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“You just have to sit in the chair”
It’s been a while since we did an Open Thread.
So this week, inspired by Thomas Campbell’s simple yet vital creative advice (above) in our episode 213 conversation, I wanted to ask a simple question:
“What’s the most impactful piece of advice you’ve ever received, and how did it help you?”
Why this question? Because I’m working on two very different but hugely challenging projects right now, and am going through that whole ‘this is shit, why are you bothering?’ internal battle. Thomas’s words helped make me remember that, sometimes, creativity is really just about making it a habit.
It made made me wonder what advice has helped others.
I’d love to hear any thoughts or insights listeners and readers may have on this. Let me know:
Leave a comment
Plus! This week, my friends at Danner have offered a pair of their amazing boots as prize for the best comment! I’ll pick a winner once the Thread is finished. (This contest is only open to paid subscribers, as will all future Open Thread contests featuring prizes from my pals at Yeti, Danner, Db, Patagonia, Finisterre and Goodrays).
Don't be so right you're wrong.
If you don’t like a situation: accept it, change it or get out of it.
two, because one is likely too similar to his.
But the first would be "just keeping showing up". One foot in front of the other and keep going.
The second is "comparison is the thief of joy". As a middle aged dad working with an insanely talented crew most 15 years younger than me, I can vouch this to be true. Ignore everyone else and just keep showing up.
Hit your word count, hit your deadline, and don’t be a dickhead.
Best advice I've had this summer was from somebody I met in France who was at the end of their renovation project: 'It'll never be finished'. Which, strangely, I found extremely liberating.
Went through a hellish divorce about a decade ago and was given a postcard with the words “This too will pass” that I always came back too when shit got too much.
Now I working with troubled teenagers in high school and my number one advice is the same.....nothing - no matter what it is - lasts forever!
'Appreciation is the key to happiness.' - It is applicable across a spectrum of life circumstances; from taking a brief moment out of a city commute to smile at the way the sun is refracting off a window or to leaning into an hour of watching the changing colours of a sunset or to taking a step back and looking at a situation holistically and finding aspects to appreciate within diffcult cirmcumstances.
Step AWAY from the cookie jar!
Not everyone has to like you, and that's ok.
With the extension: Not everyone has to like your work, and that's also ok.
You don't need to see the last step. If you can see the next step then take it.
If you're gonna eat shit, don't nibble.
Rest is as important as work. Often when I step away from a project and have a nap, walk or swim that is when I have my biggest breakthroughs.
From the great Catherine O'Hara: Sometimes it's better to be loving, than be right
Don't worry if people are watching.
I was 18 and had a raging crush on a summer stock actor who was out on the dance floor dancing like a fool by himself. And he wanted me to come dance. It was a small, silly thing but the actual advice has gotten me thru many (actually and other not so actually) scary situations. Without that small piece of advice tossed out casually and probably without thought, I would not be doing a lot of stuff I am happily doing today.
When I was making a difficult life decision years ago, a friend advised me, 'Make your choice, don't let the decision just happen to you as though it's out of your control. That way you can take responsibility for the decision and why you made it". It was such good advice and I've always followed it since, and now I never second guess myself.
Other good advice has been "Is this the hill you're willing to die on? This one?" This question helps me decide how hard I'm going to fight over an issue or tension.
I asked Crag Jones (amazing Welsh mountaineer, humble man) for his advice once when I had turned around on a mountain. He said you'll always find a thousand reasons to turn around but you only need one to go on. I used this advice on a solo mission in a laser dinghy heading to the Scilly Isles as I passed lands end. It ended in a rescue. Still good advice though I reckon.
“If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room” Great quote and could be included in Looking Sideways bingo ;) Always helps me when I’m in a meeting with people with many more years experience and qualifications, feeling the old imposter syndrome kick in. Makes me realise i need to be there
Years ago (over 20 years ago!), when I was having a poor time at work, a good friend told me I could either confront it head-on (i.e. look to change job) or put up with it and concentrate my energies on the positive things in my life outside of that (e.g. my friends, snowboarding). I chose the latter path and soon afterwards got offered redundancy with a very good settlement, problem solved!
I've never forgotten that and even had a chat with her about that very piece of advice when I saw her a couple of weeks back.
Don't wait until you're ready to start, you'll never be ready.
Dont worry about the past, learn from it. That one was from a counsellor who got me through some pretty rough times.
‘Being right isn’t always the right thing to be’
“Be kind to each other” piercing advice from my father in law on our wedding day. It’s harder than you might think.
As the poet Johnny Morrow once screamed; ‘SLEEP TO WIN’.
I'd have trouble picking one, but recently there was a gem in your chat with Stacy Peralta on sticking to his exercise regime. Slightly paraphrasing but it was "I only do exercises I like. If I don't like them I'll dread the workout and will probably skip it. So I only do things I like." Obvious, but totally changed the way I look at things like running and gym machines. They are not my friends.
“It's like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”
E.L. Doctorow was talking about writing, but it's sage advice for most aspects of life and work.
Two of my favourites are already listed below - be kind, and, don’t be a dick(head)
To them I’d add, “slow down” - So useful to remember in so many situations.
I read this quote after getting my diagnosis of MS, as I got progressively more disabled. 'Don't measure yourself with someone else's ruler'. Life has so many challenges, and looking at what other people can do, and what I used to be able to do is pointless and depressing. I have my own ruler, it measures happiness, and that's the one I use.
When I had a really nasty roommate fight in college, my dad told me, "You can talk to a rock all you want, but you can never make it move". I recently started thinking about this again because I'm passionate about social justice and I want to try to get people to understand that people's lives are a stake. But it's been at the cost of my mental health and sometimes my friends' who unwillingly experience the bigotry on my social media. Sometimes you just have to walk away because the person is never going to acknowledge their privilege and the pain their views may be causing.
I’ve seen it further up the page but ‘don’t be a dick’
My mother passed earlier this year and some people were so amazing to her and us and others were less so.
So moving forward ‘don’t be a dick’ you don’t have to love everyone or be over the top, but be helpful, nice and not a dick!
Late to the party with this one and would reiterate many of them... “don’t be a dick”, “kill them (haters) with kindness”, “sometimes enough is (good) enough”, “you can’t be all things to all people”, “just start” (variation on ‘sit in the chair I guess), etc
But the one that sticks with me is one a friend shared with me a couple of years ago, “we suffer more in imagination, than in reality”... 99.9% of the time, it’s true. (I think it was Seneca?)