There is a piquancy in the air. A sense we’re on the precipice of something. That we can no longer afford to be complacent. And yet.
We’re sitting back. Aren’t we. Waiting. For the right moment? For the red carpet to be rolled out? For someone else to take the lead?
To that I say, fire the f*ck up.
I shared the above tile on Instagram recently. The line comes via Mark Manson. He’s been feeling similarly frustrated about people saying they can’t act until (insert your own excuse: find your passion/get financial/get some time). F*ck you. Have you even tried, Manson writes in response to such flaccidity. The problem isn’t passion, he rants, its priorities. Me, I’d say the problem is a willingness to surrender preferences. And fire the f*ck up.
I reckon Renaissance man Vincent Van Gogh knew something about creating and contributing. In a letter to his brother, he once wrote,
“However meaningless and vain, however dead life appears, the man of faith, of energy, of warmth … steps in and does something.”
Yes. The man of warmth. Of heart. Of good. Does something.
He was writing about creating and the need for artists to just start, to slap on some paint. But he then expands the notion to being a good person:
“To be good — many people think that they’ll achieve it by doing no harm — and that’s a lie… That leads to stagnation, to mediocrity.”
Yes! Inaction, stalling and avoiding rarely brings about the better, more moral outcome. We are on this planet to create, to grow, to expand. It’s a moral imperative. VvG continues:
“Life itself likewise always turns towards one an infinitely meaningless, discouraging, dispiriting blank side on which there is nothing, any more than on a blank canvas.”
Yep. Sure. Life can be a dispiriting, angst-causing blank canvas. But we must fire up and slap paint on to the tableau of our lives.
The existentialists said the same in the wake of World War ll. Hannah Arendt, a lover and student of Heidegger said
“The most extreme moral failure was to “not think”.”
Not responding adequately when the times demand it, shows a lack of attention as dangerous as deliberate abuse, she wrote.
I’ve been flaccid lately. Going 90 per cent of the way to doing what it takes. Then making excuses. I have some big moves to make right now that are about doing the right thing, but I’ve allowed myself to let flux and fate steer things. This approach is fine, to a point, and in the right circumstances.
But the world is crying out for certainty and courage right now. We must, therefore, lead by doing.
Is this resonating with you right now? Experiencing stagnancy and mediocrity? I am. I’m aware, too, that I’m avoiding being the person who steps in and does something. My goal right now is to get truly courageous…