, it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. And it’s true. You may start something with the wrong motives, the wrong strategy or made mistakes. But persistence, determination, focus, resolve, finishing well is always a much more exciting ending, especially if you have started poorly. And that is irrefutably true. I mean, movies are made of that. You know, every interesting movie has those, failure of the hero, and then he overcomes and succeeds and finishes well, and they all lived happily ever after.
So, well begun is half done, but it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. Seemingly contradictory. But I would say complementary, because even though I’ve begun well if you don’t finish well it’ll be a disappointment. And there’s plenty of movies. Why do I keep going to that? Plenty of movies like that, too. When movies that start well, “Oh, this is interesting.” And then, “Eh, gosh.”
So here’s where I think they apply differently. Could be wrong. But again, email me if you are going to put your voice into this conversation. The email address … This is a tangent, but it’s striking me now. Email address is officially firstname.lastname@example.org.
All right, so here’s where I think these two … If I can even remember what I was thinking. At least two different aphorisms … Is that the right word? Pithy quotes. Here’s where I think they may have separate applications. “Well begun is half done” is situational or applies to … Maybe it’s a project basis. You have a specific task to accomplish, and it’s a lot of work involved and you’ve got to get things right. But getting started is the hugest hurdle. Getting started right is the hugest hurdle. I mean, I experience it every morning. I run every day, and most days I do not want to run. It’s a fairly new habit for me. Only in the last couple months I’ve been fairly consistent with it. But nevertheless, I’ll get up and I do not feel at all like getting out and running. I don’t do treadmills, that’s just death. But run around the neighborhood. There’s an electric car behind me, I can barely hear it, just hear the tires.
So getting up and getting my feet moving in the morning is often just a chore. Well, it’s a chore, period. But sometimes it’s harder than others. And I’ll be 20 strides in and my legs start aching already. And my minds going, “Oh, I’ve just gone and …” But I determined I’m going to do this. And by, say, the first mile at least, half a mile maybe, but certainly by the first mile … I only run four miles. Some people are like, “That’s a lot.” And some people are like, “Only four miles?” But by the first mile I’m just in the groove and I’m well begun. And I’m over that hurdle of just wanting to run or getting going.
So there’s a daily example of that. Just starting sometimes is that “well begun is half done”. So the application of the other phrase, “it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.” It may be a case of where a square’s a rectangle, but a rectangle is not a square, where that applies also to individual instances, project based, but also in the grand scheme of things of life. You know, we all start somewhere and we all want to finish well. I mean, that’s the point, right? Well, it should be the point. You want to finish well. What does that even mean? Finish well.
All right, I just thought of another topic. I’ll write it down. But I’ll tease it here because that’s where this is going. How will the topic be listed? Deathbed regrets. I heard, or read, of a study not too long ago of somebody who did a survey of deathbed regrets, people that were on their deathbed who were either asked or they were expressing their greatest regrets in life. And there’s percentages of, “This kind of regret was the most expressed.” And then these others were different percentages of that whole hundred percent. And the number one regret was something like, “Regret not spending more time with the people I love.”
So is that finishing well or is that finishing poorly? I mean, we all have regrets. I suspect everyone that reaches that point, at least people who works no death is coming. Only people that don’t know what’s coming, and they just are gone. Just went morbid. But of those who live either a long life or have a terminal illness and they can see the end coming. If you have that kind of regret, “I regret not spending more time with the people I care about, and it’s too late now,” is that finishing well or not?
I mean, that’s a serious consideration. It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. And there’s other like tests. So I recently went to a birthday party of a man who was quite old. Quite old. Older than most people get. It was one of those big round numbers. And here’s how you test the life lived, whether this person is finishing well, it’s, “Who’s there, who’s at that party? What are those people saying about this person?” And man, this guy is finishing well. He is finishing well. It was a celebration. Most of his immediate family members were there, and people he’d influenced. And those who couldn’t make it for one reason or another sent emails and videos.
So “it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish” applies to your individual project or instance or season that you’re at in life, but also applies to the grand scheme of things. Whereas “well begun is half done” does not. It just categorically does not apply in the broader sense. So maybe it is a case of “a square is a rectangle, a rectangle is not a square” with these two phrases. That “it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish” applies broadly to just about everything in life, and “well begun is half done” is more a specific case-by-case scenario.
Well, this is a first. I’ve walked for 26 minutes and 23 seconds, and I wouldn’t say I have exhausted the topic, but I’ve … What’s happened thus far is one out of four episodes previously I felt like, “Oh man, the clock is ticking down and I don’t know if I’ve hardly even scratched the surface on the topic.” And, “Oh, I need to finish on time. Hit that stop button so that we’re consistent with the duration of these episodes.” Well, here’s a case where I feel like I’ve kind of covered it and … I mean, yeah, kind of covered it and I’ve got less … I’m down to few a minutes left. So let’s see what happens here.
I am interested in possibly, as I said before, coming up with a patent intro, like a phrase or an introduction that says, “Good morning, welcome to my daily walk. The daily half-hour podcast of an anonymous Hollywood guy speaking extemporaneously as he walks around a neighborhood.” Something like that. That’s pretty lame right there. But coming up with something that’s a regular, recognizable catchphrase. But also, should I develop an outro and be mindful of my time? Because this is an evolving thing. What I expect will happen is I’ll get some of these done, and I’ll get to a point where it feels structured or feels like there’s a flow to it. And the listener, maybe easier for them to just stay with me and not, “Okay, not interested at all. This guy’s babbling on about nothing,” and hit the stop. Move on to the next file or whatever.
So should I also have an outro so that when people hear he starts talking this one way, “Oh, I know it’s almost over. I was so engrossed, I didn’t know time flew so fast and now it’s over.” So do I have a full one minute outro phrase and recap, or do I just have a sign-off? Maybe that’s it. Come up with a sign-off. Let’s see. What could my sign off be? “Time to go,” or, “That’s it for today.” Or, “Thank you for joining me.” What I expect is almost no one will listen to this except the few that care. There’s going to be a who listen to every single word. Maybe that number will grow, maybe it won’t. It doesn’t matter. And if my project goes so well that everyone knows who I am at some time, then there will be this thing to binge listen to, you know? “Oh, he did this. Really? It’s available for everyone to hear. Wow, that’s interesting.”
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