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TINY OPINIONS ON A GIGANTIC WORLD

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1. I know more about what makes relationships work than ever before.

2. I know less about what makes relationships work than ever before.

3. The world is a world of grace, not justice. Yes, bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people. But good things also happen to good people and bad things also happen to bad people. The Universe isn’t out to get you, the Universe just doesn’t play favorites.

4. You create your own definition of success. It’s not going to be (nor should it be) the same as anyone else’s.

5. In defining your own success, only choose barometers that you actually have control over.

6. If someone is going through a difficult time, the greatest gift you can give them is to suffer with them. We all just want to know we aren’t alone.

7. Trying to be “great” can be a frustrating pursuit. Instead focus on being more “you.”

8. Don’t be afraid of change. It may be uncomfortable but I’m not so sure that ‘comfort’ and ‘happiness’ are related to one another. Even if it leads to failure, be proud, that just means you’re trying.

9. Just because it doesn’t happen when you want it to happen doesn’t mean it won’t happen.

10. The minute we think we know better than anyone else is when growth stops. Always be open to new thoughts, new challenges, new experiences.

11. Don’t worry about what the future might hold, envision what it will hold.

12. Take control of your life. Recognize what you can and cannot change. Make an effort to work on the things you can, accept the things you can’t.

13. Love more. Trust more. Accept more. Empathize more.

This question is easier to answer if you aren't hiding your allegiances to protect the son of the woman you selflessly loved your entire life.

This question is easier to answer if you aren’t hiding your allegiances to protect the son of the woman you selflessly loved your entire life.

Hopefully this comes off more inspirational than morose, but…

1. What do you want people to say about you after you die?

2. Are people saying that about you now? 

3. If not, what steps can you take to change that today?

Look back over your twitter, facebook, instagram, tumblr, and/or wordpress feeds:  The “permanent” records of your life that will survive long after memories fade.  What are you leaving behind?

Are you adding something unique and beautiful to the world?

Dick Van Dyke looks like he can pull it off, but he also had the benefit of a pre-recorded soundtrack.

Dick Van Dyke looks like he can pull it off, but he also had the benefit of a pre-recorded soundtrack.

I believe it’s very difficult to be successful at any one thing if you are doing many things.

And I get it, you’re creative. You’re talented. You can sing, dance, play guitar, act, draw, sculpt, and write. And it’s sexy to be a Renaissance (wo)man, a multi-hyphenate . But you’re not going to reach those 10,000 hours to be an expert at any one of these if you are splitting your time amongst all of them.

And the truth is no job is JUST that job anymore. Success means you also have to market yourself and network and be seen on social media. And more than likely all of that in addition to a day-job. There’s just not enough hours in a day.

So how do you choose your “one thing?”

1. Which one fulfills you the most?

Which one can you NOT not do? Which creative passion hurts the most to let go of? Which one do you find the most satisfaction, not in the results, but in the process? Which one do you dissapear into and find yourself thinking “where did the time go?”

2. Which one have you found the most success at?

There’s probably a reason for that success. Maybe it’s natural talent, or maybe it’s because you’ve put more time into it than the others. Either way, previous success is a good barometer for what you need to be doing.

3. Which one can you see yourself doing ten years from now?

Maybe playing in a band is something fun while you’re in your 20’s but do you wanna be doing it in your 40’s? Then why put so much energy into it now? We’ve only go so many hours on this earth, lets get to it!

It should be noted that I don’t take my own advice on this. I run a poster company, a freelance design business, co-run a production company, write essays for this blog, and write movies and comic books. But that’s at least just two industries – design & film. And the design stuff pays the bills, my day job. The writing also pays some bills, just much smaller ones. And I’m working on “slimming down.”

What about you guys? Did you used to stretch yourself thin? How did you focus in on your “one thing?”

TinyOpinions

Our best education doesn’t come from books or schools, but from spending time with people who challenge us. Maybe education isn’t so much about knowledge as it is how we respond to that knowledge…

Being vulnerable enough to admit ‘I don’t know what I’m talking about and probably never will… but I’m always willing to grow’.

The minute we think we know better than anyone else is when growth stops.  Always be open to new thoughts, new challenges, new experiences.

 

TinyOpinions

You are valuable for your contribution to the world even if no one notices. Even if those who notice don’t appreciate it. Your definition of success shouldn’t rely on the approval of others. This goes for creative work as well as the way you treat others.

As the great philosopher Ryan Gosling once said (on the special features of Lars and the Real Girl):

“Love doesn’t have to be a transaction, it can just be given.”

The same goes for art. Success is found in being 100% true to yourself without ever giving up.

Keep loving.

Keep creating.

Never give up.

 

So, I live in Roswell, GA.  It’s a suburb of Atlanta.  And as much as I love living in Atlanta, the big thing we’re missing is a body of water.  The closest beach is about a 5-hour drive.  (Unless you count the local lake… which, I mean, come on).  We do have a perfectly good river though, and thanks to that river, we in Roswell have a waterfall.

Roswell has a lot of history to it.  The town was built around an old cotton mill – a mill that was once used to make Confederate uniforms for the Civil War (before it was burned to the ground).  And to power this mill, they built a 30 ft. dam.

The ruins of this mill and the dam are now one of the most beautiful areas in the Atlanta area.  It looks like this:

Today, while exploring the falls, I was trying to navigate my way up a rocky path.  As I looked up, it was clear there was only one way up.  Every other possible path was either too dangerous or blocked by thick brush.

So I followed this one and only path to the top and looked back down.  What I discovered was this:

The brush wasn’t as thick as I assumed.  The dangerous rocks were safe and level.  There were many paths to the top.  I just couldn’t see them because of my limited view.  

And as I stood at the top, looking back down, it occurred to me… this is a great cheesy metaphor!

But that’s what life is like, right?  Especially for creatives.  We may be paralyzed by fear of the unknown.  We may be convinced that the path we want to go down is blocked or that the journey to the top is too risky.  It’s only when we make it to our destination and look back down that we see how clear the path really was.

I met a guy the other day who referred to himself as “an unsuccessful writer.”  When I told him that “success is just a mindset,” he replied “that’s something only successful writers say.”

My first thought was “He’s somehow been fooled into thinking I’m a successful writer!  What a sucker!”  But I suppose it’s true, I have found a little success in writing.  I’m still not doing it full time, but I do have a body of work to show for the past 8 years.  I’ve sold screenplays.  I’ve made a well-received short film.  I’ve had comics published on websites that I respect.  I’ve spoken at a conference on storytelling.  But it’s only looking back on these accomplishments that I feel anything resembling success.  While in the middle of the journey, these are very small steps surrounded by ten times that many disappointments and failures.

The only difference between me and this “unsuccessful writer” was that he just couldn’t yet see his path.  The further you climb, the clearer the path becomes.  You just have to keep moving forward.

Success is just a combination of time and consistency.  To constantly be producing over a long period of time.  Focus on the good, not the bad.  Overcome your fears.  Put your head down and keep climbing.  You’ll have plenty of time to figure out the path when you get to the top.

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