I have spent the last 20 years trying to find the best pen. I have tried over 100 different pens to find that perfect one. The way it feels in your hand, how well it writes, and how much it bleeds, the struggle is real. Finally, I have found that perfect pen but I also found out a very important reality.
The pen doesn’t matter if you don’t have the words inside you.
I have read that one of the questions that Stephen King gets asked most often at conferences is what pen does he use? In my search for the world’s greatest pen, I became obsessed with the idea of having the best journals, the best pen, so I could write the best words. It seems though as I sit at this coffee shop to write in my perfect journal with my perfect pen I still find myself without the words to write.
1. The perfect pen doesn’t matter if you don’t do the work.
In my experience, most people focus on finding the perfect tool that will do the work for them. I have 10 unfinished journals on my bookshelf. Why? Because I started a journal wrote in it for a week or two and then stopped. I want to be a journaler so a couple of months later I think if I buy a different journal I will write in it. So I buy another journal and write in it for a few weeks and then stop. The cycle goes on and on and I keep telling myself if I find the right journal I will be consistent. 10 journals in and no such luck because of course it is the journal’s fault and not my inconsistency.
People have asked Isaac Asimov how he was able to write 400 books. His answer was I sat down at the typewriter at 6:00 am and typed for four hours. I used to work for an auction company for a few years and one of the things that stood out to me was how many exercise equipment pieces people own and how dusty they were. The truth of the matter is the equipment doesn’t matter If we don’t show up to do the work.
You have to show up and do the work. We can’t keep playing the game of finding the perfect piece of equipment, or the perfect tool unless we show up and do the work. We can have all the tools in the world and still be the same person next year. We have to show up and do the work.
2. The perfect pen will expose our weaknesses
Gary Vee once said that social media hasn’t changed us…it is exposing us. As I said earlier about journals, the pens and journals have exposed my lack of consistency. When we get that gym membership on January one it exposes us in a few months that we don’t have the discipline that we need. We often blame the tools, the lack of time, or the amount of busyness we have in our lives but the truth is all those just expose our weaknesses.
Unfortunately, the best tools will just magnify who we really are. If we aren’t willing to change who we are then finding the perfect tool will just allow others to see who we are. Finding the perfect pen has forced me to look at myself in the mirror and realize that it is the journal or the pen but who I am. I have been forced to start a journey of self-transformation. We can continue to search for the perfect tool or we can start changing who we are.
3. The red pill doesn’t exist.
In the matrix, neo takes the red pill, and everything changes. Unfortunately in life, the red pill doesn’t exist. I have seen people go to casinos looking for the red pill, a quick fix to their finances, and end up way worse off than they started. I have seen people jump out of a plane to feel alive and then as soon as they land they need to jump again just to feel alive. I have seen people rely on sex for the depth of their relationship and unfortunately, with no other depth to their relationship it ends just as fast and chaotic as it started.
The list is endless of red pills we try to take to change everything. You have to realize that the red pill doesn’t exist, buy as many cars as you want, and shoot yourself out of as many cannons as you want won’t fix anything. Stop spending your time, energy, and life on finding the red pill and start using that time and energy on changing who you are. You can’t imagine how much of life is passing you by looking for the perfect pen.