Today marks the one year of this blog. 27 July last year, was a turning point in my life. After a lot of apprehensions, I bought my name as the domain name to start blogging. I finally came to terms with the fact that if I want to take my passion for writing seriously I need to start putting my work out there.
The same evening my father passed away. It doesn’t matter how old you are when you lose your parents, you lose a part of yourself with them. Overnight I grew up from being a daughter to a mother. With that came the realization that my time here is also going to end sooner than later.
Losing parents bring us face to face with our own mortality. Was I ready? Had I done all that I wanted to do? The truth shook me to the bones. Like everyone else, I was postponing life. Too busy with the busyness of the life that I was not even living it. “It is not death that a man should fear,” wrote Marcus Aurelius, “but he should fear never beginning to live.”
Work was not fulfilling. House was empty. There was emptiness all around me. In that silence, I could hear the tiny voice in me. It said: Make something. Do the things you used to love. Read the books you want to read. Write. Draw. Leave some legacy behind.
I decided to make writing my life’s mission and blog my portal. But if only it was that simple. It is easy to set up a blog but it is hard to write something worth sharing regularly. Then there is the technology that chews up your precious time in learning new skills and troubleshooting. I persisted and learned a lot.
The whole year has been a steep learning curve not only in blogging but in life’s lessons. Here are ten things worth sharing here:
1. Choose creativity over the competition. All my life I was raised to compete. It is the survival of the fittest, our generation learned from Darwin. The only way to lead a better life is to be the best student, get the best job, be the best employee, win promotions, marry an ambition person, accumulate wealth, own the biggest house, drive an expensive car and have holidays at exotic places. Nowhere there was room to slow down, to take it easy, to get in touch with the creative soul in yourself and you will have to compete for anything. Wallace D. Wattles imparted with the knowledge more than a hundred years ago, “…a man must pass from the competitive to the creative mindset to achieve whatever he wants to achieve; otherwise, he cannot be in harmony with the Formless Intelligence, which is always creative and never competitive.”
2. Start whatever you want to do because the boldness has the genius, power, and magic to it. Doing anything worthwhile takes a lot of courage and commitment. So many times we feel so overwhelmed and paralyzed with the enormity of the task that we don’t even take the first step. Yet it all we need to do to begin any journey doesn’t matter however long. Once we are on the path and concentrating on just the next step, we overcome many obstacles that otherwise seemed insurmountable. I experienced this first hand this year with my blogging journey. And I will continue to test this theory with my other endeavors.
3. How we spend our days is how we spend our lives, pointed out Annie Dillard. Get hold of your days and you will have a hold of your lives. Seneca, a Roman Philosopher wrote two thousand years ago “You live as if you were destined to live forever, no thought of your frailty ever enters your head, of how much time has already gone by you take no heed. You squander time as if you drew from a full and abundant supply, though all the while that day which you bestow on some person or thing is perhaps your last.” Don’t let other people make demands on your time. Put your life’s goals first otherwise one day it will be too late. In Seneca’s words, “In guarding their fortune men are often closefisted, yet, when it comes to the matter of wasting time, in the case of the one thing in which it is right to be miserly, they show themselves most extravagant.”
4. Find your calling. “The purpose of life is a life of purpose.” wrote Robert Byrne. We are not here to earn a living and raise children. Even animals do that. All the intelligence that Nature bestowed in us is for a higher purpose. Each one of us has to find our own calling and then fulfill it. “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” said Pablo Picasso.
5. Follow your bliss, says Joseph Campbell in The Power of Myth. It will help to fulfill your purpose much easier and joyful. “If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Wherever you are — if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment, that life within you, all the time. It is no rocket science when you are in touch with yourself but very hard to know when you are far removed from your own soul.
6. Art is innate to humans. Art is not a painting or a drawing or a statue. “Art is a habit,” explains Seth Godin, “Creating art is a habit, one that we practice daily or hourly until we get good at it. Art isn’t about the rush of victory that comes from being picked. Nor does it involve compliance. Art in the post-industrial age is a lifelong habit, a stepwise process that incrementally allows us to create more art. Art is passionate and personal. Great art resonates with the viewer, not only with the creator. Art is a personal gift that changes the recipient. The medium doesn’t matter. The intent does. Art is a personal act of courage, something one human does that creates change in another. Art is not perfection. You can be perfect or you can make art. Pay attention to what art is and then make art. Because art is a worthy legacy to leave behind.
7. Never doubt your creativity. Learn to listen to the tiny voice inside you which wants you to create. To make something that will make you happy as it used to when you were a child. It doesn’t care whether it is good, sellable or will make any difference in anyone’s life. It wants you to create something which will make a difference for you. Something that will make you happy. Listen to that voice because if you don’t, it will die. And with it, a big chunk of you will die too.
8. Build stamina. Put the hours in. Stamina is very important. “Doing anything worthwhile takes forever. 90% of what separates successful people and the failed people is time, effort and stamina,” advises Hugh Macleod who can’t be beaten on stamina.
9. Listen to everyone, do what your heart desires. There are too many people advising too many things. Listen to all of them and then ask yourself what you think. Meditate on it. Your answers might be different than others. And that is your truth. Try to bring that out. Follow your own path. You never know where it might lead you.
10. Continue to learn. Never stop. Never give up. Make several tiny adjustments like the airplane does through its course. There is a solution to every problem, you haven’t found it yet. Whatever you are trying to do, someone has done it before you and left behind lots of notes or at least a number of clues. Persist and you will figure it out too. Too many people get frustrated and give up. Don’t get counted with those. Get counted with the few who go all the way and fulfill the purpose of their lives.
I am looking forward to next year’s learnings. Here are ten of my favorite posts that really enjoyed writing.
Do any of my learnings resonate with you? Let me know which of my posts you enjoyed this year.