“You really should make a radical change in your lifestyle and begin to boldly do things which you may previously never have thought of doing, or been too hesitant to attempt. So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. If you want to get more out of life, … you must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life that will at first appear to you to be crazy. But once you become accustomed to such a life you will see its full meaning and its incredible beauty.”
Alexander Supertramp, Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
“I think it would be well, and proper, and obedient, and pure, to grasp your one necessity and not let it go, to dangle from it limp wherever it takes you. Then even death, where you’re going no matter how you live, cannot you part. Seize it and let it seize you up aloft even, till your eyes burn out and drop; let your musky flesh fall off in shreds, and let your very bones unhinge and scatter, loosened over fields, over fields and woods, lightly, thoughtless, from any height at all, from as high as eagles.”
Annie Dillard, “Living Like Weasels”
“I was in bed imagining my life, and I got to the point in my imagining when I was old and dying, and I thought: if I die and I haven’t been a writer, I will lie on my deathbed going, ‘I could have been a writer. Really could have been a writer.’ Whatever it is that I’ve done — if I’ve been any of the things I wanted to be or the things I didn’t want to be, or the things that I thought were inevitable, like becoming an English teacher — I’d be lying there on my deathbed going, ‘I could have been a writer,’ and I wouldn’t know if I was kidding myself. I wouldn’t know if I really could have been a writer. And the thing that would kill me would not be having failed, it would be this idea of having had this life and having had this idea that this was the thing I could have been, and not knowing if I was lying to myself.
And at that point it all got really simple. I went: what I need to do is I need to go and be a writer. And if I fail and I’m not a writer, then I will never have that problem. I will go to my death going, ‘Well, at least I knew I wasn’t a writer. And you know what? I was a very good estate agent.’ Or whatever it was I wound up being.”
Neil Gaiman, The Art of Neil Gaiman by Hayley Campbell
When I was younger, I made large chalk drawings on the road outside my house. The driveway wasn’t enough for me. I didn’t want to be contained — I wanted space and freedom to make huge drawings of faces with gaping mouths and wild hair. I would wear down the chalk until it was as tiny as a pebble in my hand, and then I would wear it down more, my fingertips scraping the pavement.
I was so consumed by the drawing I was making that I was never truly conscious of my location: the road. Although my family lived on a quiet street, I still played in the domain of vehicles. The possible danger of being run over by a car simply never occurred to me. I didn’t worry about the risk I took to make my (what I thought were) amazing chalk drawings by being on the road. I was young, and my creativity stretched further than the confines and safety of the driveway. Continue reading
Today I made the mistake of rejecting the ideas of a creative mind.
My friend and I were taking the bus back to the University after a lunch break, and he suggested we take the bus in the direction away from the University, to experience a quick tour through a part of the city neither of us had been in before. The extended route wasn’t that long — it would take maybe only ten minutes more than the bus that could take us directly to the University. I refused to take the longer route with him, and we both ended up taking the usual bus back to class.
I told myself later that I had said no to his idea because I wanted to hurry back and get some reading done, and that I really didn’t like riding buses in general, so the less time spent on them the better, but these were just excuses. The truth was I didn’t want to break my pattern, and I was unwilling to expend the extra energy to explore. I like to define myself as being naturally drawn to adventure and creativity, and yet I was too afraid and content to simply take a new bus route. Continue reading
This quotation is perhaps overused, but that is only because it is so inspiring and true. When I lose drive, Steve Jobs is one of my core motivators. If you haven’t watched his Stanford Graduation speech, I highly recommend that you do so. Remember: it is always better to struggle at what you love than to be bored and comfortable doing something that makes you miserable. The risk is worth it.