Practice Intensely, Show up, Then See What Happens

No matter how hard we try or how clever we are, we can never predict future outcomes. So maybe it’s best to do this instead.

Image of a man practising guitar for article titled “Practice Intensely, Show up, Then See What Happens” by Larry G. Maguire

Photo by on Unsplash

No matter how hard we try or how clever we are, we can never predict future outcomes. So maybe it’s best to do this instead.

Welcome to The Reflectionist, a daily dose of reflection on the nature of the self, personal reality, creativity, life and work, submitted to the public record for posterity. Read personal essays and articles on the psychology of creativity to help you nurture and broaden your creative prowess.

I’m hold up in a mobile home in the dunes on a beach in a village that’s so small it’s hard to call it a village with any degree of conviction. It’s so insignificant a place in the grander scheme of things that I can safely put myself in a tiny percentage of people who have ever been here, let alone heard of the place.

It’s a beautiful spot with a long sandy beach that’s protected by a small Island. If it weren’t for the island, there would be no beach, no golf course, no popcorn seller, no pub, no people except for the locals.

You can see the stars so clearly here. There are so many. But not tonight. The rain hammers down on the aluminium clad roof on the van in a chorus as I write this. I can hear every drop.

Regardless, there is greater clarity here, not only of the stars in the night sky but also in the thoughts that move through my mind.

In that clarity of mind then, I have been considering my work and career, and I can’t help wonder where it might go. I’m curious and eager to see how things unfold.

But I’m supposed to know, aren’t I?

Well, I don’t know, and I’m ok with that.

In fact, I welcome not knowing what’s going to happen next. It’s more interesting that way and most certainly less exhausting than trying to force things to match preconceived ideas. Besides, there are too many moving parts, the majority so far beyond my means to control it’s not funny.

For example; I was watching a sports documentary tonight as I put some final touches to the latest article on The Creative Mind, and this fact struck me firmly. Two well-matched teams can play each other 10, 20, 50 times or more and play a different game every time. The rules are the same, the colour of their jerseys are the same, the field, the 30 players, and even the ref may be the same, but every game will play out differently.

The point is that no matter the degree to which a team prepares, or the professionalism they bring, no one can predict the detail of the game. Once the two teams enter the field, anything can happen.

It’s the same with work and career.

So the only option available to those players, and to us in our work, is to practice intensely as possible, then show up on the big day and see what happens.

That’s my philosophy.

Better Things Happen When We Don’t Plan

I spent the first 25 years of my life not planning anything, then the next 20 planning the shit out of things. And so it has been the experience of this human being that better things happen when we don’t plan.

So that’s what I’m doing — not planning.

I’ll follow my nose and see where it takes me. Yeah, I know that’s foolish. Fail to plan, plan to fail and all that motivation bullshit. Well, it’s time for a new regime, one that runs counter to popular advice. Besides, it’s foolish to take as your own, common “knowledge” dished out as advice because it’s general and rarely applies precisely to any one individual. That’s why other people’s systems rarely work for you and me.

So I’m going the opposite way, and if things don’t turn out good, at least I tried. And I’ll probably learn something new too. At least I’m not following the herd, and that’s important to me.

These days I have a sense of what engages me — I’m doing it already. And Although I may not be a world-beater, (that’s not my motivation), I will continue. And when something comes up that floats my boat; I’ll take it on.

For example, I have learned from a neighbour of a part-time role as a science writer in a professional body. I had been looking around, checking out what might be available in that regard and this opportunity popped up.

I intend to apply, see where it goes.

So, for now, I’m off to the nest, and by the time you read this, I’ll be snoring, or I’ll be dead.

One or the other.

Thanks for taking the time to read my stuff. Every morning you’ll find me sharing a new thought on life, art, work, creativity, the self and the nature of reality on The Reflectionist. I also write on The Creative Mind. If you like what I’m creating, join my email list to receive the weekly Sunday Letters

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