I was listening to Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me on NPR, and the guest was Laird Hamilton, a champion surfer who never entered a competition except as a teen when the prize was a T-shirt. But when money became involved, he lost all interest in competing.
Laird, who spends his life doing what he loves doing, made the cover of National Geographic, became the subject of an indie film, and just released a book, LifeRider, about navigating the turbulence of life.
When asked how he makes money as a surfer, he said he has sponsors. Paula Poundstone, one of the comedians on the panel, tried to reason that out. “You’re a guy with a surf board, and you go to the beach and there’s a wave and you surf it, and then somebody runs over and gives you a check?”
And Laird said, “No, you ride a giant wave, somebody takes a picture, they put it on the cover of National Geographic, and then a company says they’d love to give you money, and try to get on National Geographic again.”
The point is, the dude was just living his joy. No goal, no quest for fame or money or followers. Just doing what he was born to do.
What were you born to do? Are you doing it?
I love writing fiction. When I write for the joy of it, an amazing thing happens. No writer’s block. I’m learning my craft, exploring my writer’s voice, letting my subconscious loose on the playground. No expectations, no goals, just doing the thing I love.
Enter a goal, and I freeze. My subconscious takes a nap. My writer’s voice is strained. Craft becomes something I wrestle with, rather than a game to master.
Why not take a lesson from Laird, I tell myself. Ride the wave for the joy of it. Compete with yourself, expand your own boundaries. As the Nike ad says: Just do it.
Here’s the thing…if we’re doing what we love, someone will notice. Unless we live in a cave without human contact, or hoard what we do so it never comes to light, someone will notice. Our joy will touch another’s soul, and that person will share it with another and so on.
We never know what ripple may be caused by what we do. But one thing’s for certain: if we don’t do it, that ripple will never be felt. If we don’t do it, we’re cheating ourselves, our fellow humans, and our maker.
Join me this week in doing what makes your heart sing. Then share it. Don’t check any stats, don’t see if it attracts any followers. Just do your thing and release it to the world, then do your next thing. And tell me what you’ll do, in the comments.
You’re right about the joy of writing. Sometimes when I’m feeling down, I’ll go work on my novel and I soon feel better. It’s the joy of the creative process.
So true! When I neglect my creativity, I get anxious, then depressed. It’s a signal to me to get back to writing.
I do a LOT of writing as part of my job, but it’s the personal writing where I find my joy:-)
Me to. It’s hard to sit at my computer at home after writing all day at work. I either need to do my creative writing before work (dessert before peas), or on the weekends.
So good to see you back!! I LOVE your writing and this was a wonderfully, insightful post!!
Good to see you back, too! Glad you liked the post. This was one I didn’t labor over. Maybe I should go with the flow more often.