I want you to know I didn’t cry because I loved you. I cried because of the fights we had, and for the old me I had lost in the midst of them. I cried because I had wasted my time, and my energy and the firsts I had been saving for someone special. I cried because I let you take that away from…
Do you think it’s a question of how much you balance that drive to achieve with being present and enjoying the moment?
You know, it’s funny because I frequently get emails from young people starting out and asking, “How do I make a successful website or start my own thing?” And, very often, it’s tied to some measure of success that’s audience-based or reach-based. “How do you build up to seven million readers a month or two million Facebook fans?” But the work is not how to get that size of an audience or those numbers. That’s just the byproduct of what Lewis Hyde calls “creative labor,” which is really our inner drive. The real work is how not to hang your self-worth, your sense of success and merits, the fullness of your heart, and the stability of your soul on those numbers—on that constant positive reinforcement and external validation. That’s the only real work, and the irony is that the more “successful” you get, by either by your own standards or external standards, the harder it is to decouple all of those inner values from your work. I think we often confuse the doing for the being.
Anna Deveare Smith on discipline and how we can learn to stop letting others define us – fantastic read for all, but especially for artists and other creative people