Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Born And Raised On The Big Canvas

"The most important skill in success is knowing how and when to switch to a game with better odds for you." Publishing isn’t a dying industry, it’s a dead one. That’s why I walked away. The marketplace had become overcrowded, incestuous, mediocre and unprofitable. My business had reached a point of diminishing returns. And I knew that if I didn’t opt out to play a bigger game, I would rob myself of the opportunity to evolve. I knew that if I didn't leave the party at midnight when the festivities were at their peak, I would get stuck on the couch at four in the morning when people started making bad decisions. Sorry, but my work is too good for those odds. I may have been made in that scene, but I wasn't made for that scene. was born and raised for the big canvas, and I want to build a life I wouldn't trade. So I retired from freelancing as a full time gig, organized my body of work to live independently of my effort, flipped my professional life upside down, and didn't look back. And I've never been happier. Turns out, there are just as many games worth playing as there are people to play them.

“Depression is for those who can afford it.” I’ve had my bouts with anxiety, stress, unhappiness and disappointment. Even a few bonafide panic attacks. But the interesting thing is, every time I get busy burning calories, thinking hard, working hard, moving my body, creating art, making meaning, helping others, taking care of my family, actively engaging with my community, spending time with friends and working on the project of building a life, I notice that I no longer have time to be depressed. There's simply too much meaning to be made. And not to be insensitive to the mental health struggles of others. When I hear people's psychological horror stories, I believe people are experiencing what they’re experiencing. I believe biological things happen inside the human brain. I also believe that when we start making meaning instead of monitoring moods, when we start burning calories instead of being sad, life gets a lot less depressing.

"Pride is that wonderful feeling you experience between the time you have a great idea and the time you show it to someone else." One of our goals in life is to make ourselves proud. To decide to bite into something, do it really well, and then stand back and nod our head at the finished product. There’s nothing quite like it. Finally, something lasting and uniquely ours. Something we have complete control over. Something nobody can take away from us. Nothing beats that dancing smile of satisfaction. Nothing. Meanwhile, there’s an opposing force. The archenemy of our magical moment. The one that pins us down with other people’s obligations and expectations and chores and work that stands in the way of the pride we deserve to take. And if we're not careful, we end up spending our life being everybody else’s dream machine. For me, it always goes back to one question. Is this an opportunity, or an opportunity to be used?