A Green Spin

Archive for June 2011

Productivity over Perfectionism

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I read an article today about James Franco. – [click here]

tl;dr version: The first line of his wikipedia article: “James Edward Franco (born April 19, 1978) is an American actor, film director, screenwriter, film producer, author, painter, and performance artist”, which gives you an idea of just how many things he has achieved so far in life.

James doesn’t sound like the kind of person who is obsessive about getting the best grades, about being the best. He simply wants to do a lot of things, and experience many things. And through doing all of these things, he manages to be insanely successful. As the article says:

“If the work is good,” Franco says, “what does it matter? I’m doing it because I love it. Why not do as many things I love as I can? As long as the work is good.”

People no longer want to be great at one thing. They want to be great at everything. They want to be able to speak different languages, write books, do degrees, act, sing, dance, everything. However, doing too much is overwhelming. I know personally that with so many goals, whole days can be spent lying down thinking ‘what now? what do I do now? how can I do so much? shouldn’t I just give up?’. And this is the point at which many people break off, and really end up not following any of their dreams.

Alternatively, we could take a leaf out of Franco’s book, and work hard and relentlessly, every minute of every day, because we know we don’t have much time on this earth, and we have to follow our passions whilst we’re here.

According to his mother, Betsy, Franco has been this way since he was born. In kindergarten, he wouldn’t just build regular little block towers—he’d build structures that used every single block in the playroom. At night, he would organize his Star Wars toys before he slept. When Franco was 4 years old, a friend of the family died. Betsy gave him the standard Mortality Talk: no longer with us, just a part of lifeyes, but hopefully not for a very long time. Little James burst into tears. He was inconsolable. Eventually, he managed to choke out, between sobs, “But I don’t want to die! I have so much to do!”

Written by Peppidee

June 11, 2011 at 9:38 pm

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What is YOUR passion?

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“I don’t give a damn what you think of me. My clients are the whales and the fish and the seals. If you can find me one whale that disagrees with what we’re doing, we might reconsider.”
— said by Captain Paul Watson, leader of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society which every year sinks more and more whaling ships in a direct attack against whalers.

This quote gets me each and every time. This quote wants to make to get off my ass and get on one of these ships and do everything I can for our planet. This quote makes me angry, and it makes me cry, and it makes me feel, ‘THAT’S the only thing that will work. And it doesn’t matter what people say against this society. This is the only thing that is going to work, and I have to do it, and I don’t care what people think.’

Find your passion. Find what makes you react.

Once you have your passion, ignite this angry, ignite the happiness, the fear, every emotion associated with it. Nurture it, and grow it inside of you.

I first got involved in animal conservation last year, when I was selected to go as a Youth Ambassador for WWF UK to Russia to work at the Youth Tiger Summit. That event in itself was lifechanging, and I knew I had found my passion and my calling in life.

But over the past six months, my passion has dwindled. Real life has started kicking in, and I’ve let it. I’ve let exams and essays get me down. I’ve become so wound up by animal cruelty and the lack of sustainibility in the world that I’ve allowed myself to falter. I’ve let people’s arguments influence me, and worry me. “What if this think this or that about me?” “Is it bad that I’m into animal conservation? Will people judge me?”

Who gives a crap?

I’m sure there’s something inside you as well that is shouting out to be heard; some passion, some love, some desire. For me, I know it’s animal conservation, because I care more about animal needs than human needs, because I would consider my life worthwhile and well-lived if I knew I had saved a single tiger. If I write about animal conservation, my anger kicks in. If I compose music about sustainibility, I get wound up.

That doesn’t mean I’m weird, or that your passion is wrong because it’s different to mine. It means that you have a passion too, and it’s kicking and screaming its way out of you.

Will you let it out?

Written by Peppidee

June 8, 2011 at 5:18 pm

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Do our possessions hold us back?

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Do our possessions hold us back?

I find it very, very difficult to work in my bedroom.

I blame this on many things: the theory that you shouldn’t work in the same room as your bed and leave your bedroom only for sleeping; the fact that I have a tiny laptop which I deem to not be work-conducive; my room is always untidy, etc. etc., and so on.

But since I’ve become involved in the minimalist movement, the items I own have come under great scrutiny. Project 333 has made me purge myself of most of my clothes (but I still have many, many more clothes than 33!), I have ‘digitized’ my important paper documents… but I still feel great dissatisfaction with the items I have. Why is this?

  • They represent ties to the past. Books from childhood. Gifts you’ve never used, but feel bad about throwing away. Emotional attachments. Letters from old friends you haven’t spoken to for five years. Clothes you wore when you were a kid, or when you were thinner or fatter.
  • They represent commitments to money. All those books from university first term that I never read! Gifts that you’ve never used but you know are worth a lot. Investments you made into certain hobbies.
  • They represent unfulfilled dreams.

This final one, I believe, is the crux of it all. I would say at least three quarters of the books on my shelf are still there because I haven’t yet read them, or I feel bad I never read it and now I’m not interested in it. My wardrobe has clothes that I want to wear but don’t look great on me. There’s jewellery I’ve never worn. There are craft-making materials, papers and glues and strings and cords, that I bought during my craft-making era but now am too embarrassed to throw away. There are notebooks I haven’t filled (at least 20). There are paints I haven’t used for years. There are dance shoes and DVDs I don’t use anymore.

If I actually went through my room, and filled up just one box of items that I could take away with me, I think I could easily do it. My camera, my video camera, my laptop, a few excellent books I love, pens and paper, a few notebooks, all my travel kit, my favourite dresses and shirts… and I do this pretty much every time I go abroad. Yet even when I’m abroad, I don’t feel free. You know why? Because I’ve left my room behind me, an almost ‘false impression’ of me.

My room isn’t me, and I want it to be.

What does your room say about you? Could you fill a big box full of your possessions, and be happy with just these?

Written by Peppidee

June 8, 2011 at 4:31 pm

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Why do we write?

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Why do we write?

Is creating an innate desire in everybody?

What’s up with the amount of blogs regarding minimalism?

The more blogs I read about simple living and minimalism, the more I notice that those who are writing blogs – from Castles in the Air to EVBogue to the smaller blogs I read – are those who want to expand their writing to the next level, those who want to be professional writers. Even here I’m being a bit specific, as many bloggers are interested in music, in knitting, in street art – but it all comes down to the same thing. We all want to CREATE.

The question is, is this an innate human desire? Do all humans secretly want to create? I think of people I know as I consider this; one older person who has created their own business, but who I know has always wanted to write but never pursued that dream; another person who is very logical and who desires to work in a setting where they are a cog in the works, but still ‘invents’, still creates through computer programs and through maths, and wants to pursue this; yet another person who wants to be a journalist, yet feels she doesn’t have the skills to get there. The more I think of it, the more I think of friends who want to be writers, musicians, computer programmers – inventors, creators and dreamers all around me. Yet they don’t pursue this. So I think a LOT of people have this desire; if not to create, then at least ‘have’ something of their own, to be proud of something. Maybe it’s part of why our society enjoys having kids; why we enjoy decorating our homes; why we enjoy gardening. All things that personally, I don’t want right now, because I am so focused on my music and on my writing.

I just came across a great post, My Incredibly Selfish Reason for Writing This Blog, which sums up how I feel: “I write what I need to hear”. And this, too, explains the flourish in minimalism and simple living blogs. As the blogger says here, he doesn’t want to be considered a self-help expert (same here!!), but he – I guess – almost needs to help himself. Just like all of us.

The more I read minimalism blogs, the more I think ‘this blogger is writing this over and over again… I’m getting bored… where’s something NEW?’. But through this point of view, I can kind of see why it happens. It’s kind of like the typical simple living blogger is driving it, not just into their readers, but into themselves; and as they continue to drive this into themselves, they continue to develop, and so we see new insights in each blog. It keeps us coming back, as a side effect. We want this constant reminder, just as they need the constant reminder for themselves.

It’s very clever.

And this is why I write my blog, too. I don’t want to self-help anyone, and I’m a little scared of writing sometimes, in case I seem this pompous 20-year-old young adult who has no experience of the world. But in some ways, I’m reassuring myself of what road I don’t want to go down as I get older. I’m reminding myself of what I want to do. And if at the same time, my writing can be interesting and engaging to others, then all the better. If at the same time, my writing develops as a result of being self-reflective – then I’m happy. I write so I can live.

Why do you write?

Written by Peppidee

June 8, 2011 at 3:59 pm

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What the world needs is people who have come alive.

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“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

The world doesn’t need you trying to reach a goal you really don’t care about, just because you feel people will view you highly and be impressed by you, or because you feel you should view their expectations. Everyone is judging you, and you can’t ever get past that. That doesn’t mean everyone actually cares.

The world doesn’t need you trying to conform into the ocean of society, another drop in the ebb and tide. It needs the colourful fish, the leaping dolphins, the shrimps and the sharks and the great whales. The world doesn’t need you to get a credit card and buy a fancy house and own the latest trends in fashion.  You think the world needs that, but you’re wrong.

The world doesn’t need you pretending to be alive. It doesn’t need you to be pretentious and believe you’re better than others. What it needs is you to focus, to do what you really believe in, and commit yourself. Focus and committal are probably the hardest things, because deep down, you actually know who you are and you know what you really want to do.

The world doesn’t need labels. It doesn’t need the people who are the best. It doesn’t need people who are selfless or selfish, good or bad, honorable or evil. Because everyone has a flaw in their selflessness, and everyone has a flaw in their badness. There is no black and white, no best and worst. Don’t let labels tether you. Let go.

Written by Peppidee

June 8, 2011 at 12:44 pm

Posted in Uncategorized