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Edward Norton Quotes

Edward Harrison Norton

Edward Norton quotes: the Fight Club and American History X actor’s most awesome content.

“The more you do your homework, the more you’re free to be intuitive.  But you’ve got to put the work in.”

“Sometimes we don’t see certain things until we’re ready to see them in a certain way.”

“The more you can create that magic bubble, that suspension of disbelief for a while, the better.”

“When the tides of life turn against you and the current upsets your boat, don’t waste those tears on what might have been.  Just lie on your back and float.”

“As we say in the sewer, time and tide wait for no man.”

“If you’re not prepared to go all the way, don’t put your boots on in the first place.”

“You can’t control everything that comes to you.”

“I don’t think you should sit around and wait for people to give you an opportunity to express yourself or do your work, or whatever.”

“Sometimes creativity is a compulsion, not an ambition.”

“When you’re working on a creative thing, everyone has an idea, and they’re pushing it.  The first time you work with anybody, you have to get comfortable with the way another person pushes hard for what they want.  Familiarity breeds contempt, people say.  But I’ve found, for creative things, familiarity breeds peace of mind, because you realize you know someone better.  You trust each other.  You know not to take things a certain way, or a wrong way.  You get to where you don’t have to waste quite so much time with diplomacy.  Things are a little more efficient.”

“Life, like poker, has an element of risk.  It shouldn’t be avoided.  It should be faced.”

“There are things you do for the fun of doing them or to work or to hang with certain people.  But the projects that I’ve invested myself in and cared about most deeply have absolutely been activated by a desire to chase something that I relate to, or that I see as having the potential to speak to someone else directly.”

“You always end up getting involved in things because of, you know, the strange things your life brings you into contact with.”

“Popularity is the slutty little cousin of prestige, my friend.”

“It’s ego.  Ego’s a b*tch, because it’s really only demoralizing because you feel slightly stung by the fact everybody’s not going, ‘We can’t wait to work with you!  What do you need?  Go!’”

“Most people don’t relate to and can’t generate concern for something they don’t encounter personally or feel personally affected by.  People have to have the palpable negatives in their lives dissected for them in ways that let them understand the root causes of unhealthy, unhappy conditions in their lives and then be allowed to really see and feel the positive alternatives.”

“I’m fascinated by the ways in which people express themselves, because their responses are often counter to what they’re actually feeling.  Like when they’re frightened, they tend to freeze.  When they’re angry, it doesn’t always come out as volume.  There are wonderful contradictions in the way that people express their emotions.”

“Young people know how to use these social networking tools, and they know how to use them effectively.”

“I’ve observed over and over that people seem to get a much deeper sense of fulfillment out of something they’ve done as an act of service than out of the things they do for themselves.”

“I started, with three friends, this website called CrowdRise that’s sort of the Facebook for personal philanthropy, a place where anybody can have a permanent microsite of their own to stage creative fundraising projects for the charities and causes that they care about.  And we did it with serious intent but without any ambition.  And three years in, people are raising $100 to $150 million a year, and we think that will double next year.”  [Fun fact: it was acquired in 2017 by GoFundMe.]

“Without having lost any interest in my work as an actor or someone who makes films, I do feel a shifting balance.  I have started to feel almost an equal degree of personal drive to engage in things outside of work.  And without over-inflating any one person’s ability to have an impact, you can’t just sit around and do nothing.”

“The incentive for business is not and cannot be anything other than the root incentive for all business: they must profit.”

“I think there is a serious corruption in the idea sold through advertising that you can attain spiritual peace through lifestyle and the notion of building your happiness from the outside-in by acquiring things… which, if you think about it, is the essence of advertising.”

“People think because I went to Yale that that implies privilege, and it is a privilege in the sense that it’s an incredible opportunity.”

“I’ve always thought of acting as more of an exercise in empathy, which is not to be confused with sympathy.  You’re trying to get inside a certain emotional reality or motivational reality and try to figure out what that’s about so you can represent it.”

“I’m an actor, and, beyond that, the thing I do most compulsively is writing.  So I come at it very much from this sense of character.  I get interested in people.  And I feel confident in my capacity to absorb and manifest the characteristics of people.  I have a real auditory hang-up for dialogue; recreating the way people talk really is an addiction in my brain.”

“But work that’s got real substance does make people feel, ‘There’s someone else out there who relates to my experience, or who just helped me understand my own experience a little bit better.’  And I think that’s still got enormous value.”

“I always felt that acting was an escape, like having the secret key to every door and permission to go into any realm and soak it up.  I enjoy that free pass.”

“It’s a dream to be in a company of actors.”

“I just like working with smart people.”

“A lot of why I do something is just the novelty of the experience.”

“I wish I had started learning certain things earlier.  It’s really interesting getting older and reviewing what you invested time in that still sticks and feels like a gift, versus what just faded into irrelevance in your future life.”

“It’s better for people to miss you than to have seen too much of you.”

“At this point in my life, I don’t have anything to prove to anybody, which is a lovely place to be.”

“When you’re getting paid too much money and you have people paying attention, you have to be a little bit heedless not to use that to try and engage in meaningful ways with people.  I don’t have a lot of material needs in my life.  So I try and support the things that I’m interested in.”

“I just like to shift gears a lot.  The things we’ve talked about don’t even move the scale in terms of the good fortune of getting to do the sort of work I enjoy doing.”

Now go read Tyler Durden’s tips.

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