Book One #100BooksChallenge2016 – Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

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Favourite Quotes

  • Bravery means doing something scary. Fearlessness means not even understanding what the word scary means.
  • General George Patton’s: “A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.
  • Whatever you do, try not to dwell too long on your failures. You don’t need to conduct autopsies on your disasters. You don’t need to know what anything means

Favorite Takeaways

  • Whether you think you’re brilliant or you think you’re a loser, just make whatever you need to make and toss it out there. Let other people pigeonhole you however they need to. And pigeonhole you they shall, because that’s what people like to do. Actually, pigeonholing is something people need to do in order to feel that they have set the chaos of existence into some kind of reassuring order. Thus, people will stick you into all sorts of boxes.
  • Let people have their opinions. More than that—let people be in love with their opinions, just as you and I are in love with ours. But never delude yourself into believing that you require someone else’s blessing (or even their comprehension) in order to make your own creative work. And always remember that people’s judgments about you are none of your business. Lastly, remember what W. C. Fields had to say on this point: “It ain’t what they call you; it’s what you answer to.
  • Adolescence – When the “talented” are officially shunted off from the herd, thus putting the total burden of society’s creative dreams on the thin shoulders of a few select sounds, while condemning everyone else to live a more commonplace, inspiration-free existence! What a system.

 

We all spend our twenties and thirties trying so hard to be perfect, because we’re so worried about what people will think of us. we get into our forties and fifties, and we finally start to be free, because we decide that we don’t give a damn what anyone thinks of us.  But you won’t be completely free until you reach your sixties and seventies, when you finally realize this liberating truth—nobody was ever thinking about you, anyhow.”

They aren’t. They weren’t. They never were. People are mostly just thinking about themselves. People don’t have time to worry about what you’re doing, or how well you’re doing it, because they’re all caught up in their own dramas. People’s attention may be drawn to you for a moment (if you succeed or fail spectacularly and publicly, for instance), but that attention will soon enough revert right back to where it’s always been—on themselves. While it may seem lonely and horrible at first to imagine that you aren’t anyone else’s first order of business, there is also a great release to be found in this idea. You are free, because everyone is too busy fussing over themselves to worry all that much about you.

  • Ideas are a disembodied, energetic life-form. They are completely separate from us, but capable of interacting with us—albeit strangely. Ideas have no material body, but they do have consciousness, and they most certainly have will. Ideas are driven by a single impulse: to be made manifest. And the only way an idea can be made manifest in our world is through collaboration with a human partner. It is only through a human’s efforts that an idea can be escorted out of the ether and into the realm of the actual
  • Most of all, be ready. Keep your eyes open. Listen. Follow your curiosity. Ask questions. Sniff around. Remain open. Trust in the miraculous truth that new and marvelous ideas are looking for human collaborators every single day. Ideas of every kind are constantly galloping toward us, constantly passing through us, constantly trying to get our attention
  • Einstein “combinatory play”—the act of opening up one mental channel by dabbling in another. This is why he would often play the violin when he was having difficulty solving a mathematical puzzle; after a few hours of sonatas, he could usually find the answer he needed.
  • Part of the trick of combinatory play, I think, is that it quiets your ego and your fears by lowering the stakes.

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert was a Good Read with lots of insights.

 

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