Achieving Your Creative Potential & Better Living Through Stoicism by The Stoic Creative Founder, Scott Perry, The Stoic Guitarist
“We can proudly use price as a signal to tell people what we think about what we sell.” Seth Godin, The Marketing Seminar
What’s It For?
That thing you’re making. That service you provide. That idea you have. What’s it for? What’s your motivation for sharing it? Who’s it for? What’s your intended impact?
Here are some considerations. Do you want people to appreciate it or value it?Are you looking for engagement or enrollment? Are you seeking their interest or their investment?
Free Vs. Paid
Free attracts appreciation, engagement, and interest, but rarely leads to perceived value, active enrollment, or meaningful investment. Free attracts browsers, not buyers. If what you create has value, works better when users are engaged, and is enhanced through the investment made by users, then giving it away is doing far more harm than good. It’s confusing both you, the producer, and you prospective consumer.
If it’s valuable, why are...
What if you did great work? What if you performed at a higher level? What if you served the right people? What if you worked with and learned directly from those who inspire you?
These are the questions I ask myself. I feel guilty asking them. I do, after all, already do work I love as a professional guitarist and teacher. It's meaningful work and I enjoy the people I work with. Why challenge what’s clearly working well enough?
People Like Us Do Things Like This
That's it. If you believe in achieving excellence in any endeavor, including being the best human being you can possibly be, what you've already achieved is never enough. You're always asking yourself, "What else?" or "What's next?"
You think about it. You talk about it. You try things. Eventually "what else" or "what's next" starts to come into focus. And suddenly you find yourself doing that.
For me, it was writing The Stoic Creative Handbook. A work dedicated to helping struggling Creatives become...
Yes, I know you’re terribly busy. So much to do and so little time. There are not enough hours in the day.
Are you buying this BS?
Time is not the issue. It’s taste. Where and how are you spending your most valuable resource? What are you spending time on and with whom?
Is it the important stuff like developing your craft? Creating connection? Sharing value with those who need you to show up and deliver the goods?
Take a minute and reflect on what is important to you and what your good at. Who shares your values and needs your talents? What is the one thing you could do or make that would impact these people?
Go. Do or make that. Do it now.
It doesn’t have to be perfect. It shouldn’t be big and complicated. It mustn’t require a long explanation.
Keep it simple. Try it out. Watch the reaction. Listen to the response. Think it over. Iterate. Then try again.
It’s simple. But simple isn’t easy.
What Are You Waiting For?
The ducks will align themselves. You don’t even own a ship. And, when was the last time you took the time to check on the planets?
Time is everyone’s most valuable resource. You’re never going to have more of it than you do right now. Why are you wasting it?
In every moment of every day, you are in the act of dying. You're dying right now!
The time is now. Now is the time.
Marcus’ reminder says it all:
“Think of yourself as dead. You have lived your life. Now, take what’s left and live it properly. What doesn’t transmit light creates its own darkness.”
So, which will you do next; transmit light or create your own darkness?
Choose well. If you don’t, the choice will be made for you.
About the Writer
Scott Perry is the author of The Stoic Creative...
What is the Meaning of Life? What Should You Do With It? What’s it All About?
If you’re privileged to live in a condition that allows you to contemplate these questions, there’s no shortage of opinions and answers. TED Talks, blog posts, YouTube Channels, online courses, books, and countless other media outlets deliver plenty of advice for identifying your life’s purpose. Most of it is pretty bad. Some is downright dangerous.
Here’s the worst advice of all:
“Follow Your Passion.” – Anonymous
Not since Horace Greeley exhorted, “Go West, young man, go West and grow up with the country,” has a piece of advice led to such misery, loss, and even death. Sure, for those who heeded Greeley’s call, some fortunes were made and some ventures succeeded, but very few. It had less to do with passion than it did with luck.
Passion is poorly equipped to act as an inner guide or a compass for directing your life’s journey and...
Let’s talk about fear. Fear of failure. Fear of criticism. Fear of everything that’s beyond your control.
If you are trying to do great work, you will fail over and over again. If you are trying to do great work, others will tell you it sucks. If you are trying to do great work, then the only thing you control is how you approach and do that work.
But, understand this: The fear response is hardwired into our reptilian brain.
How Fear Drove Us to Dominate the World
When we first appeared on the scene, fear helped us survive as a species. Neither the fastest nor the strongest animal in the food chain, the fear response not only helped us survive, it helped us thrive. Alone, we would likely end up as another animal’s lunch, but together we could flip the tables on those that preyed upon us.
Fear made us social creatures. Being social creatures made us develop our capacity for reason.
Collaboration and cooperation require communication, and communication requires developing...
Creating is simply the act of making something new. However, simple doesn’t mean easy. The creative process can be lonely, intimidating, and fraught with self-doubt. Then comes the hard part...sharing what you made with others.
Do I Have to Share?
That depends. We’re all creatives. We make things, right? We make conversation. We make plans. We make promises, and we make babies. We have absolutely no problem making or sharing these creations. However, when we intentionally create something that will evoke a reaction or even a transformation in others, when we start acting like artists, things change.
Therein lies the rub. All artists are creatives, but not all creatives are artists. Artists create with intention and motivation. They put their creation out into the world. They ship and they deliver the goods.
Artists must share their creations. That's the only way they will get the feedback required to develop and improve their art. Aspiring and advancing artists must...
Do You Know That You’re Lying?
“Let’s start with a quick poll. Raise your hand if you’re a Creative. Great! If your hand is raised, put it back down. Now, raise your hand if you’re not a Creative. That's interesting. Keep your hand raised. Alright, if your hand is raised, keep it raised if you know you’re lying…!”
This poll is how I open my workshops on becoming a “bulletproof creative” (aka a Thriving Artist). The results are always about the same. One-third raise their hands to the opening query, another third to the next, and the final third to the last (often with nervous laughter).
We Are All Creatives
Here’s the deal: everyone is a Creative. A Creative is simply someone who brings something into the world that didn’t previously exist. Every time you make a meal, make a mess, or make amends, you’ve engaged in an act of creation. Creating is an everyday human activity.
Whether you’re a musician,...
Struggling Creatives Are Driven by Passion. Thriving Creatives Are Driven by Purpose.
Isn’t a "stoic" someone who is passionless and a "creative" someone fueled by passion?
The meaning of the word stoic depends on whether it begins with a small s or a capital S! In common usage “stoic” describes a person who grimly endures life’s challenges. A “Stoic” is a student of an ancient philosophy that cultivates a sense of well being by developing your potential.
In other words, the common use of stoic means the opposite of what Stoic philosophy teaches!
And Stoic philosophy can teach Creatives plenty!
Let’s take a quick look at the philosophical tradition and teachings of Stoicism that will inform many of the exercises in this handbook. This chapter is an intentionally quick introduction. If you’d like to investigate this beautiful philosophical tradition more deeply, I’ve included several references in Chapter 9.
For the ancients,...
Are You a Musician?
The answer to this question is usually based on whether the person being asked plays a musical instrument or not. If they do, then the answer is of course “Yes.” However, if they do not, the answer is most frequently “No.” This is both sad and incorrect. We are all musicians and I can prove it. Just answer the two simple questions below.
What Is Music & What It’s For
Music is a language. Like all languages, it’s simply organized sound. What’s it for? Well like any language, music is for communicating and connecting with ourselves and others.
Have you ever sung a tune? Hummed or whistled one? Be honest. I mean have you ever done this? If you think not, ask your mom or dad if you did so as a child. I betcha did.
Have you ever danced to music? Clapped your hands or tapped your feet to it? Felt it reverberate inside you? Again, I mean have you ever done this. If...
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