Audio is here if you prefer. Hope you like it.


I got something to offer, all I ask is your time.
And forgiveness for the form: a cheesy rhyme.
You’re skeptical? Makes sense. But I know your type's vice.
You strike me as a purveyor, of do-gooder advice.

And it’s pretty damn good, I don't mean to boast, 
This advice always fits. Well…sort of. Almost!
Listen good, take your time, to ensure I'm understood,
As I tell you how to do the utmost good.

But first let’s all travel, to that fateful day.
When you first got involved, with that thing called EA.
Maybe a colleague, a classmate, or old childhood friend,
Solemnly broke the news, of how this world will end.

Or perhaps it was fanfic, of a boy with a wand,
career tips, free pizza, or a child in a pond.
Well, you found the people, who in turn shaped the art,
of how to do good with the head and heart.

Do-gooder nerds, you knew through and through,
You found it! Well done! Your purpose. Your crew. 
So to all of you, here it is: my tip, my advice.
Alright! I’ll tell you. You don’t need to ask twice.

To help those not yet born. The ill. The caged birds,
And if that wasn’t enough, it’s only 8 words,
An elegant plan, a simple process:
Do what you can. No more. No less.

“Well that’s cute and that’s neat” I can hear you retort
“But it’s hardly a plan that can hold down the fort: 
To reduce the myriad, global catastrophic risks,
Spare the shrimp, help the poor, and those who don’t yet exist.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t think you’re some jerk,
But the world is on fire…I should get back to work.
Thanks for the rhyme. It was silly and sweet.
But it’s got too much fluff, needs to be more concrete.”

I’m so glad you asked, it’s a fair thing to do,
Coz I saved my best bits for last (and wrote your lines too). 
So let’s get specific, let’s chat details, 
Let’s get some shit done, put some wind in those sails.

If you do what you can, and I do it too,
Imagine all the things, that we both can do.
Rid the paint of the lead, take the birds out of cages,
Stop a pathogen’s spread, double a village’s wages.

Convince others to join you, more people is better,
The EV goes up, the more you go meta.
As a powerful clan, begins to coalesce,
When you do what you can. No more. No less.

If you can do more than that, then that is your mission.
Do as much as you can, with your skills and ambition.
Train up and network, guard your health and routine,
Improvements compound, you do-gooder machine.

And don’t bother comparing, against what others can do.
They’ll do what they can, and you’ll do the same too.
Because all you can do, is your personal best,
So just do what you can. No more. No less.

And sometimes the winds blow, in the wrong direction,
Ag-gag laws. FTX. Despot wins an election.
And sometimes the storm rages, right over your head,
Grant rejected. RSI. Too sad to get out of bed.

In times like these, my recommendation,
Is to look after yourself, maybe take a vacation.
Take time off with loved ones, tend your wounds, nurse your cuts.
As long as is needed, no ifs, ands, or buts.

If you’re feeling disillusioned, fed up, or impatient,
Well, this phrase still applies, if you’re EA adjacent. 
Don’t need to attend meetups, or read Slatestarcodex, 
To still do what you can. No more. No less.

And I’m sorry if my words, land flippant or trite. 
Like cheering  “hit good better!”, when you’ve just lost a fight.
I’m hoping these words, will resonate with someone,
If that someone ain’t you, close this page, get some sun.

And if you’re done and you quit, done with doing good.
I’m so sorry. I don’t know what happened that got you to this point. But I know it must have been really hard. Thank you for trying. I wish it had worked out differently. My heart goes out to you.

Look. Words are just words, and action is action,
The goal is do good. The rest is distraction.
Whether you got a PhD, from Harvard at seventeen,
Or you’re an average Joe, or median Josephine.

If you’ve made it this far, there’s a reason you stayed,
The world is on fire, and you’ve come to give aid.
Some days you’ll do lots, some months do jack shit,
We all play our part. But it builds bit by bit.

You won’t fix it all. But that was never your mission. 
Help others. The rest, is footnotes and addition.
That’s it. That’s the plan. I wish you success.
Do what you can. No more. No less.





More posts like this

Sorted by Click to highlight new comments since:

Thanks for making this 🥺 honestly just reading you write words about RSI and not getting out of bed, and then having you even recommend rest, for some reason slaps me hard? 🥺

This is lovely and heartfelt, Elliot! I loved listening to your rendition. Makes me think an EA-themed poetry slam would a great idea.

Thank you so, so much, Elliot, for writing this and being so caring and kind. This is so cleverly worded and beautifully read, we need more of this.

Got me teary eyed whilst reading the forum. wow. thank you.

this was lovely, thanks for sharing!

Love this, and love that there was also audio

This is beautiful, Teps. Thanks for sharing.

Curated and popular this week
Relevant opportunities