How many of us can say that they’ve actually got around to reading Melville’s novel, easily considered a treasure of world literature?
Peninsula Arts with Plymouth University have made the daunting task a little easier with their 21st century-friendly project, the Big Read. Readers such as Tilda Swinton and Stephen Fry embellish a chapter of Moby Dick each with their voice and skill. The project also curated 136 artists to create an accompanying illustration for each of the chapters of the book.
No better way to revisit a classic than by bringing it to the arts-hungry culture in such a digestible format.
Should you need me these next few days, I’ll be diving into these deeper waters.
“Yes, there are times when the gold medal only goes to the winner. But not in the race of life, where the winners are those who are superior not to others but to their former selves.” - Robert Cooper
How have you bested your former self lately? How have you strived to learn more and crave less?
Have you checked in with yourself when you heard yourself complaining? Have you pouted at the thought of working harder? Had a First World Problem whinesesh (not the good kind with a cheese plate in tow)? At every moment you have the option to remain static, give up, or move forward. And your path will only be your own.
Empower yourself by winning at your own game everyday. You are your own best competitor.
- Get up early, go sit down and write
- Journal without editing yourself
- Find seeds of great ideas in the piles of subconscious ones you’ve just laid out for yourself
- Repeat until it no longer feels like a chore, but a part of your day you anticipate with excitement
- Continue ad infinitum
- Make time for people that matter to you
- Send a note to let them know you’re thinking about them what big or little life events pop up (“Good luck on that interview!”, “Hope you fly safe!”, “That recipe you gave me is le bomb.”, etc.)
- Show support when good things happen to them, and even more support when the bad sneaks in
- Refuse to let distance be an obstacle. There are a million ways to stay connected nowadays. If Facebook isn’t cutting it for you, agree to start writing each other postcards. No one gets real mail anymore – just think of what a treat it would be to get something worthwhile in the mailbox.
- Continue ad infinitum
- Stop comparing, stop complaining, stop selling yourself short
-Continue ad infinitum
We said goodbye to a great one yesterday. From his Life Itself: A Memoir, take this comforting notion with you into the weekend.
“I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn’t always know this and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.”
“I am always surprised to see some people demanding the time of others and meeting a most obliging response. Both sides have in view the reason for which the time is asked and neither regards the time itself—as if nothing is being asked for and nothing given. They are trifling with life’s most precious commodity, being deceived because it is an intangible thing, not open to inspection and therefore reckoned very cheap—in fact, almost without any value. People are delighted to accept pensions and gratuities, for which they hire out their labor or their support or their services. But nobody works out the value of time: men use it lavishly as if it cost nothing. But if death threatens these same people, you will see them praying to their doctors; if they are in fear of capital punishment, you will see them prepared to spend their all to stay alive. So inconsistent are they in their feelings. But if each of us could have the tally of his future years set before him, as we can of our past years, how alarmed would be those who saw only a few years ahead, and how carefully would they use them! And yet it is easy to organize an amount, however small, which is assured; we have to be more careful in preserving what will cease at an unknown point.
No one will bring back the years; no one will restore you to yourself. Life will follow the path it began to take and will neither reverse nor check its course. It will cause no commotion to remind you of its swiftness, but glide on quietly. It will not lengthen itself for a king’s command or a people’s favor. As it started out on its first day, so it will run on, nowhere pausing or turning aside. What will be the outcome? You have been preoccupied while life hastens on. Meanwhile death will arrive, and you have no choice in making yourself available for that.
Can anything be more idiotic than certain people who boast of their foresight? They keep themselves officiously preoccupied in order to improve their lives; they spend their lives in organizing their lives. They direct their purposes with an eye to a distant future. But putting things off is the biggest waste of life: it snatches away each day as it comes, and denies us the present by promising the future. The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow and loses today. You are arranging what lies in Fortune’s control, and abandoning what lies in yours. What are you looking at? To what goal are you straining? The whole future lies in uncertainty: live immediately. Listen to the cry of our greatest poet, who as though inspired with divine utterance sings salutary verses: “Life’s finest day for wretched mortals here/Is always first to flee.” “Why do you linger?” he means. “Why are you idle? If you don’t grasp it first, it flees.” And even if you do grasp it, it will still flee. So you must match time’s swiftness with your speed in using it, and you must drink quickly as though from a rapid stream that will not always flow.”
Known for being a titular Roman figure around 55AD, these thoughts come from his essay “On the Shortness of Life.” Ready, set, grasp the present – for all it’s worth.
We often take things at face value. It’s easy to, we’re human. But about what happens under the surface?
Life is 90% about process, 10% about that surface result.
Those people who have that “perfect life” – fulfilling relationships, work, creative endeavors – didn’t happen upon success by luck alone. They had to live through the process. The ups and downs, struggles and heartbreaks that the world wasn’t privy to at the time. They put in the time and held themselves to high standards. Nothing less would suffice.
Just take a look at the architecture of these natural curiosities – the beauty of the underwater base alone is enough to give pause.
So next time you’re wondering how to change what the surface of your life looks like, realize it may be time to take a plunge and explore what it looks like beneath the edge. Build upon whatever small strength you find until you have a foundation that will allow for those once-lofty dreams of success to come with ease.
And like nature itself, there will be things that challenge your personal ‘berg – forces that threaten what you worked hard to build. Hungry warm waters crave the coolness of ice. Seek out smoother currents.