My dad sent me some quotes today from Chuck Close. They really resonated with me because I’ve been trying so hard for the last few years to come up with a plan for success. Every morning I wake with the aspiration to reinvent myself and solve all of my problems and every evening I go to bed drunk and disillusioned. OK, I’m exaggerating. Obviously I lack the skill to and funding to get drunk every night. But I do wake with a fix-everything-quick mindset very often. That plus a little caffeine and sugar and I feel guaranteed to find focus, direction, and abundance to my life in a matter of hours.
Every few months I get really upset with this cycle and decide to end it once and for all. In the past this has taken the form of moving, quitting jobs, starting new ones, quitting projects, starting new ones, and most recently, reading self-help books. I’m addicted! They always leave me so inspired and I love sitting down to plan my “ideal life” and to set 5-year goals. Unfortunately, I can never finish the books because I can never decide on my “passion work” or my “life purpose project.” A year ago I started Sound Design Live after reading Crush It and I was super excited about it for two months, then the bottom fell out and and all of a sudden I didn’t care about it any more. Now I’m so scared of that happening again that I only want to start a project when I’m sure it is perfect. That is, the right one for me, the one I won’t give up on. (Note: I’ve since come around to Sound Design Live again and discovered that I really enjoy working on it, just not every single day as I was doing a year ago.)
Who is Nathan Lively? Am I a rock star, a theatrical sound designer, an audio visual technician, a comedian, an online publisher, or a writer? I’ve printed so many different business cards that it has become obvious that I am not a skilled tradesman, I am a generalist. Although I become enamored with the idea of being the charismatic expert in a particular field, this is mostly my ego looking for a proven path to recognition. It sees a path, like being a sound engineer for bands, and wants to follow that to the top of the mountain for everyone to see. The truth is that I may never decide on one thing that I would like to do every day. Maybe this is why I run 5 websites and have lived in 7 different cities.
I am envious of the people who have one project and one goal and work on that day in and day out, because it must feel great to have such devotion and focus. I, on the other hand, merely have a set of criteria I would like to follow: focused creation, joyful sharing, positive abundance, and spiritual experience for the highest good of all without expectation. It took me a long time to come up with that personal recipe for happiness, but it still doesn’t solve the problem because what kind of cake am I going to make with it? Now you understand my cyclical morning hope of explosive inspiration and why the following quote resonated so deeply:
Inspiration is for amateurs.
The rest of us show up and get to work.
Sign on to a process and see where it takes you.
You don’t have to invent the wheel every day.
Today you’ll do what you did yesterday,
tomorrow you’ll do what you did today.
Eventually, you will get somewhere.
No one gets anywhere without help.
If you are overwhelmed by the size of a problem,
break it down into many bite-sized pieces.
Quadriplegics don’t envy the able-bodied,
we envy paraplegics.
I am confident that no artists has more pleasure,
day in and day out, from what they do than I do.