Weekly Insights and Inspiration for Flying Higher in Endeavors that Make a Difference
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"Books are the bees which carry the quickening pollen from one to another mind." - James Russell Lowell
Books have always been my go-to source of inspiration and information. These four books, more than any others, inform my journey in building Creative On Purpose into a sustainable brand that enhances the lives of those who collide with it.
Meditations: A New Translation, by Gregory Hays
I chronicled my lifelong relationship with the Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius in an article I was commissioned to write for the Modern Stoicism blog. Creative On Purpose began as a project intended to share the virtues of ancient Stoic philosophy as it applied to creative enterprises. Marcus' reminders to himself about...
Want to develop your potential? Awaken the giant within? Achieve excellence in an endeavor worthy of your time and talents?
Some say it takes guts, grit, and grind. Others say it requires planning, purpose, and perseverance. Perhaps it's merely up to fate, faith, and fortune.
Regardless of how you realize your promise, there's one strategy that can really help you get out of your head and out of your own way. Stop taking yourself so damn seriously!
Sure, dream big, go large, and fly high; but remember that things rarely turn out just the way you think they will or should. Embrace the fact that you, and everyone else, are stumbling their way toward excellence. Adopt a posture of blundering.
Here are just a few of the benefits of the fine art of blundering:
Yes, you read that title correctly. I assert that "stoicism is stupid."
To be clear, what I mean is, common English usage, lower case "s" stoicism is a pretty poor strategy for cultivating happiness while building a life worth living.
Meaningful living and work, without question, involves challenges, misfortunes, and invitations for shame and suffering. And "keeping a stiff upper lip" and grimly enduring such hardships will bring no feelings of peace, prosperity, or wellbeing.
On the other hand, capital "S" Stoicism, the ancient philosophy of life, has much wisdom and value to impart to those who strive to endeavor better. First and foremost, Stoicism asserts that excellence of character is all that is required to "live the good life."
Although virtue is sufficient, Stoicism also encourages us to strive to make both the world and ourselves "better" and also provides principles and practices for doing just that.
The video above is from a Facebook Live broadcast from the...
Creatives break things. It comes with the job. Things are as they are, and then the creative brings forth something new. Suddenly what was is no longer what is.
It so often happens at the micro level that you simply stop taking note. But sometimes the change is so profound that everyone notices.
Everyone used to have a phone hanging on their kitchen wall. Now no one does.
Voting was a white man's privilege. Now we agree that it's everyones.
You were born a non-walker and non-talker. Now you do both without a thought.
The status quo appears immutable. But your creative capacity is a powerful lever.
What are you ready to break? What will you make that's better?
Keep flying higher!
Is a sure thing worth pursuing?
What dream or desire would you pursue if its achievement was guaranteed? Go ahead, dream big. Tap your deepest desire.
Now, would an assurance really guarantee your pursuit of that dream or desire? I don't think so.
Work that's worth it can't come with a guarantee because it's the striving that infuses it with meaning and value. Leaning into the work with curiosity and courage helps you forge meaning. Leaping into the arena builds character and resiliency.
Facing fear and uncertainty sharpens the focus and cuts through the noise. The struggle matters because it measures the worth of the work and helps you build its (and your), identity.
You don't need a guarantee, you need to get going. What's stopping you? I guarantee it's not a lack of assurance.
Keep flying higher!
Certainty and confidence are over-rated and the enemies of creativity. I take some flak for asserting this, but I stand by that assertion.
Here's the deal. Creativity is about change. Creativity is about innovation. Creativity is about risk. Creativity is an act of faith driven by an impulse that things can be improved.
Creative acts are executed with the understanding that they might not work. Failure is a distinct and real possibility. And yet, you, creative being that you are, generously lean in and bravely leap into a possibility "as if" there's a better way.
Creative requires courage. The courage of conviction and the courage to step into and influence what happens next. Curiosity, coupled with courage, creates change.
Certainty and confidence, on the other hand, are tied in the tried and true and the status quo. Certainty and confidence are earned by mastering information, systems, and structures that are firmly established.
But far too often...
I've earned my living from playing music on stages large and small. Sometimes for festival audiences of thousands, sometimes to the sound of one fan clapping in a small club. Along the way, I learned a few lessons that inspire and inform other life endeavors. Here are my top 10 lessons learned from the stage that apply to living "the good life."
Do You Know That You’re Lying?
“Let’s start with a quick poll. Raise your hand if you’re a Creative. Great! If your hand is raised, put it back down. Now, raise your hand if you’re not a Creative. That's interesting. Keep your hand raised. Alright, if your hand is raised, keep it raised if you know you’re lying…!”
This poll is how I open my workshops on becoming a “bulletproof creative” (aka a Thriving Artist). The results are always about the same. One-third raise their hands to the opening query, another third to the next, and the final third to the last (often with nervous laughter).
We Are All Creatives
Here’s the deal: everyone is a Creative. A Creative is simply someone who brings something into the world that didn’t previously exist. Every time you make a meal, make a mess, or make amends, you’ve engaged in an act of creation. Creating is an everyday human activity.
Whether you’re a musician,...
I had the great privilege of speaking with Seth Godin for a second time on the Creative On Purpose Broadcast recently. He packed our short time together with a ton of knowledge and insight. But one of the most profound moments was what Seth said about the perils of attachment for creatives (people like us).
I’ve been thinking about this ever since our conversation ended and sharing a few “aha moments” I didn’t see or articulate when Seth suggested I lead off our discussion.
Is the work you do deliberate, inspired, provocative, or significant?
Shouldn’t it be?
What “The Work You’re Meant to Do Now” Is NOT
The work you’re meant to do now is not “what you were born to do.” It’s not the one thing you’re put on the planet for. There is no “one thing” you’re meant to do. There are limitless possible roles for you to play and endless potential jobs for you to do.
Humans are inherently social creatures born with the capacity for reason and creative nature. Where and to whom you’re born certainly influences the development of your beliefs, skills, and connections; but at some point, you gain agency over who you are, what you do, and who you associate with.
Discovering the work you’re meant to do now doesn’t “start with why.” It starts with who. You are not the sum of what you do, how you do it, and why you do what you do. It’s...