Better, Faster, Stronger

July 12, 2013

Being a human is hard. We walk around. We observe each other. We constantly wonder why.

Signals come to us. They tell us that we need this or that. That we’re not worth shit. That we’re kings of the world. That we’re doing OK.

We worry. Then deliberate. Then get sick and worry some more. Then others worry for us. We worry more because they worry. We get so worried we can’t sleep.

We ask ourselves what the hell we’re supposed to do. How to break out of the lull. How to get more from life. How to lift ourselves in response to our crushed spirits. How to get him, or her, or it, to like us. To love us. Eventually to leave us alone.

It all goes round and round. Every day. Every minute. Every year. Every lifetime.

If only you knew a way to breakout. To rise above the shit. To get bigger, faster, stronger. More happy. More “P-R-O-D-U-C-T-I-V-E”.

What then, would you do?

Shifting Focus

Answering that question might well be impossible. And what with all the other immediate things to attend to, tasks to undertake, money to piss away, there’s probably not even time.

But perhaps you should stop for a second and ask yourself this.

How much of all that, all those simple actions and necessities that you consider “everyday life”, how much do they all stand to benefit you? Give you something in the moment?

Be honest when you answer.

Can they really alleviate the big flood of worry constantly washing over you? Or restrain you, perhaps, from all the needless desires that fill your life?

Because if they do, then job well done. You’ve found something that I can’t. And for that I can only commend you.

But as for those of us outside this type of emotional fortress, how are we supposed to carry on?

This, I argue, is where you’ve got to get back to the plan. The only thing that seems to work. The only thing that keeps the demons at bay and stops insanity and madness come marching back.

Thankfully the plan is easy.

All it is, is creating. Continually.

That’s what shifts the focus.

A Cure That Few People Invest In

But even though creating is a simple cure, few people invest in it.

I think I know about three. Three people, out of hundreds, who actually take conscious time out, every day, away from all the noise. Who sit down and give to rise to their thoughts. Try and turn them into something interesting. Something other people might be able to consume.

Whether an article, song, picture, or poem, it really doesn’t matter. The main point is that they do it. And that when they do it they’re rarely compromised by money or fame (not that that’s a bad thing – I just refuse to believe it can fulfil you long-term).

What else is interesting about these people though, aside from their output, is this. That when you watch them, locked away in creation, you can actually see movement. You can observe each person growing. Getting better. Getting faster. Getting stronger. Each and every time.

A chapter done. A painting half-finished. A bridge composed. Each instils a sense of pride. A sense of accomplishment. A rare satisfaction in the heart.

The focus, on the work and nothing else, purifies the mind.

That’s the power of being creative. It shows us, through these people, that’s there hope for all of us if we try.

The only difference between us and them is discipline.

The Art of Creative Discipline

In terms of creative discipline then, how should we move forward? How do we get out the novels, songs, artwork and businesses we often dream and do little about? And does that truly help ease our tortured suffering?

Its a big ask for anyone to answer these types of questions. And for someone such as myself, who’s just getting started fashioning himself into new, hopefully more beneficial, routines, I’d feel like a fraud making any attempt to do so.

Still, it’s important to try. If only to at least make sense of it for myself.

So I guess the first the step, the one that I keep telling myself anyway, is selling yourself on its benefit.

Reminding yourself that time spent on actively creating something, no matter what you might be happening to think or feel at the time, is time well spent.

And to reinforce that you use a tactic. Routine. An amount of allotted time (or creating) per day, in a familiar place, away from distractions. You then ask yourself how you feel before and after. Has ring fencing the time and producing something left you feeling a little bit better off? I guarantee it usually does.

Step two is all about the outcome. Reminding yourself that the quality of what you produce need not matter (at least not in the initial phases anyway). That all you are practicing is discipline and creativity. Accustoming yourself to asking curious questions about what you’re doing and why.

And while it’s good to set yourself certain themes or topics to help guide your work, you don’t want to get too bogged down in structure. Or anything else that permits natural flow.

The last step regards feedback. That’s what makes the whole creative process worthwhile. The ability to move people (or at least to attempt to do so). Whether you choose to do this by sharing your work with the world via the Internet (recommended only for those with tough skin), or decide to keep it among a select number of respected peers, bear in mind that a critique is just that. You choose who and what to listen to and how you let that change your work.

Creative discipline is a tricky beast. But a necessary one.

It’s the strongest thing that can facilitate the magic of escape.

Permit us to forget the pains of the everyday.