Guestblogger Jennifer Kruidbos writes about how to let go and go for broke in The Last Year of Earthly Things.
Why we need to get comfortable creating bad stuff if we want to create good stuff
The last year of earthly things is about doing more of what makes you really freakin’ happy. Like really happy. Happy as this guy:
So I’m sharing a big secret I figured out: You have to do what makes you happy even if that means you suck at it (or think you suck at it, or don’t think you suck at it, but other people think you do).
If there is something you love to do, you have to do it.
For instance dance:
There’s a good chance that if you love something (movies, yoga, essays, books, music, reporting, making memes) then you probably are pretty good at figuring out what is really good and what is rubbish.
You can see and smell the difference between something that is so powerful, authentic and artfully human that it moves people to tears, versus something that makes people tear up because it smells worse than a used diaper wrapped in burnt rubber. There’s a great little video all about this, so if you’re bored reading my article, this is probably a better use of your time:
What I am interested in is our relationship with the so-called amazing examples, the archetypes. Archetypes epitomize the ideal in a specific domain. They are amazing and inspiring, and what you are doing (and what I am doing) is burning rubber in diaperville by comparison, which is just fine EXCEPT when it makes you stop doing, making, creating, all those things that make you freakin happy OR when you are doing it in a way that you are trying to copy. In other words, you are trying to be like her:
When your version looks like this
just don’t worry about it. Stop comparing and trying to be like Bey. Don’t worry that you’ll never be as sexy as Beyonce. Rather, enjoy the inspiration. (I feel sexier knowing that Beyonce exisits.) But stop with the guru worship. The reason why you see the beauty in someone like Beyonce (or Hemingway, or whomever you admire) is because you have that greatness in you and you’re seeing a reflection of it. So enjoy it and let it light you up and then put it out there bit by terrifying bit!
And don’t waste too much time making fun of other people’s diaperville creations because while you are busy making fun of them, they are likely trying new things and growing and getting better. Then who will be laughing?
A personal anecdote…
From a very young age I wanted to sing on stage. I wasn’t born with the same incredible talent as many of my musical heroes.
So my desire to be good and observation that I was quite untalented meant I didn’t do anything musical. It felt terrible.
But dozens of years later, the desire to do what I love would not go away, so I took one small timid, awkward step towards it in the form of a voice lesson, then another and then another. Now I play keyboards and sing back up in an alternative rock band and it is SO MUCH FREAKING FUN! I know I still sound like diapers some of the time, but it doesn’t matter, because I’m always getting better. The same story goes with being a yogapreneur but that’s for another post.
Why get vulnerable and real about the fact that most of what I make I consider to be quite mediocre? Because recently a few people have asked to have coffee with me and ask how I have built up a decent sized office yoga business in 18 months etc. I’m thinking in some small way, they may see me as closer to the inspiration side than the diaper side of the spectrum, so when they go and try to do what makes them happy and have a hard time and feel like they suck, I want them to know that most days I have a hard time and think I suck too… but it doesn’t matter because the joy of doing it and moving towards what feels really good is worth it. And I actually see my self getting better really slowly. The progress feels like molasses most days, but at least it’s happening.
My old writing style was to write and share a couple years after going through the challenges because it is so much easier to look back when things are going great, but I think it is a lot harder, and thus a lot more valuable to share honestly from a challenging vantage point, especially in the age of “Look at me and my awesome Facebook life” (example: blogger Veronique Grenier addresses how parents only show off the celestial, tender parts of parenting, when the reality is a lot more frustrating. In her blog, Les P’tits pis Moe, she refers to her kids as being in the “Terrible twos and fucking fours”).
The cool part is that the more you do what makes you happy and the less you care about how crappy it is, the more you are freeing other people to do what makes them happy which is really important in a world where there is pressure to be a certain way.
Letting go of a strict definition of success has freed me. Are there areas in your life where you are holding back because of your need to meet the archetypal standard or you’re uncomfortable with starting in diaperville?
(Sorry if I offended any of the 70 people who live in Diaperville, Wisconsin with this post).
– Jennifer Kruidbos