Save your inner artist and start creating your own path

In the previous post, I talked about creativity and how to take it back. I took my creativity back by working on Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way. This book worked for me and a number of people around the world.

But how did I manage to finish it? That’s what I’m going to cover in this post. You might not be interested in doing The Artist’s Way, and that’s fine. You can use the tips given below for any other things that require you to push the envelope further.

Now, let me quickly go over what The Artist’s Way is…

The Artist’s Way is a 12 week course on crushing your creative blocks. Each week you will explore different topics that are related to your creative blocks; by actively reflecting on these topics, you will be able to discover your inner artist, who has been buried under the blocks.

There are two core exercises in this book: The morning pages and the artist’s date.

The morning pages is a daily exercise – you write down whatever comes to your mind for 3 pages as soon as you wake up in the morning. When you write down your thoughts, you don’t edit yourself; let your hand take over the process. You don’t have to worry about your handwriting being messy either, because you are not supposed to read what you’ve written unless you are given an instruction to do so in the book. You simply write down anything that comes to your mind at the time of writing. You might write about your worries or your dreams. Anything.

The other core exercise, the aritist’s date is a weekly date. You get to go on a date with the loveliest person for you in the entire world – you. This exercise is powerful and significant, especially if you are the kind of person who has been too busy for fun and exciting things in life and doesn’t take some time off for yourself. Spend some quality time with yourself and nourish your inner artist (read: do something fun). That’s the idea behind this exercise.

In addition to these core exercises, you’ll be assigned to do other weekly exercises specific to each week’s topic. There are about 10 exercices per chapter. Some are extensive, and some can be done quickly. Doing these exercises is crucial in taking back your creativity, because they help you realize your potential as well as your dreams and help you take small steps so you can crush your creative blocks.

What I learnt through working on The Artist’s Way

If you manage to complete The Artist’s Way, what happens? Here’s what happened to me.

  • I realized that what I labeled as procrastination was a bunch of creative blocks in a guise.
  • I realized that I had been blocked.
  • I’m no longer interested in judging other people’s artworks or other artists unless I’m asked to do so by them. In most cases, it’s unnecessary to judge them and I’d rather work on my own thing than becoming someone who is busy making judgments about others.
  • I’m happy to take small steps as well as big steps.
  • I’m much more willing to take risks and mistakes.
  • I realized I have enough resources and potential to do what I want to do, whatever that may be.
  • I realized that I am creative.

These realizations and attitudes helped me move further than where I used to be. I believe you can do the same.

Considering these benefits I got out of The Artist’s Way and the cost of the book ($10.63 at Amazon at the time of writing this post), I highly recommend you to work on The Artist’s Way.

What’s the catch?

Does it sound too good to be true? The Artist’s Way works – it worked for a number of people and it’s highly likely that it works for you as well.

But.

It works only if you commit yourself to this 12 week course and if you complete it. I often hear that finishing The Artist’s Way is difficult. Why can it be difficult to finish?

  • You need to commit yourself to The Artist’s Way for 3 months. You need to do your morning pages every day. You need to do your weekly exercises. You need to read the book. Making these commitments can be daunting for some people.
  • It challenges you to take a look at your past and to reflect on who you are. In many cases, you will need to change yourself so you can reclaim your creativity. Change is good, but it can be uncomfortable for some people.
  • Some people may not believe that it works.
  • Some people may dislike the kind of language the author uses. While it’s not too woo woo new agey, it does contain some fluffy language, which may put off some people.

But if you’ve decided to give it a go, you want to make sure that you can crush your creative blocks, meet and celebrate your inner artist, right?

I bet you do.

What do you need to do in order to get the most out of The Artist’s Way by actually finishing it?

How to finish The Artist’s Way (Hint: There’s no easy way)

Here’s some advice I want to share with you. It’s from my own experiences.

  • Realize that creativity is important for you (see my previous post). If I tell you that reclaimed creativity will make your life three times better than your current life, will you set some time for tasks you need to complete?
  • Create more time. When it comes to completing the tasks, the major reason for feeling overwhelmed can be the lack of time. For the morning pages, you will need 20-40 minutes, depending on how fast you can capture your stream of consciousness in 3 pages. So, you might need to wake up early to make that time. For other exercises, you might want to have 2-3 hours each week. Also, create some time for reading each chapter as well. To create more time, you can stop watching TV, browsing the internet, or doing things you don’t need to do. To wake up early, go to bed early.
  • If writing 3 pages of the morning pages is overwhelming, try writing 1 page instead. Once you get comfortable with it and made it as your habit, you can start writing more.
  • Don’t be a perfectionist. While it is important to do the assigned exercises, if you miss some exercises, don’t feel guilty or worry about completing them. You can slow down or completely skip them and move on. It’s better to do so than getting stuck because of worrying too much about some tasks.
  • Do it with your friends. I worked on The Artist’s Way with a group of people and it made it easier for me to be accountable about the progress.
  • Be persistent, take it easy and have fun. Don’t be too serious about your journey of reclaiming your creativity. It will take some time to reclaim your creativity and it’s better to enjoy your journey than to crash and to burn out for being too serious about it. This applies if you don’t like how The Artist’s Way is presented as well. Be amused every time you find a fluffy metaphor in the book.

I hope these tips will help you finish The Artist’s Way. Good luck!

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If you enjoyed reading this post, please share it with your friends by clicking the like button or the tweet button below or by other means. That’s how you can help me grow this blog. Thank you! You can subscribe to this blog via RSS or e-mail, too. I’m looking forward to connecting with you!

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Take back your creativity

Do you feel you are creative? If you do, that’s great. Keep rocking.

Or do you feel you’ve lost your childhood creativity along the way? If you feel this way about creativity, I’m here to tell you that it’s not too late to take your creativity back to you.

And I’ll tell you how to get it back.

Creativity is relevant to what I want to talk about on this blog – minimizing stuff, maximizing experience, living your life as your art, and making the world more romantic – as well as relevant to other life activities in general.

I don’t have a nice and simple definition of creativity, but let me specify what I’m talking about when I refer to creativity.

I’ll begin by what I don’t believe creativity is.

  • I don’t believe creativity is a special ability that only talented people (whatever that means) have.
  • I don’t believe creativity is something you can’t get back once you’ve lost it.
  • I don’t believe creativity is limited to certain areas of life, such as creating artworks, designing products and making innovations.

Instead…

  • I believe creativity is for everyone. I believe you are creative.
  • If you are not creative, I believe you can be creative. I believe you have that potential.
  • I believe creativity applies to every area of life.

But why do I believe these things? Let me say more about what I believe creativity is.

  • I believe having creativity is about being able to find a new or hidden connection by combining what you already know or have.
  • I believe creativity is more like an attitude than an innate talent.
  • I believe curiosity plays an important role in creativity. In fact, I believe creativity is an outcome of curiosity and action that happens to discover a new or hidden connection between old things.

So, what these beliefs imply is that you can be creative by having curiosity about things around you and by acting upon your curiosity. Whether you find a new or hidden connection may depend on the situation, but if you are not afraid of taking action upon your curiosity, you will find such a connection at times.

Let me add one more thing about why it’s great to be creative, by the way. There are a lot of people who can give you great lessons of life, but what you learn from them is not completely taylor-made for you. No matter how great they are, it’s very likely that they won’t fit exactly with the way you live. So, you’ll need to customize them. In order to customize them, you need to be creative so you can find a hidden path that unites the lessons others teach you with who you are.

But, how can you take your creativity back? Right, you want to have that killer curiosity and take action… but you want to know more about it in details.

How I got my creativity back

The shortest answer is: By working on The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. This book costs only $10.85 and if you manage to finish it, you will have great benefits, one of the greatest benefits being taking your creativity back. While I recommned you to work on this book and I will write a post on how to finish it soon, there are things you can start doing without reading the book.

What you want to be able to do is to be curious about small things around you and to take action upon your curiosity.

  1. Learn and think more about creativity by watching these TED talks on creativity (Ken Robinson, Elizabeth Gilbert, and Tim Brown). These inspirational talks can expand your mind and help you change your attitudes about creativity.
  2. Write down what you wanted to do as a child. Once you remember these things you wanted to do as a child, do some of them you can do. If you can’t do on a full scale, try doing it on a smaller scale. If you can’t be a pilot, try a flight simulator.
  3. Write down what you want to do now. Like the things you wanted to do as a child, see if you can do them. If you want to travel to Brazil, even watching a Brazilian movie can inspire you.
  4. Try new things. If you take the same route every day to your local station, for example, try to take another route. Or if you order the same drink at a cafe, try something you’ve never tried before. Or perhaps you want to learn cooking – give it a try!
  5. Take small steps. If you are afraid of doing something new, because you need to take a big step, why don’t you try taking a small step instead? It’s completely fine to take a small step and you can make it bigger from there. But make sure to challenge yourself once you’ve completed that small step.
  6. Do what you liked doing as a child. It can be playing soccer, colouring, eating a favorite sweet… anything.
  7. As soon as you wake up, write down your thoughts for 3 pages in a notebook everyday. Don’t edit what you write. Don’t show it to anyone. You just write and don’t read what you’ve written. This is one of the core exercises in The Artist’s Way and it’s probably the most powerful exercise in that book as well.

And most importantly…

Enjoy whatever you do and find great joy in small things!

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If you enjoyed reading this post, please share it with your friends by clicking the like button or the tweet button below or by other means. That’s how you can help me grow this blog. Thank you! You can subscribe to this blog via RSS or e-mail, too. I’m looking forward to connecting with you!

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Connecting 4 dots: how to live a romantic life and make the world more romantic

This post is for those who want to live a romantic life and to make the world more romantic. I’ll give you a brief outline of how you can do that by minimizing stuff, maximizing experience, living your life as your art, and finally, making the world more romantic.

From one idea to four steps: How I got there

In the middle of 2010, I realized a higher purpose of my life –  I want to make the world more romantic. This is one of the big things I want to achieve in my life, because I see it’s how I can make the world a better place. If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you may know what I’m talking about. If you are new to this blog, you may not see what I mean. Keep reading on and you’ll know it.

Around the same time, I figured that I want to live my life as my art. That’s another ambiguous idea, especially when you try to understand what exactly it means.

These ideas get along with one another pretty well, because living your life as your art is, in my view, what it means to live romantically. If you live romantically, you are making the world a little bit more romantic. So, there you go.

Living my life as my art is how I make the world more romantic – this has been the core theme of this blog, and writing about it helped me clarify what’s involved in living your life as your art.

How do you live your life as your art? Wait, what exactly does it mean to live your life as your art? I’ll give more detailed answers to these questions, but for now, let me say this – living your life as your art means living fully, and you live it by maximizing experience.

In order to maximize experience, you need to get rid of or stay away from distractions, blocks, and clutters. In other words, you need to minimize stuff.

Through clarification, I came to realize that this project of making the world more romantic consists of the following 4 steps.

  • Minimize stuff
  • Maximize experience
  • Live your life as your art
  • Make the world more romantic

How They Are Connected

Before I explain what’s involved in these step, I want to draw connections between each step so you can have a better grasp of the big picture. The first step is to minimize stuff. What I mean by “stuff” here is everything that creates distractions for you. By eliminating such distractions as much as possible, you’ll have a good foundation for the second step: maximizing experience. If you choose to live your life as your art, which is the third step, maximizing experience is a great way to do so, because living your life as your art involves meeting amazing people as well as having wonderful experiences. Once you’ve completed this step, the fourth step – making the world more romantic should be easy enough for you, because you are already being romantic by living your life as your art and what you can do further is to connect with other amazing people who live an amazing life; that’s how we make the world more romantic.

First Step: Minimizing Stuff

How do you focus on what you want to do when there are so many things that keep you away from what you love and what you want to do in your life? You could try by using various methods to manage clutters and to make sure you focus on what you want to do.

But that’s like fighting a fight you can’t win. Instead of wasting your time, energy and resources, avoid fighting and move on.

For a quick start, you can start eliminate things you have. Do you need that pile of documents? No? Get rid of them. Have you worn those clothes recently? No? You can get rid of them too.

In addition to physical distractions, there are mental distractions as well. It may be trickier to get rid of mental distractions than physical distractions, but it can be done. For example, you can write down whatever that comes to your mind for 3 pages by handwriting every morning. This exercise is one of the core exercises in Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way. If you keep doing it everyday for a few months, it can help you dump your mental distractions.

If you don’t have to manage your physical or mental distractions, you’ll be able to have more time, energy and other resources for what you love. This alone can be a great motivation to minimize stuff. But what we want to aim here is more than that. We want to maximize experience.

Second Step: Maximize Experience

There could be various ways of describing why one wants to maximize experience, but I believe the fundamental reason that underlies them is to live the best life one could live. You want to live fully, don’t you? I do.

How can we maximize experience? I think the following are essential:

  • Know what you want to do: Knowing what you want to do gives you a direction. If you know it already, that’s great. You can focus on it. If you don’t know it yet, don’t worry. You have plenty of time to figure it out, but make sure to start working on it right now.
  • Be curious: Curiosity is one of the best things you can have when you maximize experience. Curiosity helps you be open to wonderful and beautiful experiences life has to offer. Also, I believe the desire to satisfy your curiosity is a great motivator for what you do. So, it’s important to develop your curiosity. This is especially true if you’ve lost your curiosity somewhere along the way while growing up.
  • Celebrate: Live to celebrate your life. Whether to celebrate it or not is a choice you can make. Everything and everyone will enrich your life one way or another if you choose to learn lessons from them. If you live with this attitude, your life will be richer than now.

Third Step: Live Your Life As Your Art

I like this art metaphor, and it’s because I want to see my life as something I create rather than something I have no control of. Also, I believe that amazing people I meet as well as great experiences I experience contribute to my art. In fact, I believe they are invaluable elements of my art. They give me stories, visions, sounds, and everything else that enriches my life. I want to create this artwork and share it with those who matter to me.

Most of how I create it is already covered in Second Step – by maximizing experience.

One extra thing you need to do when taking this step is to be aware of your creation. Some of you may not fancy living your life this way and may want to live it another way. That’s totally fine. If you want to live your life as your art, however, you can do it by all means. This attitude of living your life as your art will get you move into that direction.

This way of living will be much better when you connect with other people who have the same attitude towards living. Connect with them, and combine your art with their arts. It will become something greater.

Fourth Step: Making The World More Romantic

If you’ve completed the three steps above, I guarantee you that you’ve become the romance you want to see in the world. The world has one more person who lives her or his life fully and it has become a little bit more romantic for that reason.

Once you’ve got to this stage, I believe you’ll be able to start influencing others to live their lives fully. This will help making the world more romantic, too.

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If you enjoyed reading this post, please share it with your friends by clicking the like button or the tweet button below or by other means. That’s how you can help me grow this blog. Thank you! You can subscribe to this blog via RSS or e-mail, too. I’m looking forward to connecting with you!

Are you living your story?

This is the last post for Reverb10. I’ll answer the prompts #29 (Defining Moment), #30 (Gift) and #31 (Core Story) and share some of insights I got from reflecting on 2011.

Prompt 29: Defining Moment

Describe a defining moment or series of events that has affected your life this year.

(Author: Kathryn Fitzmaurice)

{Future tool: The 99%’s How to Budget for an Irregular Income. For the next 3 days as you round out your year, we’ll share one tool each day to help you plan your year ahead.}

If I am to pick one defining moment that affected my life this year, it has to be the moment I saw a tweet about a fund raising event at Ben’s Cafe in early January. I don’t remember what that moment was like, exactly. What happened was that I saw this tweet, clicked the link in it, and got to Ben’s Cafe’s website. My purpose was to learn more about that fund raising event, but in addition to that information I was originally looking for, I came to know that there was a group to read Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way together.

I’ve mentioned this story a few times in this blog. So, let me add something to it in this round.

The reason why I clicked that link to Ben’s Cafe was simply because I was curious about this cafe as well as the fund raising event. I was interested in the event, but more in the cafe that hosted such an event, because I didn’t imagine there would be such a cafe in Tokyo. (I’m sure there are other cafes like Ben’s in Tokyo, but it’s pretty rare, I assume. As far as the vibe of the cafe and the quality of espresso are concerned, I rate Ben’s Cafe to my most favorite cafe in Tokyo.)

What made me click that link was my curiosity. What if I didn’t click it? It’s a pure coincidence I saw that tweet. I’m grateful for that. But, I could choose not to click that link and never learn about Ben’s Cafe. If I didn’t click that link, my year could have been totally different from what it was. I probably wouldn’t have met most of the new offline friends I met this year. I probably wouldn’t have done some of the projects I did this year. I probably wouldn’t have achieved what I achieved this year.

What made a huge difference to my 2010 was that one click. Whether it ends up becoming a false belief or not, it’s better, at least for me, to believe that there are a number of opportunities around here and there and it’s all up to us to notice them. It’s possible that you don’t know what you are looking for, but even in such cases, follow your curiosity and you’ll find yourself in something amazing.

I believe in my curiosity and having curiosity is one of the great ways to experience amazing things in your life.

Do you listen to your curiosity? Do you follow it? If not, why not?

Prompt 30: Gift

This month, gifts and gift-giving can seem inescapable. What’s the most memorable gift, tangible or emotional, you received this year?

(Author: Holly Root)

{Future tools: Lifehacker’s Free Tools to Manage New Years Resolutions and Gretchen Rubin’s Questions to Help You Make Effective New Year’s Resolutions.

Has #reverb10 made an impact on your writing, reflecting and life this month? Consider supporting the HQ team with a donation.}

On December 25th, I received a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) purple belt from my BJJ teacher. Since more than a year ago, I had been told by other people that I should be a purple belt, but since I had no one to grade me before coming back to Japan, I didn’t have a purple belt, and honestly, I didn’t worry too much about it.

All I wanted to do was to become a better grappler. To become stronger. To become more skilled. These belts themselves don’t mean anything, but how much you put yourself forward to the art of fighting does matter.

In fact, I believe this applies to other things in life as well. Don’t be worried too much about a new belt, because it will come when you’ve mastered skills necessary for holding that belt. If you have some time to be jealous about your friend who got that belt quicker than you did or some time to worry that you don’t have what it takes, use that time for training instead. Worrying will never make you get better, but training will.

I’m glad that I’m now recognized as I have reached this level, and I want to continue sharpening my skills. One of my big goals next year is to win my division at BJJ World Championship, to be held in California, in June. This goal gives me a great motivation for the first half of 2011.

What’s your big project in 2011?

Prompt 31: Core Story

What central story is at the core of you, and how do you share it with the world? (Bonus: Consider your reflections from this month. Look through them to discover a thread you may not have noticed until today.)

(Author: Molly O’Neill)

{Future tool: Susannah Conway’s Allowing Dreams} Today is the final day of #reverb10. Thank you for your reverberations this month. Keep an eye on your inbox at the end of January 2011 for something from HQ.}

So, this is it. This is the last prompt of Reverb10. And I’ll make my answer brief and tell you what my central story will be in 2011.

The central story at the core of myself is that I will live my life as my art and as something to celebrate. I will navigate myself in this adventure by my curiosity. I will head east from Japan to the USA for BJJ World Championship and for World Domination Summit in June, and I will head south from the USA to Argentina after WDS. If there are monsters I need to fight, I’ll think about ways to get away without fighting them so I can focus on important things in my life. It’s an open story and desiring to be written down in my history book.

How do I share this story with the world? I can think of 4 ways to do this. I share my story with the world by…

  1. Living that story: Now I have declared this story in some platforms and in person, I’m motivated even more. I will live this story and that will become part of me.
  2. Being not afraid of showing up: But if I’m afraid of sharing my story or don’t believe in myself, it’s possible that I don’t feel like sharing my story. I choose not to be afraid of showing up and telling this story.
  3. Actually showing up: It’s easy to promise something to yourself and to forget to do it. I’ll keep myself accountable about it on this blog. I didn’t mean to write the sentence before this one, but I happened to write it. So, I shall do it.
  4. Getting others involved in this story: For me, my life – my art involves other people, who contribute their stories, visions, sounds and other things to my art. I want you to get involved in my art as well. I want you to be part of my story as well. You can subscribe to this blog to keep track of my journey to Latin America. If you are interested, please join me!

I’m grateful for Team Reverb10 for running this online initiative. It’s been a great way to reflect on 2010 and to prepare for 2011.

Tomorrow, I will share 27 lessons I learnt in my life with you on this blog. Stay tuned!

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If you enjoyed reading this post, please share it with your friends by clicking the like button or the tweet button below. You can subscribe to this blog via RSS or e-mail, too. I’m looking forward to connecting with you!

Photo: Zest-pk

On trying, healing and going beyond avoidance

This post will answer the prompts 18 (Try), 19 (Healing) and 20 (Beyond Avoidance) of Reverb10. Join us and reflect on your year 2010…

Prompt 18: Try

What do you want to try next year? Is there something you wanted to try in 2010? What happened when you did/didn’t go for it?

The following things came to my mind quickly when I thought about my answer to this prompt. Some of them are concrete, and others are abstract.

  • Running a location independent business: I’ve been learning about running a location independent business for a while. I haven’t quite made it though. It’s partly because I’ve been struggling to find what my strengths are, and it’s partly because I didn’t do as much as I could to get this location independent business project going. But next year, I will get something going. Yes.
  • Being a minimalist/maximalist: If you’ve been reading my recent posts, you’ve probably noticed that I mentioned about minimizing stuff and maximizing experience a few times. I will do these things next year. The idea of maximizing experience fits in with my mission of making the world more romantic, too. So, I will write more on minimizing stuff and maximizing experience on this blog. If you want to read more on minimizing stuff, Far Beyond The Stars by Everett Bogue is a good place to start.
  • Focusing on creating: Focusing on creating is one way of maximizing experience for me. This year, I reclaimed my creativity. I got it back. So, I want to show up in the world fully with my creativity next year. In order to focus on creating, I will need to minimize stuff as well as other unimportant things.
  • Brazilian Jiu Jitsu World Championship&World Domination Summit: In June, I will go to the USA for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Worldchampionship to compete and to attend World Domination Summit. Chris Guillebeau and his team of awesome people organize WDS, and I’m excited to meet Chris and other world changers in person.
  • Moving to Latin America: This is another way of maximizing experience. It occurred to me that living in Latin America would be fun and exciting a step to make. Given my interests in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Argentinean Tango, I believe it’s a natural move to make as well. After all, the average cost of living in Latin America is lower than that in Japan, too. So, let’s get this location independent thing going next year… in Latin America.

Now, things I wanted to try in 2010. I’m sure there were more, but three things came to my mind. The first one is Argentinean Tango. I happened to find great teachers and lessons were reasonable and affordable; I gave it a go and I liked it. The second one is being creative. To my surprise, I had written about my desire to be more creative in the beginning of 2009 and completely forgotten about it when I started working on the Artist’s Way in 2010. But I remembered this desire of mine and I was successful in regaining my creativity. The third one is running a location independent business. I mentioned it above, but I think I could do more effectively to get this thing going, but I didn’t. While I didn’t die from not trying hard enough, I surely didn’t make as much progress as I wanted to make. But next year, I will do my best.

Prompt 19: Healing

What healed you this year? Was it sudden, or a drip-by-drip evolution? How would you like to be healed in 2011?

I’m not sure if this is something we can categorize as “healing”, or if I really get what’s meant to be “healing” in this prompt, but I’d say working on regaining my creativity was a great healing practice. It was a gradual evolution, and I’m happy about it. Creativity has become a big theme in my life.

I now believe that we are all creative. Likewise, I believe that we are all attractive, and that we are all awesome. Seriously. Well, maybe not absolutely everyone of us, but I’m sure most of us can make choices about what we want to do and we are capable of learning and getting closer to who we want to be. I know you are. But, sadly, we are often led to believe that we are not creative, we are not attractive, and we are not awesome. When we are led to believe these things, we get wounds and perhaps “healing” is something to remove these wounds so we can believe in ourselves again.

I might have some wounds left unhealed in me, but I know I can stand up and fight this battle against mediocrity – mediocrity that keeps telling you that you aren’t worthy. I don’t know much about healing, and I’m not sure if I want to be healed or to heal others. But I think I am interested in empowering you, if that’s what you want. I’d be interested in teaching you how to do a triangle choke on mediocrity.

Prompt 20: Beyond Avoidance

What should you have done this year but didn’t because you were too scared, worried, unsure, busy or otherwise deterred from doing? (Bonus: Will you do it?)

I will repeat myself a bit, because I’m going to mention a location independent business again here. But, perhaps, instead of running over the same thing again, let me say a thing or two about the concept of location indepent business, for those who have never come across this concept.

When you run a location independent business, you can work from anywhere, hence it’s a location independent business. Your product is either something digital like an e-book or a service that can be delivered via online like consulting.

Since I’m a freelance translator, I am, technically, running a location independent business to some extent, because I can work from anywhere. However, this freelance style of working still gives me some restrictions, because I’m dependent on orders from my clients instead of creating value that I want to share with people who believe in me and who I believe in. Also, my schedule depends on these orders as well. When there’s an urgent order, I need to adjust my schedule to it instead of focusing on creating what I want to create when I’m most productive.

So, I want to run a location independent business that sells digital products. This style requires less maintenance, compared to the freelance style location independent business.

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What’s your thoughts on these prompts? Tell me, because I’m curious. If you enjoyed reading this post, please share it with your friends by clicking the like button or the tweet button below. You can subscribe to this blog via RSS or e-mail, too. I’m looking forward to connecting with you!

Photo: pjan vandaele

Having a sense of wonder, letting things go, and making – #Reverb10

What was 2010 like for you? I am reflecting on my year 2010 by participating in Reverb10. In this post, I’ll answer prompts #4 (Wonder), #5 (Let Go), and #6 (Make). You can find other Reverb10 stories by searching the hashtag #Reverb10 on twitter, or you can check the Reverb10 official site.

Prompt #4: Wonder

How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?

(Author: Jeffrey Davis)

My answer to this question is somewhat circular, but I cultivated a sense of wonder by having a sense of wonder.

What helped me have a sense of wonder, though, is my desire to experience beautiful moments in my life. You can’t make beautiful moments happen and perhaps the beauty of these moments would be lost if you could control everything about them. Having said that, however, I believe you can make it easier for you to notice such moments  by focusing on what’s happening around you (or perhaps by worrying less about what’s not happening).

I’m not a guy who has a sense of wonder about absolutely everything, because I do prioritize some things higher than others, but I choose to be curious about things I want to experience.

Choosing to be curious is the key, I believe.

When I met Mr. Satorialist at his meet&greet event in Tokyo this April, I asked him what he sees through his camera. “Ignorance is a bliss,” he said. He finds something interesting about people he wants to take photos of and he makes up stories about them. He sees what he wants to see in these people.

I plan to cultivate a sense of wonder more in 2011. Having a sense of wonder is, I believe, one way to make the world more romantic.

What are you curious about? What do you want to experience?

Prompt #5: Let Go

What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?

(Author: Alice Bradley)

As far as the practice of letting things go is concerned, I actively let go of things this year.

It all started as part of exercises in The Artist’s Way, and I continue to let go of things that don’t fit in with the kind of life I want to lead. I got rid of old clothes, books, CDs, old photos, documents that I don’t need to keep, other redundant items, creative blocks, worries, negative thoughts and the like. I’m sure these things will keep coming back like Tetris, but I’m also sure that I can handle them without accumulating them next time.

So, I will keep letting go, because my ideal at the moment is to own only what’s necessary. The motive is not so much about becoming a minimalist, but it’s about maximizing experiences by reducing physical as well as mental distractions.

It’s possible that nothing is going to stay with you forever. I can’t see any reason why you should try to keep it to yourself when it needs to go. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t welcome it when it comes to you, by the way. You can appreciate it when it’s there with you and let it go when it needs to go. It’s simple as that.

(Now I’ve finished answering up to prompt #5 of Reverb10, I sense Reverb10 helps me prepare for letting go of 2010! You were a beautiful year, but go… go!)

Prompt #6: Make

What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?

(Author: Gretchen Rubin)

If we are referring to something substantial here, my answer will be my NaNoWriMo novel, but the last thing I made in a more straight forward sense is stirfried eggplants. I used vegetable oil, eggplants cut into finger size&shape, miso paste, mirin, and soy sauce.

There are some things I want to make. I want to make a mini e-book that explains the concept of location independent business and introduce people who run such businesses to Japanese readers. I want to make a manifesto about making the world more romantic. I want to translate Leo Babauta’s e-book Focus into Japanese. I will make them happen.

But now I’ve mentioned food as an answer to this prompt, I came to have baclava and apple crumble in mind as well…

How about you? What’s the last thing you made? By the way, it’s important to note that you don’t need to set the hurdle too high when we talk about things we made. If you doodled something, you made something. If you cooked a meal, you made something. If you became friends with someone new, then you made something.

Or say hello to me and you’ll have made a new connection if you are new to this blog!

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Photo: *Zara