So Seth Godin recently had an podcast called “The Art of Noticing and Then Creating”. It was a really interesting interview about the world today and innovation and creation and things of that matter. A couple of points that he made that really stuck with me are:
- Don’t stop trying, what doesn’t work now, try again, rejection is common and will happen to you, but have faith. Have faith in yourself.
- What matters are the little things. Making a bigger, more influential and memorable impact on a smaller group will always be better than making a small, unnoticable impact on a bigger group.
- Anybody can be an artist, to be a truly talented artist aim for “genuity that connects, not (something) fake that’s entertaining”
- We have built this society, complicated, intricate and beautiful and all we can do with it is make meager creations? It is not enough, we can do more with this universe that we have made.
So I had then related this podcast back to my english class and I see that now I have adapted some of Godin’s ideas into my lifestyle without even realizing it. Just through the way that my teacher has guided me, I do not write for a mass audience, I write what I like to write specific to people that have the same outlooks or like the same things as myself, I do not wish to be known to a large crowd that sees me as just another teenage writer, I wish to create things that people will love and can relate to or can be connected to, even if it’s a small crowd. I have also noticed that I don’t write for grades anymore (or atleast one of my biggest goals is to not), I try my hardest to write for enjoyment. I try to be an artist, now I can say that I know I’m not the best artist out there, but I am trying. My aim is to make my homework into art, into something that I am proud of, not just simple homework that I will toss in the future.
For example my narrative essay that I had written near the beginning of the year, it is probably one of my favorite pieces of writing I’ve ever created even though I know that I can still work on it and make it even better. I can compare it to my first grilled cheese sandwich that I had made, lemme tell you, it was good, but I know it could’ve have been better, but I was proud of the way it came out. So for one of the first times, I was proud of my school creation. A little part of the narrative essay is:
I got there, I soon realized my first mistake: this gate seems to make more noise than a jackhammer on a New York street every time I try to open it…The only other option is to climb over a massive wall that was only getting bigger due to the fact that my fear and adrenaline were laying down a couple more layers of bricks… I built up some courage larger than the brick monster in front of me and awkwardly hugged it, slowly pushing my own body over it until I landed on the other side. Tommy was already laughing at me as I got into the car, seeing that I had just looked like a rock climber who was afraid of heights, clinging on for dear life
Another piece of work I created which I also love is:
Love is the food for our emotional well-being, our soul, our heart. Our brain has basic necessities that it needs in order to survive as well, it literally needs oxygen and blood. But it also requires fond memories to hold onto, thought provoking topics to ponder upon, or rushes of excitement, along with other things as well
You see, for me, I’ve read this part of the essay to multiple people by choice because I am proud of it. I like the way the words roll off my tongue and create a somewhat humorous and awkward feel. I revised this narrative a countless amount of times, just because I don’t mind visiting it and reading it over again. And I fully recognize that there is still work to be done, but the point is, is that I’m writing something that I love, strong or not, I am not just writing because I have to, I was able to successfully turn a homework assignment into a piece of literature/art that I enjoyed making and continue to enjoy fixing and revisiting. I also did not go into this essay thinking that everybody will love what I create, I got criticism and differing viewpoints and that’s okay! I do not expect everyone to find my creations enjoyable, but I recognized that those who had the same humor as me, those who had the same values as me, and even some that had a differing lifestyle, still enjoyed my work (at the same time, were able to give me constructive criticism). I didn’t care to impress everybody with my creation, I know that that is nearly impossible with how specific my writing is. But I saw that those who liked it, laughed when I tried to be funny, smiled when I was trying to be sentimental, saddened when I was exposing the darker parts of my writing and myself. I saw that those who enjoyed it, truly enjoyed it, not just ‘thought it was cute’.
What I would love to improve on is the quality of my work. Now I know, I just talked about how I have a small group that loves my writing, but that doesn’t mean I can’t improve. Yeah, my writing is good, but it could be better, waaaay better. I could use more of the almost unlimited resources I have to boost the quality of my artistic pieces, but sometimes I get lazy. Sometime I just write, and even though I might love what I’m writing about, I might not be utilizing all the tools that I was given to make it even better. I was lucky enough to be fairly smart and yet I know, I am not living and creating to my fullest potential. I know I can do more, and I make it a goal to be able to improve as a writer.
What really tugged me into this podcast was how Godin talked about performing good deeds, having faith in yourself, your community, you everything, and creating beautiful art, create something that can move mountains, not just ant hills. That’s how I hope to live my life as well, I wish to be remembered as someone who a do-gooder. One small footprint my friend and I have left in our community is our Giving Tree. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, my friend Lucy and I had create a project for our English class last year that had the main purpose of just helping to brighten people’s day. This is a little video I created to showcase what it was:
We pretty much strung open envelopes with cards that were either blank or had an inspiring little quote on them to a tree in park and left it there overnight and would come back to find all these beautiful little letters people had written. Some wrote their secrets, some wrote random things they liked to do, some left advice for anyone who could have read the card, all sorts of beautiful positive messages. This was my best good deed I did last school year, and we’ve been trying to sort out a time to start it back up again because it honestly made us feel so good. Here’s a picture of my partner Lucy the first time we saw someone go up to our tree.
When we were doing this project, I truly felt like I was living my fullest potential in this area of my life. We did it often, once every two to three weeks and every time we did it, it was so fulfilling and I knew that we could have made it better. But for at the time, it was perfect the way it was. It was me using all the tools I was given from this earth and turning it into art that was truly beautiful, not meager.
The beginning and ending of the podcast probably stuck with me the most because I completely agreed with his values. In the beginning, Godin talks about doing good, as in anytime he could help, he would. His family was raised to always help others, and that is the same way that my mother had raised me and the way that I wish to live my life. At the end, he discussed about the legend of Icarus and compared it to human beings now. The legend is basically about a father and son escaping an island using these wings that they had carefully constructed over the years. The father warns the son not to fly too high and close to the sun because the heat will melt the glue and destroy the wings, but at the same time, don’t fly too low to the ocean because the mist will weigh down the wings and the son would die. Godin says that humans are flying too close to the sea. That we these beautiful wings, our society, our advance technology, our intricate and complicated world that we have created and yet we are being weighed down and not living and creating to our fullest potential. Almost half of everything humans do or create is so mediocre even though we have such fantastic resources. All of our hard work of making this world livable and comfortable (for the few) is wasted by the fact that so many of us live in poverty or misery and our creations are just simply okay when instead they should be great.
What I wish I could ask Godin was how he was able to come up with this mindset that he has. What trials and tribulation had he gone through to be as wise as he is? And how does he do it? Because for me, there are some days where I am productive and positive and determined, and other days I am lazy and negative and discouraged and I have that feeling of not wanting to leave my bed. How can I adopt a ‘fullest potential’ sort of lifestyle everyday? Not just on some days.
In all honesty there isn’t much that Godin said that I disagree with. The way he explains his arguments made me agree with him a lot more than I thought I was going to. If anything I had an opposing viewpoint to his but after he elaborates on why he thinks the way he does, I agreed with him. For example when he talked about having a small audience, at first I thought “No, the point of popularity is to have a large fan base” but then he went on to say how it’s better to have a small but passionate and loving fan base that can fully appreciate your work instead of a large but unappreciative fan base that only sees you as any other artist. Now I understand his viewpoint, now I get why he does not enjoy too much fame. I wish to be like that too. It’s just like quality over quantity, but instead its appreciation over numbers. I would much rather have a small number of those around me understand my work and can help me become a better artist and overall person than a large group who doesn’t care and will not help me improve.