As many of you who read my blog know, I am a huge fan of Tim Ferriss. I consume his content in any format he presents it, including his Five Bullet Friday newsletter. In this week’s addition, I found this quote that really hit home for me…
“A writer—and, I believe, generally all persons—must think that whatever happens to him or her is a resource. All things have been given to us for a purpose, and an artist must feel this more intensely. All that happens to us, including our humiliations, our misfortunes, our embarrassments, all is given to us as raw material, as clay, so that we may shape our art.” — Jorge Luis Borges
I definitely consider myself a writer; I love public speaking but I think that if pushed to claim an identity, it would be as a writer first. And the quote hit home because, as you may have noticed, I write about things that have happened to me or that I believe to be beneficial in some manner. In some cases it’s both. The idea that the “resources” or raw materials that life hands you is the fuel for the fire of being a writer, I couldn’t agree more.
I don’t have any formal training, and it sometimes shows. But I am okay with that, as I approach speaking in the same manner. I am not convinced that being super polished is as important to me as being authentic. That is something that I really strive for in both the speaking and writing mediums. I personally believe that the authenticity is really what people will feel at the time and remember later, not how many times I stumbled over a word here and there.
In hindsight, I probably missed my calling in life. Looking back, I have loved teaching people things and coaching as a major part of my life. Although I “preach” to not make a job out of something you consider a passion, I think that being a college professor might be an exception to that rule.
There are a couple of reasons for this:
–A one month break at the end of the year.
–After your first year of teaching, you are updating the curriculum instead of writing it
–If you do your job well, you will have had influence on others
–If you get tenure, or just have a pension, you are better off than many
I think that my life’s experiences would be great lessons to share with others, which is why I like the Public Speaking format so much. In a classroom, many of these could be woven into the general lesson plans. Of course, if I had become a college professor, my life would have taken a different path than it did and the lessons would be different. But either way, I feel like sharing some of the life lessons I have learned along the way is something I should be doing.
All of us are the sum total of our life’s decisions and events to this moment. No two stories are alike, and that is what brings such a delicious mixture of things to share and learn from. I love talking with new people all the time; the variety of backgrounds and perspective on the world is always worth a conversation. This is how I ended up with such an eclectic group of friends I am sure. I have benefitted heavily from it, too.
When I am writing, I am usually sitting in a coffee shop with my noise cancelling headphones on. I like being around people when I am working, but the headphones allow me to focus on what I am doing. I typically come into the writing session with a topic already in mind, and I sit and just “let go”. I allow my brain to wander and create; sometimes the magic happens, sometimes I let a blog sit for a while and then end up taking it in a different direction. The main thing is that I write. Even if I archive an idea and never do anything with it, sometimes it is just the mental exercise of it that I want. Writing has become a very therapeutic activity for me, and I swear it would be for others too. Whether you wrote a blog or just a journal entry a day, it is a good mental exercise. I think writing is a great way to organize your thoughts and improve your ability to communicate with others.
I don’t sit and dwell on the things that have happened to me, nor do I ponder my “glory days” too often. I use the “raw materials” that my life has provided to me as fuel to the fire. I want to share things and help others, that’s about the extent of the agenda. If some day in the near future I start getting paid to do public speaking, that will be an awesome bonus, but it is not my main motivation. And I don’t see it becoming my full time day job either. As I have said before, I do not want to make a jo out of my passion for speaking. I want to keep it fun and exciting and enjoyable; three qualities that fade from a job quickly. But I will share this final thought… I do it because I HAVE TO.
By “have to” I mean that it is burning inside of me all the time, and if I don’t express myself in some manner, it drives me nuts. I consider myself lucky to have this be the case. I know too many people who are not pursuing things they are passionate about, they exist and that’s about it. Or their life does not afford them the time to pursue the things they’d want to. Either way, I consider this a blessing and for that I am very thankful.
I wish you luck in your endeavors.