Onward

Be sure that you’ve first fully assimilated the idea of ‘no’, above. For if you don’t, you risk the mistake I make of reflexively saying ‘yes’ to the next thing that comes up.

We do it because to stop (or pause) after Project number-1 means we are one-hit wonders. We are dabbling. We are amateurs.

To continue, on the other hand, means we are pursuing our calling as a practice.

~ Steven Pressfield from, https://stevenpressfield.com/2023/12/having-a-practice/

We do, in fact, want to—we must—say ‘yes’ to some next thing.

First, master the wonderful, short, complete sentence: No. Second, immediately say yes to the correct, next thing.

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Always be starting

Am I too often seeking the sense of safety or control? (And it is indeed only a sense-of. It is only an illusion.) What happened to the simple feeling of joy in being?

What this means, as I understand it, is that when we let go of all attachment to the outcome of our novel publication/album release/opening of our Thai Fusion restaurant … we shift the locus of our enterprise from the ego to the Self (or the soul if you prefer.)

The Muse likes this. Heaven likes this.

We are now operating on the plane of the soul, not the plane of the ego.

~ Steven Pressfield from, https://stevenpressfield.com/2023/12/start-the-next-one-today/

Sometimes an outcome is important; the measurements, the color, the specific dimensions. When the idea began with the intention of trading the outcome with another. But not every waking moment. Too much of that is obviously an imbalance.

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It matters that you start

It matters that I start something. I don’t have to start everything; That’d be tragic. I don’t have to start many things, nor even more than one thing. But it matters that I start something. The knowledge is in the doing of that something. It matters that I go through contemplation (choosing just the right something), then into commitment, and then… that’s where I often struggle.

I’d like to propose a different view: that struggle is the place of growth, learning, curiosity, love, creativity. Struggle is an incredible opportunity for being creative.

~ Leo Babauta from, https://zenhabits.net/struggle-to-creativity/

I struggle when there’s a huge gap between the know-naught starting point, and my being one of those effortless creatives who get stuff done. Those who get stuff done well and demonstrate craftsmanship and care and pride and joy! (Gazing at the horizon,) there’s the thing. I know what it can be. I see how to begin, but I see hills and I know there will be challenges. Don’t turn away. (Gazing at the horizon,) if there’s somewhere I want to be, I need to start walking.

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On creativity

A writer—and, I believe, generally all persons—must think that whatever happens to him or her is a resource. All things have been given to us for a purpose, and an artist must feel this more intensely. All this happens to us, including our humiliations, our misfortunes, our embarrassments, all is given to us as raw material, as clay, so that we may sharpen our art.

~ Jorge Luis Borges

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Somewhat wacky

At this point I’m resigned to my nature being unchangeable. I need structure to work within, and I cannot suffer long stretches of boredom. I’m comfortable knowing that at least some of what I do makes the world a better place; I’m comfy with my internal validation. I also know that if I start to focus too much on making money I lose my spark. What I’m left wondering is wether there is some thing focused enough that people could dig in and follow (in the sense of deeply understanding the thing, my motivations, and my goal.) I’m certain however, that without that clear thing I must continue to explore and satisfy my curiosity, and not focus overly on monetization.

If you’re thinking about running a membership program, you’re probably a bit wacky. Everything I write about membership programs should be filtered through the lens that: I live a somewhat uncommon, sometimes extremely wacky life. It’s good to keep that in mind. My work is mostly, inherently, non-commercial. Or less commercial than it might be “optimized” for. When people ask me: Who are you? What do you do? And I tell them — I walk, I write, I photograph, I make books, I run a membership program. Their suspicion is plainly visible: No, but what do you do to survive? As if the soul itself wasn’t a thing to be nourished. This is survival, I want to say.

~ Craig Mod from, https://craigmod.com/essays/memberships_year_four/

I’ve tried several times to create membership systems around passion projects. The core problem I encounter is that bolting on a membership system creates in- and out-groups. Any passion project I’ve had feeds that passion through my connections to the other people who engage. The in-group has always been too small to sustain my passion. If you wish you can support my work. But for the foreseeable future, I’m focusing on the passion and not the monetization.

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Vulnerability

Vulnerable is the only way we can feel when we truly share the art we’ve made. When we share it, when we connect, we have shifted the power and made ourselves naked in front of the person we’ve given the gift of our art to. We have no excuses, no manual to point to, no standard operating procedures to protect us. And that is part of our gift.

~ Seth Godin

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Connection

Effort isn’t the point, impact is. If you solve the problem in three seconds but have the guts to share it with me, it’s still art. And if you move ten thousand pounds of granite but the result doesn’t connect with me, I’m sorry for your calluses, but you haven’t made art, at least not art for me.

~ Seth Godin

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Resistance

If you have decided that you can’t do art until you quiet the voice of resistance, you will never do art. Art is the act of doing work that matters while dancing with the voice in your head that screams for you to stop. We can befriend the lizard, lull it into stupor, or merely face it down, but it’s there, always. As soon as you embrace the lizard (not merely tolerate it but engage it as a partner in your art), then you are free.

~ Seth Godin

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What we see

…we see what we believe, not the other way around. Rarely do we see the world as it is. Most of the time we are so busy compartmentalizing, judging, and ignoring what we can’t abide that we see almost nothing. We don’t see opportunities. We fail to see pain. And most of all, we refuse to see the danger in doing nothing. If you can’t see, you will never make art successfully.

~ Seth Godin

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The resistance

When the resistance shows up, I know that I’m winning. Not my fight against it, but my fight to make art. […] The resistance is a symptom that you’re on the right track. The resistance is not something to be avoided; it’s something to seek out.

~ Seth Godin

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Shame

While you can still avoid shame by hiding, you won’t find happiness or even stability that way. The thing is, shame is a choice. It’s worth repeating: Shame can’t be forced on you; it must be accepted. The artist, then, combines courage with a fierce willingness to refuse to accept shame. Blame, sure. Shame, never. Where is the shame in using our best intent to make art for those we care about?

~ Seth Godin

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Iteration

On any project I can quickly get to the doing. Nearly as quickly I start thinking about how to improve whatever it is I’m doing. Sometimes whatever-it-is has a clear end; I can spend many hours (thank you ADHD) laser-focused on an immense number of trivial steps knowing it will mean I can remove something from a to-should list. But with open-ended stuff, like “publish conversations as podcasts”, it doesn’t take long for my urge to fiddle to get the better of me.

I recently went to a Picasso exhibition. What impressed me the most was not any individual piece of art, but rather his remarkably prolific output. Researchers have catalogued 26,075 pieces of art created by Picasso and some people believe the total number is closer to 50,000.

~ James Clear from, https://jamesclear.com/shadow-side

I think it comes down to motivation. (And I find reading about others’ huge accomplishments to be crushingly de-motivating.) If I have the intrinsic motivation, then the iteration happens; only by great effort could the iteration not happen! Clear points out that Picasso had a very dark side which presented in his interpersonal relationships. I don’t think that dark side—anyone’s dark side—motivates iteration. And a dark side is not a necessary feature either. I really believe one can be a decent human being and be motivated and get great stuff done.

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