Tag Archives: Motives

Being Average Part 2

Notes on Creativity theme of the week:
Motives

 

Kids these days grow up learning that they are special, extraordinary- that there is no limit to what they can do or who they can become.

According to the book The Narcissism Epidemic, society is suffering the consequences. Gen Ys and beyond are notorious for being out for themselves, lacking commitment, and being narcissistic. They are so important and special in their own eyes that they feel the need to tell the whole world the intimate details of every moment of their lives on Facebook and Twitter.

The truth is that most of us are really only just average- that’s what average means, applying to the majority. If everyone is extraordinary then extraordinary is simply the new average.

What I want to know is what’s wrong with being average anyway? You got two hands and two legs, that’s all you need. Now use ’em!

The key isn’t in being extraordinary, it’s in doing extraordinary things even though you are just some average person.

Kids shouldn’t be taught how unique they are, rather that they are no more or less special than anyone else. They, like everyone else on the planet, have limitations and flaws. The beauty is that they don’t have to be special- they merely need to dive in and immerse themselves fully in the ride of their lives. And somehow in the process they’ll forget to even bother about whether or not they’re special.

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Today’s 4 Minute Writer  

Second Chance

Mr. Greenwood choked on a chicken bone last spring. Ambulance had to be called and everything. He could have died. But he didn’t. Another chance at life. Make the most of it, Mr. Greenwood. But he just kept status quo.

Around the same time Sarafina cut her leg wide open, bled out of her femoral artery. The medics got to her in time. She walks with a limp now, but it doesn’t bother her. She decided not to waste her second chance so sold her condo, car and time share in Mexico, cashed in her RRSPs and moved to a town in Costa Rica. A small resort there gives her room and board in exchange for cooking and cleanings. She loves it. Mornings and evenings are very busy, but mid-day and late nights she sits at the beach or spends time with the Indigenous women in the village a short distance away.

Every year Mr. and Mrs. Greenwood go to that small resort in Costa Rica to spend a week of vacation time. They have never met Sarafina as they don’t bother talking with the help. This year, however, there will be plenty of interaction.

The Greenwoods arrive on a particularly hot Sunday afternoon. Eduardo has picked them up and taken them to the resort. Sarafina is just coming back from the village…

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Being Average

Notes on Creativity theme of the week:
Motives

 

I am starting to realize that I am just plain average. That feeling of being special, of being able to change the world is giving way to a clear-eyed view of my limitations and lack of power in the universe. I think it’s called growing up- a transformation which is occurring later and later in life these days.

Reaching for the stars and planning for all the important things I will accomplish have taken a back seat to wrestling with how to survive the mundane.

Though this is definitely disappointing, in another way it’s quite liberating. I no longer have to be the one to save the world. The pressure is off. And if I don’t ever really accomplish anything, well, what could I have expected of myself- I was only ever average. 

In the midst of this epiphany, I am drawn to creative work- to write, build, experiment with colour and concept, find new outlets. I have average talent in all of these, yet I pursue them still, realizing that my motive for creating is no longer to express my uniqueness, it is simply to experience joy.

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Today’s 4 Minute Writer  

Things that Didn’t Happen

We are often encouraged to count our blessings, to give thanks for all we have. Yet, how often are we thankful for what we don’t have or for what does not befall us? 

Here I go giving it a try.

I am thankful that today:

1. The car speeding through the yellow traffic light didn’t run me over.

2. I didn’t go hungry or thirsty.

3. I wasn’t attacked by zombies. That would suck. A lot.

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This fun post was inspired by 1095 things I am grateful for as referenced by Kate.

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Mixed Motives

Notes on Creativity theme of the week:
Motives

 

I talked once with an artist-turned-social worker about what motivated his career change. He told me that after years of painting he grew tired of his self-absorption wanting instead to help others. He told me that, in his view, all artists are ultimately self-absorbed, spending endless hours exploring their own feelings and perspectives.

I asked to see his paintings. Perhaps, I wondered, he was never really good in the first place. When he showed me his work, I was astonished. An old, damaged door at the end of misshapen stairs, a battered antique car with an ominous storm in the background- images evoking strong emotion, stories embedded deeply within.

Not long ago I was at a poorly attended book-signing of a businessman-turned-writer-of-social-advocacy-non-fiction. He had worked for a large corporation making money for it and for himself. Through circumstance, he saw how negatively his work affected those in poverty and abandoned his aspirations in order to write books with a conscience. An intriguing metamorphosis. Yet, as I talked with him, I couldn’t help but think that he was more interested in selling his books than in changing the world. I wanted to discuss his experiences with him, but when it became apparent that I would not buy, he turned away, waved a copy of his book in the air,  and called out to a passer-by, “Have you read my book?”.

I wish I had never met the author of those books. I would have stood a chance of reading them and being changed.

I wish the artist-turned-social-worker had not judged himself so harshly. I would have loved to have seen his future creations.

Perhaps even poor motives can lead to inspiring work.

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Today’s 4 Minute Writer  

Instilling Culture

Melissa is ten years old. She likes trying on make-up, playing Star Wars computer games, and making beaded jewelery.

Her mother is cultured, obsessed with museums, art, literature, and ballet. She loves her little girl and seeks every opportunity to pass along her passion.

Mother has decided that it’s time for Melissa to learn the work of Botticelli.

Melissa stares at Venus standing on a seashell that looks like the one in their bathroom. She’s embarrassed by what the lady is not wearing.

Her mother speaks rapidly, hands flying, eyes round, unblinking.

Daughter wishes she could just go back to being an uncultured, happy kid.

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