Archives For Life After Art

What makes an idea?

We all have thoughts and ideas that we would like to share.  We would like people to see our ideas, to admire them, to quote them, to imitate them.

But all too often, our ideas are ignored or unappreciated.  We feel let down.

Could it be because our ideas are not dangerous enough?

A dangerous idea does not have to be the loudest in the room.  Danger can be a quiet, slow force.

And of course, danger is all relative.  Jesus was a very gentle, compassionate, dangerous man.  He was dangerous to the status quo.  He was dangerous to powerful people.

I’ve always been a little bit averse to danger.  Maybe I need to get more comfortable with it.

Dangerous Ideas - LifeAfterArtBook.comGo.  Think of something dangerous today.

Share it with some dangerous people.

Influence.

Everyone seems to want it.

Everywhere I look, there are workshops and conferences and books and blogs dedicated to expanding our personal reach.  Growing our platforms.  Becoming better leaders of more people.  Apparently, that’s the goal we should be pursuing, to influence as many people as possible.  We live in a culture of celebrity everything.  Celebrity motivators, celebrity pastors.  Many Christians say the most influential Christian in their life is a celebrity, not a person they personally know.

But what does it even mean to influence people?  To change their opinions?  To motivate them?  To sell them a product?  To win their vote?

It took me a long time to realize that I don’t fit in the mold of the “leader” or “influencer” that everyone seems to say I should be.  My feet don’t fit those shoes.  I can’t be that kind of person who gathers throngs of people willing to follow me.

But I’ve realized something.  That it’s okay to not be an “influencer” in the sense that we’re being sold “influence.”  It’s okay not to be the “leader” that everyone is supposed to be.

I’m kind of ashamed it took me this long to figure it out.

This is what influence looks like to me. Continue Reading…

I don’t know when I became so cynical.

But bit by bit, I stopped seeing the world’s through a child’s eyes.  I stopped being an idealist or an optimist, and started being a “realist.”  I started seeing the world as it really is.

Cynicism is an addictive attitude.  It’s a powerful and attractive lure that invites people to come be cynical together.  It smirks at the rest of the world.

It took me a long time to get over my cynicism.  But as I looked at the rest of the world, I slowly noticed something.

The people who are out there creating beauty, loving humanity, changing the world for the better seem to be idealists.  They believe the world is worth loving.  They believe there is beauty to be found.  They audaciously believe that the world can changeand perhaps even more audaciously, that they can change the world.  Creating change takes boldness, bravery, even perhaps some sort of naivete.

I didn’t realize how much my cynical attitude was wrecking me until I started to let go of it. Because of all the things I had become cynical about, the one thing that I had become most cynical about was myself.  I no longer saw myself as I did when I was a child.  I saw my limitations, my brokenness, my shame.  And it was paralyzing.

This world is worth being a shameless idealist, an incorrigible optimist, and an audacious believer in our power to create beauty around us.

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Are you going to be a cynic or a creative?

Is beauty in the eye of the beholder?

My answer to that question has become one of the most commented-on parts of Life After Art.  So many people who read the book want to talk about how I dismantle that oft-repeated phrase.

I believe beauty is everywhere.  It’s not up to us to decide that beauty is here or it is there.  Beauty just is, and we are lucky if we have eyes to see.

So, what is keeping you from seeing the beauty around you?

Some of us are focused on some big problems today. Or our hearts or spirits are broken.

But others among us have just closed our eyes.  It’s easy for us to delight in being negative.  It’s seems more important to complain, to find fault, to criticize.  I’ve spent years like that.  And I caution you: your eyes will become calloused until you can only see what you are looking for.

Get your vision checked.  Beauty is everywhere.

Beauty is Everywhere - Life After Art

It’s easy to focus on the dark, the grim, the ugly parts of the world.

I’m sure at some point in time this week, our attention will be diverted to some kind of ugliness, giving us the opportunity to be cynical, to argue, or just consider giving up.  We will want to accuse, to point fingers and dish out the blame for the ugliness we have created.

But that’s not how I’m starting my week.

Because beauty is everywhere.  It’s a real, tangible force in nature that cannot be overcome by ugliness.  And the beauty-makers of the world are not obsessing over ugliness.

If only we have eyes to see the beauty around us this week.  My God, if she had eyes to see it, then we are truly desperate if we do not…

Anne Frank #LifeAfterArt

Go find some beauty today and be glad.

You know, we have all week to be cynical, to argue, to debate, to despair.

And Mondays are tough enough already, aren’t they?

As I get back into my regular posting schedule, I’ve decided to try a few new things with the blog for the time being.  This is one of them.  I’ve been so pleased with the response I’ve had from Life After Art.  People tell me how encouraging the book is.  But it’s easy even for me to forget the lessons that I wrote.  

So I’m starting out the week with this – creative inspiration.  Short blurbs from creative people (or sometimes from myself), something in the spirit of Life After Art, something to juice you up for the week ahead and share with others.

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Life’s not all about growing up and being an “adult.”