Creativity, individuality, beauty, these are the things that give meaning and significance to life. You don’t need a lot of stuff. But you do need beauty, and creativity. Our souls are made to crave beauty, creativity, and individuality. We are hardwired to seek these things. That’s why mediocrity and normal are killers to the soul.
If you lack creativity, individuality and beauty, you try to fill the void with stuff. If you don’t have a lot of money, then the stuff is poor quality, breaks, falls apart and ends up in the landfill.
But you are rich with choices. You don’t need to fill the void with mass-market stuff. If you have a little money you can buy one of a kind, beauty to surround yourself with, made by an artist.
My friend just returned from a trip to Russia. She toured St. Petersburg, Moscow and the palaces of Catherine the Great. Catherine surrounded herself with beauty — Rembrandts, Titains and gilded architecture. The vastness of her riches expressed themselves in lavish beauty. This kind of beauty is beyond the reach of most of us. But you are still rich with choice.
And you can use your own hands, your own ideas, your own talent and skills to make the beautiful things that you need — to fill that beauty-hunger in your soul. My friend, Connie, lives in a small house on the prairies and she makes beauty with her own hands. Her home is furnished with wool mattresses, wool duvets, pillows, rugs, and pictures crafted from the fleece that her own animals have grown. Connie is always wearing a handknit sweater and has another on the needles in her lap. And Connie sells her work near Ft. McLeod. Lucky is the person that gets to wear one of Connie’s hats.
Women (and men, too) spent their lives creating the beautiful things that they needed for centuries, before factories, and textile mills and the assembly line stepped in and pushed governments to institutionalize learning and create a society of automatons — normals. (Please don’t call them Sheep! Sheep are individuals — everything you ever heard about sheep is wrong). People in the developing world still do this.
Before the industrial revolution and the invention of the culture of statistics, there was no normal. Normal is a modern concept, that is defined as average — within one deviation of the mean. 68% of all variables fall within this category. But its the outliers that change the world. The outliers are the remarkable people that by their existence shift the definition of normal. The mean(ies) get rid of the outliers so that their idea of “normal” is consistent and supported.
No one is 100% normal. I’m really happy about that. It gives me hope. Stop pretending to be normal and live your calling and your passion.
The world needs you to do your art.
I don’t do stained glass. I don’t do pottery. But I’ve bought the work of stained glass artists and potters to fill that place of beauty in my lighting and on my table. Every time I look at the light shining through the stained glass lamp over my dining room table I feel happy. I will live with this beauty for the rest of my life. I won’t change it with the fashion. It satisfies.
I weave, felt, dye with natural dyes and spin yarn. Antiquated? No, necessary skills to clothe the world. My home needs more beautiful textiles and I need them, too. They feed my spirit. And my community needs this beauty, too, to stay warm and to quench their thirst for beauty. There is enough pain and ugliness in the world already.
The World needs you to perfect your skills
The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life by Os Guinness explains the two parts of calling: Giftedness and Stewardship. “Gifts are ours for others.” (Guinness, The Call. 1998) The thing that you are passionate about, whether its fiber art, writing, cooking, metal work, painting, cartooning or even preaching – the world needs that gift. Fan the flame of your passion. Read books. Take workshops. Practice your skills and learn new ones so that you can offer quality and originality to the world. Fill your world with the thing that you do best. And get a little bit better at it everyday. Fulfill your calling.
When I was first learning to spin yarn, I spun every morning before my children started their school work. Now I spend that early morning time learning to be a better writer — reading about writing well and practising writing. What are you practising to become better at? Are you practising your passion? Be intentional. You need this and the world needs you to do it, too.
The World needs you to ship
“If you don’t ship, it doesn’t count.” -Seth Godin
It isn’t enough that you start a project and leave it in the work basket. It isn’t enough to obsess over the details of a piece, if you never finish it. And it isn’t enough if you finish it and send it out into the world but it lacks quality.
To be remarkable you need to get it out into the world. It needs to utilize your best skills. — You need to ship.
Don’t wait. Start today to live your passion. Forget about fitting in with normal. Normal doesn’t exist.
What’s your take on it? Leave a comment.