Ri-kun on the tatami
I finished reading Obama’s “The Audacity of Hope” this evening. [Wikipedia] [official site]. The New York Times accurately described it as “much more of a political document. Portions of the volume read like outtakes from a stump speech, and the bulk of it is devoted to laying out Mr. Obama’s policy positions on a host of issues, from education to health care to the war in Iraq.”
Whilst it might sound like it would be a right yawn for someone like me who has little interest in politics, I liked it a lot (although admittedly, I did fast-forward through some chapters that in which he talked in detail about the US political process). It served to give me a feel for Obama as a person, and I must say, he seems to be a bloomin’ nice chap. I also found myself thinking that I’m like his wife, Michelle, in some ways.
I’m now listening to ‘Tribes’ by Seth Godin, which focuses upon marketing in the age of Twitter and Facebook. It’s received mixed reviews, with some people noting that it just reads like a load of blog posts, that there’s nothing new in it and that it lacks depth. All true perhaps, but that doesn’t bother me. As someone very much interested in the uses of social networking services in marketing / creating communities / building businesses, I find it fascinating – and inspiring too. There’s a fair amount of inspirational stuff in it that can be found in many other ‘You can do it’ books – but I need to hear this.
I am an ideas person, but I fear putting my ideas into action. Ideas for a publishing company. Ideas for a Penguin business. Every day, lots of ideas.
I think much of this fear stems from a fear of what others may think of me, a fear that is utterly ridiculous and serves no useful purpose in my life – it only holds me back. It kind of p*sses me off really.
I know I’ve come a long way, but I could do so much better. The fact is that those people who really know me know that I’m a good, trustworthy person – with flaws. Thus, they forgive me my errors in judgement and continue to support me, in return for my support and love of them. I don’t need to fear losing those who are precious to me (they include all of my friends).
But what of those who think I’m stupid, misguided or deceitful, and then treat me with contempt? I’m scared of being treated with contempt.
But that’s ridiculous. Looking back over the past 15 years or so, I can’t think of a single occasion when someone important to me has treated me with genuine contempt. Why do I even entertain these ideas? I’m a good person, I know I am, and I don’t need to have these fears.
These past few days I have begun mulling over my New Year’s resolutions for 2009. One that I’ve been considering is ‘Action without Fear’.
Crikey. That’s a bit scary.
The thing is, there’s no point in making such a resolution unless I act on it. That will require a conscious effort on a daily basis. I think if I do adopt it, it will need to be classed as an ‘experiment’ limited to a period of say, 3 months (long enough to see tangible results?), with regular progress reviews built in. You might think that overkill, but when it comes to things that are uncomfortable and require self-motivated/self-enforced persistence, I need to use all the tools available to me to succeed. (Look at me with my iPhone and Jogging schedule).
I also recognise that I need a tangible goal to aim for. It could be having my photos on public display, generating a certain amount of income from Amway, registering a certain number of artists with Three Seeds – it could include all three, and of course more.
I think ‘change’ will be the key word for 2009. I, like everyone else on Earth, am afforded the opportunity to change almost any aspect of my life every single day, yet I fail to appreciate that most of the time. I subjugate myself to the status quo – it’s easier that way.
But that’s not good enough! I have a responsibility to be the best that I can be.
No, I shouldn’t need a New Year to make changes, but I don’t feel strong enough to act alone at the moment. The calendar will be my ally.
Anyway, it’s time for bed. We’re having our Christmas Day tomorrow as it’s a national holiday (emperor’s birthday) – everyone is able to gather at the family home just north of Tokyo. Excited!
There are always people who will project the worst onto you, your motivation or your choices. They’re really looking for themselves in your rather than seeing the real you. This happens so often that it’s scary, and we’re all guiltier of it than we realize (yes, I see myself in this pattern, though I try to spot it and stop doing it, but self-awareness is rarely 100%).
My feeling is that, as long as we behave ethically and are comfortable with our choices, then we have nothing to fear when exercising our creative muscles except failure to meet our goals. That being said, that’s not a small fear. No one likes to put time, energy, and heart into a project only to have it stumble and fall flat on its face.
One lesson I’ve learned from T. is that the most important thing for any creative endeavor is to focus on the enjoyment of the creation and the creative process rather than focus on any financial potential of that endeavor because wanting to make money from something not only sets the success bar high, but dampens your enjoyment of the creative process. If it’s economically successful, great. If not, you have pride in what you’ve accomplished which is unhindered by disappointment at a lack of cash to validate your creation’s utility or desirability.
It’s hard not to worry about what other people think of you. I worry about it, too, but you do worry less about it as you get older (one of the few benefits of being older). Contempt is one of the worst ones because it’s a form of anger. Anger feels like an attack which can be so acute that it feels almost physical to sensitive sorts.
Good luck with your endeavors next year. 🙂 The world is full of people out there tearing apart what others do while not doing anything themselves (except criticize) and can use more people who actually make something. Don’t let the risk of people sitting on their cans and complaining about what you do stop you from doing it.
Thank you Orchid64
I think you CH is absolutely right when he says it’s important to “focus on the enjoyment of the creation and the creative process rather than focus on any financial potential of that endeavor”.
I neglected to talk about it in my post, but it is a frustration with not using my creativity to it’s full potential that is one of the primary driving forces behind these feelings. I also appreciate that it is the process that is the most enjoyable aspect – when goals are reached I need to look for something else.
I will make 2009 my Year of Creativity!