Polarized platitudes are proof that no size fits all. And that extremes can be too much. But it doesn’t mean they cannot meet halfway. Like perfect puzzle pieces, wisdom converges at midpoint. Or we can look at it as a man crossing a high wire—balance is everything.
Make the most of your time or cry in your deathbed. | Ease up and take it slow.
We are encouraged to cultivate productivity because it makes sense to live that one life that we have. But easing up allows us the mental space to breathe. Again, balance.
Damn it just get your work out there. | Strive for excellence first.
We are pushed to create anything we love no matter how ridiculous it might seem. Just let it go, they say. Still, we are plagued by thoughts of getting excellent first—that gnawing perfection—before exposing ourselves to judgment.
Still, we can view the practice of creating whatever we want as a breakthrough from ugly to not-so-ugly to beautiful. Constantly tossing our work out there is the first step. Excellence becomes a journey.
Be known for one thing. | Master as many skills as you want.
They say be known for one grand thing. Try your hardest to become among the most remarkable of writers, artists, musicians, whoever you desire to be.
But experiences can mold us to not one but a multitude of things. We can be a writer, poet, mother, cook, friend, clutter goddess, occasional painter, and the dancer and singer in the bathroom. We can be infinite—channel every identity we’ve personified into one that makes us the best version of ourselves.
Socialize as much as possible. | Embrace your inner introvert.
How do we strike a balance between isolation and socialization? Personality counts. As an introvert, mingling with a crowd can be exhausting. I’d rather find solace in a book rather than attend a gathering. That’s not to say I don’t go out (happens most days and I’m perfectly fine). But it’s more of being intentional when I spend it out. Who do I spend it with and why?
Priority also matters. We are encouraged to embrace our inner introvert because in silent recollection lies creativity—lucky is the person who can create magic from constant upheaval. I noticed authors bring out their seminal work in moments of solitude. Their best advice to aspiring artists is this: Ditch all distractions, sit in silence every damn day and just create. The process is the gem.
Please yourself, ignore everybody. | Create something that resonates with others.
Who do I please? Is it the audience or me? This has been really puzzling.
How do I relate to others if I get so self-centered?
I remember what Elizabeth Gilbert said: Sometimes it’s better to write for the sole reason of saving ourselves, not others. Hark if people resonate with your art.
In contrast, we can approach creation not by being unique or original but by inadvertently touching on the vulnerabilities that make us all human. There’s an overlap. While we have different hopes and dreams, lost in patented struggles, we’re all humans. We’re similar in many aspects.
We’re inextricably connected to one another. And we’re doing ourselves and the world a favor by creating something that resonates best with us, but with the best hope of reaching others as well. Share it.