I’ve recently finished reading It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be by Paul Arden. It’s a short, quick, concise advice book with strong ideas that tells you how he sees it, and one message (of many) really jumped out at me:
Do not covet your ideas. Give away everything you know, and more will come back to you.
You will remember from school other students preventing you from seeing their answers by placing their arm around their exercise book or exam paper.
It is the same at work, people are secretive with ideas. “Don’t tell them that, they’ll take the credit for it.”
The problem with hoarding is you end up living off your reserves. Eventually you’ll become stale.
If you give away everything you have, you are left with nothing. This forces you to look, to be aware, to replenish.
Somehow the more you give away the more comes back to you.
Ideas are open knowledge. Don’t claim ownership.
They’re not your ideas anyway, they’re someone else’s. They are out there floating by on the ether.
You just have to put yourself in a frame of mind to pick them up.
I’ve been living off my reserves.
I haven’t been secreting away my ideas, but I have been storing them up in my drafts and gradually dealing them out on the blog–sometimes on purpose, and sometimes because I just didn’t have the time to get around to them. These I didn’t get a chance to get around to until when I did: I only finished posting the last of my posts from Summer Break 2015 in May (2016). I posted the first of my Fall Break 2015 posts last week (June 2016), and the next and last one is coming to the blog next Wednesday. Winter Break 2015?2016?2015-2016? (help) will be one long blog post about my winter externship, but I haven’t worked up the diligence to sit down and write it yet, so I’m skipping over that for now to Spring Break 2016.
Now I’m at a point where I get to decide whether I want to get these posts out of my system all at once or stretch them out. I usually post my weekly Happy List every Monday, another post if I have one on Wednesday, and very occasionally, another post on Friday if I have one, usually a Friday Favourite. To give me time to write posts and live my life, and to give you time to read posts and live your life, I’ve kept my posting schedule, for the most part, to two posts per week.
So naturally, my scheduling plan for my Spring Break 2016 posts–ten cafes from my week of cafe crawling–was to post one every week for ten weeks, which means my blog would be “covered” for almost all of summer and I wouldn’t have to worry about creating new content. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
But it’s getting stale.
I’m still in the process of editing my pictures from Spring Break 2016, and I’m also writing the posts for them, but the words aren’t coming easy. And that isn’t even “new” content. I haven’t been coming up with new content. I’ve been digging up photos from my travels and trying to recollect what I did during them so that I can throw together blog posts.
Some months ago, one of my friends commented to me that my blog had changed. I had no idea what she was talking about, because I felt like I was doing what I’ve always been doing, so I asked her to elaborate. I was very curious to understand, and I think it’s important to be self-aware. The gist of it was that I used to write more musings whereas now I mostly write about places. Which is true. And that bothered me, because I know that I sometimes get tired of reading travel posts. Great, this person went to another place. I probably won’t be going there, or at least not anytime soon. I want to hear about how you felt, what you experienced, something I can connect to despite not having a plane ticket at my disposal.
These feelings are hard to recollect when I’m living off my reserves. Especially the happy feelings.
Happiness is not uninspiring if we don’t allow our imaginations to fail us. I want to believe there is substance to fairy tales. I want to believe there’s something to hold on to, even when dealing with the slick smoothness of idyll, of joy.
–Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
The slick smoothness of idyll, of joy, is hard for me to find the words to describe. Can’t I just plain and simply be happy? Must I find greater synonyms, greater metaphors? How else can I convey how full I feel inside? Maybe it’s not about greater things, but rather the small ones. I think that’s why I’ve given myself the exercise of writing weekly Happy Lists, to jot down the little things before I lose the moment and deem it too insignificant to mention.
Living off my reserves, it’s hard to remember these moments, harder still to find the words. But when I’m creating new content, when I’m sifting through my present, sorting my inner tumult, excavating thoughts hidden underneath, the words flow, because I am in the moment.
I say all this to let you know that I’ve decided to catch you up with my Spring Break cafe crawling every Wednesday and Friday (instead of just posting on Wednesdays like I usually do), and of course I’ll still be sharing my weekly Happy List on Mondays, so that’ll be three posts per week! Hopefully soon enough I’ll be able to jump right back into creating new content and whip out my camera that has been dusting away in my closet.
tl;dr– Do not hoard your ideas, else you’ll be living off stale reserves. Happiness can by superficial and uninspiring, but it can also have substance. Every Monday I’ll be posting my weekly Happy List, and every Wednesday and Friday I’ll be posting about a new cafe I checked out during Spring Break 2016.