“The shortest answer is doing the thing.”

Art by Clifton Burt, text is “think-make-think” by John Maeda

“think-make-think” by John Maeda (Art by Clifton Burt)

27 September 2013
1:32 AM
Manila

M.–

Went out for a walk today with my sister. Had coffee and talked. I still don’t have any answers. Instead I came home with more questions. How do you deal when this happens to you? I don’t feel frustrated, just…impatient. But I resolve to keep moving forward, as best as I can.

Here is a letter from F. Scott Fitzgerald to his daughter:

Things to worry about:

Worry about courage
Worry about cleanliness
Worry about efficiency
Worry about horsemanship…
Things not to worry about:
Don’t worry about popular opinion
Don’t worry about dolls
Don’t worry about the past
Don’t worry about the future
Don’t worry about growing up
Don’t worry about anybody getting ahead of you
Don’t worry about triumph
Don’t worry about failure unless it comes through your own fault
Don’t worry about mosquitoes
Don’t worry about flies
Don’t worry about insects in general
Don’t worry about parents
Don’t worry about boys
Don’t worry about disappointments
Don’t worry about pleasures
Don’t worry about satisfactions
Things to think about:
What am I really aiming at?
How good am I really in comparison to my contemporaries in regard to:
(a) Scholarship
(b) Do I really understand about people and am I able to get along with them?
(c) Am I trying to make my body a useful intrument or am I neglecting it?

Cynthia Morris posits that having too many ideas might be a liability. At this point? I think I agree:

An abundance of ideas is only an asset if you consistently make and ship them.

No one wants to hear this. We love or precious and brilliant notions. You’ve probably said, “If only I could be paid for all my great ideas!”

But here’s the truth: ideas by themselves are worthless. The thing that makes a creative idea valuable is the sweat and tears and work that goes into making it real. Our creative ideas are nothing without the commitment and labor we bring to them.

Ah, here’s another one of those restarts. Always restarting, I told my friend. But it’s necessary, isn’t it? At least I’m trying to tell myself this. Else I’ll go out of my mind.

Goodnight,
T.

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2 thoughts on ““The shortest answer is doing the thing.”

  1. I keep wanting to reply, but I still have Half Acre in my head. So I listened more closely to the lyrics, with a critical ear:

    “Every night the fear and darkness lay down with us.
    Light is only now just breaking.
    I am carrying this scrap of paper that can crack the darkest sky wide open, every burden taken from me, every night my heart unfolding, my love…”

    It makes me think of the quote: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle?

    I would say: clarity is a habit. This questioning, this searching — that is already more important than the answers. Clarity will come to us when we do. This living — I think it’s all just a returning to ourselves. Again and again. Over and over. Instead of restarting, think of starting again. Restarting makes it seem like something has gone awry. But to start again means to live your days, to wake up in the morning, to re-commit, to re-awaken, to be present, to come back, to start again. Here, again.

    M

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