JP on entrepreneurship

Main Takeaways:

  • Artistic snobbery towards making money and non-creative aspects of business is naive and foolish. You need this and artists need it to. (Picasso etc were very commercially savy)
  • I do have very, very useful approaches to things (areas of competence) but if the weaknesses aren’t taken care of, that won’t mean anything.
  • As a neurotic creative person, I need to learn how to reject exciting ideas better in order to focus on the less exciting but more steady plans I have come up with. I also need to commit and accept external constraints from routine and recognize my need for them, at least until I’ve got a more steady identity etc.
  • If I avoid tasks I don’t want to do, I will suffer and fail.
  • Positive emotion is very linked with taking action (which explains why I work in excited bursts but am generally fairly inactive).


  • A longer term commitment to a worthy cause that also generates profit could be a way to stabilize myself and be productive enough to succeed.
  • Having a work routine that I stick to religiously, regardless of whether things are going well or badly is a good idea. Routine in general is good.


Thinking is a kind of conflict and is stressful, because it’s what happens when ideas are in conflict. Tension between ideas is better than experiencing the problems in the real world, so it’s worthwhile. (for me, I find that sat prep can be stressful but later in the week I appreciate the results and it makes my life far, far less stressful overall).

If you’re really high in openness and low in conscientiousness you may not want to work with somebody orderly and you might turn your nose up at things like sales (or in my case Excel spreadsheets) because they are kind of lowly from an aesthetic viewpoint in some sense, but ultimately they absolutely necessary and you will eat crumbs without them, so show some respect and don’t be so naive. As for the orderly person – you need the constraints they will put you under!

You might think ‘if only everyone got out of my way I could do X, but the thing is the dynamic conflict between your approaches is what’s often needed for you to not go off the rails and fail’. (it helps to have people around you that balance out your traits, you want balance). – this is related to when he said about how if you’re creative but you do focus long enough to become expert you’re then absolutely deadly. Same idea.

(basically, JP says ‘Reuben you are going to be an implementation catastrophe unless you can work with more conscientious people’).

If you’re really high in openness and also high in neuroticism it destabilizes you because you’re interested in so many things, you don’t have a stable identity.  ‘How can you stop being anxious if you’re never in the same place for more than one minute’. Get a schedule and hem yourself in a bit. If you don’t create some order, you will burn yourself out with nervous exhaustion. Creative activity can undo you, unglue you, make you fall apart, if you aren’t stable enough to handle it. If you aren’t naturally stable internally, then make your external lifestyle more stable to compensate for that.

For me ways of doing this include:

  • Finding and maintaining the right level of commitment to things
  • Sucking up routine even if you don’t think you like it
  • Having routines you can’t say no too

People that are high in positive emotion are impulsive, that’s dangerous so you have to be careful if you become successful and if as a consequence you become happy because this could make you foolish.

Aiming to make money is not something you should feel guilty for if you intend on spending that money thoughtfully in ways that are good. It’s also very useful to have a way to limit your ideas if you have a lot of ideas and whether they can generate a profit is a pretty useful rule, because you need money to eat and for other things and it’s an indicator of value.(very glad I decided in Sicily that I want to get rich so I can fund noble and whimsical projects (with whimsical projects having unobvious but massive utility)).



JP on Openness:


Openness is deeply biological. Lots of my clients are very high in openness and intelligence and are brutally nihilistic and self critical. I spend much of my time trying to get them to stop listening to their chattering destructive narratives and start creating something! Then they’re happy as hell and engaged with the world. If you are creative and you don’t create you’re missing a major source of vitality, the anxiety for these people kicks in, the creativity shuts down and they are like walking corpses.