Step Into "What's Next" with Integrity and Intention
“What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for some goal worthy of him.” - Viktor Frankl
Work worth doing, concepts worth pondering, talents worth cultivating. These require a desire to embrace challenges and uncertainty with curiosity and courage.
The importance of commitment, dedication, consistency, generosity, and resilience are not unfamiliar to people like us.
But fear of failure is also a constant companion when you’re engaged in endeavors that matter. So are anxiety and Resistance. These forces try to push you to the convenient, the boring, and the dumb through guilt, shame, and a false sense of security. They tempt you to remain humble and hiding.
The good news is that there are workarounds, antidotes, and alternatives to fear, anxiety, and Resistance. These solutions exist in many traditions and disciplines. But I offer these “answers” by ancient Stoic philosophers on how to avoid to the urge or...
Do you spend more time than is healthy focusing on outcomes that are beyond your control? I know I do! Attachment to results that are beyond your determination is not just unhealthy, it's a path to suffering.
In any moment all you really control is how you frame things and what you do next. Whatever the situation or circumstance, you can choose to see the opportunity.
It's likely you will encounter adversity, a complication, or some predicament today. Maybe you already are. How will you face it? Will you wish for things to go your way, or will yourself to find the opportunity?
Keep flying higher!
What do you fear most in the work you do? Is it failure, inadequacy, irrelevance, obscurity, poverty? Perhaps it's "all the above."
Your work is fraught with challenges, uncertainty, and obstacles. So much is beyond your control. But you do control the most essential asset required to thrive in any situation or circumstance. What asset is that?
Your mindset. The way you perceive "the game."
And just three little words can reframe any state of affairs. You can find possibilities within challenges, options within uncertainties, and opportunities within obstacles.
We Are All Creatives
We are born with the capacity for reason, a creative instinct, and a social nature. This combination of characteristics differentiates us from all other living things on the planet. It’s also the source of your limitless power and potential. Potential people like us...
"You must build up your life action by action, and be content if each one achieves its goal as far as possible - and no one can keep you from this. But there will be some external obstacle! Perhaps, but no obstacle to acting with justice, self-control, and wisdom. But what if some other area of my action is thwarted? Well, gladly accept the obstacle for what it is and shift your attention to what is given, and another action will immediately take its place, one that better fits the life you are building." Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 8.32
Your life, your work, your year. When you look back at each of these, you can lose sight that they are built from months, days, hours, and minutes.
But it’s in each moment that you have an opportunity to start, or try, or test.
Each moment provides you an opportunity to face obstacles, misfortunes, and challenges with clarity and equanimity.
Each moment is a chance for you to succeed or fail, but always to learn, to grow, and to...
Connection is a basic human impulse.
Driven by the social imperative that enabled us to survive as a species, it is still our best chance of survival going forward.
When our conversations are driven by curiosity and courage instead of certainty and confidence, we invite collaborations worth cultivating and celebrating.
What will you do to create healthy connections that encourage happiness to spread today?
Keep flying higher!
“All you need are these: certainty of judgment in the present moment, action for the common good in the present moment, and an attitude of gratitude in the present moment for anything that comes your way.” — Marcus Aurelius
I had a fascinating discussion about Stoicism and creativity recently with my friend Chris Gill, Professor Emeritus of Ancient Thought at Exeter University. Chris is a deep thinker, a humble soul, and quiet dispenser of profound wisdom.
During our chat, we discussed acceptance.
As human beings and creative souls, we so often and easily attach ourselves to things beyond our control. Recognition, compensation, the opinions of others. These may appear important. They aren’t. The measure of our worth and that of our craft is reflected in how we approach them and toward what purpose we intend to serve.
We don’t control how we or our work are received. We must accept what comes. Resisting this is a path to suffering.
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller
Do you seek excellence in the work you do or an endeavor you engage in? How do you "level up" in an enterprise worthy of your time and effort?
It's one of the most profound lessons I learned in Seth Godin's altMBA.
Work we do for others is done better when it's done with others!
I believe in Epictetus' maxim, "Progress is not achieved by luck or accident, but by working on yourself daily." But that "work" is pretty useless if it doesn't also elevate and enhance the lives of others. Toward that end, the advice of Seneca comes in handy. "Associate with those who will make a better person of you."
Find your people. Peers to train with, encourage, and support. Mentors, guides, heroes, and teachers to learn from. In turn, share, teach and train those you serve.
Navel gazing, self-help, and personal development that doesn't serve a greater good are pretty pointless (and a bit...
A few weeks ago I spoke with Michael Bungay Stanier, author of The Coaching Habit, about my work with Creative On Purpose. During our chat, he said something that knocked me back on my heels a bit.
"You need to have a sustainable life. If you are a force for good in this world,
get your shit together around how you fund that."
For the better part of two years, I've been cranking out free content that seeks to help others experience greater fulfillment and prosperity through developing their potential and delivering on their promise.
I've received countless endorsements about the value of this work, including this from my friend, mentor, and employer, best-selling author and altMBA creator Seth Godin:
"Scott will open your eyes to a different way of doing work that matters. His generous, persistent, consistent belief in our ability to level up and contribute comes through. This is time well spent."
I've loved every minute I've been immersed in this work. It's connected...
“Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist
when you grow up” – Pablo Picasso
In The Stoic Creative, I assert that creativity is an inherent human impulse. If you don't agree, think back to your childhood. A time you were a fearless and unselfconscious creative. Who doesn't remember playing with blocks or dolls, drawing and coloring, dancing and singing songs, or simply telling stories?
There are some interesting studies on where creativity comes from, but I find how creativity happens far more interesting. How is it that you struggle so hard to be creative one moment, only to have inspiration strike "out of the blue" during a walk or shower?
I don't care where creativity comes from, I'm just grateful that it comes! And I find regularly sitting down to work is an invitation creativity finds difficult to resist.
Like a cat, creativity paces warily out of reach when you call it, but as soon as you sit still and turn...
Do you ever wonder what work that matters looks like? I sure do!
Last Friday my wife Lisa and I attended the commencement ceremony at Floyd County High School to watch a dozen or so of my guitar students graduate. After the ceremony, I congratulated each of them and presented them with a copy of Seth Godin's What to Do When It's Your Turn (And It's Always Your Turn).
The young lady in the picture above is Hannah. A student of mine for ten years or so. What does the picture "say" to you? To me, it represents and reflects work matters. Work that I do and seek to get better at every day.
Work that matters is different than work that's famous or work that makes you rich. It's the work we do as human beings in service to other human beings. Work that enhances and elevates the lives of everyone it touches, including the one who creates it.
Work that matters is done by employees, entrepreneurs, and employers. It's also the work done by artists and professionals. The work...