I’ve spent more than half a decade immersed in creative projects of various kinds ranging from writing books to hosting a podcast, to… I’ve spent more than half a decade immersed in creative projects of various kinds ranging from writing books to hosting a podcast, to producing animated shorts and even live events. I’ve …
As Steven Pressfield once said, the difference between a professional and an amateur is in his habits. Being a prolific creator means you… As Steven Pressfield once said, the difference between a professional and an amateur is in his habits. Being a prolific creator means you can’t depend too much on inspiration. As my friend …
Hey feeling down? Not motivated? Your dream seems like a – well – far off dream? No worries mate! We have just what you need! Inspiring and motivating Dream Song exclusively for your inner Dream Warrior. A Cool hand-curated list for your listening motivation! Prepare to slay the demons and get the job done! Listen …
Another Way of Looking at Fatigue and Depression Original Essay by Charles Eisenstein Depression, anxiety, and fatigue are an essential part of a process of metamorphosis that is unfolding on the planet today, and highly significant for the light they shed on the transition from an old world to a new. When a growing …
I’ve spent more than half a decade immersed in creative projects of various kinds ranging from writing books to hosting a podcast, to…
I’ve spent more than half a decade immersed in creative projects of various kinds ranging from writing books to hosting a podcast, to producing animated shorts and even live events. I’ve worked on things that exceeded all of my expectations and on things that have let me down. Through all of it I’ve realized there are certain essential qualities to living a fulfilling creative life.
Car accidents take place when people are too impatient about where they want to go. When you’re feeling impatient, try to remember that a fast rise often followed by a fast fall. Creative success requires you to play the infinite game.
You probably won’t’ fall out of the womb, a Pulitzer prize winning author, a grammy award winning musician, or an Oscar-winning actress. Every one of these things takes time and effort. They require you to develop what Carol Dweck refers to as growth mindset. You have to believe that you can improve and be willing to work on your craft.
When you get caught up in seeing your name in shining lights, glory accolades, and achievement, you pull your attention away from what matters most, the actual work. When we’re fully present, we focus on the process, not the prize. In The Self Made Billionaire Effect, the authors said the following about every single person they met with when researching the book.
This trait is almost universal among the billionaires we interviewed. They were focused, attentive, and entirely present as we spoke.
As I remind myself in every surf session, live in the moment while keeping your eyes on the horizon.
When people ask me how I choose guests for the Unmistakable Creative, I always say “morbid curiosity. Nearly every creative project I have worked on has start with the question “what would happen if?”
A few months ago, I saw Bob Gower write something about his experiencing belonging to a cult. I made a mental note to reach out to him about being a guest on the podcast.
I recently read an article on Vice.com about a social scientist named Julia Shaw, who wrote a book on implanting memories. So I reached out to her about being a guest on the podcast.
When I asked Tina Seelig what the through line to her career has been she said “curiosity.”
Curiosity leads us down paths that aren’t well lit, to destinations that aren’t clearly marked on any map, and to trust a compass more than a map. Curiosity sparks insight and leads to innovation.
None of these qualities are a guarantee of fame or fortune, but of fulfillment. And when we’re fulfilled the likelihood that work will exceed all our expectations goes up.
I’m the author of Unmistakable: Why Only is Better Than Best (Available for on Amazon and Barnes and Noble). Each Sunday we share the most unmistakable parts of the internet that we have discovered in The Sunday Quiver. *Receive our next issue bysigning up here.
As Steven Pressfield once said, the difference between a professional and an amateur is in his habits. Being a prolific creator means you…
As Steven Pressfield once said, the difference between a professional and an amateur is in his habits. Being a prolific creator means you can’t depend too much on inspiration. As my friend Janelle Hanchett said, “if I waited until I was inspired I’d never write a damn thing.” What we can depend on is habits, the spontaneity of artist with the repetitiveness of a mechanic.
1. Write Everyday
One of the fastest paths to becoming a better writer is simply to write every day. And it doesn’t really matter how good you are when you start. Everybody sucks when they start. What matters is whether or not you’re improving. Your cumulative output matters more than any single thing you write, and the secret to becoming a better writer is to become a prolific one.
2. Become a Voracious Reader
Your brain is basically like a gas tank. It needs to be continually refueled with sources of creative ideas. And the easiest way to do this is to become a voracious reader. Even if all you do is read for 15 minutes a day, you’ll be making a deliberate effort to refuel your tanks (aka your brain). Most of my daily writing sessions are informed by whatever I read each day.
Turning things off allows you to control the inflow. Most of the things in our lives are on by default. If you want to be deliberate and do life by design, turn things off.
4. Do Something Unrelated to Your Work
Lee Zlotoff, creator of Macgyver described this as the Macgyver method. When he was writing episodes of Macgyver, he would let his subconscious do the work. He would go build things, work on puzzles, and when he sat down to do the work, words just poured onto the page.
All of my best creative ideas come from my time surfing. When I’m completely stuck and all the words just seem to be coming out the wrong end, I know it’s time for a break. If surfing isn’t an option, I’ll turn on the Xbox and play a game of NBA 2k15. When I sit back down at the computer I seem to know exactly what I want to say.
5. Push Past The Frustration
I had the idea for this article a few days before I started writing it. But when I sat down to write, I had this familiar feeling. “This stuff is all coming out the wrong end.” It was about 4 pages in a Moleskine and 800 typed words of complete crap. But what I knew I had going was focus, and if I could just focus I would hit flow.
According to Steven Kotler, “flow follows focus.” When you try to incorporate one focused hour of uninterrupted creation time, it’s likely you’ll get really frustrated. But the gap between frustration and flow is really small. It might be an extra minute or ten extra minutes. Push past the frustration and you’ll find yourself in flow.
6. Make Something Every Day
Leave behind a vignette of projects, stories, connections, and art that we can’t help but pay attention to, we can’t help but be moved by.
Leave your footprints in our hearts and minds.
Leave traces of who you are and what matters most to you in each and everything you make.
Touch people’s hearts, captivate their minds and take their imaginations on an unforgettable adventure.
Don’t worry too much about the things that suck. Eventually, they’ll be over. In fact, they’ll give you more colors to paint with and allow you to see what you couldn’t see in any other way.
Shape and shift things in the universe, do things that can’t be quantified by any standard metric, and create a ripple beyond any measure. As the author, Neil Gaiman once said: “leave the world more interesting for your having been here.”
I’m the author of Unmistakable: Why Only is Better Than Best (Available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble). Each Sunday we share the most unmistakable parts of the internet that we have discovered in The Sunday Quiver. *Receive our next issue and learn more about book pre-order bonuses by signing up here.
Hey feeling down? Not motivated? Your dream seems like a – well – far off dream? No worries mate! We have just what you need! Inspiring and motivating Dream Song exclusively for your inner Dream Warrior. A Cool hand-curated list for your listening motivation! Prepare to slay the demons and get the job done!
Depression, anxiety, and fatigue are an essential part of a process of metamorphosis that is unfolding on the planet today, and highly significant for the light they shed on the transition from an old world to a new.
When a growing fatigue or depression becomes serious, and we get a diagnosis of Epstein-Barr or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or hypothyroid or low serotonin, we typically feel relief and alarm. Alarm: something is wrong with me. Relief: at least I know I’m not imagining things; now that I have a diagnosis, I can be cured, and life can go back to normal. But of course, a cure for these conditions is elusive.
The notion of a cure starts with the question, “What has gone wrong?” But there is another, radically different way of seeing fatigue and depression that starts by asking, “What is the body, in its perfect wisdom, responding to?” When would it be the wisest choice for someone to be unable to summon the energy to fully participate in life?
The answer is staring us in the face. When our soul-body is saying No to life, through fatigue or depression, the first thing to ask is, “Is life as I am living it the right life for me right now?” When the soul-body is saying No to participation in the world, the first thing to ask is, “Does the world as it is presented me merit my full participation?”
What if there is something so fundamentally wrong with the world, the lives, and the way of being offered us, that withdrawal is the only sane response? Withdrawal, followed by a reentry into a world, a life, and a way of being wholly different from the one left behind?
The unspoken goal of modern life seems to be to live as long and as comfortably as possible, to minimize risk and to maximize security. We see this priority in the educational system, which tries to train us to be “competitive” so that we can “make a living”. We see it in the medical system, where the goal of prolonging life trumps any consideration of whether, sometimes, the time has come to die. We see it in our economic system, which assumes that all people are motivated by “rational self-interest”, defined in terms of money, associated with security and survival. (And have you ever thought about the phrase “the cost of living”?) We are supposed to be practical, not idealistic; we are supposed to put work before play. Ask someone why she stays in a job she hates, and as often as not the answer is, “For the health insurance.” In other words, we stay in jobs that leave us feeling dead in order to gain the assurance of staying alive. When we choose health insurance over passion, we are choosing survival over life.
On a deep level, which I call the soul level, we want none of that. We recognize that we are here on earth to enact a sacred purpose, and that most of the jobs on offer are beneath our dignity as human beings. But we might be too afraid to leave our jobs, our planned-out lives, our health insurance, or whatever other security and comfort we have received in exchange for our divine gifts. Deep down, we recognize this security and comfort as slaves’ wages, and we yearn to be free.
So, the soul rebels. Afraid to make the conscious choice to step away from a slave’s life, we make the choice unconsciously instead. We can no longer muster the energy to go through the motions. We enact this withdrawal from life through a variety of means. We might summon the Epstein-Barr virus into our bodies, or mononucleosis, or some other vector of chronic fatigue. We might shut down our thyroid or adrenal glands. We might shut down our production of serotonin in the brain. Other people take a different route, incinerating the excess life energy in the fires of addiction. Either way, we are in some way refusing to participate. We are shying away from ignoble complicity in a world gone wrong. We are refusing to contribute our divine gifts to the aggrandizement of that world.
That is why the conventional approach of fixing the problem so that we can return to normal life will not work. It might work temporarily, but the body will find other ways to resist. Raise serotonin levels with SSRIs, and the brain will prune some receptor sites, thinking in its wisdom, “Hey, I’m not supposed to feel good about the life I am living right now.” In the end, there is always suicide, a common endpoint of the pharmaceutical regimes that seek to make us happy with something inimical to our very purpose and being. You can only force yourself to abide in wrongness so long. When the soul’s rebellion is suppressed too long, it can explode outward in bloody revolution. Significantly, all of the school shootings in the last decade have involved people on anti-depression medication. All of them! For a jaw-dropping glimpse of the results of the pharmaceutical regime of control, scroll down this compilation of suicide/homicide cases involving SSRIs. I am not using “jaw-dropping” as a figure of speech. My jaw literally dropped open.
Back in the 1970s, dissidents in the Soviet Union were often hospitalized in mental institutions and given drugs similar to the ones used to treat depression today. The reasoning was that you had to be insane to be unhappy in the Socialist Workers’ Utopia. When the people treating depression receive status and prestige from the very system that their patients are unhappy with, they are unlikely to affirm the basic validity of the patient’s withdrawal from life. “The system has to be sound — after all, it validates my professional status — therefore the problem must be with you.”
Unfortunately, “holistic” approaches are no different, as long as they deny the wisdom of the body’s rebellion. When they do seem to work, usually that is because they coincide with some other shift. When someone goes out and gets help, or makes a radical switch of modalities, it works as a ritual communication to the unconscious mind of a genuine life change. Rituals have the power to make conscious decisions real to the unconscious. They can be part of taking back one’s power.
I have met countless people of great compassion and sensitivity, people who would describe themselves as “conscious” or “spiritual”, who have battled with CFS, depression, thyroid deficiency, and so on. These are people who have come to a transition point in their lives where they become physically incapable of living the old life in the old world. That is because, in fact, the world presented to us as normal and acceptable is anything but. It is a monstrosity. Ours is a planet in pain. If you need me to convince you of that, if you are unaware of the destruction of forests, oceans, wetlands, cultures, soil, health, beauty, dignity, and spirit that underlies the System we live in, then I have nothing to say to you. I only am speaking to you if you do believe that there is something deeply wrong with the way we are living on this planet.
A related syndrome comprises various “attention deficit” and anxiety “disorders” (forgive me, I cannot write down these words without the ironic quotation marks) which reflect an unconscious knowledge that something is wrong around here. Anxiety, like all emotions, has a proper function. Suppose you left a pot on the stove and you know you forgot something, you just can’t remember what. You cannot rest at ease. Something is bothering you, something is wrong. Subliminally you smell smoke. You obsess: did I leave the water running? Did I forget to pay the mortgage? The anxiety keeps you awake and alert; it doesn’t let you rest; it keeps your mind churning, worrying. This is good. This is what saves your life. Eventually you realize — the house is on fire! — and anxiety turns into panic, and action.
So if you suffer from anxiety, maybe you don’t have a “disorder” at all — maybe the house is on fire. Anxiety is simply the emotion corresponding to “Something is dangerously wrong and I don’t know what it is.” That is only a disorder if there is in fact nothing dangerously wrong. “Nothing is wrong, just you” is the message that any therapy gives when it tries to fix you. I disagree with that message. The problem is not with you. You have very good reason to be anxious. Anxiety keeps part of your attention away from your tasks of polishing the silverware as the house burns down, of playing the violin as the Titanic sinks. Unfortunately, the wrongness you are tapping into might be beyond the cognizance of the psychiatrists who treat you, who then conclude that the problem must be your brain.
Similarly, Attention Deficit Disorder, ADHD, and my favorite, Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) are only disorders if we believe that the things presented for our attention are worth paying attention to. We cannot admit, without calling into question the whole edifice of our school system, that it may be completely healthy for a ten-year-old boy to not sit still for six hours in a classroom learning about long division and Vasco de Gama. Perhaps the current generation of children, that some call the Indigos, simply have a lower tolerance for school’s agenda of conformity, obedience, external motivation, right-and-wrong answers, the quantification of performance, rules and bells, report cards and grades and your permanent record. So we try to enforce their attention with stimulants, and subdue their heroic intuitive rebellion against the spirit-wrecking machine.
As I write about the “wrongness” against which we all rebel, I can hear some readers asking, “What about the metaphysical principle that it’s ‘all good’?” Just relax, I am told, nothing is wrong, all is part of the divine plan. You only perceive it as wrong because of your limited human perspective. All of this is only here for our own development. War: it gives people wonderful opportunities to make heroic choices and burn off bad karma. Life is wonderful, Charles, why do you have to make it wrong?
I am sorry, but usually such reasoning is just a sop to the conscience. If it is all good, then that is only because we perceive and experience it as terribly wrong. The perception of iniquity moves us to right it.
Nonetheless, it would be ignorant and fruitless to pass judgment upon those who do not see anything wrong, who, oblivious to the facts of destruction, think everything is basically fine. There is a natural awakening process, in which first we proceed full speed ahead participating in the world, believing in it, seeking to contribute to the Ascent of Humanity. Eventually, we encounter something that is undeniably wrong, perhaps a flagrant injustice or a serious health problem or a tragedy near at hand. Our first response is to think this is an isolated problem, remediable with some effort, within a system that is basically sound. But when we try to fix it, we discover deeper and deeper levels of wrongness. The rot spreads; we see that no injustice, no horror can stand in isolation. We see that the disappeared dissidents in South America, the child laborers in Pakistan, the clearcut forests of the Amazon, are all intimately linked together in a grotesque tapestry that includes every aspect of modern life. We realize that the problems are too big to fix. We are called to live in an entirely different way, starting with our most fundamental values and priorities.
All of us go through this process, repeatedly, in various realms of our lives; all parts of the process are right and necessary. The phase of full participation is a growth phase in which we develop gifts that will be applied very differently later. The phase of trying to fix, to endure, to soldier on with a life that isn’t working is a maturation phase that develops qualities of patience and determination and strength. The phase of discovering the all-encompassing nature of the problem is usually a phase of despair, but it need not be. Properly, it is a phase of rest, of stillness, of withdrawal, of preparation for a push. The push is a birth-push. Crises in our lives converge and propel us into a new life, a new being that we hardly imagine could exist, except that we’d heard rumors of it, echoes, and maybe even caught a glimpse of it here and there, been granted through grace a brief preview.
If you are in the midst of this process, you need not suffer if you cooperate with it. I can offer you two things. First is self-trust. Trust your own urge to withdraw even when a million messages are telling you, “The world is fine, what’s wrong with you? Get with the program.” Trust your innate belief that you are here on earth for something magnificent, even when a thousand disappointments have told you you are ordinary. Trust your idealism, buried in your eternal child’s heart, that says that a far more beautiful world than this is possible. Trust your impatience that says “good enough” is not good enough. Do not label your noble refusal to participate as laziness and do not medicalize it as an illness. Your heroic body has merely made a few sacrifices to serve your growth.
The second thing I can offer you is a map. The journey I have described is not always linear, and you may find yourself from time to time revisiting earlier territory. When you find the right life, when you find the right expression of your gifts, you will receive an unmistakable signal. You will feel excited and alive. Many people have preceded you on this journey, and many more will follow in times to come. Because the old world is falling apart, and the crises that initiate the journey are converging upon us. Soon many people will follow the paths we have pioneered. Each journey is unique, but all share the same basic dynamics I have described. When you have passed through it, and understood the necessity and rightness of each of its phases, you will be prepared to midwife others through it as well. Your condition, all the years of it, has prepared you for this. It has prepared you to ease the passage of those who will follow. Everything you have gone through, every bit of the despair, has been necessary to forge you into a healer and a guide. The need is great. The time is coming soon.
At some point you are ready. Ready to do your work. But the task can seem so daunting that it can seem totally impossible. We’ve reached this point on our path where we know what to do but how to do it? No matter what your project is I would like to introduce you to a new way of bringing it into form. It is at this stage that we will be tempted to run back to the old fearful ways of the old world. But, don’t forget it was because we realized that those fearful pushy ways didn’t serve us that we started on this path in the first place. That is why it is vitally important that at this stage of living our purpose we don’t run back to the old ways of the past. For many of us we will then be left in a quandary ” how to get our work done.” All we’ve been taught is fear based pushy coercive techniques to get anything done. But there is a better way. It’s a process of allowing instead of forcing.
In our society right now most things are done in a fearful pushing manner. A manner that is out of sync with the universe. A manner, where you feel you have to make something happen. What we are going to discuss is a new way of getting things done by allowing them to happen. In this process you will use trust and faith, prayer and intention to set things in motion. Or rather, to get in tuned with what is already in motion. The goal here is to align yourself with that which is already happening and to be a catalyst for it’s unfoldment on Earth. This is totally different from the old way of trying to will something into existence. Whatever your project or work is, realize that ultimately it’s God’s project. Please remember that no matter what the form, be it a book, a business, a film or an invention. Don’t start to think that it is your project alone. Because when you start to think that way you feel alone and then you feel that it is up to you to make it happen . Then you get stressed out and fearful and start to use pushy coercive business tactics to force it into existence. Pretty much 99.99% of the business done today in our world is accomplished in this manner. It is a highly inefficient way to get things done. Which is ironic, because to most of us this new method will appear at first to be the inefficient one. Why, because most of the time you will appear to be doing nothing of consequence. But that is only because we normally think being busy and running around is doing “work” when in reality most of that activity is just wasted energy. This is especially true when the business or project is going against the flow of the universe, which unfortunately happens to be most of the time. In the future, which is upon us, we will complete projects using this new method. The heart of this method is trust.
When you do a project in a spiritual way, you realize you are not alone and your main goal is to get in alignment with that which exists already. You want to get in tuned with what is already happening. When you do this you because an instrument and things come into your awareness and start to happen synchronistically. You don’t follow mental “to do” lists; instead you will be intuitively guided moment to moment. Sometimes these inspirations will not make any logical sense at all. But it all starts with the question, “God what would you have me do today.” Of course you will have needs, wishes and desires but you will give those over to God. Then you will seek to get in alignment with Gods solutions to what appears to be your problems. This is the proper way. All the solutions already exist. It is only man today who believes himself to be separate from God that thinks he must make things happen using his own will power. But the power of Love is so much more powerful. And, that’s what we are really talking about. For this new way to work you will only seek to do things that are in alignment with the higher order. So that means things that are in alignment with the higher good. There will be no more destructive creations.
Anyway back to your project. The first thing you must do is, sit back, relax and enjoy the show. I.e. watch the process unfold. You will have thoughts such as:
“But God cannot handle such a big project. I’m going to have to jump in there and make it happen!”
But if you think about that for just a second you will realize how silly that thought is. I mean we’re talking about God here. And if it’s the same God that created us that that means he handles much bigger projects than yours every millisecond. In every moment whole universes are created and destroyed. So don’t you think he can handle this? Ahh but now you say:
“Well yes but not my project. I’m not worthy of god’s help.”
But you are. And he is helping you. God’s help is available to everyone. It’s not that he doesn’t want to help people or that people are not worthy, it’s that we choose, consciously or sub consciously to reject him and his help. We are like children who want to pretend we don’t have any parents. But God being the loving parent that he is will let the children believe in this delusion as much as they want to. Constantly protecting them from themselves, but in the process letting them learn the lessons of separation. Eventually they wake up and want to come back home.
Dump all your old ideas of how things get done in this world. It will not happen from your will power, your fear or your separate actions and ideas. Take all your concerns to God as you have been. Then trust that it is happening in the background. Be open to the signs when you are nudged to take action or when someone is brought to you. You are already very good at this so there really is no problem . For you it’s just a matter of really believing that it can happen this way. But all that is required is your effort to believe and this you are doing. Soon your project will be done and you will be able to teach this new method to others. Yes the old world is being destroyed but a new world is being created and you are a part of it so do not fear. All you need do is set back, relax and enjoy the show.
You have many compasses to help guide you along the way, they are:
Does it feel right?
Are you at peace?
Is it effortless?
Does it flow?
Is it joyful?
When you’re about to take an action use these compasses to guide you. This is how you will know if you are in the flow or not.
“But what about money?”
Trust, you already have everything you need right now in this moment to take the next step. All will be provided for in the right time and place for your project to come into being. Know that. Accept what is happening. Stay out of fear. If you could see all the blessing coming to you, you would be so overjoyed but instead you look at your drab world and let that tell you what to believe. Don’t listen to it. Stay focused on the spiritual. Stay out of worldly dramas. Know that you do have the money. Just have fun with it, trusting that the means will be provided for you. You must trust in this process. Do not worry about how you’re going to make it happen. You are not going to make anything happen. Instead you will discover what is already happening and go along with that.
Two months ago, I quit my job at Dropbox because something was very wrong. I didn’t know what it was, but I knew that I was broken and that I just needed to go. I already look back at that girl like she’s someone else–like I’m watching a movie of myself.
Linda sits awkwardly in a conference room waiting to have an exit interview with her boss, fully aware of the wide eyes and crazed look on her face. “Oh man … they think I’ve totally lost it, don’t they. I mean I kind of have. Maybe I should move back to New York. I think I forgot to take a shower this morning. Yep. Definitely did. Maybe Berlin?” She stares blankly with a weird smile on her face, imagining every possibility in the world all at once. She looks haggard and broken.
I was a mess–but I also felt free for the first time in way too long. I hoped that feeling would still be there when I woke up the next morning with nowhere to go and nothing to do. My life had turned into a daunting, tangled ball of iPhone headphones, and I knew I needed a month just to deal with it.
For starters, I wrote a blog post about quitting my job and it got some attention. I heard from so many people with the same story. From junior designers getting their feet wet for the first time, all the way up to senior executives and newly-established millionaires who seemed to have it all. Everyone said the same thing : that they feel like they’re losing their souls by staying at their jobs, and yet they can’t find the courage to leave.
It was really fascinating to me — and almost a relief — to discover that no human being is immune to this phenomenon, no matter how large their paycheck or how ample their perks. The soul-sucking anxiety seems to get worse as you climb the ranks in Silicon Valley, if you aren’t climbing with the right people by your side and for the right reasons.
This is what my first month of being “unemployed” looked like:
It looks just like my Dropbox calendar would have looked. But instead of meetings and deadlines, it was now filled with “life stuff.” In two years, I hadn’t made the time for little things like the DMV. And I was having fun meeting strangers who wanted to share their stories. Being this busy was normal for me, so I kept it up for a while. It was my little calendar-shaped security blanket.
“If there’s lots of stuff on my calendar, that must mean I’m important and needed and busy making great things, right?” As it turns out, that wasn’t true. In between meetings and appointments, I would go on long hikes or drives by myself. It wasn’t long before the little orange dots on my calendar just felt like nuisances keeping me from freedom, so I stopped putting them there. I was my own project manager now, and I could just do that. And I needed to in order to deal with that ball of stress in my head that made me quit in the first place.
I couldn’t figure out the source of my stress while I was as busy as I was in my job. Stress is a really weird thing. When it’s happening to me, I know it’s happening, but I can’t see it with a birds-eye view. I can sometimes get perspective by going on vacation or drinking a few Negronis or running 10 miles at a time. But the only way to really figure things out was to give myself time. I couldn’t figure out the source of my stress while I was as busy as I was in my job. I had to go, if I was ever going to get my head straight.
I took a whole month to think about everything that I hadn’t had time for over the previous two years. I posted cool photos on Instagram to make it look like I was on some amazing adventure, but really I was just recalling every project I could have done better, every work relationship gone wrong, every weird email I misread and how inadequate I always felt in my job. I made time for all of those ugly and pointless thoughts. I cried a bunch. On some days I didn’t have the energy to move and I would just lay face-down on my couch. I felt all of those feelings right down to their core, and then I threw them all away. This process had great days and horrible days, and lasted about five weeks before I really started to feel like myself again.
I’m so glad I didn’t jump into another job. If I had, I would have been bringing all of that mess with me. I’m so glad I didn’t jump into another job. If I had, I would have been bringing all of that mess with me. I wouldn’t have the bird’s-eye view of my own life and I would have been tangling up the ball of headphones even further. I’m so glad that I gave myself time to breathe before making a huge decision about what I would commit to next. The scariest thing about not having a back-up plan turned out to be the best part–because my head feels 10 times lighter, and I feel far more focused than I have in a long time.
Where it all went wrong
I knew that my job was great in the beginning, and I knew that when it ended I was feeling like a complete mess. But I had no idea what happened in the middle. I think I figured out. This is a very simplified take on it.
I think that a tricky thing happens when a business grows incredibly fast. Any growth that isn’t slow and organic, but rather abrupt and hyperactive– it can make for a creeping separation between a company’s employees. There’s no time for casual small talk in the cafe anymore. There’s no banter, no down time, and no way to keep up with all the new faces coming in every day.
I have to care about the person on the other side of the conference table in order to do great work with them. Suddenly, it’s acceptable to just not have time for people. There’s no time to care about their life outside of the office, much less their life outside of the meeting you’re in with them. This was normal behavior in my environment. The people I was supposed to be building things with were too busy to care (and so was I).
But I have to care about the person on the other side of the conference table in order to do great work with them.
I know this about myself now — yay! For a while I thought that I just cared too much about the product or the work that I was doing, and it was just getting harder to get things done. But now I know that the work has nothing to do with it. It’s the way people treat each other when we don’t have time for each other. We’re short, we’re cold, we’re abrupt, we’re passive-aggressive. I didn’t like becoming one of those people, and I especially didn’t like working with them.
I said in my last post, “You will never figure out what’s right until you fix what you already know is inherently wrong.” So I’ve been doing that and simplifying the hell out of my life. That includes everything from breaking off relationships that weren’t good for me to ending bad habits like biting my nails. Recently I’ve even stopped consuming alcohol and sugar to help me keep this focus while I figure out what’s “right.”
The key has just been to slow everything down. It’s so hard at first, but it’s gotten easier every day. Now I’m freelancing with a few clients who are kind and wonderful and who care about what they’re doing. Turns out freelancing’s not so scary once you dive in. And while I don’t know what the new year will bring, I’m hopeful and happy, and I can’t wait to see what’s next.
An earlier version of this post originally appeared on Medium. We welcome your comments.
I stumbled on this young YouTuber that my daughter follows called Connor Franta. He has a lot of good things to say about living an authentic life. Man, these millennials are way ahead of the curve. So much wisdom for such a young age. I wish someone would have given me this kind of advice when I was their age.
Why a focus on giving is the key to true peace and prosperity for all.
Heaven and Hell Once there was a man who died and when he got to the other side an angel greeted him. Soon they stood in an elevator with only two buttons; One for hell and the other for heaven.
“Which one would you like to see first?” Asked the angel.
The man thought for a moment, “let’s check out hell first,” he said. The angel pressed the button, the elevator descended for what seemed like eternity but soon the doors opened to hell. What the man saw totally shocked him. In hell was this incredibly long table and on the table was the most incredible banquet he had ever seen! There were delicious looking meats, and fruits and dished that put earth meals completely to shame. But surrounding the table was an equally horrendous sight. Around the table were thousands of people all crying in complete agony. When the man looked closer he saw that the reason they were all crying was because the forks they had were longer than their arms and they couldn’t get the food into their mouths! “Get me out of here!” said the man, I can’t stand it! Take me to heaven! The angel obliged and soon the elevator was rising fast. Eventually it came to heaven, the bell rung and the doors opened. The man just stood there. He was too shocked to move. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing. In front of him was the same table as in hell with the same delicious banquet. Then he saw something that made him smile and laugh with total amazement. “Of course!” he shouted. When he looked around the table he saw the same amount of people but this time instead of cries of agony he heard cries of joy. The people had the same overly long forks too. But here there was one important difference — they were serving each other.
The problem that must be solved In the beginning man conquered man. If one group wanted something they just declared war, attacked and took it from another group. Eventually this balanced out and we reached a stalemate or global balance of power. Our current capitalistic economic system is the latest evolution of this type of thinking. The balance of power is still working itself out so that when two groups cannot easily conquer and dominate one another than they fall back into an uneasy truce and trade. But even in this uneasy peace the idea is still to attempt though “negotiations” and shrewd business tactics to gain the upper hand and “get” or “win” more than the other group.
Our society has fully embraced this way of thinking and now believes that if you give you will lose. That instead of giving you must take. So now we have a society where almost everyone is focused on taking, getting, capitalizing and taking advantage of everyone and everything around them. A society where almost everyone is constantly seeking more and more, with no real regard to the welfare of others, in a vain attempt to find peace and happiness. A society that values accumulating for the sake of accumulating. We have an economics of fear and scarcity and lack. It is based on the belief, no the reality of the belief, that there is not enough to go around and so that is our reality. Currently our corporations are the pinnacle of this belief system. They are the sum aggregate of everyone’s belief in lack.
Capitalism is based on this equation. Profit = sales- expenses. The idea as everyone knows is to reduce expenses as much as possible and increase sales as much as possible for maximum profit. Think about it in terms of expense being what is needed to produce the product or service to be sold or that expenses are what is needed to be given back to the world to produce the product or service. Another way of looking at it is that expenses are what is given. The capitalist wants to give the least amount he can to get as much as he can. And not just that, but to accumulate what he gets for the sake of accumulating. You have people and companies keeping score. Who has the most money? We don’t ask why? Why do we need this much money? It is just assumed that if you have more it’s better just by it’s very nature. So ten million is better than one million and one million is better than ten thousand etc. But, what we have to understand is that the accumulation of money without purpose is meaningless.
So people say, “Yeah, but if I had a billion dollars I could do so much good in the world.”
Well yes, that would be true but the question is, at what price? In fact, so much damage would have been caused by the unloving methods used to accumulate that sum as to far out weigh the philanthropical benefits of giving it away. To take money attained in an unloving manner and then to give it to a benevolent cause is insanity. The damage is already done. We call it “giving back” but why “take” in the first place? If we freely give our love in the beginning then there is nothing to give back. There will be no damage to repair.
We have created these machines, giant computers really, called corporations that now greedily consume everything in their path. Like a cancer on the planet, these machines will destroy us. Our corporations strip our plant of its natural resources and poison the environment. They, treat workers with disdain, virtually enslaving millions to lives of drudgery and death. Their cutthroat business tactics teach greed as the highest value. This is the price we pay, and to do this in the name of progress is wrong. This system cannot go on. If we understand the love energy dynamics involved we will see that what we have currently economically is a black hole. When what we need is a sun. What is a black hole? It is a negative sun, a star that is sucking in everything around it, even light. It is a taker, for the universe, a greedy capitalist. Where as a star, it is a lover. She gives of her light freely to the space around her asking nothing in return. Can you imagine the sun sending the earth a bill! A black hole, on the other hand, gives nothing and takes everything — the polar opposite. Unlike the sun, with a black hole, foreclosure and bankruptcy papers are always imminent! This analogy is not perfect but we get the idea. We want a system where we, and the institutions built from us are suns, givers of love, givers of life. Our corporations by their very nature are mechanizations of death. Their sole purpose is to suck the life out of everything they touch, yes, some of us do get something in return but in reality we all pay a price greater than any perceived benefit.
But as society we do not want to see this.
For example, look at the way many of our multinational corporations, of which we are all a part, operate in third world countries. They bribe corrupt government officials into giving them lucrative contracts that allow them to extract either natural resources or labor at grossly deflated prices. These resources are then processed in some form or fashion and then resold at a profit. The result is that many of the indigenous populations in these countries are in complete states of poverty while the multinational corporations their countries do business with post record profits. It’s still an adversarial relationship. It’s still conquering; only it’s done though the accepted practice of “global free market economics”.
The problem with this way of thinking is that the circle of love is broken. People are either afraid to give or they are afraid to receive because they don’t feel worthy. So what has happened is a serious short circuit. There are those who are directing as much energy as possible to themselves and the energy is not flowing out again. It’s just a straight line not a circle and it’s only flowing one way.
This cannot last, because capitalism is, by its very nature, ultimately about taking and conquering. It’s about giving the least to gain the most. And, therefore, it goes against the laws of love. It’s a system that constantly sells the lie that when it reaches its full efficiency everyone will be rich. That by working hard, everyone can be a millionaire. It’s a system that requires a permanent underclass, otherwise who will do the “low wage work”. It’s a system that requires us to prey on one another. To look at each other like meat to be hunted and consumed. It’s a system that requires us to look at each other constantly asking the question “What can I get from him?”
Therefore, in the long run it is not sustainable. If it continues in its current form and at it’s current pace it will break down like it has done during the great depressions, recessions and revolutions of the past. And, when it breaks down, not only will the societies that depend on it break down but, it’s also possible that the very life giving systems of our planet will break down too, threatening our very existence. (Did I hear someone say global warming.)
Capitalism has served us well, it has allowed us, with our competing selfish interests, to trade and interact with each other without killing each other. It works, to a limited degree, but we must not confuse the fact that capitalism works with the idea that it’s the only and best system for us, because it’s not. It is now time for us as a society to evolve and take our interactions to the next level, the level of love!
Right now one of the core beliefs in our society is that if we could only get more money, ideally a million dollars, than we will be happy and at peace and all of our problems would be solved. In other words, we have been taught that the way to heaven is to have a ton of money. This is simply not true. The way to heaven is to help one another with our gifts.
The other erroneous belief is that we have to work hard to make things happen. Struggle is only an indication of our separation from God, the true source of everything. When we work with God instead of against him we can accomplish much with no struggle.
The other erroneous belief is that we are separate from each other and it’s “everyman for himself”. Survival of the fittest. Winner takes all. That if we are to “make it,” we must lookout for ourselves and fight to the top of the hill. This is also wrong, no one got very far just by helping themselves. The societies that do progress in the long run are the ones where people help each other.
The other erroneous belief is that there is not enough to go around. This one is probably the most insidious as it causes us to turn against each other. The reality is there is plenty to go around but only if we learn to share our gifts with each other unconditionally.
So you have situations where even when people want to help they feel they cannot because “there is not enough” and if they do help they will lose what they do have. And then to make matters worse, there are those who take advantage of those with these beliefs to everyone’s detriment.
The root of all of these erroneous beliefs is a lack of understanding of the one true power in the universe and how it works… the power of love. Love goes in a circle. What goes out comes back. Every major religion talks about it. Give and you shall receive. Well this is literally true. Some believe that if they give only then will God reward them and others believe that if they give they will just get a good feeling of satisfaction. No, love is a much more potent power than that. When you give AND when you are willing to receive you complete the circle of love which is the circle of life. Look at life; all of it is a great circle of giving and receiving.
What love really is
Before we can talk about the economics of love we have to talk about what love really is. Love is way more than just the feeling you have towards your love ones. It is that and so much more. First of all love is the dynamic energy that is the fabric of the universe. It is the unifying energy that keeps everything together and everything working smoothly; From planets to machines, to systems, organizations, and people. Love is God. You are love, and your divinely inspired gifts are how you will express love into the world. Quality is love. Now the thing about love is that it follows some laws. Let’s call them the laws of love. One of the main ones is that love is a conscious living energy that wants to flow as unconditionally outward to help and heal as much as possible. That is it’s very essence. Love doesn’t need anything. Love wants to flow as freely as possible. When love flows as freely as possible this is called unconditional love, the most powerful type of love there is. Unfortunately, on an economic level, our society operates with conditional love. If we see our commercial transactions with one another as exchanges of love energy we can see that the conditions we place on these exchanges is a form of conditional love. This type of love is not as powerful as unconditional love, whether its personal relationships or business relationships.
Our gifts are our love to give What we have to understand is that our gifts are our love expressed here on earth. So if your gift is art or music or engineering and if this is what you love to do than this is your love. Now the thing is, in our society, when we have a gift the next thing we tend to think about is how to make a living with it. And, since we live in a capitalistic society that is all about getting, we tend to think “Ok how can I get with my gift.” “How can I make a living.” “How can I make money.” We don’t tend to think “how can I serve.” Yet this is the crucial difference. Since these gifts are born of love and composed of love their purpose is to help make the world better. Their purpose is to serve. So having these gifts makes us angels of love. We are here to serve others with our gifts. Our joy will come from letting this love flow as freely as possible not from our acquisition of material goods. Now I am not saying that we should not receive money for our gifts and I am not saying that we should not have material things. In fact these things will come faster the more freely we share our gifts with the world. Let it flow. We can sell our gifts but there is a better way that is more in alignment with the quality and essence of love. What we want to do is to be in alignment with this energy that is flowing though us. Love wants to be free so we must let it out.
We must give our gifts away.
We are all one We have to understand a basic law of the universe. Give and you shall receive. See the problem is we think we are disconnected from everyone else. So we feel that if we give to someone that we will lose something. But this is not true. See in truth we are all one. So in reality, true reality, if we give to another we are really giving to ourselves. The love will come back, it is the law, it has to. Now, there may be a delay and it may take time and it may come back in a different form and in a totally different way than we expect but the love that we put out will come back to us. This includes the love of our gift. So give it away and give it away as unconditionally as possible.
Ask for help To ask is the best way, but is not required. To ask is in alignment with the laws of love. Give unconditionally and then ask for what you need, or better yet just trust. We already see this in our societies with churches and other charities and non-profits. They are the way showers for this new kind of economics. Usually we see the asking done in the form of asking for a donation and this is ok. We can also ask for a suggested donation. That’s ok too, as long as the product or service being given is given no matter if a donation is made or not. Even when someone makes a big deal about the donation such as the preacher who says “A hundred, who has a hundred, a fifty who has a fifty.” This is infinitely better than charging money at the door. Their gift has flowed out and now they are asking for what they need and providing a vehicle for love to return to them in the form of donations.
It may not look practical but this is because we have been living in our current system for so long. In the economics of love system we give because we want to not because of slick marketing. No more buying a music cd, only to get home and discover that you don’t like it and then not being able to return it. No more tricks, coercion, deceptive sales tactics. Just honest giving and receiving with feelings of gratitude returned back as love. It’s a new way and it requires trust and faith. We have to go out on an edge. But most of all it requires faith in our fellow human beings, a faith that says they are for the most part good, and not evil. Our world has everything it needs right now at this very moment for every man woman and child to live an abundant and successful life. But because of the fears most people have no one wants to share and when we do share our gifts it’s through our conditional economic system called capitalism or the free market.
A beautiful feast Think of a family gathering. How is it organized? People call around and everyone agrees to bring something and it’s a beautiful feast, where everyone brings their love and shares their love. Now imagine if, instead of food, people brought all of their various gifts. And instead of a small family of 30 or 100 people it’s a family of thousands and millions. It’s no different. But no you say, someone would take advantage of the situation. Yes, some one might, but whenever one is sharing and there is plenty for all what is there to take advantage of? Try it? instead of charging a price for your product or service try giving it away free and asking for a donation instead. At first you might not appear to be getting rich monetarily but you will see the immediate results of others getting rich from your love. And, you will feel it because you will feel the love spreading out from you to others. It will come back to you. Just focus on giving. If you really get stuck ask for help. A loving circle of giving and loving is what we are trying to reveal here.
Freely share what you love to do
The love already exist inside each one of us but we just have the wrong configuration. Currently if our economy were like an electric circuit, it is very inefficient in it’s current configuration. With the economics of love it will be in its correct configuration and will work much more effectively. People will gravitate towards what they love to do, because no one will have to do what they don’t want to do. People will gladly share more because they will be doing what they love and by the very nature of that fact they will want to share their love as much as possible. So for example some one might love to garden and when they do the harvest people might come and ask for some of the bounty and they will be so glad to be able to share their creation with them. This is totally different than the way things are now where most people sweat and toil away in miserable professions that they hate or tolerate out of fear of survival. This is most of our plant. So of course in a situation like this people feel desperate. For example, if someone where to walk up and ask for some of the harvest from a farm where someone hates farming – You know, where the farmer had to toil long and hard and suffer a lot to bring about the crop. Or instead, where the farmer pays a bunch of poor desperate souls to toil long and hard and suffer to bring out the crop. Of course, in a cases like this, the farmer would feel resentful mad and angry . He might say something like, “No I can’t give you any! Don’t you know I had to work long and hard to make this food! Who are you to just walk in here and ask for it like that!” The farmer will feel that you have to do something just as hard as he did to earn the right to his work. Don’t we all feel like that sometimes? So this is the situation of our world, where we trade our misery and suffering. But, it need not be so. The economics of love can be a guide to a better world, a better way of living. The key here is love, and sharing and trust in God and in one another. Can we do that? Absolutely!
The Economics of Love You might be thinking, “Oh, how can love have anything to do with money.” But if we really only knew what love is. It is a powerful energy that guides and supports the entire universe. The universe is made with the threads of love. It is everywhere. And we are part of it. It is God, and it is us. Now it is time for us to learn to use love wisely and to grown up as a society. We are so much more than we realize. We are capable of so much right now, but, as a society, we are caged in fear. We must break free of the fear.
Let’s look at the positive side of the ledger. The economics of love. Let’s look at the same equation. Profit = sales – expenses. It looks the same right but what you have to understand is the critical difference is attitude. An attitude of giving. Lets call this the service model. In the service model which most of our non-profits exemplify now. The goal of expense is no longer that which is given back to make the products. But now is that which is needed to give more. Because the goal of the service organization is to give. So even though this organization may take in money for it’s expense. The sole purpose of these expense is to serve others as much as is possible. What we don’t understand as a society is that this is the better way. Currently we think that non profits and charities are the exceptions; Holes in the system taking care of things that the free enterprise system just doesn’t seem capable of handling. What we don’t understand is that we have it backwards. This system, the non-profit service model is capable of handling all of our problems and more. It is the capitalist take all approach that will destroy our society and is causing the problems.
It is the attitude of giving that is the difference and it makes all the difference. Adam Smith really set us on the wrong course with his idea that people being as greedy as they can be, fighting and squabbling over so called scarce resources would produce the best out come. Yes it produces an outcome, short of all out war, but it is far from the best out come. There are better systems but unfortunately by time Adam smith came around the world was hopelessly heading down this dark economic road. What we have now is a system where no one really trust anyone else and where greed rules the day. It’s all about the winner taking all. Does this sound like anyway to live? No it isn’t. What if we had a family dinner but instead of a potluck we said that no one could sample anyone’s dish freely. They could only trade. It wouldn’t be a very fun dinner would it? This is the kind of family we have.
Lets talk about the bottom line. In a corporation or business the bottom line or profit is money. A business asks, “How much money did we accumulate? How much did we get? How much did we take?”
In the service model, although they too need money to operate they operate with a different bottom line. Let’s call it the high line. A line based on higher ideals, higher ideas, higher values, the high line of service. And, that line or profit is about how many people did we serve today, and how well did we serve them. It’s about, how much did we give, how much did we help. It is this attitude that is in alignment with the laws of love.
Love is all about service. Love needs nothing it just wants to go out into the world and help. That is it’s essence.
So let your love out, in the forms of your gifts and more, and we will all be so much richer for it.
We must heal the world with our love There are serious problems in our world that we are not aware of and we need to awaken to these problems. Many of us are asleep and do not even realize what is going on. On the one hand we have to awaken to our true potential to dream but on the other hand we have to awaken to the true reality of the negative situations we are in on this planet and are also helping create, only then can we start to change it. A slave can’t be free until he realizes he is a slave. As long as we think that the world around us is “just the way it is” or that it is good or that there is nothing that we can do about it, we will continue to live in bondage. This is very difficult to deal with and to understand fully. All that need happen though, is that we change our thoughts about what is possible. This society of ours is just one possibility out of an infinite realm of possibilities; it can be changed for the better. But we have to realize that it is possible for it to change and that we can help effect that change. One of the keys to this is having a better vision of what the world can become and realizing that our gifts are the love that will bring that vision into reality.
Examples of The Economics of Love in Action:
Amanda Palmer: She explains it so well. She really really gets it.
“Pay what you want restaurant”
By Martina Fuchs
LONDON (Reuters) – A London restaurant has decided to do away with bills for the next month, asking customers to pay only what they want for meals in an unorthodox bid to beat the credit crunch.
The Little Bay restaurant in central London, one of four owned by restaurateur Peter Ilic, will present diners with absolutely nothing when they ask for the cheque during February, leaving it up to them to decide what the meal was worth.
“Anything between a penny and 50 pounds ($70) will make me happy, it’s entirely up to the customer to decide,” Ilic said on Tuesday, sounding confident about the prospects as he sat on a purple couch is his brightly colored, arty restaurant, known for its bistro-style Mediterranean cuisine.
“It just seemed the right thing to do with everyone under the cash and feeling pretty miserable,” he said.
Times have not been easy for London restaurants in recent months as the credit crisis and a deepening recession have hit everyone, from ordinary city workers to highly paid bankers.
Whereas once high-flying hedge-fund managers from the London financial district known as the City might seek out the most ostentatiously expensive lunch they could find — and top London restaurants would willingly oblige — now the order of the day is austerity and a decent, tasty bargain.
Ilic, a long-standing player in the London restaurant business, is well-known for his value gourmet food, but now he’s gone one step further and effectively cut prices to zero.
“We have seen so many more City folk coming into the restaurant lately, looking for a better value lunch,” he said, explaining what gave him the idea, similar to that used by major bands like Radiohead to sell their CDs.
If people like something, they’ll pay for it, the idea goes, and already Ilic has seen evidence that it works.
“Customers have already paid 20 percent more than the original price,” he said, confident that he will more than cover his expenses for the month. “People want to be polite and would be embarrassed not to pay enough.”
Not only is the deal pretty attractive for those who might decide to pay nothing, the food is pretty tempting too.
Starters include crab tartelette, foie gras terrine and goat cheese souffle, while main courses range from duck breast to steamed butter-fish and filet steak.
The only thing customers definitely have to pay for are their drinks. But for those really suffering in the credit crisis, the tap water is served free.
Karma Kitchen uses the “Economics of Love” There, patrons receive free meals and can pay it forward via money or service for the next guest if they choose.
You Don’t Ask, You Just Give
In many parts of the world, people are searching for alternatives to the cash economy. In Mali, one of the most cash poor nations in the world, “Dama” or the “Gift Economy” has been thriving for thousands of years. This system of exchange is not based on exchange or equivalence between the giver and the receiver, rather the receiver passes the gift on to someone else. The gift economy celebrates the value of life, putting human relationship over profit.
Seva Cafe: Love All, Serve All
Seva, or service, is the selfless giving of oneself for the betterment of others and the world around. At Seva Cafe, the concept of service takes the form of a “pay it forward” restaurant, where every meal is cooked and served with love.