Achieving Your Creative Potential & Better Living Through Stoicism by The Stoic Creative Founder, Scott Perry, The Stoic Guitarist
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...
You have a choice. Be like everyone else, or do the hard, but rewarding, work of being you. Not just any old you, but the best you.
A Creative Creates
A creative creates. Here's the Dictionary definition:
create [kree-eyt] - verb
1. to cause to come into being, as something unique that would not naturally evolve or that is not made by ordinary processes.
A Creative, simply put, is anyone who brings something into the world that didn't previously exist. Every time you make a meal, make amends or make a mess you are drawing on your inherent and instinctive creative capacity. Creativity is an everyday human endeavor.
An Artist Creates with Intention & Delivers with Impact
Artists are creatives who develop their craft and deliver their work with a specific and intentional motivation and aspiration. They know who they are, what they're good at, and can identify who their audience is and what impact they want to bring about.
Artists know that passion and profits are the...
"Actions Speak Louder Than Words"
At least that's what my mama always told me. But over the years I've decided that this is not such great advice. Sure, we should walk the walk and not just talk the talk, but what are we talking and walking for in the first place?!
"A Man's Character Is His Fate."
These are the translated words of the pre-Socratic philosopher Heraclitus. He's long been a go-to dispenser-of-wisdom on how to live well. Heraclitus was also a major influence on another source of timeless wisdom; the last of the late great Stoic philosophers, Marcus Aurelius.
Heraclitus and Marcus both have much to say on human nature and how to navigate the messy milieu that is human interaction. Both came to the conclusion that neither what we say nor what we do is of much significance. What really matters is who we are. In other words (Martin Luther King Jr.'s for instance), what is the "content of our character?" Or as the Stoics would say, our Virtue.
“What’s It For?”
I ask myself this question all the time. Before I make a career choice. Before I make a parenting decision. Before I start reading a book. Before I draft a text or email. Before I grab that snack I really don’t need.
Like I said, all the time!
“What’s it for?” Those three words help me stay focused and on track. They help me dial in and qualify my motivation, intention, aspiration, and the change I seek to make.
So, I have a question for you. What are you for?
What Are You For?
What’s your life’s purpose? What is the meaningful and significant work that you should be doing? Equally important, who needs you and where are they?
Recently, several people joined me for a live webinar workshop event where we explored these very questions. In it, I laid out a simple, three-step process for dialing in who you are, what you’re good at, and who you should serve.
But simple isn’t easy!
If you want different...
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