I’m not done making mistakes and taking chances.

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“NOTHING GREAT IS CREATED SUDDENLY.” It was just a kitschy plaque I saw at the grocery store, but it stopped me in the aisle. If you read my blog here regularly, you know I am passionate about constantly improving and about following your dreams.

spinsbythesea

When I was introduced to secular music for the first time, I was very influenced by Jason Mraz’s early albums like Waiting for my Rocket, Selections for Friends, and Mr. A-Z. His lyrical prowess was unlike anything I’d encountered in my sheltered musical experience. His flow, storytelling and impressive range in vocal skills made Mraz one of my favourites and remains so to this day.

I’ve been in my new home for two months (a 3,555 km move from the West Coast to an arctic island). Just before I got here I downloaded a bunch of Ed Sheeran’s stuff. Immediately, I experienced the same love of his mastery of words and sounds to tell stories. I might be late to the Sheeran party, but if you look at my iTunes you will see many of his songs show 27-35 plays (and that’s not counting any of the plays on my phone, only my computer). I listen to his stuff one at a time on repeat. There are several songs that have hit me with chills or brought me to tears on the very first listen. There have been songs that have spun me backwards and made me deal with things in my past. There are songs that give me total hope for my creative future.

Why do I love these guys?

They have lived.

I heard Take it Back for the first time today while I was out running errands. I set it up for repeat. I went and bought a coffee and walked down the rocks of the beach over faded yellow ropes and discarded seal skins to the very edge where I could feel the wind hit my face and I was as close as I could be to the water. Me and my black coffee, I closed my eyes and I could feel it all. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. It just hits me. I was not discouraged by how inadequate I feel in comparison to his song writing. I feel inspired and I know the more I listen to people who are great, the closer I will get to creating something worthy of further inspiring others.

But it’s not just practice. It’s living. My favourite artists have taken chances, had rough times, had great times, they’ve gone to the university of life and that appeals to me so much. I’m 5th child after a doctor, nurse, teacher and business man. Both my parents have worked at a university. I just want to go places and meet people and keep saying yes. I’m done three years of uni, but it’s hard to think of going back when I have so much I want to do outside of expensive books and minds that are learning so much but reach the world and have no idea what they are passionate about or value. They wrap themselves in their degree and face the world, find someone who likes what they’re wearing and take a safe job to pay for their new condo and pay for the normal life they have always been expected to live.

I don’t know if I can take this route. 

I want to make more mistakes. Learn more through the people I meet. I want to get lost. I want to stay up all night talking to strangers.  I want to buy a ticket and leave with no luggage. I want to write and sing and draw everything I see. I want to extend my heart to those in need. I want to drive until I run out of gas. I want to busk. I want to photograph things that no one but me sees. I want to notice the small details of the world and bring attention to them through art and music. 

For me, there would be nothing worse than turning 30 and feeling like I settled. I am 8 years away from 30. Jason Mraz is 37, Ed Sheeran is 23. I don’t necessarily aspire to fame, but I aspire to create big things. Important or at least meaningful things. Music, writing, art, maybe movies. I want to make stuff that touches people and changes them. That makes them think, like my favourite songs, books and films have made me reconsider my assumptions.

Back to the quote I found in the grocery store at the beginning.

I found extreme joy and hope in this quote. “Nothing great is created suddenly.” There’s no pressure. It’s up to me to remain driven and focused, but I can rest in the fact that I’m on a journey that can lead to greatness with each choice I make. I can achieve what I desire with time and hustle.

What choices do you wish you made? Is it really too late to make them now? What’s holding you back from taking the risks that could change your life?

Here’s the full quote: 

“Nothing great is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me that you desire a fig. I answer you that there must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen.” -Epictetus

What is the proverbial fig in your life? Are you rushing too much in hopes of ripening it faster? How are you developing your passions and skills to harvest a sweet fig at the end of your hard work?

✮ MM: Find a Focus ✮

dreams, Thoughts

This week’s motivation was inspired by an infographic that Anna Akana mentioned in her latest video. I had heard the data before, but it was a great reminder. The number might seem overwhelming, but it’s also motivating and helpful to know exactly how much work it takes to become a master or an expert (the best of the best) in any given field/industry. It takes 10,000 hours. In light of this number, the challenge this week is to:

FIND A FOCUS.

10thousandhours

(click to enlarge the infographic)

No matter what you want to do, if you put in that amount of deliberate practice, you will be an expert. Even if you know nothing about it now. This is especially powerful if you are around 20(or younger). Imagine being the best in the world at something by the time you are 30. Just putting in 20 hours a week, you can become the very best in under 10 years. If you want to chase your dream more aggressively, putting in 40 hours a week will get it done in less than 5.

If you can find a focus and start working towards becoming the best, imagine what you could accomplish! You may change your plans/ reroute along the way, but starting along the path is the most important thing. Just like saving up money early on can have a huge snowball effect with interest, so do all the hours of work that you clock pay off.

Here are a few of my ideas to get started once you’ve found a focus:

  • CREATE A SYLLABUS: Maybe you’re already going to school for what you want to get good at. Regardless of whether you are or not, you can create your own syllabus for learning. Do some research and create a document for yourself listing the best books, teaching tools, teachers/coaches/experts, and free resources(online podcasts/tutorials/e-courses) available to you. You can make up your own projects, goals, desired learning outcomes and due dates and just start plugging away!
  • SCHEDULE: This is one I definitely need to work on. You can use the 10,000 hours as a long term goal, but that’s an overwhelming number to face each morning. Break it down and make time in your day for your practice. More frequent, shorter chunks are more effective normally than longer, infrequent chunks of time (though it depends on what you’re practicing). If you don’t commit to a time and plan ahead, excuses and reasons to flake out on yourself will inevitably come up.
  • CREATE A VISION BOARD: I’ve made a post about this before, but a vision board is such a fun and useful thing to do for goal setting… It’s like Pinterest in real life (you could just use Pinterest, but I like a physical copy for my wall).
  • SURROUND YOURSELF WITH POSITIVITY: Yes, everyone at the top met opposition along the way. That is not to say you must suffer more than necessary along your journey. Find like-minded individuals who share in your vision, who support you in your goals, who will tell you to keep going when you run out of steam. These are the people you want with you when you achieve your goals. People who had patience with you, were honest with you, who believed in everything you have worked towards.
  • BE INSPIRED: When you’re excited about what you’re working on it’s easy to forget or shut out what’s going on in the real world. Don’t become so isolated that you miss out on the changes and news in your industry/area of interest. Allow yourself to not only observe others who are doing things that you’d like to do, but be inspired by them, engage with their work, discuss it, seek it out actively, critique it.