Another day, another blogpost. So I cut back on my social media the day before yesterday. Something like this disrupts a routine, even if it’s just thinking patterns worrying about keeping up with the platforms in question. And it creates a gap. The path of least resistance would be to fill that gap up with playing videogames or watching videos. While I love both like the next person, I was aware it would not help me with my current goals from the start, so I resisted doing that. My goal is to get more of the work done that is right in front of me.
I found help with that where I didn’t expect it. My curiosity made me listen to a bit of Miyamoto Musashi’s philosophy, just a bite. And I also listened to a summary of Marcus Aurelius’s meditations on my daily walk. Nothing of this was forced, I was just curious and wanted to know about these ideas for a long time. Obviously, I can’t digest all of it in a day, but I have finally made a start digging in at all, taking action. I am also aware of the danger of the illusion of getting things done while actually just listening to things that can broadly be categorized as „self-help“ or „self-improvement“ . But it couldn’t hurt to listen to thinkers whose way of seeing and navigating the world still hold up enough that people still are interested in their ideas. And an impact it had.
You see, Musashi and Aurelius don’t have anything to do with each other. They’re from different times and cultures, but weirdly enough the timeless wisdom they’re famous for, kind of overlapped in my head. At least I didn’t find obvious contradictions on the superficial level I’m on. Both lived lifes of an admirable level of focus and commitment. And apparently walking away from places where you get shallow approval by random strangers is exactly what both would advise to do. Trying to collect things or people instead of dealing with the work in front of oneself will not help, complaining about how unfair or challenging something is just for the sake of complaining will not help, even if it’s true. Looking for a solution to problems will help, doing the actual work, while not spreading oneself too thin. Aurelius says it better than me. Doing less things better leads to a more tranquil life. Not avoiding adversities, they are unavoidable, just hoping you are strong enough in character to persist and overcome them and grow through them. I really like these ideas. I even got offered an answer for what’s the goal in life. So it’s not about popularity or material success, there’s something that is even more important and that’s to never stop learning and developing the mind and to serve humanity with whatever you were given to serve it. Can you imagine how rich this is, especially when it’s coming from a Roman emperor? Aurelius, at one point, was the most powerful man in Rome, but his diary said he saw himself as a servant. And that probably kept him sane, who knows?
I think it makes a lot of sense to think this way. Without humility, you have sky high expectations of what you are and what you are entitled to and you’ll get burned, even if you actually get it. It’s a recipe to divulge in drama and lose one’s way. Also your sight and foresight probably isn’t that great when there’s a mountain sized ego in the way.
I had trouble to define who I am and what I want and need to do for many years. It is hard to navigate and interpret the world, there’s a lot going on all the time. But if I try to think of myself as a servant of humanity and my own virtues, not a slave, it gets a bit easier to get a grip on it. And then…there’s nothing new. No new insights. Like most people I already know what I should be doing, what I should be creating, I’m just scared of it. I would also never have thought that Miyamoto Musashi would give me another puzzle piece to get a grip on my future works. I was needlessly flopping around like a fish on land trying to establish a main medium and specialization, anything. And then comes swordmaster Musashi just saying if you have a favorite weapon or tool you are less deadly. You should be flexible and deadly with mostly everything. I cannot express how helpful this is. No, I’m not thinking about art like about martial weapons. It is about the underlying abstract principles of that statement. Yes, if you have a favorite tool you know everything about it, specialization does help you to be really good at and with this one thing. But what do you do when it is not available to you right now? I have a very real example for that. So I made some efforts to get good at using Clip Studio Paint. But now that me changing to Linux is in sight…well, I sadly can’t take that one with me, CSP does not run on Linux and whether it runs well in a virtual machine is not guaranteed. Time to deal with other programs such as Krita again. Specialization and having favorites is natural, it does happen all the time, but it must not be or become an obstacle. Apparently, anything, at any time, can be taken away from you, but new opportunities open up the same way – and you better be flexible then if you wish to make use of them. It is okay to not be a 100% specialized is what I’m taking away from this. It is okay when my works are not all in the same medium made in the same way. I can rather put my focus on making them well and finishing them. There’s endless ways of telling a story and endless ways of telling it well, but you still got to tell it from start to finish and to make it clear enough the audience can make any sense of it.
See you next blogpost!