Everyone Is An Artist

Courage

I've made the point before, but everyone is an artist and everyone has an art. This post is about two views of art. One is rooted in arrogance and the other humility.

I find it strange and sobering when I encounter an artist who is arrogant. I can say this because of the days of my own arrogance. Not to mention, my current struggles with the subtleties of arrogance. My struggles are rooted in the arrogance of my own knowledge (often torn down when I learn something new) and the age-old practice of not slowing down. The beauty of this struggle is in not surrendering and to be found fighting.

The big take away for the arrogance view is that it prostitutes the glories of art. When an artist begins to take credit, look down-upon or just ignores, there is a serious problem. If truth be told the artist is very insecure and can't handle the beauty in their hands. Crazier still, the artist usually has someone in their lives to keep things real. Man, is that like a glass of cold water on a hot summer's day. But often the artist will banish those folks, out of fear, the fear of being exposed.

The view of humility is rooted in hope. I know it is for me. A hope that I can become what is pure and lovely. That all my mistakes don't make it too late. That if I embrace humility, I will be given a second chance to create something beautiful. Maybe a few chances, if I just remember the gift and remember what I could have turned into.

Yes, it is difficult to have and hold the view of art that is humility. It surely means you'll cry, your heart will break and the world will laugh at you. Most of the truly great artists have experienced this, often in anonymity. Humility is the surest path to art that will make you happy and make you alive. Anything less, is akin to sleep walking or living-death.

Everyone is an artist.

Energy

We all are dealing with a lot of stress these days. I wish I could tell you that soon it will wind down. The reality is, stress is a constant companion. The key is how we manage it.

Strees should not be your master.

I have found a solution to managing stress. It is found in the things that give me energy-physical, mental and spiritual. Here are some big ones for me:

  1. Exercise. Yoga, HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and running.
  2. Writing
  3. Helping people see what before was unseen
  4. Prayer
  5. Gardens

Each of is different, but you might be shocked at how many people never think about this.

What gives you energy?

 

Will You Be There in June?

Father's Day 2010 009
Out in front of you is a window of time. For the sake of my post, let's say June. June of 2013 to be precise. The most important question, if the Lord allows, is whether you'll be present.

Will you be there in June?

All of your life in 30 days will be found in June. No exceptions, the happy, the sad, the fears, the events, and more. The question remains, will you be there in June?

Many of us sprint through the days that create the months. Busy schedules, busy activities and our lives are wrapped in the doing. Tragically, the being part of life is left in the dust. One of my greatest challenges, and opportunities, is reminding and teaching my family the art of being. My family is not unlike most when it comes to the struggle of being. In many ways, I play the resounding gong. A bell designed to remind and encourage the behavior of being.

What the hell is being?

I practice being in the following ways:

  1. Doing absolutely nothing in silence. Many refer to this as mindfulness. I often practice this to hear from God
  2. Stopping to look around me and let my senses take over
  3. Listening
  4. Practicing my art
  5. Romancing my memories. Central Park comes to my mind right now

If you live in a place where "being" is a strange concept, you should take the risk and try it. Don't worry, this is not something you do for hours. Think of it as adding salt for flavor. It's something small that is really big.

What Entrepreneur Means

I have written many times that everyone is an entrepreneur (risk taker).  The size and scope varies from person to person.  The place where it happens can be different too.

I was in a conversation with a CEO yesterday about how we've moved to a place where if you don't see yourself as an entrepreneur, you'll be left behind.  This is tough work. Many, I know, haven't accepted that we no longer live in an industrial age.  Accept is the right word to look at here.

I've been an entrepreneur for 6 years.  And as I think about that conversation yesterday, I realize that entrepreneurism did something I didn't expect when I started the conscious journey.

Entrepreneurism reintroduced Eric Pennington to Eric Pennington. Regardless of how much money I make, how many people experience what I offer or whether applause comes in waves, the reintroduction is a difference-maker.

What’s Wrong with the Status Quo?

One of our greatest enemies, from a 2012 post.

So what's wrong with the status quo? A lot, when it comes to problems that continue to get worse.

For the purposes of getting to the heart of things, here's the definition of "status quo" from the Merriam-Webster's Dictionary:

The existing state of affairs (seeks to preserve the status quo)

I'll use my own experience to set some context and you can apply my example to anything you like.

About 25 years ago I persecuted my dad in-person and alone. I was angry for what was done and for what was missing. I waged this case on what seemed like a daily basis. I protested, I lied, I ignored, and I was silently cruel.

At a point, a few years into my marriage, my wife asked me if I realized how distant and cruel I became when I was around my father. I denied it, I defended myself and I felt exposed. How could she know my secret, my wound, my war? I decided to prosecute on.

The existing state of affairs (seeks to preserve the status quo)

You might wonder why I wouldn't make the choice to change, to turn it around, to forgive. I'm sure there are multiple reasons why, but certainly I felt more comfortable in the prosecution's case. I fooled myself into believing that my existing state would deliver an outcome I thought was right. Little did I know how wrong I was.

Many years on, my case rested and the charges were dismissed. I forgave and got a few years of peace and freedom before he passed. I actually found a man I liked and certainly loved. I do, at times, wish I would have come to my senses or figured out that it Really is better to forgive.

Are you tracking with me? Can you see the danger in sticking with the status quo?

Think about this:

  1. The status quo fools you into believing that all is well, regardless of the problems looking right at you.
  2. The status quo demands you lie and defend.
  3. The status quo assures you saftey and a future you won't have to deal with.
  4. The status quo accuses (loudly) reformers of betrayal and madness.
  5. The status quo uses fear to keep you in place.


Building and Managing Trust

In one of the new ventures I'm working on, I've been brought on to help on multiple fronts. The company is a startup and that implies variety. The biggest job for me, however, is building and managing trust.

I never take this for granted. You shouldn't forget this either.

Building trust comes from a desire to show that you're worth trusting. It can be manifested in your words, but as the saying goes, actions speak louder than words. If you have a relationship with a smart, actively engaged person, then you should expect that your words and actions will be observed for the purposes of building trust. I highly recommend you pay as much attention as possible here because more than likely the person observing you has been burned before.

Everyone been burned before.

Managing trust is the art of gratitude toward the one who has given the trust. When trust is given don't feel like you've arrived and begin to think autopilot is the order of the day. Complacency is sure way to lose everything you've built. I practice on purpose management. For example, what actions am I taking today that enhance or hinder. Ask these questions everyday.

Think of building and managing trust as a form of gardening. Build something beautiful and then keep the weeds out.

The Value of a Degree

This article appeared in this past weekend's Wall Street Journal. It focuses on the value of a degree in today's social and economic climate.

I've looked at this issue for many years. I've done this through the lens of an individual and a parent. Certainly, there are arguments to be made on both sides. I tend to favor the disruption going on now. It could lead to something very positive. 

There is one thing I'm watching that doesn't get touched on in the article, and that is how much debt many universities are carrying on their balance sheets. It speaks to some of the creeping ills facing higher education. Mark Cuban wrote a fabulous post on the subject here.

Keep an eye on all of these trends. You'll be glad you did.