Bite-sized Wisdom: Keller

Doubt sneaking in? Remember that you have a powerful tool at hand that is ready to go into action for you at any time. Words from this wise and empowering woman:

imagine

Doubt and mistrust are the mere panic of timid imagination, which the steadfast heart will conquer, and the large mind transcend.

– Helen Keller


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Article Worth Reading: “Find What You Love and Let it Kill You”

James Rhodes gave up the piano for 10 years, trading it in for the promise of the City and searching for some sort of security. Then decided his dream of becoming a concert pianist trumped all.

pianisttext

From the Guardian’s recent article:

“What if rather than a book club you joined a writer’s club? Where every week you had to (really had to) bring three pages of your novel, novella, screenplay and read them aloud?
 
What if, rather than paying £70 a month for a gym membership that delights in making you feel fat, guilty and a world away from the man your wife married you bought a few blank canvases and some paints and spent time each day painting your version of “I love you” until you realised that any woman worth keeping would jump you then and there just for that, despite your lack of a six-pack?”

Read on

Image before editing: Alan Cleaver

Art of the Iceberg

iceberg

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.

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Life and Times in Graphs

Have you run into Jessica Hagy‘s work before? This intelligent lady is a steady contributor over at Forbes and uses “visuals to tell stories, jokes, and truths.” Her recent list of 40 Things to Say Before You Die is a wonderful collection of little truisms that we can all strive to check off of our bucket lists.

I can do better

As soon as you say it, you’re that much closer to making it true.

You’re amazing

Let yourself be in awe of another person, and you’ll feel strong and weak simultaneously.

I’m sorry

But you can’t just say it; you have to mean it. Really mean it.

I want that

Ask for it: that’s you get what you covet—from others and for yourself.

Tell me more

Really getting to know someone (or some topic) will help you better triangulate your own place in the world.

I understand

More important than being right, or being important, is being truly aware.

I don’t know how to do this

It’s better to admit it and learn than to fake it and embarrass yourself.

I earned this

There’s a layer of proud ownership over everything you possess that wasn’t merely given to you.

Damn, I look good

You come from a long line of people who convinced others to sleep with them. Remember that.

This is who I am

The nervous energy spent pretending to be something you’re not is better spent on practically anything else.

(Content: Jessica Hagy, jump here for the full list)

Bite-sized Wisdom: Ruhl

Feeling a little off or disconnected? Try creating something. It can be tiny. It can be silly. No matter its size or import, it will still allow you to revisit that part of yourself that you’re missing. 

“Art is a way of freezing time, or extending time. … It’s another way to bridge the gaps between us.”

– Sarah Ruhl


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Bite-sized Wisdom: Anderson

The heart is a muscle. It rips and tears, but always heals, often making the muscle stronger than before. Take a risk this weekend and chase down something that just might fill your heart to its brim.

“If you practice an art, be proud of it and make it proud of you. It may break your heart, but it will fill your heart before it breaks it; it will make you a person in your own right.”
– Maxwell Anderson

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How to Find Your Dream Job (Hint: It’s only two words)

Be creative.

That’s right. Those two little words, saddled up next to each other and getting cosy, are the key. And although it may be an overplayed cliche, today’s “tough economy” has caused all of us to get a little nervous on the subject of job hunting. This nervousness causes us to seize up and sit in a period of inaction, or try to play it safe to please the potential employers out there. But I cannot tell you how many success stories I’ve read lately of those that bent the rules a little and made themselves stand out by proving that they have their own unique brand that no one else can replicate.

I would like to think that perhaps they read this letter from 1934 from Robert Pirosh. This copywriter traded in his New York life in favor of that of  Hollywood screenwriter. The only problem? He did not have a job as a screenwriter. So he sent the following note to all of the major studios, received a slew of interview requests, and finally accepted an offer as a junior writer at MGM. From there he went on to win an Academy Award and write for some of the best and brightest (including the Marx Brothers). Just another testament to the fact that you should not water yourself down in order to obtain the dream job. Do not censor the you that just might land you the gig.

Dear Sir:

I like words. I like fat buttery words, such as ooze, turpitude, glutinous, toady. I like solemn, angular, creaky words, such as straitlaced, cantankerous, pecunious, valedictory. I like spurious, black-is-white words, such as mortician, liquidate, tonsorial, demi-monde. I like suave “V” words, such as Svengali, svelte, bravura, verve. I like crunchy, brittle, crackly words, such as splinter, grapple, jostle, crusty. I like sullen, crabbed, scowling words, such as skulk, glower, scabby, churl. I like Oh-Heavens, my-gracious, land’s-sake words, such as tricksy, tucker, genteel, horrid. I like elegant, flowery words, such as estivate, peregrinate, elysium, halcyon. I like wormy, squirmy, mealy words, such as crawl, blubber, squeal, drip. I like sniggly, chuckling words, such as cowlick, gurgle, bubble and burp.

I like the word screenwriter better than copywriter, so I decided to quit my job in a New York advertising agency and try my luck in Hollywood, but before taking the plunge I went to Europe for a year of study, contemplation and horsing around.

I have just returned and I still like words.

May I have a few with you?

Robert Pirosh
385 Madison Avenue
Room 610
New York
Eldorado 5-6024

Note Source: Dear Wit; Image Source

Bite-sized Wisdom: T.S. Eliot

This man takes a careful lens to the intricacies that make up our lives. Here’s to always finding adventure and sources of wonder.

“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

– T. S. Eliot

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Bite-sized Wisdom: Andrews

This woman is the epitome of class. Enjoy the weekend all, and always make yourself ready for good things.

“Sometimes opportunities float right past your nose. Work hard, apply yourself, and be ready. When an opportunity comes you can grab it.”

– Julie Andrews

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Work Is Not a Job

Looking for a manifesto to remind you that it never hurts to pursue your creative side no matter what career you have? Look no further than the inspired message of Catharina Bruns, a German-born designer and illustrator behind Work Is Not A Job. Her site aims to reshift your focus by reminding you that ‘work’ is not your 9-5 job but how you individually contribute to the world.

“In his pursuit of the dream, he was being constantly subjected to tests of his persistence and courage”

The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho

Theatre of Collaboration

“But ensembles, nationally and locally, are able to focus more,and develop a style of working and an aesthetic, and that’s what makes the work exciting. Because of that, it’s reinvigorated the field. I think this is only the beginning.”

– Mark Valdez (executive director of the Network of Ensemble Theatres)

Are the days of the traditional playwright dwindling? Or are we simply experiencing a new wave of exciting ensemble-created work?

When thinking of playwrights, our mind often conjures up an image of a tortured artist-type, hunched over a notebook or a typewriter in a pitiful flat in some remote location, painstakingly trying to pull words from thin air and force them down onto a page. But new works created by groups of creatives are challenging this traditional method of writing.

And who’s to say that a multitude of voices cannot be better than one? Sure the conditions for artistic creation must be reevaluated. What could easily be a case of “too many cooks in the kitchen,” is instead a creative playground, pumping out interesting, group-driven work. When all the members of the ensemble recognize that there must a shift away from ego and towards the pursuit of a higher art, ensemble pieces really shine.

One of my favorite recent examples of groundbreaking ensemble work was The Method Gun at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. The group, Rude Mechs, put together a show that explored the life and techniques of Stella Burden, an revolutionary acting teacher/guru whose method, The Approach (often referred to as “the most dangerous acting technique in the world”), infused even the smallest role with sex, death and violence. The group collected actual journal entries and personal accounts from those in Stella’s troupe in the 60s and 70s in order to create their mystifying show. The Method Gun re-enacts the final months of her company’s rehearsals for their nine-years-in-the-making production of “A Streetcar Named Desire.” The company’s challenge? To tell this classic without the four main characters. That’s right. No Stella, no Stanley, no Blanche, no Mitch.

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Taking Control of Your Own Path


There’s safety in numbers, they say. But you know what you won’t find in numbers? Yourself, the unique you that is all your own. Forging your own path is a tough journey, but it is also something you owe to yourself. Only you know the life that will make you happiest.

Here are a few “life truths” that can help you as you seek out that path:

You will never feel freer than the moment you stop caring what others think about you. We often get so caught up in the idea that everyone cares about what we do with our lives that we forget to live them. In reality? People do not think about all the nitty gritty details of your life like you do – unless you’ve become successful and happy. Then they’ll want the secrets.

Creativity is hard workSometimes inspiration smacks you upside the head out of nowhere. Most of the time creativity stems from a constant commitment to getting something done. Allow your creativity to flourish by doing something about it. Every day. No excuses. Even if it’s just a journal entry – get something down and out of your head.

Change is scary. But you know what is more frightening? The idea of getting caught up in a life that is not your own. One that has been dictated by someone else. You want things to be different? Start by doing something different.

There’s no road map for a new plan. If your idea is truly a new one, there will be no one out ahead of you showing you how to get things done. It’s up to you to decide that your courage is greater than your fear that it may not work out.

Your brain’s capable of learning a lot more than we think. It’s hungry for knowledge. When we work it out and challenge it with a new language, thought-provoking books, or interesting ideas it flexes its muscle and shows off. Treat it nice and promise to never stop learning.

You should only work for people that you like. I whole-heartedly believe that you can only do your best work when working for someone that you respect, but also admire and enjoy on a personal level. If you’re going to be working for someone other than yourself, better make sure that person is someone who you will want to be around and from whom you can glean all that you can. Kudos if they truly know you as a person and can appreciate all you have to offer.

Pay attention to your gut. Years and years of ingrained experience tell us when something is awry. We are very good at telling ourselves it’s “no big deal.” Next time you get a weird vibe from a person, company, or idea, pay attention to it. If something feels like a scam, it most likely is. 

Life is short and love is real. If you mess up, say you’re sorry. If you’re angry, be the bigger person and tell the person about it. Waste as little energy as possible on hangups that pop up like weeds in the garden of your heart. Take care of yourself and don’t allow someone in if they do not care about you.

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