Tag Archives: life lessons

Andrew W.K. on Life, Love, and Pushing the Limits

Each week for the past six months, VICE has run a column by rock star/motivational speaker/party philosopher/positive life force Andrew W.K. It is called "Andrew W.K. on." Or, I should say, was. This week, "Andrew W.K. on" comes to an end. It was never meant to last forever. In fact, the task at hand seemed so daunting we weren't sure it would even last this long.

The idea from the beginning was pretty clear cut. Each column featured Andrew writing in-depth on a singular topic, distilling it down to its essence, flipping it on its head, holding it up to the light, and examining it in total. We've covered a ton of ground. 

Over the weeks, Andrew wrote about everything from the possible existence of ghosts to the undeniable pleasure of tacos, from the unmitigated joy of comic books to the thrills and spills of gambling—concrete subjects he approached from every conceivable angle with his unique perspective. But he also wrote oodles on the ethereal, life itself, and the complex and intense emotions that confront us all throughout its inevitable ups and downs. He wrote about how an act of pure kindness changed his life forever, how to get back up from the mat after life has knocked you down with a brutal gut punch of grief, and how profound lessons can be learned in the face of unspeakable tragedies. He wrote about how small lessons are often buried within life's mundanities, too. There are some powerful and sharp insights contained within Andrew's six months' worth of columns. Now that the project has run its course as he finishes up his new album (his first in several years), we invite you to revisit them all. Below you'll find some of Andrew's most profound bits of wisdom. Party on. —Brian McManus

On Hitting Rock Bottom

In the first half of our lives, we reinforce and advertise this version of who we are to the world and to ourselves. It takes an extraordinary amount of energy and dedication to maintain it and keep it all congruent and held together. It can be a full-time job, just shoring up of this flimsy superficial construction of identity. And all along, deep down inside, we fear that all of this has very little to do with who we really are.

When the "fall" happens, we're forced by tragedy or a failure so deep—smashing into the rock bottom of the chasm in our soul—that our container is shattered and all the parts of who we thought we were show themselves to merely be a thin shell.

Sometimes we begrudgingly abandon this identity, sometimes we abandon it and rejoice. But being forced through a humbling coming-to-terms encounter with the puzzle of our true inner self will never allow us to reassemble the Humpty Dumpty pieces of our old identity again. We have seen who we are, for better and worse, and this instills humility, compassion, and freedom. The freedom to just be, instead of having to always be "me." The world opens up. There is more clarity and also more confusion. Possibilities that once appeared binary reveal themselves to be infinite. Questions that were once black-and-white now appear prismatic. There is less certainty and more openness. The self remains a magnificent mystery, but it's now finally free to be that mystery fully, no longer squeezed into the container of identity. (January 4)

On Psychedelics

Words, of course, are going to fail me here. But there was an undeniable sense that I was experiencing the world as it actually was. The other drug experiences I'd had before this didn't expose reality to me in this way. Through them I always had a sense of self, a point of observation that I understood to be "me." In those experiences, I was still seeing the world as I had always understood it to be, just with an additional type of enhancement or distortion. This particular time, the experience had no relationship to anything previous. One marked difference was that there was no empty space. Everything was solid, as though I could see every molecule filling the air between me and the surrounding walls. Everything melted away into nothingness, but into a nothingness that contained within it all. (January 11)

On Pressure

We are here to grow. We are here to expand. The fruits of our labor are not meant to free us from labor, but to allow us to earn the right to pursue more noble and refined types of labor—to improve the nature of labor we devote ourselves to, and increase our ability to take on ever more challenging pursuits, to engage in greater and greater work. What I understand now about my piano recitals that I hated so much was that they weren't supposed to be easy or pleasurable, but they had a goodness hidden inside them that made even the unpleasant parts meaningful. They were evidence of a process. They were proof of something becoming something more, or something becoming someone, a person becoming a human being. (September 28)

On Meditation

Meditation is simply a type of thoughtfulness, an active inactivity that seeks to simultaneously free us from the need to concentrate. It's a sort of nothingness that reveals an everythingness. These paradoxes define the texture of meditation, but in the spirit of contradiction, the point of meditation is that there is no point. Even this is also not the point. And though thinking about it hard enough (while not thinking at all) is enough to make your mind explode, I choose to rejoice in the absurdity of the entire pursuit. (October 13)

On Autumn

Autumn brings previews of the cold bleakness of the months ahead, and with it, time to work on one's inner life. Spring may be the season of rebirth, at least in terms of the non-human realm of the natural world, but for the human self, autumn seems to encourage inner rejuvenation. As a chill sets into the air, I feel a natural inclination to withdraw into myself, and enjoy rebuilding the indoors of my mind and surroundings. (October 26)

Illustration by Tallulah Fontaine

On Life's Ups and Downs

Every part of life's rich experience counts, and we are robbing ourselves when we don't seek to extract something valuable from the full spectrum of our experiences, even those that don't register as feeling great. We are often told that many natural shades of emotion—sadness, anxiety, melancholy—are "not good" by the abstract pressures of society, that we're meant to be happy-go-lucky 24 hours a day. We are often encouraged to overcome our darker feelings, or conquer them, or escape them, or vanquish them like we would a horrible monster.

But more and more, it occurs to me that maybe these emotional sensations are not there to be overcome, eliminated, or numbed out, but appreciated. (I should note here that I'm not talking about pure suffering, deep depression, terrible atrocities, or debilitating trauma, but the everyday doubts that holds us back.) I've tried to harness them or use them as fuel. We can reinterpret these "bad" feelings and use our imagination to find some value in them, let them teach us about ourselves and the world. (December 14)

On Encouragement

In matters of the heart, matters of creativity, I don't think it ever helps to rain on someone's parade. No one who is devoting themselves to something they truly love has ever been swayed by a friend or parent or acquaintance telling them they are bad at it. It just hurts their feelings or fills them with resentment. (December 21)

On Growth

But carrying those kinds of feelings—a soul heavy with dread—can take its toll. So over the years, I've made more and more of a rigorous effort to try and sublimate this inner despair that has colored so many of my experiences and perspectives. I do this by finding tiny moments of unquestionable joy and holding on to them tight. Things like music and laughter and inspiring encounters with culture were undeniably uplifting, so I surrounded myself with these things to find small bits of relief and motivation, some pin pricks of light in a vast sea of darkness. These experiences were often fleeting and short-lived, but the impressions they left on me were long-lasting. If I could feel this radiant joy even for a moment, maybe there was a way to hold onto it for longer. Maybe even forever? (December 29)

On Finding (and Following) Your Passion

This has led me to believe your passion is thrust on you whether you particularly like it or not. This is a disorienting and challenging experience—finding out that what you're meant to do with your life is different than what you feel like doing. It then becomes a matter of whether you have the fortitude to withstand the demands this passion will put on you. Do you have what it takes to follow it? It's almost as if your passion is also passionate about you. Your destiny is trying to pep you up so that you can go and do the stuff that you're meant to do. For me that was a huge breakthrough: that what you are born to do might not even be something you completely enjoy doing in the typical personal sense, but are compelled to do nevertheless. You love it and hate it. "The only thing worse than writing," author Richard Price once said, "is not writing." (February 22)

On Working Out

Over the past ten years, especially, I've noticed exercise has given me a direct outlet to channel anger and rage, and can turn a bad day around. There is something undeniably magical about taking a negative feeling and literally pushing it out of yourself and into a weight, and having that action result in a positive development for your body and overall health. That is true alchemy: taking the lead of negative emotions and transmuting them into golden energy. (March 8)

On Loving Your Enemy

Love and hope for all humanity is not a naïve fantasy. As always, love remains the only answer. And we need it now more than ever. (November 18)

Follow Andrew W.K. on Twitter. All illustrations for "Andrew on" were done by Tallulah Fontaine

How to Say ‘No’ Like a Toddler

This bus smells like shit. Such a stink is nothing new on this route, a meandering line through downtown seemingly attractive to public farters, but this time it reeks like the real deal. The source is close… so close it could be sitting on my lap. "I pooped!" announces my toddler brightly, tipping his head back to grin up at me. This was not the scenario I imagined when I encouraged him to keep me current on his inner workings.

The Amy Winehouse lookalike beside us covers her nose with a set of black bejewelled nails and attempts to escape deeper into her phone. The bearded man across from us shoots me a look of serious contempt as if he'd never imagined anything so revolting. He is wearing a jester-style snowboarding hat that clearly indicates he's spent most mornings since 1996 vomiting bong water. Little do they know, we have six more stops to stomach. From the perch on my knee comes a chirpy approximation of "the wheels on the bus." For someone sitting in pants full of his own feces, my son is in excellent spirits. He's that guy.

When "that guy" first showed up, I had no idea I would be time traveling back to some of the more exasperating relationships of my past. If you are currently unfamiliar with toddlers, but considering acquiring one (for the long-term, or just a couple of hours while their parents go out and drink their faces off like they used to before that all was crushed by countless mundane responsibilities), it's wise to reflect upon the comparable characters you may have experienced thus far:

1. Did you have a manic roommate in undergrad who was hopeless at math and extremely specific about her pizza toppings? Did she freak out when she couldn't find her shoes/books/cheese snacks? Did she cry easily over the slightest inconvenience, and giggle uncontrollably at videos of monkeys or baby penguins? How many times did you have to clean up puke composed primarily of peach cooler?

2. Did you ever date a guy who was super charismatic, but largely selfish? Did you spend your days gazing lovingly at his profile, and your nights gritting your teeth over murderous thoughts when he woke up to tell you about his 'crazy' dream, sing you the new song he just made up, or ask you to stroke his hair? Did he make inconsistent and unreasonable demands on your time—try to convince you to blow off work to hang out with him? When you were in public, did it often seem like he wasn't really listening, or maybe he'd sometimes wander off when he spotted a particularly big and/or shiny truck?

3. Did you ever have an elderly relative or stoner neighbour who you had trouble understanding? Did you find yourself searching their face for clues as to how you should react when they talked to you? Were you unsure if the issue was one of word choice, sentence structure, or worldview? Did you ever wonder if they were purposely messing with you? What was it they were always chewing on and where did it come from?

Photo via Flikr user Andrew Seaman

If you are about to go up against a toddler, consider what you've already learned. It could help, but not much. To be clear, a toddler is not a baby. While a baby might have the same intense emotions, their communication is so vague and limited that it's easy to project some sweet and totally understandable issue as the cause of their weird, pterodactyl squawks. In contrast, a toddler has the tools to set you straight. He proves less the tragic hero, and more an agent of chaos.

The impressive and inescapable thing is that a toddler is able to achieve a superior level of inconsiderate dickishness and get away with it better than any of the jerkface adults you may have encountered up to this point. Part of their wicked power comes from being tiny. Totally out of scale from your usual opponents, it is easy to be distracted—and dominated—by their oversized eyes set against a miniature composition. The other problem is that they are often right.

"Time to get your shoes on!" I'll tell him from the hallway. I am about to be late for work if I don't hustle my son to daycare for his 8.5 hours of mini- Lord of the Flies.

"No," he calls back nonchalantly. I stomp towards his room and appear menacingly in the doorway to find him lounging on a pillow looking at a picture book. He doesn't even look up at me. He really doesn't give a shit. And he's… not wrong.

It must be impossible to imagine why a capable adult person, seemingly in charge of all that happens in the world, would choose the struggle of some place called "work" when there are illustrations to admire—maybe even nacho bits lost under the couch waiting to be consumed. In many ways, the word "no" is the key to everything. Do you want to wait your turn? No. Share nicely with others? No. Do you want go to bed before 2am? No.

I personally believe it is most productive (for survival's sake), to consider the toddler not as an irritant, but as an inspiration. What if we could all live like the toddler? Imagine the luxury of being naïve to cultural norms and the traditional scripts of social interaction. You are totally in touch with your desires—without the aid of millennial inspiration boards, or "the top six habits of the most effective/inane people" goal charts. The next time you walk into a cramped elevator with a particularly stunning or freakish-looking individual, imagine how the toddler is free to openly stare. Verbal pleasantries are superfluous. Spend the duration of the ride making a study of the other passenger's most interesting features. Go full creep, you are adorable and your subject should feel blessed to have your undivided attention.

Maybe you find yourself held hostage in a lengthy meeting. Perhaps the client is particularly boring, or you just don't feel like sitting around anymore. If you were a toddler, you could get up and leave without apology. Your boss is a fool if she doesn't understand that there is totally something better you could—and should—be doing.

Maybe it would be more fun in the lunchroom. Do you see something you want? Don't be discouraged by the fact that someone else is already using it; they are just modeling how the item is best enjoyed. If they are smaller or weaker than you, just yank it out of their hands and run away. You might grant them a little push so they will be slow to follow.

See, self-actualization is just a de-aging time machine mishap away. But seriously, if you currently, or might one day find yourself in a (semi-abusive) relationship with a toddler, stay strong. Patience is vital. In particularly challenging moments, when your toddler (roommate, bandmate, tech startup CEO) is feeling all the feels, imagine the world through their eyes. Opt to reject emotional maturity and 'being present.' Who cares? Build yourself a happy place in your head to shelter you for the duration of the tantrum. Take a nap; fill your sippy cup with beer. It is awesome there… and very rarely smells like poo.

Lead photo via Flickr user Francisco Carbajal

Follow Erin Ashenhurst on Twitter.

Why You Need to Start Talking to Your Lyft Driver

I love the concept of ride sharing services like Lyft or Uber, and I use them all the time when I travel or feel the urge to paint the town red. But it’s not just because they’re convenient; I like to talk to the drivers! And I wouldn’t trade all the stories, advice, and near head-on collisions for anything.

Read more...

An Australian Explains Why London Is the Worst City on Earth

This post originally appeared on VICE Australia.

Now I know what you're thinking. If you're from London, or England—and you're reading an article by an Australian about how London is the worst city on Earth— you're probably thinking LEAVE THEN. If the roles were reversed, I'd probably think that as well. And I did leave, just so you know. Also, it's fair to say you're not seeing London objectively. You're looking at it through a fun, swirly mist of patriotic nostalgia, which is how I look at Vegemite. And Vegemite is disgusting. I don't eat it because I like the taste. I eat it because of childhood.

Anyway, I found London ugly. I grew tired of working constantly but never having money. I resented the sky and its sad, broken sun. I grew tired of being ignored by everyone except Polish waiters and the cleaners from Bangladesh who, like me, had come dreaming of something greater than Sainsbury's gin hangovers and mildew. We were all so disappointed.

For Australians, London was invented in the early-2000s, when we scored some new UK visa arrangements and started migrating en masse. I remember hearing about London squat parties, how the drugs were cheaper than beers, and how Orlando Bloom was really down to earth. I remember thinking maybe I could go there and get an internship for a production company. By 2010, I was finishing college and I had a dream. A Big Dream to become a screenwriter for a soap opera. Yeah, I don't know why either. But that was the dream and London was soap opera ground zero, so I made the move in 2011.


The first thing I noticed was the fences. London loves fences. They straddle sidewalks and roundabouts. They ring sports grounds and encase train lines. There's no ambiguity in London about where you're allowed to walk and where you'll be charged as a terrorist. Even parks—fucking gardens—are surrounded by these Edgar Allan Poe wrought iron things, as though there's something worth stealing in a park. London just carries two millennia of fear about what people might do in parks if they're allowed to come and go as they please. People might sleep in the bushes. Or be gay.

At first I didn't get it. What's with the fences? But slowly I came to see that they're a physical embodiment of something dark in London's overall character. That beneath all those fun pints and Jamie Oliver kitchen utensils runs a kind of force. It's an ancient class system that bleeds through London's private gardens and nightclub lines, making life a pain in the ass if you're young and don't have any money.

In this way, London feels like a place run by people who don't like people. Everything is idiot-proof, floodlit, locked up, and covered in CCTV. It's pretty common knowledge that the UK has accrued some 5.9 million surveillance cameras, which is one for every 11 people. I remember discovering how many of these things are in London, one day when I needed to piss.

Needing to piss is a great way to learn about a city. Good cities have lots of toilets. Even medium-quality cities have nice restaurant owners or secluded alleyways. But bad cities have none of these things. Bad cities have few public toilets, no places to be alone, millions of CCTV cameras in every place that feels alone, and restaurant owners who insist that toilets are reserved for customers who have bought a £8 cup of tea. I'm not even joking. I bought the £8 cup of tea.


Let's talk about money.

When I got to London I landed a waiter job in a fancy restaurant at a fancy hotel. At first I was thrilled because they supplied nice shirts. The charm rubbed off quickly. I was on about £6 [$7] an hour, which is enough to stay alive, but not really to enjoy life. You get into a panic every time you buy groceries, or pay rent, or see some asshole coming back to the table with a grin and a round of beers, and you count the beers and you're like... FIVE beers, that's £20 [$25]. I'm fucked, I can't afford a round! Or maybe I can afford a round? But it'll be boiled eggs until April. Is that worth it? I don't have any friends, maybe I can do eggs... again. Oh fuck, I'm doing it. I'm drinking the beer. I'm doing the eggs.

London is aggressively, weirdly expensive. Costs in London have zero bearing on what people earn. If you're at the bottom of the pyramid, you're currently getting £7.20 [$8.80] an hour. That's better than what I was getting in 2011, but still not enough to comfortably leave the house. Out there in London you hemorrhage money by simply existing. I walked around with this almost Terminator-esque tally of expenditures in the corner of my vision, the numbers clicking over with every necessary, banal thing I bought. You catch the tube: £17.50 [$21.50]. You get yourself a pint: £3.92 [$4.80]. You go to a public toilet £0.50. An hour of doing nothing much has gone past and it's cost you three hours of work. Finally you give up and go home to watch porn because you can't afford Netflix.

On the theme of porn, it's hard to make friends in London. It's a city of migrants, both domestic and international. Everyone is so used to people coming and going, they are reluctant to connect. Also I'm Australian, which in London signals: I'm here to do coke for six months and then fuck off home. Don't share yourself with me, there's no point. I'm just here for coke.

I was once getting along with this guy at a party and decided I wanted to be friends. My next thought was, How am I going to do that? There was no reason for us to be friends. He already had friends, and I didn't want to blow him, so for him there was just this awkward, bewildering lack of motivation. Like, why? Finally I asked if he'd come to the Tate Modern with me. He laughed nervously and said, "No, but thanks."

Socially, financially, and emotionally things in London were bad, but that was nothing compared to the total nothingness that was my career. This was my fault, of course, but London is a bad place to discover that your dreams are stupid.

I grew up with this wacky sort of Catch Me If You Can ideas about how people get jobs. I thought if you walked into a production company, all full of ego and bluster, people would be so intrigued that they'd give you a chance. So I did that and wrote a lot of insane letters to script producers, but every one of my fledgling efforts were ignored. I now realize the problem was that I didn't say, "Hello I'm looking for an internship," but instead went around asking, "Do you have anything that needs doing?" To anyone busy, that sounded like, "Can you think of something useful that a useless person can do and then manage their time, while you're trying to manage your own?"

I ended up making some short films with a guy I met on Gumtree, but I never got anywhere near a writer's room. It was a very typical period of young person's cognitive development and, frankly, it was beneficial. Failing taught me that feeling special isn't the same thing as being good, and that getting stoned isn't the same thing as practicing. Again, all totally necessary lessons, but it's best to not learn them in a city completely devoid of sun.

Finally, 18 months after I arrived in London, I went home. I'd gone to a few squat parties, tried ketamine twice, and seen Pete Doherty in a shop exactly once. These things were all fine, but they don't explain why people say London in the same sentence as New York, Paris, Tokyo.

So feel free to defend a city filled entirely with chain stores and brown drizzle. But you know what? Maybe you're better than London as well.

Follow Julian Morgans on Twitter or Instagram.

Andrew W.K. on Encouragement

When I first moved to New York in 1998 I didn't have a lot of friends. I had none, actually. I moved to the city with my high school girlfriend, and she managed to last about a year before moving back to Michigan. I stayed in the city, determined but alone. It took awhile to get a grasp on my place in this new realm.

Eventually I managed to find a somewhat off-kilter social rhythm, largely through people I met at my job, as is often the case. I'd work all day at a record and video store, and spent my nights completely immersed in my own projects. I decided to devote all my free time to recording my ongoing efforts in music. It was really the first time I'd ever started recording as "Andrew W.K." in earnest, and I remember it being very exciting. I was slowly coming to the realization that a career in show business could be my world, and that working as a full time professional entertainer could be my destiny.

On my days off from work, recording songs was all I'd do. On weekends off I'd forego sleep and record 48 hours straight. After amassing quite a catalog I began seeking feedback from my friends, both in New York and back home. I would play my new tentative musical efforts for friends in person or usually over the telephone, and eagerly await what they thought of my work. I wasn't seeking approval so much out of doubt, but wanting to share my excitement about this thing I'd created and this new dream I was committing to. I got a thrill out of sharing my enthusiasm and this new vision I was becoming increasingly more devoted to.

When my friends finally did listen, I was often hurt and let down by what they thought. They didn't like what I was doing. Some of them even said they hated it. They said it sounded like"bad music," or that it was "too mainstream," or "corporate." Some said it "had no soul," or that I needed to "discover the blues." Others complained it wasn't in the tradition of "real New York rock." On and on it went. I was devastated and confused. It was demoralizing and extremely demotivating.

One friend in particular, a co-worker, was particularly negative. He seemed to delight in his "brutal honesty," and was just generally a person who naively believes they have a higher moral duty to the truth than others. He was very stoic about his brand of uncompromised "truth-telling" to the point that it made him quite unpleasant and not fun to be around. Most topics you'd bring up for discussion, he would shoot down, and school you. Most discussions ended in a lecture. 

To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.

I asked him why he couldn't just encourage me in my fledgling efforts to follow my young dream. He said he prided himself on being honest, and that if something sucked, he was going to say it sucked. "Would you rather I sugar coat things?" he asked.

The answer, then and now, is a resounding YES.

I would rather he lied, if that's how we must look at this, and encouraged my efforts in the moment. I tried to explain to him that I wasn't looking for objective critical evaluation. I was looking for camaraderie, for friendly fortification.

And I didn't think of it as lying. I thought of it as encouragement. Even in some of his endeavors that I didn't quite understand, I felt only excitement for him. I wanted him to thrive. I didn't really care that much about the details of what he was making. I just wanted him to be happy. All I really wanted to do was cheer each other on and revel in the joys of life with someone I otherwise appreciated and respected. Seeing him swept up in his work made me glad. Seeing him smiling and passionate and inspired made me feel the same way. I never wanted to crush that tender enthusiasm in someone I cared about—and I'm deeply remorseful for the times that I have.

I often think about these two schools of thought, a brand of harsh honesty versus a knack for patting on the back, even when you aren't quite on board. I think, when it comes to an individual following their true calling in life, a genuine friend has no right to interfere or tamper with another's effort in following that difficult and most righteous path. This is an area that is sacred, and all one can do is assist and support another's efforts in traveling towards their ultimate destiny. It is not their place to judge when it comes to another's divine life mission. I realize many disagree.

But in matters of the heart, matters of creativity, I don't think it ever helps to rain on someone's parade. No one who is devoting themselves to something they truly love has ever been swayed by a friend or parent or acquaintance telling them they are bad at it. It just hurts their feelings or fills them with resentment. There are no professional stakes here. This was my friend, and my recorded music was my holy dream. He wasn't my boss telling me my work was sloppy. It was someone I loved telling me what I was doing was stupid.

And in the end, it made no difference!  I still was pulled along this same path towards my fate despite the naysaying of others. 

Actually, that's not exactly true. It did make a pretty big difference and a profound impact. To this day I don't really talk to my friends about my creative pursuits or dreams. It's not worth it to me. These inner convictions are too delicate, too sacred, too important to share too freely. They must be brought out into the world through my actions and then seen. But reveal them in their gestation or infancy, and they risk being damaged or cursed. There are some parts of yourself and your direction in life that only you need to know about—that are best manifested from the inside out—and not shown to anyone until they exist not as dreams but as realities.

Which is why I think it's perfectly fine, when friends are pursuing their true will, to just give them a moral boost, a pep talk, a jolt of unconditional support. Just be happy for them, and share in the thrill of their journey while they're on it. No need to voice your opinion about all the reasons it won't end well. Encourage. Fill them with love.

There's a great Ken Kesey quote: "Always stay in your own movie." Everyone has their own life movie playing. You make appearances in other people's movies, and they make appearances in yours. But you shouldn't try to rewrite or direct someone else's movie or force yourself into the starring role. Even if you think their movie has gone off the rails or needs a little direction, all you can do is try to support them in the ups and downs as they learn on their path.

Because oftentimes that path is not a straight line—there are twists and turns and falls. Those down times are often the most educational and when those pursing their dreams can use friendly support and unconditional, non-judgmental love the most. People will figure out their path on their own eventually, and trying to lead them down it with a set of directions written for someone else rarely works.

There are of course extreme cases concerning abuse, violence, and other forms of unnecessary harm or destructive behavior which we can refuse to support, or demand someone remove themselves from. But encouragement and total love for someone we deeply care about is rarely a bad idea.

Ultimately I think Mr Rogers said it best. "Love isn't a state of perfect caring," he said. "It is an active noun like struggle, to love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now."

Love and encourage the people who truly matter to you. Let your untiring support help shine more light on their path, as they journey towards their dream.

Follow Andrew W.K. on Twitter