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.


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!


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.


  • 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!


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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Crush your excuses and take that first step

Is there something you want to, but are afraid to start? You might want to start learning cooking, photography, or dancing. You might want to start making films, writing novels, or running your own YouTube show series. You might want to start your own business. Or you might want to start a revolution, because new year’s resolutions are for chumps? Or perhaps anarchy?

So, you want to start it (whatever it is), but you haven’t started it yet, because… Why? You are afraid of something?

Sometimes taking the first step is the most difficult part. But what stops you from taking that step? I can’t cover every particular excuse that stops you from doing what you want in this brief post, but let me try to nail down some of the fundamental excuses.

I believe these fundamental excuses include the following:

  • I’m not good enough.
  • I’m afraid of making mistakes.
  • I have no idea about where to start.
  • I don’t have enough resources (money, time, equipment, etc).

What can you do about these excuses and take that first step? Let me help you crush them.

Excuse#1: “I’m not good enough.”

You are not good enough? What exactly does that mean? Let’s say you want to learn dancing, but you think you are not good enough at it. Here’s good news. You are a beginner and you are supposed to become better by taking lessons and practicing what you learnt. Being good enough is not a prerequisite for you to get started with it.

So, don’t worry. You’ll get better along the way. But make sure to start as soon as possible, because if you start now, you’ll have more time to practice.

Excuse#2: “I’m afraid of making mistakes.”

This one is similar to Excuse#1 above. You will probably make mistakes as a beginner, but that’s expected. The most important thing is to survive from those mistakes and to learn lessons from them.

The most important question you need to clear away regarding this excuse is: Is there any mistake that will kill you?

If the answer is no, then your mistakes are more likely to make your life richer.

There is no losing in Jiu-Jitsu. You either win or you learn.
– Carlos Gracie Jr.

Excuse#3: “I have no idea about where to start.”

You know what you want to do, but you don’t know where to start. But what exactly does it mean that you don’t know where to start? Are there many first step options and are you overwhelmed by that? Or is it the case that you simply don’t know what to do?

Let’s say you want to start learning how to cook and let me answer these questions from this angle. So, there are many recipes and you don’t know which one you should start with. My suggestion is to choose something simple and stick to what you like within the range of simple things. It might sound too obvious, but I’m sure it will narrow down your options.

How about the case in which you don’t know what to do? You don’t know what to do, because… you don’t have the information you need to get started. Let’s say you don’t have any recipes handy. OK, this solution works for the other question as well, but you can ask your friends or search online. For example, you can search “how to make pancakes” and you’ll find a lot of helpful information on how to make pancakes, including instruction videos. How simple is that.

Excuse#4: “I don’t have enough resources (money, time, equipment, etc).”

You want to start your own business, but you don’t have money to do it. You want to write a novel, but you are too busy with your day job. You want to start taking photos, but you can’t afford to buy a DSLR camera.

  • If you have this worry, I have some questions for you.
  • Is it absolutely necessary for you to have those resources in order to start what you want to do?
  • If it is, why is it absolutely necessary?

If you can’t answer this question, it’s possible that it may not be absolutely necessary after all.

If you can answer it, however, I want you to ask yourself another question:

  • Is it absolutely necessary for your first step to be as big as you think it needs to be?
  • In other words, can you make your first step much smaller so you can actually take it?

Let me give you some examples.

You want to start your own business, but you think you don’t have money to do it? It does depend on what kind of business you want to run, but it’s possible to start a business under $100 and you can read more about it in this post by Chris Guillebeau.

If you want to take a very small step, you can get some “running your own business”  experiences by selling things on eBay, for example. That’s much smaller a step than founding the next Apple Computer, but you do get some experiences.

You want to write a novel, but you are too busy with your day job? But you certainly have 30 minutes a day to spend on writing a novel, don’t you? If you write for 30 minutes every day and you can write 500 words within that time slot on average, it will take you about 100 days to write a 50,000 word novel, which you can edit later.

If you want to take a very small step, you can write a short story instead of a novel. You can even write a three sentence long short story, for example. You can then step up further and further.

You want to start taking photos, but you can’t afford to buy a DSLR camera?
The question is: Do you really need that DSLR camera? Can you get a camera you can afford and start taking photos anyway? If your goal is to learn photography rather than to own a DLSR camera, I believe you can get much closer to achieve your goal by taking photos with a camera you can afford to buy than doing nothing.

The take away message

Don’t worry about how bad you are before you get started. You are a beginner, and you will get better along the way. Making mistakes is OK as long as they don’t kill you. Make sure to learn from them. If you don’t know what to do, ask for help. Make sure to stick to something simple in the beginning rather than trying to do something too complicated. Start small, because it’s possible that you don’t need those resources you though you needed if you make your first step as small as possible.

Great resources I recommend

I recommend these resources below if you need some creative inspirations to start what you want to do.

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
TED Talk by Elizabeth Gilbert


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.


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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Cheshire Cat and 3 lessons of the year

This post will answer the prompts 23 (New Name) and 24 (Everything’s OK)  of Reverb10. Join us and reflect on your year 2010…

Prompt 23: New Name

Let’s meet again, for the first time. If you could introduce yourself to strangers by another name for just one day, what would it be and why?

(Author: Becca Wilcott)

{Future tool: Chris Guillebeau’s How to Conduct Your Own Annual Review. For the next 9 days as you round out your year, we’ll share one tool each day to help you plan your year ahead.}

Hi, my name is… Cheshire Cat. There’s already a group of people who refer to me as Cat. I believe the reason why they call me Cat is because my name is too long for them, even though Masa, the shortened version of my name Masafumi, has only two syllables. ‘Cat’ has only one syllable. So, I can understand they are desperate in saving their breath. If that’s not the reason, I bet it’s because I look like Cheshire Cat from the famous Alice in Wonderland. I can smile and disappear, leaving only the smile in the air.

But why would I want to use it as my new name?

Perhaps it’s because I want to be a representation of curiosity. Curiosity is what makes the cat’s life awesome. It doesn’t kill the cat. Also, I want to be able to disappear while leaving my smiles out there. I want to ask you delightful questions. I will do them in the new year. My new year will be a year of curiosity.

Prompt 24: Everything’s OK

What was the best moment that could serve as proof that everything is going to be alright? And how will you incorporate that discovery into the year ahead?

(Author: Kate Inglis)

{Future tool: Gwen Bell – How to Create Your Personal Manifesto. For the next 8 days as you round out your year, we’ll share one tool each day to help you plan your year ahead.}

I can’t think of any single moment that would apply to this prompt. However, I can think of some lessons that I learnt from living in the moment. Let me mention three.

  1. Each step gets me closer to the top. I climbed Mt. Fuji, the tallest mountain in Japan, in August. It was raining hard. Although it was still climbable and not life threatening at least until we got to the top, later on I heard that even expert climbers thought it was a bad condition. Even in such a bad condition, however, each step got me closer to the top of the mountain. It’s a great lesson to apply to life in general as well. What’s small enough a step you can take to get to where you want to go? Figure it out, and take that step.
  2. I have enough resources. I’ve mentioned in previous posts, but working on the Artist’s Way was valuable in the sense that I realized I have enough resources already if I change the way of thinking. What you have doesn’t change by changing the way you think. However, if you look at it from the abundant mentality rather than the scarcity mentality, you are likely to realize that you do have enough. Is the cup half full or half empty?
  3. It’s great to wake up. Things like traveling to save money and realizing that I could travel to Latin America mostly by land from the USA were big shifts of thinking for me. It’s similar to #2 in the sense that it’s about looking at things from another perspective. In the moments when those realizations hit me, it feels like waking up in the sunlight. It’s amazing to know that you can turn your dreams into reality, by simply waking up and figuring out how to make them happen. (Hint: Throw away assumptions that you can’t do this or that, at least unless you actually do think about some ways to make it happen.)

Vision Board

Prompt 23 links to Gwen Bell’s phenomenal post on making your own manifesto. I especially recommend you to make your vision map. It’s a great way to visualize your dreams by making a collage of pictures that remind you of your dreams. I made my first vision map with Cheney of at Tilley’s Divine Cafe in Canberra, Australia. We had a great time making vision maps together.

By the way, Gwen suggests cutting out photos from magazines, but I prefer to search images online and use them for a vision map. You might lose the joy of running into random photos in magazines this way, but you are more likely to find photos you actually want to use and in alignment with your vision too.

If you are based in or near Tokyo, you might be interested in Soness’s workshops. She runs workshops on how to make a vision map according to Feng Shui principles. If you find Feng Shui appealing, you know who to get in touch with. Her website is here.

I will be making another vision map before the end of the year and it will be fun. I want a new reminder for things I want to achieve in 2011! I feel like I’m accelerating now and I believe I am indeed. I know how I’m going to make my 2011 a great year, and that feels terrific.

How about you? What do you want to do in 2011?


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: Chris Halderman