Creative Life

I didn’t publish any posts this weekend.

Instead, I chose to immerse myself in moments.

I think I won’t publish from now on between Friday and Sunday.

I need these moments.

Because these moments allow me to immerse myself in myself so that the writing during the weekdays can be better.

They allow me to live a better life.

They allow me to explore.

And discover the things that need changing.

I wanted to write daily, but it’s simply unsustainable with the amount of work I have to do.

For that, I am sorry.

But the writing will be better this way.

And (I think) it’s only for now.

 

 

enormoussmallness5

An illustration from Enormous Smallness, a biography about E.E. Cummings, an inspiring hoper

I’m stressed
Overworked and just a mess
I like to practice mental rest
Mindfulness to soothe distress
I’d like to write, read many books, and plan for tests

And plan for papers

And plan for work

And plan for plans so I can practice mental rest

But I’m upset
I’d like to explore and play and swim and joke and snort
And cuddle in a pillow fort

But I’m pressed for time
There’s much to do
Seriousness about hullabaloo

People in charge have decided that funs too fun
And, “Well, there’s a time for that”
It’s set for seven; haven’t you looked?
It’s there within our discipline book

You’re grown now, after all
If you’re to succeed, you must learn to settle with less
What’s all this with creative work, sincerity, and imagination?

Don’t you know the worlds at war?
Our nation’s facing several disgraces
Don’t you know there are czars and greed?
Don’t you know you there are drunks in bars and poverty,
Anxiety, and people in the streets with no food to eat?
Responsibility means you must pursue industry

Adults show up, despite disease
You’ve committed; our society requires you to be
Tired and buttoned-down – to the tee
Speaking of, have you practiced your golf swing?
You’ll need to if you will compete most effectively

Be grateful, it once was worse
Children had to work and didn’t learn
And hours lasted and smoke would burn in city streets

You see: the world is unkind
People lie and care for their lives
They forget they’re kids inside
And choose to hide behind a role that they decide

It’s confusing, I know; I feel it too

And what are we to do?

There’s a secret thing
I’m so happy to share with you:
Don’t listen to those authorities

It’s scary, I know, but success just needs faith and hope

Don’t sacrifice who you are inside
To be a part of something that makes people mope

Hear your heart and help your friends
You might need to plan now and then

But it’s okay to take the time for jokes and snorts and pillow forts

And live your life
Don’t give it up; just keep focus
Practice your passion and commit some time
You might fail but eventually you’ll notice

You’ve built a life you love
And the dreams people told you to believe were true
They were just a bit tough
There’s no right answer
So don’t worry, keep going, and do what’s right for you

Adam Grant in his book Originals relays a lot of useful information. I’m about halfway through the book and already have learned about the relationship between what Internet browser is used and productivity, how to better guarantee your ideas are hits, and the different factors involved with selling a novel idea to an organization.

But my favorite thing I’ve learned is this: Artistic interest drives intellectual accomplishment.

A study that looked at differences in levels of interest in the arts between Nobel Prize-winning scientists from 1901 to 2005 and their scientific peers revealed that the awarded group was dramatically more likely to be involved in the arts than less accomplished scientists. The chart below illustrates this.

Additionally, Grant notes that “a representative study of thousands of Americans showed similar results for entrepreneurs and inventors. People who started businesses and contributed to patent applications were more likely than their peers to have leisure time hobbies that involved drawing, painting, architecture, sculpture, and literature.”

The personality trait that most associated with an interest in the arts is called openness. This is “Openness to Experience, or openness to considering new ideas … [It] describes a person’s tendency to think abstractly. Those who are high in Openness tend to be creative, adventurous, and intellectual. They enjoy playing with ideas and discovering novel experiences. Those who are low in Openness tend to be practical, traditional, and focused on the concrete. They tend to avoid the unknown and follow traditional ways.”

This definition is from Truity, a website that allows you to take a test to measure your level of openness and four other major personality traits. If you’d like to learn about your level of openness, follow this link to take the test.

[Note: Sorry about the late post. My laptop charger isn’t working, and yesterday was busy. We’ll be back on track tomorrow.]

Society might feel like it’s simpler than we imagine. At its core, there are a few key ingredients. For example:

  1. Clothing
  2. Food
  3. Natural resources for building and technology
  4. Entertainment
  5. Ideas
  6. Art
  7. Relationships

The devil is in the details and the values we place upon these categories. What does clothing mean to you? Is it a mere means to comfort or is it a projection of our status to the world? What is the meaning of art? Do we feel like we belong in our relationships and which relationships does that matter in? Why do we create art? What is it we connect with in movies we are entertained by? Do we just believe things about these categories that we have been told to believe by people in our immediate circles?

In some respects, the development of society is a continual over-complication. (Enter the rise of -isms.) It’s the macro-equivalent of someone with too much time on their hands.

But there’s more to this. Society is stratified. This means it’s arranged and organized. And this is really where things get tricky.

You start to see the formulation of a dominant mindset, some values or ideas battle against others, and we start to really complicate things with winners and losers.

When you break society down to its most essential elements as I did just above, you start to see that these ideas of status and authority are kind of absurd.

We’re all just human beings. We all pretty much want the same stuff.

This is a riff. I don’t know where it’s going. These are just important things to think about.

Ask yourself what the relationship between the Internet, mass communication, and industrialism has on these relationships? Who becomes the gatekeepers? Who decides who wins and loses?

I don’t have the answers yet about these things, but I invite you along.

I think there’s something to be said about the role of government in this whole thing.

Here’s something to keep in mind along the journey: politics is the movement of power. It’s the ultimate decision about authority.

With so many people and ideas, it often feels like everything has been said.

We all are human.

We all want connection.

We all want love.

We all want belonging.

We all want to feel like we as individuals and our work matter.

So we all crave a voice.

And many of us crave fame.

Fame, micro (social media influencers) and macro (folks who have to worry about paparazzi) is a good proxy for our self-worth.

 

I’m following my path. I am putting my self-care above all else. Whatever gets done after that self-care gets done. In other words, what will be will be beyond my happiness. My therapist, my best friends, and the books I’m reading are all telling me that I need to focus on myself and my happiness over everything. So I’m going to stop killing myself trying to be perfect at school, and I’m going to focus on doing what I love.

I’m frankly miserable trying to do everything at once, so I’m going to take one day at a time and just live the life I want – a life of love, good exercise, video games, great books, and thrift stores.

 

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man. – George Bernard Shaw

Shaw is right.

Progress demands originality.

But originality might lead to friction.

People might not accept you.

So those willing to be criticized, disliked, or even hated are the harbingers of innovation.

Change the game. Embrace the haters.