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Aziz Ansari: 'I hope more people get very successful and then quit'

Aziz Ansari
J. Kempin | Getty Images
Aziz Ansari

Rarely do people who make it to the big leagues decide to return to the bench, but Aziz Ansari, a man at the top of his industry, says that taking a step back can be vastly underrated.

After directing, writing and starring in two seasons of the Emmy-award-winning Netflix show "Master of None," Ansari says he is taking a time-out.

In an interview with GQ Style, Ansari told Mark Anthony Green, "I don't need to make more stuff. I've made a lot of stuff!" he explains. "I'm financially okay. I'm not gonna make stuff just for the sake of making stuff. I want to make stuff 'cause I'm inspired. Right now I don't really feel inspired."

Aziz Ansari behind the scenes of "Master of None" season two.
Universal Television | Getty Images
Aziz Ansari behind the scenes of "Master of None" season two.

Ansari argues that taking a break can be the only way to recharge after pouring yourself into a project. After being involved in almost every aspect of the first two seasons of "Master of None," he is in need of a break. "Those two seasons are really personal, and it's a lot of content, a lot of ideas," he says. "Now I need a minute to refill my notebook."

So instead of working on a new season or writing another stand-up special, Ansari has decided to travel, something that Malcolm Gladwell says is "fantastic."

Gladwell contends that travel "changes people in a really important way. It gives them a new perspective on what they're capable of."

"I hope more people get very successful and then quit. Shouldn't that be the game?" -Aziz Ansari

Ansari hopes other people who have found success in their careers will follow his lead and take a break.

"I hope more people get very successful and then quit. Shouldn't that be the game?" he asks. "That you make a bunch of money and just move to Italy and live a quiet life? No one does it! You do a bunch of shit and you just want to do more shit. Tom Cruise! Look at that guy! He will not stop. He's still making these f****** movies."

While Ansari jokes about Cruise's never-ending career, other celebrities seem to follow mentalities similar to his own.

"I was talking to Spike Jonze the other day, and he was like, 'Yeah, I'm not really doing anything right now. My rule is, if it's not more fun than going surfing, I'm not gonna do it,'" says Ansari.

Ansari uses a similar rule. "I love when I say 'no' to everything," he tells GQ.

Aziz Ansari in Paris for Men's Fashion Week.
Melodie Jeng | Getty Images
Aziz Ansari in Paris for Men's Fashion Week.

Warren Buffett is a fan of this guideline. He told Investment News' Brad Johnson, "I no longer try any ideas that are merely good." Late Apple founder Steve Jobs similarly advocated for saying "no" — in a Q&A in 1997 he said, "Focus is about saying 'no.'"

Like Buffett and Jobs, Ansari is unafraid to say "no." When Green asked if he was worried that his career would slip away while he is taking time off, Ansari responded, "Undeniable is undeniable.… And I'm not gonna make something else until I think it's undeniable."

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