Motivation

 

I am sitting at the open window (at four a.m.) and breathing the lovely air of a spring morning… Life is still good, [and] it is worth living on a May morning… I assert that life is beautiful in spite of everything! This “everything” includes the following items: 1. Illness; I am getting much too stout, and my nerves are all to pieces. 2. The Conservatoire oppresses me to extinction; I am more and more convinced that I am absolutely unfitted to teach the theory of music. 3. My pecuniary situation is very bad. 4. I am very doubtful if Undine will be performed. I have heard that they are likely to throw me over.”

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky 

 

“You absolutely have to believe in yourself. Man, you’ll get rejected hundreds of times. You have to believe in yourself if you’re going to succeed.”

Jon Bon Jovi

 

Confidence – noun, a feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities. 

Tchaikovsky was plagued by depression and also a hypochondriac. Somehow, he persevered and produced prolifically.  Bon Jovi and Tchaikovsky both possessed the drive to create music. This high level of motivation enabled them to overcome obstacles such as rejection and mental illness.

 

 

*photos from Unsplash.com

 

 

Monkeying Around

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Daily Painting Challenge – #12

This painting is highly imperfect. The face seems to be floating around, detached. The fur is stiff and square. Painting it was not as fun as painting the hedgehog and it shows. The process reminded me of this quote:

Take chances, make mistakes. That’s how you grow. Pain nourishes your courage. You have to fail in order to practice being brave.

Mary Tyler Moore

Some pieces will be better than others. I love watching August Wren (Creativebug.com) paint because she talks out loud and often laughs at her mistakes.

 

 

Faith

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When it seems hopeless, envision this:

A man in his forties, dressed in his best gray suit, sits alone at the table. His eyes are on the door. Gorgeous flowers wrapped in cellophane stand stiffly in a vase of water.  He’s anxiously waiting for her.

Does she show up?

We hope she does…

And if she doesn’t? Imagine him crestfallen. Imagine his disappointment. What would you want to say to him?

***

Next, a young teenage boy is at a fast food restaurant. He orders a #4 (cheeseburger, fries, and a drink) and a #6 (chicken nuggets, fries, and a drink). He takes them to a booth and spreads them out, neatly. He waits, nervously looking at the door every time it opens. People come and go. He checks his watch four times. Thirty minutes later, he realizes she (or he) is not coming. He throws it all in a bag and heads home, dejected.

Wouldn’t you tell him he will find that special someone someday? Wouldn’t you urge him to not give up on the good in life?

Well, we’re all rooting for you, too.

 

I’ve Been Asking the Wrong Question

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As a recovering Tiger Mom, I’m working really hard to unlearn some bad practices. I don’t expect my kids to get straight A’s. I just want to ensure they always do their best. HOWEVER, I’m aware that I often use grades as a default metric. It’s so easy to buy into the hype: competitive college scholarships, high tuition, “name brand” universities, etc.

In my heart, I know it’s wrong. It’s the wrong place to stress priorities with my kids.

A blogger on Huffington Post bragged wrote about how he and his wife ask their daughters 3 questions each night:

  1. How were you brave tonight?
  2. How were you kind today?
  3. How did you fail today?

Aren’t these more important concerns? Won’t these values take them further than a perfect GPA? Their third question, “How did you fail today?” opens the discussion about effort and not achieving the goal. The parents wanted to stress lessons learned from this taboo subject and, to in fact, celebrate failing! The word “fail” is  leaden with negativity in our culture, but it’s really the only way we get stronger. It’s how we get resilient.

I’ve been asking my daughters a question each day, too. I thought I was being positive.  I shared my experience on FB with my friends:

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What is school for?

According to Seth Godin, school’s purpose should be to:

  1. teach kids to lead; and
  2. teach kids to try things and to FAIL.

He says, “Fine, getting an A is good. But it’s not the most important thing.”

Personally, I’ve known many “successful” (read: high income) folks who burned the midnight oil to get the excellent grades, get into the perfect college and then obtain the perfect,  high-paying job. They’re still not happy.

Don’t we want our kids to lead happy, productive, creative lives?

If you want the right answers, you need to ask the right questions. Perhaps the right question is not, “How can my kid get into an Ivy League School?” but “How can I raise my child to be a compassionate, productive, happy citizen?”

What do we need to do to be happy? Thoughts?

 

 

 

 

 

*photo from unsplash.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heartbreak

 

 

 

When your child attempts something – and works so hard to prepare – yet doesn’t quite make her goal…

and then your child’s friend has a birthday party and doesn’t invite her…

…and THEN your child accidentally deletes all the photos on her phone and they are gone forever…

it’s tempting to want to solve her problems, to take her shopping and help her forget, to help her get happy again.

It’s tempting to tell her the girl is mean and not worth her friendship.

It’s tempting to get her a pedicure, to see those tears dry up.

Instead, hold her while she cries. Tell her it’s OK and that she can handle it. Because she can.

The key to a happy life is not to avoid problems (that’s impossible). The key to a happy life is to approach each problem with the attitude that you can handle it. This is what we must teach our children.

 

 

 

Failure

“Jumping from failure to failure with undiminished enthusiasm is the big secret to success.” Savas Dimopoulos

Dr. Dimopoulos is a prize-winning particle physicist at Stanford.

This quote was just what I needed as I’ve failed at many things this past year and felt a sense of discouragement with each defeat.

However, if a friend of mine had called and commiserated her misery, I would enthusiastically tell her to KEEP GOING!

So I will. And so shall you. Keep working hard and doing the right thing.

Here’s to UNDIMINISHED ENTHUSIASM!

Celebrate every effort you make. Let’s disco!

 

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by Josie Wipff   7/9/16

 

 

Telling The Story With Care

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This poster came in a box of cereal.

I taped it to the wall near my desk. I’m not even a hard core Star Wars fan, but I taped it to remind me of something: even the best make mistakes. Yes, it made $924,317,558 at the box office. It was a hit, if you consider only the money it brought in. But in terms of quality – critical success – it bombed. It was the fourth film in the Star Wars series, so one can’t make the rookie argument.

Some critiques from reputable sources:

“Part two now focuses on the second biggest problem with the Phantom Menace, the story. The mystery plot lacking direction and emotional involvement was really the other big problem. No tension, no drama, no stakes. Characters aimlessly follow along the events.” – SlashFilm.com 

As a writer, you have to decide whether you’re writing for the craft or for views/sales/tawdry attention.