Toys

Art is an inanimate object until we breathe life into it. Meaning until we put pen to paper it just lives in our minds, in the ether. When we are finished only then can we point to it and have it take a life of its own. That is when it can change the recipient.

Much like a child that uses action figures or dolls, she has created a world and breathed life into this toy. On the shelf, it is just a piece of plastic. But in the right hands, it brings joy.

Legacy

A flower doesn’t know if it will live or die. It does what it needs to survive. Humans, on the other hand, are complicated creatures precisely because we know our time eventually expires.

As a result, we build monuments, and structures with our names on them so we can be remembered. We build systems and invent new things as a way to be seen. We pass along ideas to create a legacy. We start wars for others to notice. We do all this to simply have a legacy that others will remember.

The system, indeed, works overtime to squash your creativity. It works to have you lay low, to fall in line in exchange for a paycheck and healthcare. It values competency over doing something daring. Yes, it isn’t fair that yesterday you lost time to do something you always dreamed to do. But the real crime would be not to start today, right now at this moment.

You are exceptional. You have something to give and to show the world what you can do. And we will miss you when you are gone. It’s a shame that no one tells you that you have more power than you ever imagined. That you see the world in a unique way and that vision can change things for the better. Don’t waste another second. Make a ruckus.

Entitlement

We get upset when someone takes our turn, cuts in line, gets a promotion they didn’t deserve or didn’t adhere to a right away.

That is because we feel entitled to what we believe is ours.

“It was my turn!”

“I earned this!”

Simply, we think we know what we deserve. We think we should go first and then do.

Entitlement plagues us and robs us of our happiness. When we are entitled we are left to be disappointed to what comes next because anything less will be a disappointment.

We don’t get to live forever and that is a fact. Entitlement, however, says we should.

Just because I write every day, it doesn’t mean I don’t earn a spot for a future NY Times Bestseller. The only thing we are entitled to is the work. The results are out of our hands.

Indeed, when we are entitled, we are now relying on others to make us happy. And to put that on others is too much responsibility for anyone to endure.

The final chapter

There is a Portuguese saying, “Ele dobra o Cabo da Boa Esperan├ža.” Translation: “He’s rounding the Cape of Good Hope.”

Which really means someone is finishing their life. They are in the final phase or chapter and can now look back and see all they have accomplished.

Death is our final destination. And no matter how much we run or distract ourselves, it is always an inevitable fact that we are someday going to depart from this life. While this can be cruel, it is also a privilege–a sorta right of passage–to die means you also got to live.

They say death is the ultimate teacher and when we are mindful of the fact that our time is finite, it changes our decision-making. To not waste a moment. To not stress about TPS reports, trivial spats and sitting in traffic. You can instead pour your focus on doing the thing you have always been afraid to do. And why not? You don’t want to round the cape without leaving something undone on the table.

Money isn’t everything

Rather than see his art hang in some aristocrat’s house, Banksy self-destructed his own painting sending a message to the world that art isn’t for sale.

To be an artist is to see things that others can’t see.

And in a highly capitalistic focused world, it pollutes and clouds are judgment when we are constantly seeing things in dollars and cents.

When we remove money from the equation, what then? What do you do?

But again, someone without any money will say, “Of course, it doesn’t matter to you–you probably grew up with it around.”

True.

Money indeed opens doors to healthcare, education, status, security, flexibility, and possibilities. While necessary, after a certain amount it won’t be the thing that makes us happy either. As the saying goes, “Some people are so poor all they have is money.”

You need it until you don’t. This goes back to the question above, what then? What is the next part of your story?

A good person trying to be bad and a bad person trying to be good

All rational actors believe they can read a person.

The reality is we tend to believe what people say matches what they are going to do.

That is why traffic laws function so well–everyone agrees to them every time they get behind the wheel. We trust everyone is buying into this system that has been set up.

But much like driving on the road, we shouldn’t make quick judgments about the intentions of the other drivers on the road. Often times we mistake nice for good (and unpleasant for evil).

Safe and reliable

If I order Domino’s Pizza, I know exactly what I am going to get.

If I decide to try the new mom and pop pizza joint down the street, I am now in for a possibility.

Because the outcome is uncertain.

You are just ordering pizza to satisfy a craving. Yet, we get so focused on fulfilling our needs that we forget that we can enrich our lives when we put aside our natural instinct to grab something quick and fast for something different.

Holding something back

There’s a great exercise I like to do with my students. The first thing I ask them to do is raise their hand as high as they can. Then I ask them to raise it higher.

The point is that when we are asked to give it our all, we still end up holding something back. We are conditioned to do this with bosses asking for 110%. We do it because if they ask for more, we need to have something else to give.

Yet, we are surprised when something doesn’t work when we hold something back.

Perhaps, skip all of that. Give everything you have. Not because your boss asked you to do it. Do it because you’re a passionate person and that is what passionate people do.