Deep thoughts

Inspiring quote nuggets for your snacking pleasure

A personal journey has me on a quest for good thoughts. So I’ll share some of my favorite ones with you.

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Apparently this pilot was hired to write this into the sky as a joke. But I’m sure that many of us can identify with this message, at many points in our lives.

Accept misfortune as a blessing. Do not wish for perfect health or a life without problems. What would you talk about?

– Zen Judaism by Someone Clever (from Puscifer’s website)

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The best life advice I’ve heard in awhile

This. A hundred times this.

Why I blog about my failures

In my last post, I wrote about a time when I was viewed as a pathetic failure at work. I got an email (or two) telling me I shouldn’t do that. It makes you look inexperienced, they said. You look fallible.

A few days ago I traded emails with an executive coach. He wasn’t always an executive coach–first, he went through a divorce and the loss of both parents and a bankruptcy. All at once. When he got his head out of the water, he found that the experience had changed him. He felt less arrogant and more empathetic toward the struggles of others. Now, he says, his struggles help him to identify with the CEOs that he coaches on a daily basis. He helps them to learn to listen, be vulnerable and open.

Failures change us. If we allow ourselves to learn from them, we become wiser and stronger. The very scary truth for some people to hear is that I am fallible. Admitting that gives me strength: I don’t always have to be perfect. I don’t need to pretend that I am always successful simply because I am good, or paid by people to create cool things. I am still fundamentally human.

More and more in this world, great brands want an authentic voice–a human voice–writing their copy. Voices of failure and growth are real voices, and audiences identify with them. They are part of a universal story in which we learn from our failures and change how we do things. After my failure at my previous job, I made the decision to think long and hard about where I failed. I found at least one of the biggest reasons, and I’m taking steps to grow myself out of it.

The executive coach was interviewed for a magazine. He told them, “Humble leaders invariably are genuine, kind, open and vulnerable. They listen until they understand. Their honesty and optimism help build a team.”

I’m not the selfie-posting viral type whose big stories last for 15 minutes and disappear into the ether; I’m a quiet leader making real connections for brands to their audiences. Failures are part of my story, and that keeps me authentic. I can handle the fallout email.

Gorgeous illustrations of ‘untranslatable’ words from different languages (link)

see entire post on DesignTAXI. My favorite:

I’ve needed a word for this for a long time.

 

Diagram of the creative brain

Diagram of the creative brain

I can’t find the source for this. If you know, tell me.

The music inside my head

I don’t have time to polish the posts I’m writing, so I’ll post the music I’m listening to while writing them. We all need more creative fodder.

 

How to create meaningful art, or: Why I don’t want (too many) followers on my blog

If you are a creative type, you are probably disillusioned with the way the world works. Because the simple, accessible content that you create will become very popular, whereas the layered stuff will go almost unnoticed. We live in a world where Kim Kardashian’s butt has a Twitter feed and a video about cats jumping off tables get 25 million views and news articles written about it, and a tour de force novel is pressed out in the author’s blood-ink to an audience of crickets.

But as a creative, you will also find that the process of creating the most unpopular content is what will satisfy the deepest part of you. Because it’s the real stuff.

In my writing education, it’s been pounded into me that the most personal things are the most universal. To create things that are personal and universal, you must notice things that are real and have meaning. You must notice your surroundings, your own reactions to normal and unusual events, and what’s going on between the lines of everyday life. You must question why things happen.

Those observations and thoughts prep your brain for the creative process. And when you end up hitting that nerve of creativity and start speeding down tunnels, there is nothing like it – it’s the crack that will remind you why you were born. No cat video comes close to that, and I’d wager that Ms. Kardashian has never felt it. If you only focus on gaining an audience, you will never hit that nerve. Your audience will leave scrolling comments on your videos, exhibitions, blogs, and you will wonder why you do not feel fulfilled by your own creation.

It’s because real art is created without any audience in mind; it is created to satisfy the artist’s desire. This kind of art is rare and dangerous, because it has a high probability of containing original thought. And the entire world fights against that originality by pumping out more and more stupid, distracting content.

Like I’ve said before: Find artists who ignore their own fame. They are the ones who make art that you have to gaze into for a long time before figuring it out (if you ever do figure it out), and music with lyrics you can’t understand without listening three or four times. That is time spent, not wasted. You’re processing all of the layers, and it will teach you about the world or yourself. You are one step closer to creating things that are real.

And when you create things that are real, people will find you – whether you want them to or not. It will just take longer.

Beethoven said all of this even better. This is directly quoted from Project Gutenberg:

The world is a king, and, like a king, desires flattery in return for favor; but true art is selfish and perverse—it will not submit to the mould of flattery.

When Baron van Braun expressed the opinion that the opera “Fidelio” would eventually win the enthusiasm of the upper tiers, Beethoven said, “I do not write for the galleries!” He never permitted himself to be persuaded to make concessions to the taste of the masses.

And unless you post funny cat videos for a living, you shouldn’t either.