“The test is always [the song] ‘Terrible Lie’. It’s two chords: C, D…and you’d see these guys and they’d be playing C, D and I’d stop them and say, ‘It’s not, C, D. It’s, ‘[expletive] you’. I want your hand to bleed. I don’t care if you hit the right notes.”
- Trent Reznor, Nine Inch Nails frontman, on hiring new guitar players
I get it, not all of you like Nine Inch Nails. The gaping holes in your entertainment spectrum are not my concern. And you might think, well, I have no idea what this has to do with energy.
But what this legendary rage-filled weirdo is saying is worth listening to. There is a mechanicalness with which we can sleepwalk through things if we’re not careful, and we wake up one day and we’re 65 and we say how the hell did that happen.
Every day, there are choices: passivity vs. purposefulness. Living vs. existence. Movement vs. action. Yes, you’re busy. I’m busy. We’re all busy. And another day goes by.
Entrepreneurs know this, and entrepreneurs come in all stripes. And maybe you aren’t an entrepreneur; maybe you work for someone or something and your work world is defined.
But we know when we see half-heartedness, and we know it isn’t always just because of a lack of effort. We know when someone is drowning in the world of bad news, or being subsumed by loud hatred from history’s inevitable stream of minority mobs that breed on ignorance and sow fatigue.
Here in the energy world, some have a lot of trouble getting out of bed in the morning, knowing they will face a hostile media, hostile elements of government, and swarming activists, attacking the energy industry for the very act of keeping them all alive. It’s not fair. It’s not right. But that is the world right now. It won’t always be. But it is now.
Since we’re here on a website devoted to powering the world, here is a stark notice worth writing on your morning mirror: Negative energy will eat you alive. It will. You can’t let it. Yes, the hydrocarbon industry is maliciously deemed ‘Big Oil’, and was forced to watch our national leader participate in a climate march with a fabricated icon in front of signs saying “Fossil fuels are killing the planet”. Those people exist in sheer defiance of reality. But we know how the energy world works; they dream of how they want it to be and sell that as fact. Seven billion people will not exist without hydrocarbons. Their signs were 180 degrees wrong, and our PM saluted them anyway. In twenty years, seven billion people will still not exist without them. In fifty years, the world’s population will still need them – just maybe not as much.
Choose your battles when fighting ignorance, when fighting anonymous trolls, when fighting yappy online ‘energy commentators’ who think they know energy because they learn from the architects trying to destroy the system that keeps the global wheels turning. They will sap your spirit, which is their only, measly, victory. If you want to engage them, go nuts, I don’t care. But don’t play their game. Don’t pass around moronic articles full of inane energy observations, asking ‘Did you see this?’ Reading nonsense that gets your blood pressure up is not a valuable exercise in “stepping outside your bubble”.
Go ahead and read that stuff if you want, and comment on it if you choose, but know that much of it is not there to engage or solve. It is there to provoke and divide. If you’re provoked, they win. If you react harshly, they win. It is remarkably easy to spot quality articles: Real solutions engage all energy options; false ones create energy villains. The only real villain is our lifestyles, and the rest of the world trying to emulate. Attack that as you see fit.
Anti-hydrocarbon purists do not have reality on their side; fuel providers do. We have evidence of delivery, every day, of almost 100 million barrels of oil and 350 billion cubic feet of natural gas. We can show them the receipts. The receipts keep getting bigger. They have a pile of wishes and platitudes about “We oughta live this way”. As always, to be clear, there is nothing wrong with aspirational targets to clean up the environment. There’s everything wrong with politicized smear campaigns and character assassination of those who simply try to keep the world going with the fuel it needs and demands, a world that will collapse without.
Maybe heeding the advice of Nine Inch Nails isn’t your thing. They take some getting used to, like a home-made catheter. Here’s something instead then, from someone more palatable:
“Press on. Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more talented than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education alone will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”
- Calvin Coolidge
Here’s a New Year’s resolution for your consideration: At the end of 2021, be able to look yourself in the eye and say you gave it all you had. You didn’t just mechanically play the notes, you made music. You wrote a book, or maybe your second one (talking to myself). You didn’t peer timidly at an opportunity, you charged at it. You didn’t quit for the day because it was four-thirty, you quit because your hands were bleeding. It’s easy to be hurt, and easy to lose faith. But don’t.