Thursday, July 7, 2011

Mapping Trees - Working Beyond Passion

“Do what you love and the money will follow.”
That is the best and worst advice I've ever gotten.  There is a grain of truth in it, no doubt. But mostly  I think it’s bunk. I don’t mean that in a negative way either.  It’s just not a complete sentence in a real-world kind of meaning.  Money doesn’t “follow”. Money is not mobile. Money is a thing, not a person. People follow.
“Follow your bliss” is a little better, though still lacking in completion.  It may not roll of the tongue quite as nicely, but the real thing should go something like this:
“Figure out what it is about the thing you love to do the most that can bring in an income that is enough to satisfy you, and go and do that, then do it some more, then more after that.  At some point you might start getting sick of it and not feel the love for it like you once did. Keep doing it anyway. The more you work through the pain and stretch yourself, the more you grow.  Then when it’s all done, you can look back and see yourself in your work and smile.”
What’s really magical about art “work” is that it never turns out the way we originally plan.  We have an idea, we start to hash it out, give it shape, and by the time it’s done, it’s often something else entirely.  I love feel-good stories about how things come about that way.
Edward Barnard loves trees and he loves New York City.  So, he decided to write a book called “New York City Trees”.  That’s special in and of itself… but watch the magic here.  He needed help covering the vast area that is Central Park, so he teamed up with Ken Chaya, who knew little about trees but is an avid Central Park birder.  Together they created a map of every tree in Central Park.  It’s fresh, it’s unique, original, creative, and…. It’s a hit!
I’ve been following someone new lately, a fellow by the name of Brian Johnson, who writes what he calls “Philosopher’s Notes”.  Really it’s not just notes, but audio and pdf versions of his musings on different books, mostly in the self help genre but many that touch on every aspect of our lives.  He’s indeed quite the philosopher, but what he’s doing for me is help me look at things in a new way. Kind of like what Mr. Chaya said after working with Bernard for a while on the Central Park Map: 
“The park never looked the same again, once I began to discover the many many different species of trees.”
"Every creative journey is marked by passion.  Pressure Comes along for the creative ride"... Brian Johnson, from Philosopher's Notes on The Creativity Book  by Eric Maisel, Ph. D

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