The Secret to Success: Care Less?

{Etsy print by Art Problems}

{Etsy print by Art Problems}

I always believed if you work really hard and you really, really wanted something, you’ll get it. If I’m going to be honest, it’s how I’ve gotten everything I wanted or avoided what I didn’t want. It’s how I’ve accomplished the big things like get my first copywriting job with no prior experience and get out of things-paying tickets/admission/etc.

Besides that, it just makes sense.

Hard work = big pay off.

But there’s another important ingredient in the recipe of success that I often forget and that’s much harder than any time you put into working.

Doing. Nothing.

It’s something I don’t do enough of. I actually created a challenge for myself and you guys to do more by doing less in 2011. I can’t believe it was 3 years ago! It’s still an important reminder.

You can only do so much before you reach that point where you’re either going to burn out or become ineffective.

During moments when I’m feeling desperate like I’m trying to force something to happen, I take a breather. If you’re like me, you’ll need a little push to do nothing.

Nothing, after all, feels like failure. It feels like laziness. It feels unproductive.

But when we give ourselves time to sit and stare off in space, to read a book just for the fun of it, to draw even if our scrawls resemble our child’s, we open the door to inspiration. And in that place, life rewards us with the thing(s) we really needed anyway. So let this be your excuse to play.

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Where Does Inspiration Come From?

Does it come from the moon? In dreams? In the reflection of dewdrops?

Yes it’s a child’s answer. But who knows really?

Sometimes I wake up from a luscious sleep with an idea for a poem. Or on a walk while gazing deep into the eye of a flower, I am suddenly touched by an answer to solve an issue that’s been haunting me. But I also find it in less inspiring places like in the john or after visiting my grandmother at the old folk’s home. It all seems mysterious where inspiration comes from. Although I may never uncover that answer, I have discovered ways to curate it. This is especially helpful when my own rivers have gone dry and I’m fresh out of new material to quench that drought.

I walk in stillness…

A wise man told me once that putting your feet on the bare earth is food for your soul. And he was right. I am lucky that I’ve been able to put my feet to the sand lately and the results have not only been physically healing, but it has replenished my spirt as well. Whether I am walking on soil, sand or even concrete, when I do so in silence I give my brain space to breathe.

I let myself be a kid again…

The older we get, the more scared we are to try new things. We don’t want to feel embarrassed by our inabilities or feel uncomfortable by our clumsiness. But turning down that opportunity is at a detriment to our self-growth. We must all be a kid again to continue to learn, to prevent ourselves from being “too big for our britches,” and to invite inspiration in. When we tackle something like watercolor painting, for example, or surfing or dancing for the first time, there is something within us that says, “Yes! I’m still young, fresh and alive! And if I can do this, I can do anything.”

I make time to waste it…

My dad’s always talking about wasting time as a bad thing. But I think there is something truly valuable about reveling in it. Lounging around, tossing in bed, moving slowly all feel like a time waster, but insight and inspiration come when we think we’re being lazy. When we’re staring out a window, meditating, window shopping, when we’re not so busy doing other things, that’s when our muse says, “Okay, now you’re ready!”

Where do you think inspiration comes from? How do you cultivate it in your own life? 

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