My theory is that creativity will come if you follow Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose. But since it’s hard to define these abstract concepts, it’s easier to avoid their opposites.
"Don’t aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue." - Viktor Frankl
Today we’re going to focus on Purpose.
When I became disillusioned with my job, I started looking for something with purpose. I looked for opportunities to volunteer, to donate. But nothing was satisfying. I kept looking for the “perfect” way to give back, but every endeavor felt lacking. If I wasn’t saving lives, was I actually accomplishing anything? I could always set my sights higher. I put Purpose on a pedestal it couldn’t live up to. The pursuit of Purpose corrupted my actually accomplishing anything.
The opposite of Purpose is boredom.
After surviving the Holocaust, Viktor Frankl said, "Those who have a 'why' to live, can bear with almost any 'how'.” Frankl’s “why” gave him an intense focus to live. Despite the circumstances he was in, Purpose led him out of fear and misery. Purpose can surely lead you out of boredom. But watching TV, playing video games, and even reading distracted me from boredom without reaching Purpose. Avoiding boredom is necessary, but not sufficient.
In December, I decided to take on a challenge by Jibran to write 100 words for 100 weekdays in a row. I wanted to create enough of a body of work where I could see the themes of my writing. The first few essays were tough, but after a few iterations, I decided to “lower the lift” - I didn’t care about the quality of the writing, I just focused on expressing a clear idea in 100 words each day. The challenge forced me to change the premise to something sustainable while maintaining what was interesting.
It sounds counterintuitive. Doing something 100 times sounds like a slog. But it forced me to identify the important aspect - I wanted to know what ideas are interesting to me. Doing something 100 times forces you to strip away everything you find painful and you find something interesting inside.
There was a kernel of interest that this challenge exposed, a flicker of flame that I needed to kindle.
My friend,, says:
Mere distraction does not keep boredom at bay once the distraction ceases--and can never guide us to purpose. We must stimulate our hearts. Once we have kindled our hearts, the light and heat we generate, which started out only as a way to avoid boredom, will lead us to Purpose.
I think that when your heart is stimulated, action follows. This is how you know that you’re avoiding boredom the “right way.”
The 100-day challenge took me out of my comfort zone. I followed my curiosity and listened as the subject of creativity called out to me. I started writing about creativity and hopefully something even more tangible comes out of this.
This is how you “Seek without Seeking.” Have faith that Purpose will manifest and surrender to the signals you find.
1️⃣ Mark Rober investigates drone deliveries. At first, I didn’t have high expectations for this video because personal drone deliveries sound like a hellscape but the use-cases and tech are amazing.
2️⃣writes about identity:
The world requires us to pick labels for ourselves and it has no time for nuance… And if we are not careful, one day we reach up to touch our cheek, feel the mask, and believe it to be our face… What places do you not visit, who do you not meet, what books do you not read, what thoughts do you not think, where do you not go, figuratively and literally, because of the mask you chose to wear years ago?
Quote of the Week:
“I realized it's how you live in the world, it's how you see things all the time, 24 hours a day. How you experience the world is what makes you the artist that you are, or the creative person that you are.” - Rick Rubin
Bobby Fingers (h/t Tim Ferriss). This may be the most incredible video I’ve ever seen. It’s 25 min, but worth every second. I was hooked, like 30 seconds into it. The creator is unbelievably gifted. Sculpture, painting, 3D printing, metallurgy, and that’s not even covering the video production values. I can’t believe one person did all this.
You can find more of my writing at chr.iswong.com.
Questions, suggestions, complaints? Email me at email@example.com.
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Leaving you in peace,
Hi! Do you read Dan Koes newsletter??? I think yall have similar ideas which is cool and also I love the do something 100 times great advice!
> Doing something 100 times forces you to strip away everything you find painful and you find something interesting inside.
This really resonates with me. When I started my newsletter, I realized I needed to do exactly this. I knew I needed to find a sustainable way to post consistently. On the one hand, it's meant that I don't really have a niche, which makes growing an audience much harder. On the other hand, I could do what I love and post from the heart consistently. It's been so much fun, so rewarding, and the ideas just keep coming.
This whole idea you described is a gem that more creators could take to heart!