I’m not a huge fan of Andy Warhol’s visual art, but I’m a devoted fan of his writing.
What interests me about Andy Warhol is that he makes seemingly obvious observations in very simple language—and yet, upon reflection, I often realize that he has managed to articulate something very subtle. As one of my Secrets of Adulthood holds: It’s very important, and surprisingly difficult, to grasp the obvious.
For instance, I read this passage from The Philosophy of Andy Warhol: (From A to B and Back Again) several weeks ago, and while it didn’t particularly grab my attention while I was reading it, I find my thoughts repeatedly returning to it. The more I think about this observation, the more profound it becomes.
Andy Warhol wrote:
When I think about what sort of person I would most like to have on a retainer, I think it would be a boss. A boss who could tell me what to do, because that makes everything easy when you’re working.
That’s it, I keep thinking. That’s it! I wish I could have a boss on retainer. (Note Warhol’s nuance of having a boss “on retainer.”)
As the boss of myself, I often wish I had someone to set my priorities, to give me assignments to start and finish, and to tell me how to improve—or better yet, to give me some gold stars.
Telling myself what to do, and then doing what I have to do…it’s challenging. Self-command isn’t easy. How about you? Do you ever wish you had a boss on retainer? Even if you already have a permanent, real boss.
From 2006 through 2014, as she wrote The Happiness Project and Happier at Home, Gretchen chronicled her thoughts, observations, and discoveries on The Happiness Project Blog.