Everything is Amazing and Nobody is Happy

Everything is Amazing and Nobody is Happy

I saw this viral video a while back and I uncovered it again recently and I’m stunned at how true it rings. Louis CK is a riot, regardless, and I must be close to the same age since I get all his references.

Watch the video and I’ll continue.

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My thoughts?

He’s totally right! I noticed the other day that the youngest kid in the house, who has a DSi, an iPod Touch, a PSP (all which he bought himself, I must add), and access to a PS3 actually said he needed an iMac so he could get online. I asked why and he said, “I’m bored. There’s nothing to do.”

What?!

When I pointed out everything he had to play with he simply said, “Yeah, but I don’t have anything new like on the internet where there’s always something new.”

I was quite taken aback until I remembered this video and realized how often we all focus on what we don’t have, or the things we don’t want. This, in turn, keeps the things we really want out of reach by not being on our minds.

Some people laugh or criticize the movie The Secret for being too simplistic and unrealistic in it’s approach. Specifically in the naive belief that all it takes is to want something and you’ll get it. Even the people in that film, in other films and products, ended up promoting action instead of simple thought.

But here’s the thing I learned over the past few years, and that is thinking and focusing on what you want will get you farther than thinking and focusing on what you don’t want.

But HOW IN THE WORLD do you NOT think of an elephant once you’re thinking about one?

Practice. Focus. Add emotion. Stir.

EXAMPLE:

I’ve been a graphic designer for nearly 25 years. On the side, I’ve done art, music, and writing. Lately, words have been spilling out. “I’m not a writer,” the voice inside my head says. But I’ve decided to tell the voice, “Thank you,” and moving forward.

Am I giving up on Graphic Design, Web Design, and other Commercial Creative endeavors? No way! I have too much fun at it! ‘Only children see things as black and white,’ the saying goes. Part of this process is that I have been working for a long while on changing the words “but” and “or” to be, simply…”and.”

I need lots of work. Some serious practice, experience, and goals to accomplish this.

There are several other things I want to accomplish. Too numerous to list here, actually. But, stay tuned, and you’ll get to hear all about how amazing things are and how happy I am in the exploration and journey.

 

What do YOU think is so amazing and/or makes YOU happy?

"I Heard the News Today, Oh boy…"

"I Heard the News Today, Oh boy…"

I’m sitting here, writing this post on my MacBook while listening to some music from iTunes on my iPod headphones with sadness and gratitude in my heart.

I’m sure I’m only one of hundreds, if not thousands, of people writing about Steve Jobs passing today. And I found out about it from a text message on my iPhone from my sweetie who, in turn, received the news from a text message from her youngest son’s friend (we figured he knew she had an iPhone and would want to know.)

As with any blog post, I’m simply relaying my thoughts and feelings. You see, while I don’t believe I feel any more strongly than the next person, I have experienced the loss of someone close (my mother in ’97). Of course, I didn’t personally know Steve Jobs, but he was a part of my life. An inspiration in many ways. And while I didn’t like some of the things he’d done in the past, his creations have allowed me to tap into creativity I never knew I had within me.

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

John Donne
Meditation 17
Devotions upon Emergent Occasions

I read several things about Mr. Jobs tonight. Many I already had read. Many that were moving. And finally, we all sat down to watch his 2005 Speech to the graduates of Stanford University.

Man. What an inspiration.

And what a wake-up call.

As my heart aches for how I’ve been ‘diminished’ today, I remember another quote he said, “Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me.” [The Wall Street Journal, May 25, 1993]

Have I created something wonderful in my life? And have I shared it with others?

Sleep will be difficult tonight.

I feel the ghost of Steve Jobs watching over me telling me to get busy.

 

Resources:
Poetry Online (For Whom the Bell Tolls)
Apple Computers

Review: The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp

Review: The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp

I’m only beginning my creative writing career. I haven’t sold any writing, but I have been published here and there. Not to mention on my own site. Oops. I mentioned it.

I have, however, been a ‘creative’ for my entire life. Whether I was pretending to be Speed Racer and taking the Mach 5 to new speeds, playing “Lost Boys” with my best friend, Davy, as I played the smart boy and he played the strong one to get us out of a lava flow dangerously getting closer and closer, or drawing out a story for a graphic novel that I left unfinished, I’ve been ‘creating’ things my whole life.

In fact, I realized a few years ago, that I was even ‘creating’ my life.

When I was asked to extend a course in Creative Identity from one semester to a second semester at the New Design School, a graphic design school in Fayetteville, AR, I was conflicted on what direction to take. In the first course, I took the new students on an inward journey of creativity to see how they viewed themselves and the world to better communicate their commercial creative designs to come. So where could I take them in a second course?

Luckily, I’m surrounded with amazing people, including my lovely, talented, and amazing partner, Christi, who said, “Have you read Making Ideas Happen yet?” I’ll review this book in another article. But it led to the perfect foundation for the class. One aimed at teaching action.

But it was missing an element.

I went through two or three other books and finally landed on Twyla Tharp’s book, The Creative Habit: Learn it and use it for life.

While Twyla Tharp is a dancer, her life is all about creativity. And in this book she breaks down all the aspects of living a creative life, the struggles, joys, and accidents along the way.

This book brought the soul of the class to life.

The graphic design of the book also creates a vibrant, easy to read experience. But that’s a different kind of review.

I walk into a white room

The book begins…

I walk into a large white room. It’s a dance studio in midtown Manhattan. I’m wearing a sweatshirt, faded jeans, and Nike cross-trainers. The room is lined with eight-foot-high mirrors. There’s a boom box in the corner. The floor is clean, virtually spotless if you don’t count the thousands of skid marks and footprints left there by dancers rehearsing. Other than the mirrors, the boom box, the skid marks, and me, the room is empty.

As she shares her lifetime journey of dance, she takes you through stories of meeting with Billy Joel to pitch her broadway show idea Movin’ Out, through her failures, her successes, and gives you insights to how she and other creative lifestyles evolve and grow.

I was amazed at how easily her The Creative Habit book matched the content of Making Ideas Happen, by Scott Belsky, over the 12 week class. Her views on how getting “An ‘A’ in Failure” lined up perfectly with how creative professionals shouldn’t get bogged down by failing, but take time to reflect on the internal and external forces and find the lessons to be better prepared in future endeavors.

Tapping into your “Creative DNA,” “Scratching” for ideas, and, my favorite chapter, “Before You Can Think out of the Box, You Have to Start with a Box.”

Again, the parallels with Making Ideas Happen were in alignment where the topic was all about how we all are much more creative when we have a smaller canvas to work on. For example, Tharp said to watch out for people that offer you all the resources you need, no direction, and no restrictions as they are setting you up to fail. But beyond that, Tharp describes her system for creating projects. She makes a box to put all her ideas into and then begins organizing everything into an order to move forward. This is nearly identical to the Action Method described in Belsky’s book.

Tharp also gives exercises to help those interested in building a habit of creativity at the end of every chapter. Some are simple introspective exercises. Others are more time consuming and require physical activity, from stomping your foot and shouting, “BEGIN!” to taking yourself on a trip of exploration.

This book is a MUST for those who have gone through the Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, as it shows a real life example of someone who has implemented living a creative life by creating a real creative habit.

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You can find all three books on Amazon.com for well under retail.

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Photo Credit via http://www.twylatharp.org/: © Richard Avedon.