watch.

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back when i just got out of school after four and a half years with a creative writing degree (a choice fueled by the notion that i didn’t think i could ever handle a proper ‘desk’ job (i know now what i really meant was ‘corporate’ job)) — i read infinite jest for the first time and it totally ripped to shreds my conception of what i thought writing had to be.

either it’d been a failure of my own imagination or a failure of the university faculty — both, probably — and i couldn’t figure out why the book hadn’t been required reading. this was waaaaay different than everything that’d been drilled into me for the past couple years. broke all the rules. it was great. (probably had something to do with the notion that you really should know all the rules before you go about breaking them.)

book changed my life. and i’ve been reading it at a pace of about once every other year since. tracking down every single piece david foster wallace has published in the meantime.

lately i’m having the same experience. only now it’s about business. and life. and meaning. throw everything out the window i used to think about business, because it doesn’t have to suck. you don’t have to surrender your soul. it doesn’t have to be bureaucratic. the old rules no longer have to apply. in fact, turns out the quicker you disregard them, the better off you are. how’s that for irony?

so take a guy like me who shirks convention and then put me in a traditional industry. but then also have the balls to let go and trust yourself to trust me — relinquish control — and see what happens. yes, everybody’s going left and we’re going right. and that’s bound to make you nervous. and it should. but don’t you also feel a little twinge of excitement? like maybe something’s happening here. like maybe this thing’s not going to quite fit in with the rest and that’s a damned good thing. like maybe we can choose exactly who we want to work with and we can it all by just being ourselves. and everyone else can go…well. that, even though on the surface it may look like this is about insurance, in the end, what it’s really about is what we’ve been interested in all along: remarkable people.

why can’t an insurance agency be remarkable, too?

one of my friends who doesn’t live around here read that last post about passion and said this:

It is clear you have no regard for the cynics; nor should you. Well done.

true, i suppose. never thought of it that way.

i’m building brilliant myself from inside a traditional agency — innovating from within — and the other day somebody here basically told me you can’t do anything remarkable with insurance — nobody’s going to care; it’s insurance. yeah? now, that’s cynicism, yes, but also limited thought. this was somebody who i used to think ‘got it.’ i said f@#% you. watch.

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2 Responses to “watch.”

  1. Charly Says:

    “and the other day somebody here basically told me you can’t do anything remarkable with insurance — nobody’s going to care; it’s insurance. yeah? now, that’s cynicism, yes, but also limited thought. this was somebody who i used to think ‘got it.’ i said f@#% you. watch.”

    I hope it wasn’t me that said that. If so, well, sorry!

  2. ryan Says:

    not anybody ‘on’ here, charly. somebody ‘in’ here. from within our organization.

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