Stand out from the crowd.

Coco

‘Coco’ 2016

Everyone discovers things in their lives at different ages and different stages. Hence, to compare one’s life with another is completely futile. The lessons you have to learn are complex and unique. The time and methods you take to learn them are also unique to you. So let go of thinking that things should be one way or another, of measuring experiences and achievements. Life is not linear, so we must stop treating it so. 

Something I wrote down sometime last year in my notebook of scribbles, ideas, thoughts and things I need to put down to get out of my head, and to help me when I look back at them. (So pretty much just a manual version of this blog in fact!)

On the one hand the words I wrote are stating the obvious and are so simple. Yet they keep coming up in my life and now seem quite profound. I’m pretty sure most people, if not everyone, at least in the Western world anyway, struggles and stumbles over this at different times in their life. It’s like there are these invisible pressures all throughout our lives. You have to do this, and then that, get a degree, get a car, get a mortgage, and meet the ‘right’ person and make a certain amount of money etc. And if you haven’t done all of this by a certain age then you have probably failed at life. At least that’s what society, or our inner subliminal pressures make us think. When in fact, there are examples of the very opposite all over the place. It is actually the people who intentionally ignore these pressures, or fight against them and listen to what their own being actually wants,  that are really succeeding at life. The people who question all this stuff and resist it, who fight to understand what makes them happy rather than trying to buy it or just doing what the person on instagram is doing because they look happy. Who cares if you rent where you live anyway. And, if you think about it, what an insane idea that you should find one person on this massive planet that is somehow supposed to fill up every area of your life, and keep doing so, your entire life. We keep chasing money, chasing things, and ending up back where we started, wondering why we aren’t happy and why we followed this stupid, tired, and well trodden path that has been dictated to us our entire life whether we are aware of it or not.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

It also comes down to the Paradox of choice. Watch this amazing TED talk which hits the nail on the head with this concept. This has become more and more the case every day in our current world, we are told that we can do anything we want, be anything we want, go anywhere we want, have anything we want (and put the whole country in a recession, but hey, you got the car you wanted), live anywhere, date anyone, wear anything… you get the idea. And at first glance this is freedom, so much freedom. But actually, it may just be the opposite. Because if you have even a shadow of doubt, about which dress to buy, or which person to marry, of which city you should live in or whether to quit you job and take off, well, that is debilitating, and can often lead to inaction instead of being proactive. Indecision is crippling. When you can do anything, it is often easier to do nothing, change nothing, or constantly question whether you made the right decision. And that can slowly lead you to insanity, depression and a constant anxiety over your own life. Yes I do think we can do anything, go anywhere etc, but wise words to remember are that ‘you can do anything, but you can’t do everything’.

The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz. “Learning to choose is hard. Learning to choose well is harder. And learning to choose well in a world of unlimited possibilities is harder still, perhaps too hard.”

Instead, we need to take control and make decisions, but also be content with the decisions we make. And look back and realise that even if we have regrets, tell ourselves that we did something because at that point in our life it was exactly what we wanted, or what made sense to us at the time with the information we had. And that’s ok.

It takes courage to take time to step away from the mainstream and question what actually makes sense for you, but when you do you will be so free with the liberty of doing what the hell you want and where you want and why, that your whole life will change.

“He who is brave is free” – Seneca

It is so easy to be overwhelmed by choice in today’s world, there are too many distractions, too many options, with everything.

One minute I can be happy and feeling on track and then quickly get swept away on social media and suddenly I am questioning everything.

So do not compare yourself. Do not compare your one precious life and belittle your own achievements and virtues. Everyone is on their own path and we should be working harder to make our own path unique to us, and to celebrate that. To be true to our own person and personality and to not just follow the crowd and follow what someone else is doing or being.

Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are. – Kurt Cobain

Be yourself, don’t try to copy someone else, who they are, or what they do.

The world needs you to be you.

-Holly

x
(Watch another brilliant TEDx talk here on ‘The art of being yourself’ )

If you liked this here are other posts with similar ideas why not to compare yourself and Go your own way.

Limited Edition prints of ‘Coco’ available HERE

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Room for imagination = creating space to unleash your creativity.

Yoga sketch - Holly Sharpe
Recent drawing, idea I hope to explore this year, to somehow express my love of Yoga through my work. Pic from my Instagram.

“There are always flowers for those who want to see them.” – Henri Matisse

I know what I want to say here, but I have so many thoughts, ideas and words jumbled up and going around my head this morning, (well in reality, I have that most of the time, it’s just slightly muted sometimes, and it seems to switch off, or at least fade A LOT, when I am drawing = bliss) that it might take a bit longer for me to get it all out… hoping you’ll stick with me till the end though!

*Before I go any further, I want to stress, that all these words are my own, but I am not claiming to be discussing anything groundbreaking either, as most of it is an accumulation of things I have read, watched and listened to – and from their formed my own opinions on how I currently feel. I also want to say that this is how I feel, or think right now, it is not set in stone and maybe I will look back and cringe that I was ever so honest, but I’d like to draw your attention back to this first entry where I try to explain why I wanted to start this blog in the first place, and if nothing else it helps me put some of these nagging thoughts and musings in my head, into writing! *

What I want to try and talk about is the importance of creating space, physical and psychological space. I am usually directing my words at creative people, but in fact, I think more and more companies and intelligent people out there are realising that everyone can, and should be more creative. Just because you don’t draw or physically create stuff, does not mean you cannot or are not creative. In most jobs and in day to day lives, things would be improved a lot if creativity were encouraged more, if the option to fail was encouraged and therefore people would experiment and take risks a whole lot more, in theory… The problem is there is a lot wrong with, or to put it better, there is a lot of room for improvement, when it comes to the education system, in this country anyway, and my understanding of the US is similar. Sir Ken Robinson does a phenomenal TED TALK on this, ‘How schools kill creativity’ believe it or not it’s from 2006, he is extremely likeable, engaging, and speaks a whole lot of sense. It is hard not to become passionate about what he is saying.

Along with a lacking education system, we are now living in a society that never wants to give you a second to just be. A moment to reflect. With advertising, brands and general consumerism constantly being forced in your face, probably without you even realising it most of the time – at least in cities anyway. And technology meaning most people, in most modes of transport, queues (lines) for the till or a bus or whatever, are glued to this little rectangle that in many ways is the essence of how far we have come, and demonstrates what humans are capable of, smart phones are incredible, I am not denying that, but must they take over our lives, must they dictate what we do every time we have a spare second, or minute. I have read and listened to a few things this past week which talk about this obsession we now have with smart phones, which makes me think that there is going to be something of a revolution, or perhaps just a revelation, about how we are using our smart phones.

It is only since listening/ reading about people talking about this more recently that it seems to me that a lot of people don’t really daydream or let their thoughts be left without interruptions…? I feel like I have spent most of my life daydreaming and people watching, so I find this almost incomprehensible. I know that I don’t have the right balance either, as it probably isn’t healthy to be caught up in daydreaming so much either, but I still think it does wonders for your imagination, and therefore for your creativity and in developing your own intellect and ability to form your own ideas and opinions.

Since quite a few people have asked me how I stay inspired, it makes me wonder, do you ever just daydream? Do you ever just sit and be with your own thoughts. Do you ever go for a walk and not take your phone, and not feel the need to share it on facebook, or twitter or whatever. Do you? Maybe you do, and that’s great, you still have a grasp on living in the real 3 dimensional world and not the one that dampens your ability to think for yourself, to imagine, and to generate your own thoughts and opinions on something before something you have just scrolled through has changed your mood or your feelings towards it. The point is, we need to (in my opinion) channel stimulus from inside us to really grow creativity, rather than always relying on external stimulus. And if we don’t create space for this to happen naturally in the first place, then we may loose the ability altogether.

Another point on creating space, which I think is important for everyone, but possibly even more so for any one that is self employed and/or a creative. It can be all consuming ‘sailing your own ship’, as I seem to keep putting it recently. It is wonderful and exciting and extremely overwhelming and draining all at the same time to work for yourself. This is exactly why it is so important to take breaks, by that I mean lunch breaks, a break to go for a walk or an exercise class, but also longer breaks – a holiday! I know a lot of freelancers, and people that work for themselves only dream of this, but I honestly think that you will be more productive, proactive and focused if you force yourself to take a proper holiday. It doesn’t have to necessarily mean going away somewhere – although in an ideal world the further you can get from your normal everyday surroundings, the better – but just a proper break where you try not to think about your work, and definitely don’t do any work, no emails, nothing. Only by switching everything off – which is why I hope the whole mobile rant, along with the breaks thing have now tied in…. – can we really let out minds wander, be free, and work their magic.

Phew, another long one. If you’re still reading, thanks! Happy to hear your thoughts on the above, or on anything I have raised really.
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Email: hollysharpe@live.com

– Holly