The other terror that scares us from self-trust is our consistency; a reverence for our past act or word, because the eyes of others have no other data for computing our orbit than our past acts, and we are loath to disappoint them. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Prompt: What is ‘too scary’ to write about? Try doing it now. (Author: Mary Jaksch)
Writing About Self
I write about people, places and politics. I write about my views and visions on social issues, movies, culture, faith and communications. I write letters, poetry, stories, speeches and essays. I write, but I can’t write about myself. Why? Mine is a fear of exuding too much hubris and too little humility. While I believe my writings don’t have to be about me, I have been taught that the most authentic writing is about what one knows best. Clearly, I know myself pretty well. But I often wonder whether others—strangers—are really interested in knowing me? So my comfort zone and my self-confidence allows me to focus more on others and less on myself in both my writings and my life.
Biographies and autobiographies are abundant. And Twitter and Facebook make it easy to define, describe and delineate every aspect of one’s self in writing. Living means most have seen much, heard more and traveled enough journeys to tell stories, share histories or offer personal insights about themselves using the written word. I find that hard to do. Yet, I’m tackling my fear in writing this post and participating in this 30-day effort because the daily challenges center around writing about self.
There will be an agreement in whatever variety of actions, so they be each honest and natural in their hour. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Prompt: What would you say to the person you were five years ago? What will you say to the person you’ll be in five years? (Author: Corbett Barr)
Past: Do the dreams.
Future: Keep moving forward.
Our arts, our occupations, our marriages, our religion, we have not chosen, but society has chosen for us. We are parlour soldiers. We shun the rugged battle of fate, where strength is born. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Prompt: What’s one thing you’ve always wanted to accomplish but have been afraid to pursue? Write it down. Also write down the obstacles in your way of reaching your goal. Finally, write down a tangible plan to overcome each obstacle. The only thing left is to, you know, actually go make it happen. What are you waiting for? by Matt Cheuvront
Doubt or Do It
My major obstacle is my “doubt or do it gap.” I’ve always wanted to merge my artistic talents with my strategic communications skills, but the doubt or do it gap has made that difficult. Creative ideas, innovative thoughts and great plans too often settle in my mind or on a post-it waiting for me to release them. Yet, many of my ideas, thoughts and plans begin and end where they started–in my mind. When creating a concept mixing untested art with my proven communications abilities, doubt manages to overpower do it. My art languishes on a canvas, computer or sketch pad while I search for the perfect concept for the perfect time.
This year that approach changed. I was ready to release my concept whether the world was ready to receive it. I erased my doubt. I developed an idea for combining art and meaningful messages. I designed some cards, put up a website and entered a huge product show to move my art beyond my mind, office and immediate circle of friends and family. The responses proved that many were ready to accept a new concept while others didn’t “dare to be bold” enough to embrace the new.
My plan is to continue designing, releasing and spreading the products for six months before deciding what’s next. My ideas crawled out of my mind, doubt stepped out of the way and I dared to move forward. I’m not done doing.
Life wastes itself while we are preparing to live — Ralph Waldo Emerson
Challenge: If you had one week left to live, would you still be doing what you’re doing now? In what areas of your life are you preparing to live? Author: Jonathan Mead
"Forward" by Flo
To come alive I live now. I get into the natural rhythm of life’s heartbeat. I focus on the present. I learn from the past, but don’t linger there. I move toward the future, but don’t worry about it. I do what I can. I try doing without being afraid of failing. At the end of the day, I’m done. When the sun rises, I’m ready to do something once more. My goal is to do more now and less later.
If we live truly, we shall see truly. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Prompt: Not everyone wants to travel the world, but most people can identify at least one place in the world they’d like to visit before they die. Where is that place for you, and what will you do to make sure you get there? (Author: Chris Guillebeau)
Morocco is the place I want to visit one day. Its historical roots, its ethnically diverse culture and civilization, its biodiversity, and its mesmerizing mixed colors merged with its mystery appeal to all my senses. Writing this down and sharing my travel desires with others—with the world—is my first step toward being there. But it’s easy to languish in the dream of going. To make sure I get there, I’ll psych myself into acting on this dream. I’ll let everyone know I’m going. Then when the obvious question, when are you going, comes up I want to have an answer. I must select a date. This reverses my usual travel planning exercise of digging deep and studying hard about where to go and what to see; instead it forces me to focus my deep dive on when I’m going and how to get there from here.
Morocco by robynejay via Flickr
Writing about my dream has moved me much closer to acting on it. I’ll make the commitment to those reading this: I’m traveling to Morocco within the next two years, “Lord willing and the creek don’t rise” as old folks say.
As I begin exploring travel dates and mapping out specific sites and cities to visit, I’ll continue my self encouragement. Yet, I’ll be buoyed by the encouragement of others who now know my travel wish. I feel I’m much closer to being there. Thanks for the push.
That which each can do best, none but his Maker can teach him. Where is the master who could have taught Shakespeare? Where is the master who could have instructed Franklin, or Washington, or Bacon, or Newton? . . . Shakespeare will never be made by the study of Shakespeare. Do that which is assigned you, and you cannot hope too much or dare too much. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Prompt – Post-It Question
My Question: How do I use my creative energy to produce positive, creative change in my company, in corporations I work with and in my community?
My first thought is change my approach. That means meet less, think more, exchange crazy ideas with others often and always do something—daily, weekly, monthly—to put things in motion. Then continue tweaking that something. The hard part is to just do something—anything—a little more often.
Let me take the next 48 hours to think about this….
It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude. – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance
Prompt: The world is powered by passionate people, powerful ideas, and fearless action. What’s one strong belief you possess that isn’t shared by your closest friends or family? What inspires this belief, and what have you done to actively live it? (Author: Buster Benson)
June 3, 2011
Although my ideas are powerful and my actions are fearless, aspects of the single strong belief I possess are shared by my closest friends and family. Perhaps that’s why my friends remain close and my family closer.
My one strong belief is that all people including those with different histories and from different communities and cultures should have equal access to diverse workplace opportunities. It isn’t a unique belief. But I do have some friends and colleagues who don’t embrace all aspects of the belief as passionately as I do. We agree to disagree. I am motivated by the disagreements to work harder and more creatively to help others understand that different histories might be sources of new insights for solving old problems. Disagreements motivate me to look beyond my passionate belief and try to better understand the roots of another’s values. I try to see differently, which makes it much easier to embrace differences.
We are afraid of truth, afraid of fortune, afraid of death, and afraid of each other. Our age yields no great and perfect persons. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Prompt: 15 Minutes to Live
End Notes . . .May 31, 2011
My time is fleeting. There is no turning back and no moving forward. Now is all that remains. Less than fifteen minutes left on this journey. After all the years, the path becomes clear and the destination is visible. Ten minutes more. What to do? Improvise. Listen to final sounds—jazz. I feel the music still my soul, release my anxiety and transform my spirit. Jazz frees me. Freedom moves me. Email ending notes of passion, happiness and gratitude to those I love and will leave. Four minutes. I lose myself in prayers of thanksgiving for so much, in prayers of guidance for humanity left behind and prayers of hope for unfolding futures. My eyes close. My mind drifts. My thoughts leave a smile on my face. With this ending comes a new beginning.
#Trust30 is an online initiative and 30-day writing challenge that encourages you to look within and trust yourself, according to The Domino Project. The inspiration is The Domino Project’s republishing of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Self-Reliance in celebration of his 208th birthday.
Self-Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson urges readers to trust their intuition rather than conforming to the will of the majority.
The #Trust30 challenge started on May 31 and runs for 30 days. Each day a prompt will be posted from an original thinker and doer on the special site: www.RalphWaldoEmerson.me.
Once posted, reflect on each daily prompt, craft a response and tweet it with #trust30. I’m doing it. Join me.