Love the art in yourself

I’ve spent the last week with the words of playwrights, actors, poets, philosophers, and directors. An eclectic mix, to say the least. What I’ve gathered in my journey is a collection of thoughts on acting, theatre, and art.

Constantin Stanislavski said to love the art in yourself, not your self in the art. For me, I think he’s warning against getting too big for your breeches. And that can happen anywhere, in any occupation.

When you get to feeling like you’re the best thing since sliced bread, even if you happen to be the best thing since sliced bread, something is wrong. Humility goes a long way in keeping you working. In keeping you producing. It’s when you start to lost that humility that you think anything you do is above reproach.

As the Chinese proverb says, the higher up, the greater the fall.

Pursuit

It’s easy to be distracted. To fall off the bandwagon. Because pursuit is hard work.

It’s hard to maintain laser focus. To devote precious time to a specific activity.

We can’t be sure it’ll pan out. Sometimes we jump ship before reaching the goal, just because it’s difficult.

But imagine what finishing would look like. That’s what successful people do. They see it through to fruition.

Yes, sometimes they too will fail. Hard. Public, epic fails that make everyone cringe.

But not completing the pursuit is the only sure way to not succeed. Yes, you may not fail. You just won’t be

In fact, the true successes are those who have doggedly pursued their interest in spite of failure.

Doing the work

You do what you do until you can’t do it anymore, and then you do something else.

It’s that simple. I’ve switched jobs often over the past few years, and am considering doing it again. Because it’s all about doing that which you can do, until you can’t.

Incongruity

Some new shifts happening in life, as they tend to do. Something came up which was interesting to me.

After a set of surveys I had to take, I had a conversation with someone who was analyzing my results. Looking over my information, as well as my work history, he said, “Your results seem to be incongruous with the work you’ve done.”

In that one sentence, everything about the past fifteen years or so coalesced into something that made complete sense. The continuous shifting and searching I’ve done has been, at least in part, owing to a mismatch with where I’ve found work.

I think it’s a symptom of those who don’t really know me assigning certain characteristics to me that they believe I possess. For instance, many who I work with are surprised that I am introvert. I play that social part well, and have (and keep) many friends.

However, alone time and deep connections are what energize me. Large social interactions are often exhausting to me.

About three years ago I took the Myers-Brigg test for the first time. INFP. Now, I haven’t revisted those results in the past year or two. But at the time, it was enlightening. As was the conversation regarding my incongruity.

I guess the moral is to make sure you’re doing what you’re designed to do. Otherwise you’ll be emptying the tank, rather than keeping it full.

Where’d you go?

Took a few extra days (false start) after my trip. There was a lot going on, and some things I’ve been thinking about. 

For instance, why posting every day is a silly strategy. Now I’m not necessarily using this blog to drive traffic or strum up business, but the thought did occur to me – what am I writing for?

The answer I came up with is I write because I have to. So if no one reads it, or doesn’t follow the latest post, it’s not really a big deal. When I started writing, it was about being accountable. Going to the daily (until the Alaska trip) postings, that was about accountability and productivity.

Getting back into the swing of being productive hasn’t been easy. I realize that everything I say in defense of not writing daily becomes just an excuse. That I could find time to sit and post. I could make time.

The truth is, though, sometimes you need to step back. It’s impossible to just keep moving along, everyday. In The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz writes, “Always do your best… Your best is going to change from moment to moment, it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self judgment, self- abuse, and regret.”

So I can start each morning stating I will do my best.

I can end each night asking Have I done my best?

And that’s all anyone can ever really do.

Find the off switch

It’s exhausting to be constantly “on”. In extreme cases, I can think of comedians who privately battle depression, but while in public maintain their irreverent persona to the joy of others.

It can be similar in business affairs, in keeping up with the Jones’s, or even in maintaining a functioning household. If there’s no time for full relaxation or decompression, then you’re just “on”, and eventually you’ll burn out.

Slow the f*ck down

Life sure is fast. 

I started writing this in January. I think it had something to do with cars speeding to places. Why? Because we’re always going. I’ve wrote a lot about time management, staying busy, etc. But what is the answer?

We work too much, to make just enough money to buy what we don’t need, and pay off the debts that we built up spending more than we had yesterday. We plan for more tomorrow, but don’t expect it to be enough because we’re not satisfied with what we have today, hoping that we’ll be satisfied with what we have tomorrow if only we can work hard enough today to make more than we did yesterday.

It’s f*#!ing exhausting. And we are exhausted. Collectively, we are done. You can tell when you look at us. We escape, rather than inhabit. We tune in, turn off – rather than unplug and be. But it’s coming. The change is coming, when we understand it’s not enough just to keep going – but rather that we must find ways of existing that aren’t so damn fast.