What does success mean to you? How do you reach it? For TV writer and producer David Sacks (The Simpsons, Malcolm in the Middle, 3rd Rock from the Sun) success could be embedded in his incredible career alone - but he believes it's striving to have the life that he’s meant to accomplish. As someone who has never coasted in the entertainment industry, David offers his insights on how to stay disciplined during unemployment, why you should turn your life into a work of art, and how to leave your legacy in this world.

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TAKEAWAYS FROM THIS EPISODE:

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  1. Building your dream job is a rollercoaster of uncertainty. There is no coasting.
  2. If you're in the right place at the right time, take advantage of it. Do something.
  3. It’s not just about having connections. You have to do the work.
  4. Treat not having a job as if you do have a job - make the same demands of yourself and take it seriously. Other gates might open.
  5. Take a step back and ask yourself "What does success mean to me?"
  6. It can take years and years for something to be recognized. So you have to keep going.
  7. Make your life into art.
  8. If you're with someone in the moment, treat them like the most important person. Be present.
  9. Success breeds success. Start from a place where you feel good about yourself and where you can actually accomplish something.
  10. Get a good night’s sleep. Take a shower. Drink a cup of coffee. Sit down with a pad of paper and pen. And see what happens.
  11. If you are inspired in any way, decide to do one thing about it. 

 

MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

David Sack's list of writer / producer credits, including The Simpsons, 3rd Rock from the Sun, Murphy Brown, Malcolm in the Middle

Final Space (TBS), David's upcoming TV series starring David Tennant, Fred Armisen, and Conan O'Brien

Listen to David's podcast, Spiritual Tools for an Outrageous World

The Harvard Lampoon

Bronx High School of Science, which has graduated 12 Nobel Peace Prize winners in physics

Some of the books David read during his years as an elevator man: 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky  

Conan O’Brien and Greg Daniels - other Harvard Lampoon alumni

NBC Page Program

Our episode with comedian Wayne Federman, also an elevator man

HBO comedy Not Necessarily in the Newsthe show that brought David out to LA

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

Vincent Van Gogh, whose art wasn't appreciated until after his death

Bonnie Turner and Terry Turner, creators of 3rd Rock from the Sun starring John Lithgow and Joseph Gordon-Levitt

The Tick, FOX's show that was almost axed and has since been revived on Amazon

Lessons that David learned as a comedy writer:

1) Confusion is the enemy of humor. The joke has to be clear because if you’re not thinking, you’re not laughing.

2) Whatever you write down should make you laugh.

Linwood Boomer, creator of Malcolm in the Middle

Bryan Cranston, who has skyrocketed from Malcolm to Breaking Bad

Seinfeld documentary, Jerry Before Seinfeld

Carol Dweck on growth mindset

 

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