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Maria Popova: Seven Lessons

Debbie Millman





I’m a big fan of the blog Brain Pickings. To celebrate it’s turning seven this week, creator/writer Marie Popova lists seven lessons she’s learned over those years  “in the hope that they might benefit your own journey in some small way, bring you closer to your own center, or even simply invite you to reflect on your own sense of purpose.”

I especially like here number seven:

“Expect anything worthwhile to take a long time.” This is borrowed from the wise and wonderful Debbie Millman, for it’s hard to better capture something so fundamental yet so impatiently overlooked in our culture of immediacy. The myth of the overnight success is just that — a myth — as well as a reminder that our present definition of success needs serious retuning. As I’ve reflected elsewhere, the flower doesn’t go from bud to blossom in one spritely burst and yet, as a culture, we’re disinterested in the tedium of the blossoming. But that’s where all the real magic unfolds in the making of one’s character and destiny.

As a bonus, Popova has picked seven of her favorite posts over the years. I strongly recommend that you listen (while you scroll down and read) the post, Fail Safe: Debbie Millman’s Advice on Courage and the Creative Life. Says Millman: “Do what you love, and don’t staop until you get what you love. Work as hard as you can imagine immensities, don’t compromise, and don’t waste time. Start now. Not 20 years from now, not two weeks from now. Now,”

“Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightening to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself.” —Chuck Close


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