One Apple A Day #703 – You are the Art and the Artist

I love this TEDx talk by Laura Hollick.

She says that art is about making our imagination real. It is a bridge from the inner world and the outer one.

The first step of the artistic process is to imagine our new reality, our new world, our new self. 

The second step is to go for it. To move forward until the imagined becomes real. Using Laura words, “until you make your imagination so real that it is undeniable.” 

Unfortunately, most of the time, our imagination is crushed by reality. We look inward, and we see all this potential, our creative power generates such a compelling future for ourselves. Then we open our eyes, and it doesn’t seem to fit with the reality around us. 

Yeah, maybe it’s possible, but it’s such a long and uncertain journey that most of the time, we give up before we begin. 

We convince ourselves that it’s just a dream. 

We will never get there.

And you know what, it’s true. 

We may never get there.

But that never stop an artist from going for it.

And you are an artist.

If you’re alive, you are an artist.

You have the power to imagine your future self.

Hold on to that vision and every day take a small step towards it.

Like Michelangelo did with its David. For four years, he patiently chipped away all the unnecessary material until he revealed to the world the remarkable statue that he imagined within what was just a massive block of marble.

Will you get to the end? 

Maybe not. But that’s ok as long as you keep moving forward.

Because in the end, you are both the art and the artist.

“Art is never finished, only abandoned.”

Leonardo da Vinci

One Apple A Dy #701 – You reap what you sow and take care of

I was quite a lazy student. But luckily for me, the way school worked was a good fit for my inclinations, and that convinced my younger self that he was a smart guy.

It was my second year at university, and I was still sure I could carve my way out of almost every exam just by being smart. I was sitting before my physics professor for the second part of the exam; the oral test.

Physics was not one of my favourite subjects, but the professor taught very well, and I managed to score a good result in the written test without studying much.

I thought I was doing quite well when he came up with a question that left me speechless. I had only a vague idea of what he was talking about, so I started talking hoping that, if I keep putting words out there, I could find a connection that works.

After a few minutes, he smiled and stopped me.

You don’t know the answer, right?

Before I could say something, he continues “You remember me when I was your age. You think you’re smart, and that that is enough to carve your way through anything. But let me tell you, at some point, you’ll have to put in some work. Better sooner than later.

At that time, I paid attention only to the first part, and I took it as a compliment.

Later I realised that it was a wake-up call.

Having a gift is not enough. 

We need to do the work to make that gift grow.

They say that you reap what you sow. 

But that’s half of the story.

If you don’t water the seeds and take care of the plants every day, you won’t have anything to harvest.

You reap what you sow and take care of.

One Apple A Day #698 – 100%

A long time ago, I watched a video by Darren Hardy in which we asked his audience how much, in percentage, they think they were responsible for the quality of their relationships.
Most of the people said 50%.
Me too, while watching I thought it was 50%. In the end, there are two people in a relationship, so the responsibility should be evenly split.
Instead, he stated that we all have 100% of it.
In any relationship – personal or professional, couple, family or team – we are 100% responsible.
It was an eye-opening moment for me.
Taking full responsibility for any situation in my life, no matter how many other people are involved, it means to focus on what I can actually do to improve and make the situation better.
I can’t change others, so to take full ownership of whatever is happening allows me to focus my attention and my energy on something I can do.
That doesn’t mean that we can’t be hurt or that we can shape everything that happens in our life. Neither that we can solve every problem.
And indeed we can’t change other people, but if we take full responsibility, we have a chance to change ourselves.

One Apple A Day #695 – being the next something

“I firmly believe you never should spend your time being the former anything.”

Condoleezza Rice

I read this quote yesterday evening, and I feel it’s the perfect follow-up for yesterday post.

When I introduce myself, I usually speak about what I’m doing or about the things I’ve done, my past works or achievements. I define myself by everything that took me where I am now. 

Like most of the people I know does. I can’t remember anyone introducing themselves as the next something.

And rarely in conversations among adults, we ask “who do you want to be?” 

That’s a question for children. As if, once we grow up, we should be already arrived or defined.

As I wrote yesterday, we define our present through the lenses of our past. Imagination is something for kids.

However, as the study of Professor Gary McPherson showed, our actions are an expression of how we see ourselves. If we see ourselves as former something, we will keep repeating what we have done. If we see ourselves as the next something, then we are setting ourselves on the path to get there.

That’s why I like to call myself an author even if I haven’t really published anything yet.

One Apple A Day #694 – Imagination

Who we are today, our present, is informed by both our past stories and our future stories. The first being told by my memories, the last being created by my imagination.

Unfortunately, we tend to overvalue our past story and to undervalue our future one. An attitude that makes us perceive our present more as a point of arrival than a starting point.

This is what psychologist Dan Gilbert calls the “end of history illusion”.

It’s somehow understandable. 

For our self-preservation brain, trained over hundreds of thousands of years, the ability to predict the immediate future is vital. That means favouring answers more than questions, and we can only connect the dots looking backwards. But that would make us no different from any other living beings in the world.

What set human beings apart is the ability to imagine. To see what doesn’t exist and create it. 

It takes courage because imagination sparks more questions than answers. But it also allows us to grow, learn and invent ourselves and our world.

When we are trapped in the self-preservation attitude, our present self is mostly informed by our past. We keep repeating ourselves.

When we step into self-realization, we unlock the power of imagination and the choices and actions of our present self are driven but who we can and want to be.

“[…]imagination. It’s the most extraordinary set of powers that we take for granted: the ability to bring into mind the things that aren’t present. It’s why we are so different from the rest of life on earth. That’s why we’re sitting in a beautiful building, drinking from these cups. Because human beings make things. We create things. We don’t live in the world directly; we live in a world of ideas and of concepts and theories and ideologies.”

Sir Ken Robinson (source)