Quitting your job isn’t realistic for everyone
And if you like your job..
Get creativeFollow DasanjAberdeen
Quitting your job isn’t realistic for everyone
And if you like your job..
Get creativeFollow DasanjAberdeen
The universe has been guiding me to books I should read so I’ve been paying attention and picking them up.
Last year, a friend recommended that I read the The War of Art in light of my creative interests and pursuits and my challenges with prioritizing them.
Months went by and the only action I took was putting the book in my Amazon cart as a reminder. Then one night this year, I was placing an order for headphones and decided to look up The War of Art again. It was on sale so that was a win! As I read the book’s description, this line caught my eye:
A succinct, engaging, and practical guide for succeeding in any creative sphere, The War of Art is nothing less than Sun-Tzu for the soul.
I felt like I needed to dig into Sun-Tzu’s The Art of War first to appreciate this comparison. It was another book that came to my attention frequently. And I had purchased a copy of it a while back so it was time to finally read it. It was a quick and timeless read. The book has been attributed to a military general from the late 6th century BC known as “Master Sun” (Sunzi or Sun Tzu). It remains one of the most influential strategy text in East Asian warfare and has influenced Western thinking with lessons applicable to war, business, law and life.
Once I finished, I jumped into The War of Art. The timing of the book felt right with everything going on in my life. The book’s description reads as follows:
What keeps so many of us from doing what we long to do?
Why is there a naysayer within? How can we avoid the roadblocks of any creative endeavor-be it starting up a dream business venture, writing a novel, or painting a masterpiece?
Bestselling novelist Steven Pressfield identifies the enemy that every one of us must face, outlines a battle plan to conquer this internal foe, then pinpoints just how to achieve the greatest success.
The War of Art emphasizes the resolve needed to recognize and overcome the obstacles of ambition and then effectively shows how to reach the highest level of creative discipline.
Think of it as tough love . . . for yourself.
Whether an artist, writer or business person, this simple, personal, and no-nonsense book will inspire you to seize the potential of your life.
The book didn’t disappoint. As a creative, I’ve felt the resistance described in the book. However, I hadn’t defined it or given it much thought on my own. I didn’t realize I needed the author’s help in defining that resistance, understanding it and finding a way to move past it. One key message was the need to do one’s work. Nothing substitutes for doing the work. The takeaway for me clear; for everything I want achieve, I have to prioritize doing the work. We all have to do the work if want to realize a goal.
Another description of The War of Art notes:
Dubbing itself a cross between Sun-Tzu’s Art of War and Julie Cameron’s The Artist’s Way…
Interestingly, The Artist’s Way was recommended to me. It was also mentioned in the book One Person / Multiple Careers by Marci Alboher which I read previously. So I got the hint! The universe was at work, yet again. I plan to read this one sometime soon!
How about you? Have you had any books pop up repeatedly to the point that you felt compelled to read them? Have any books resonated with you about pursuing creative endeavors? If so, how did they inspire you? I’d love to hear your perspective below!
My Multipotentialite Musings lead me down rabbit holes sometimes, and I love every second of it!
One night, I came across a documentary on PBS. I missed the beginning but from the sales pitches dispersed throughout, I realized they were attempting to sell DVD copies of the documentary being showed. I was captivated by the content and dropped everything to stay up watching. The scenes were of a man going about his day in the Alaskan wilderness. This included him building a cabin, looking for food, canoeing down a nearby lake, and enjoying nature. Each scene was personalized with narration from his first-person perspective.
The story was moving – innocent, pure, and simple. The man was a skillful craftsman, and I was amazed watching him use the resources available to him, create his own utensils and make the most of each day. I was intrigued by the filming and narration and wanted to know if he coordinated everything himself.
Once the documentary ended, I did some research. I also put the 2-part DVD of Alone in the Wilderness on hold at my local library. The library description read:
To live in a pristine land unchanged by man…to roam a wilderness through which few other humans have passed…to choose an idyllic site, cut trees and build a log cabin…to be a self-sufficient craftsman, making what is needed from materials available…to be not at odds with the world but content with one’s own thoughts and company.
Thousands have had such dreams, but Richard Proenneke lived them. He found a place, built a cabin, and stayed to become part of the country.
I went to the library to pick up the DVDs once they were ready. Coincidentally, the person at the check-out desk realized another woman had just taken them off the Hold shelves to send them back since the library only keeps items on Hold for a certain period. I had arrived just in time! I took that as a sign that I needed to see this documentary and it was meant to be!
I watched the first DVD from the beginning which helped me put the missing pieces together. The narrated introduction from Dick’s perspective helped set the scene:
It was good to be back in the wilderness again where everything seemed apeace. I was alone, just me and the animals. It was a great feeling – free once more to plan and do as I please. Beyond was all around me. My dream was a dream no longer. I suppose I was here because this was something I had to do, not just dream about it, but do it. I suppose, too, I was here to test myself. Not that I had never done it before but this time it was to be a more thorough one lasting examination. What was I capable of that I didn’t know yet? Could I truly enjoy my own company for an entire year? And was I equal to everything this wild land could throw at me? I had seen its moods in late spring, summer and early fall but what about the winter? Would I love the isolation then? With its bone-stabbing cold? Its ghostly silence? At age 51, I intended to find out.
It was in the late spring of 1968 that Dick Proenneke decided to live civilization behind to live in a pristine land yet unchanged by man and to roam a wilderness through which few other humans have passed while carving out a new life in this remote valley known as Twin Lakes. Dick would not only keep daily journals but would film his Alaskan odyssey with the help of tripod-mounted camera.
Once again, I gave the documentary my full attention. I was impressed by Dick’s foresight to film, take pictures and maintain a journal given the logistics in his time. In the second DVD, the many rolls of film, diligently labeled to make it all happen, were featured. I had a lot of questions about his process. Since the narration matched the scenes so perfectly, how did he coordinate it all? Did he film and then write in his journal about the day’s events? Was the narration drafted to match the scenes? Or was the narrator reading Dick’s actual journal entries? The narration was peaceful and calming, matching the scenes of the Alaskan wilderness perfectly.
I was fascinated throughout. I loved watching Dick cut the wood to make them fit together for his cabin, make all his utensils, repurpose his tins, create sleds to transport food and other things, assemble the pieces of his elevated food storage on the ground prior to carrying them up a ladder for the final build, carry a huge log on his back with a strap he designed to make it easier, watch the animals for hours while respecting their space and without bothering them, climb into a bear hole, make biscuits in his tin pan, place his “souvenirs” on his mantel and make do with what he had.
I was drawn to his simplicity, freedom, the beauty of his experience, his closeness to nature, and his creativity. His dry humor made me chuckle. In a story about his friend, he said his friend had a good memory but it wasn’t very long! I wish I could have been there with him – to walk around, explore this vast, quiet space, make things, truly take in the majestic surrounds, have time at my disposal… I was inspired seeing possibilities become real through his journey.
Dick seemed to have “busy” days… Busy in the sense that he had things to do, but unlike the traditional sense of busy, these were meaningful things that he intentionally lined up for himself. He had the discipline to follow through on his plan for the day, but had the leisure to switch things up if he wanted. That flexibility is beautiful. His purposeful days were simple and calm. Dick was comfortable, in his element and doing his thing.
I was mesmerized watching Dick complete his projects – what a beautiful human experience to be part of someone doing things they love! I feel like nature has all the answers – inside us and around us in the outdoors. Dick tried to use what was available to him as much as possible so I was amused when he was hard on himself for using polyurethane on the cabin roof, but he admitted it would keep the roof from leaking. I love how elaborate his meals were; he didn’t have to compromise just because he’s out in the wild. He still had bread and a good stew with lots of seasoning! I was so happy for him when he said he was proud of finishing the storage cabin and the camera panned out for a view of the two cabins he built. What a satisfying accomplishment!
There were so many positive reminds in this documentary! First, you don’t need a lot to have it all. And if you’re good with that, that’s all that matters. Also, our creativity and ability as humans is limitless! In Dick’s own words:
It is always a pleasure to see what you can make instead of buying it ready-made.
This document is relevant to everything, all of life. How we live, how we view what’s possible, how we challenge the status quo, how we define our own path and pursue our dreams, how we prioritize what’s important… It made me feel happy, calm, peaceful, appreciative, attentive, creative, hopeful, connected, alive, inspired, moved… It also reminded me of Vincent van Gogh, especially his relationship with his brother. Dick and his brother also had a close relationship and wrote letters to each other throughout their life! Van Gogh also loved nature, paid attention to all the details and absorbed as much of it as he could. He also left us with his “studies” of nature.
I think this documentary can shed light on each of our purpose and the meaning of life. I’m so glad Dick documented his journey so others could enjoy it and learn from it. What a blessing it is to be inspired to do things differently, do more, be more mindful, and live in a more meaningful way!
How about you? Have you heard about Dick Proenneke? Have you seen the documentary or read the book? If so, did it inspire you? What other bodies of work have inspired you to live a meaningful and purposeful life? I’d love to hear your perspective below!
Society teaches us how to succeed. We hear countless success stories with “how to” insights to replicate these results. We know those who “made it” by name. Success is associated with pride, respect and power. Meanwhile, society provides less guidance on failure which is associated with shame, rejection and not being good enough. As a result, when we fail, we remove ourselves from the spotlight, go into hiding and take our stories with us. We fail silently.
We don’t speak about or acknowledge our failure during the process. We feel oppressed by shame, judgement and our circumstance. By not facing failure directly, we give it the power to hold us hostage.
I’ve experienced this and was confined by my feeling of failure. I couldn’t find it in me to share what was going on.
I remember friends and family encouraging me to share, pointing out that we all go through situations and I didn’t have to figure everything out alone. The invitation was extended but I didn’t have it in me to share at the time.
It wasn’t until after I got through and over everything that I gained clarity.
I noticed the opportunity you have while dealing with failure. When you can rise above what is going on and decide to not be confined by your situation, you become empowered. You gain strength and confidence to take actions that influence your outcome. You no longer have to stay where you are or in your current circumstance. Failure no longer has to define you or immobilize you.
There needs to be more attention to what I call “failing presently and actively.” By this, I mean being present to a failure while it is happening and actively addressing it to gain control of your perspective and influence the outcome. This means not being paralyzed by shame or fear and welcoming the opportunity to be vulnerable and authentic. Here are some specific ways you can do this:
There needs to be more attention to what I call “failing presently and actively.” By this, I mean being present to a failure while it is happening and actively addressing it to gain control of your perspective and influence the outcome.
Get introspective. It is OK to look within and understand what is going on. Self-awareness is important and slowing things down to put the pieces together can help you get there. However, don’t let this be your only way of handling your failure. Overthinking can lead to doubt, blame and halt your progress toward a solution. Challenge old mindsets such as the need for perfection and don’t be a victim of paralysis by analysis.
Forgive yourself. This will give you your power back. It is easy to look at yourself when something goes wrong, but having someone to blame doesn’t change the situation. It is especially paralyzing if you begin to see yourself and your situation as one. You are not your mistakes or failures. Let yourself be free to identify the lessons and prepare to apply them forward.
Voice it. Speaking about a failure is one of the hardest things to do in the moment. You get embarrassed about your circumstance and reality, associate the failure with your worth, feel less than and worry about how others will perceive you. You walk around with a secret that you’re afraid others will find out about. However, expressing what is going on is helpful. It lifts the weight you carry around. And it gives you the opportunity to speak about the situation as opposed to the meaning you associate with the situation.
Share your story. By sharing what is going on with you, you inspire others. You never know who may be going through the same thing, in silence. When you break your silence, you encourage others and provide hope. You show that you don’t have to remain ashamed or be defined by what happens to you. You can continue to live freely and authentically.
Connect with others. Going through the ups and downs in life are fundamentally human. We all have these stories. When you highlight times that were challenging for you, you create opportunities to connect with others. Life isn’t only about the shiny highlights. You can gain strength and support from the lessons and perspectives of others. This has benefited me personally when I’ve shared experiences with friends, colleagues, strangers, and mentors who then shared their similar story. It automatically created a bond and deepened our relationship!
Embrace the opportunity to grow. Don’t be afraid to grow. If you are a high achiever, getting anything short of an A+ is difficult. But life is full of changes so the best thing you can do is get comfortable with imperfection and pivots. Use failure as a learning opportunity and a chance to grow. If failure is expected, you’ll benefit if you can learn and course-correct quickly to catapult to better results.
How about you? How do you handle failure? Is it something you find challenging? Do you address it head on? I’d love to hear your perspective below!Follow DasanjAberdeen