January 18th, 2010

cocked and loaded


"The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life."—Jessica Hische

A type artist & graphic designer whose work I admire was featured on Humble Pied recently. It's a website that highlights advice—one piece of advice—from one inspiring person every few days. What a neat idea! Sometimes out of all the blah blah blah that constantly passes through your receptors, it's that one sudden striking of a clapper inside the bell of your brain that stands out and makes you sit up and pay attention. It arrests you, snaps you out of it, gives you a sudden whiplash focus.

I've been collecting words of wisdom for a very long time. Sometimes they are things a friend has said or written; more often they are quotes by writers, artists, scientists, thinkers. Sometimes it's a poem or part of one. Sometimes it's the lyrics of a song. Sometimes it's actual advice from my mom. It doesn't matter what the source is, so long as it makes me stop. Reflect. Think. Act.

I have once-blank books full of them. For awhile I would do books of my favorites for cherished friends: sharing those bits that resonated best. Nowadays I often collect them in digital form: cutting and pasting them into an email to myself (Subject line: snippet) and even have a infrequently updated online journal where I post them for my own pleasure and a kind of personal posterity.

It's fun to think that something I've said to someone has made them stop and think and act. I had a friend once tell me that her and her husband's decision to go ahead with starting a family was based on something I had said to her: that there was no reason to wait until they were "ready" because no one is EVER really ready. One of the other people featured on Humble Pied said something similar: "You can't keep preparing to be ready. Be ready now." I think it's one of those good principles for living; heck, Nike has made a fortune from promoting the same basic thought.

Whether you consider it words to live by or platitudinal marketing suckage, there's something strangely satisfying about the condensation of a philosophy into a sentence or two that has seared itself into your cerebrum. That particular philosophy—Just do it—is one I have made a touchstone of my life. Sometimes, perhaps, to the point of OCD, but that's another post altogether. :)

What are some of the things you've been told or have read that have stuck with you? One of the things that I find so inspiring about the blogs I read is the amazing amount of excellent advice, motivation, and thought-provoking philosophy out there. You people are smart! You say interesting things. You think great thoughts. And you share them: thank you!

One never knows when wisdom will tap on your shoulder and force your gaze to sharpen. Be ready.

Jip-Jam-Jumpin' Jive Hip Hep Happy Birthday Wishes to somebodystrange!