What I'm Reading, Vol. Twenty-Three

Monday, August 18, 2014

No one can do it all, but the pressure to try is paralyzing. And so we say yes to a million efforts that pull us in a million directions, and say no to the most important things in our lives by our refusal to give them the time they need. But we keep saying yes because we want our lives to have impact. We want to make a difference. We want to love others. But what impact can we have if, by diluting ourselves over a thousand trivialities and the tasks of others, we leave our work undone, or done with less than our full attention and energy? Saying no seems so selfish, but so be it. I don't think there are many lives so full that we can't extend ourselves generously to others, so perhaps there's a middle ground. If you have trouble saying no to others, I want you to look around, make sure no one's listening, and repeat after me: "I would love to help you. I'm in the middle of a project right now that requires all of my attention. I can give you an hour tomorrow." Now say it again (this time say it for real, because I know most of you cheated.) Does it have to be tomorrow? No. But give it some time because if it's really truly important they'll be glad for the help, even tomorrow, and if it's really urgent, they'll find someone else before then. Do your work first.

Emma's 5 secrets to success (via A Beautiful Mess)
You know how people say, "Quitters never win." I could not disagree more! If necessary, quit. Sometimes things don't work. It might have nothing to do with you. It could be that the industry you are working in is going through a bad time. It could be the medium you work on is undergoing change. Or it could be you; you may just not be good at something. That's okay! This has nothing to do with self-worth. You are MUCH more valuable than your current accomplishments, and you always will be. But if something isn't working, my best advice is to quit now and move on to something else. I don't want to be a broken record too much here, but my best example of this is when I quit pursuing my dream of acting and moved back to my hometown to work with Elsie. This was one of the very best (and most successful) decisions I ever made, and it all started with me quitting. Quitters sometimes win big. Don't be afraid to change course if it feels right.

Blogging, Now (via Design For Mankind)
I hear pretty much daily that blogging is dead. "Instagram killed the style blog!" "Twitter is the new email!" "Bloggers, diversify! Quick!" I mean, the New York Times shut down a slew of blogs, and when the New York Times does something (anything!), people take note. But here's what I think: Storytelling doesn't die. I mean, women alone share 20,000 words a day. It's true, I read it in the New York Times (Get it?) And blogging is storytelling, but with a megaphone. We're just here, on our soapboxes, sharing what we know -- the good and the bad and the mundane and the pointless and, sometimes, a few words string together in the right way and spark a life change in someone we've never met. It's good. It's necessary. We're cavemen, carving our stories on the walls of this Internet mountain -- words and pictures and documentation that we were here. We existed. Blogging won't die, because it was never truly alive. The stories, the voices -- that's where the heart beats. And storytelling, friends, is forever. (Just ask the New York Times.)

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