Some Words on Positivity

positivity

Positivity is something that has been on my mind a lot recently.  It’s just so easy to be happy when it’s a beautiful outside and you don’t have to go to class.  But, I have found that embracing positivity consistently takes a lot of thought and effort.  I am going to try to not be too “preachy” with this.  I just have a lot of information that I genuinely want to share with you guys for the sake of everyone’s well-being!  Friend to friend.

It begins with gratitude

The journey to positivity begins with gratitude.  Just taking some time to remind yourself of all that you have to be grateful for can seriously change the outlook of your day.  Here’s a challenge: write a list of 100 things you are grateful for.  I am certain that this will help you look at your day to day life a little differently.  There is always someone that has it worse than you do and we all have so much to be grateful for.

Finding gratitude for some of the smallest and most obvious things in life is often incredibly impactful.  Summer weather, the sunshine, and good health are all things that I am incredibly grateful for.  It can be quite moving to just realize how lucky we are to be alive.

Positivity takes effort

I spent a lot of time and effort in high school training myself to think positively, and I am just now realizing how much it is paying off.  Choosing to look on the bright side is always the right choice.

You may not realize how much negativity is engraved into our culture.  It is statistically proven that bad news sells better than good news.  Negativity excites people, but it can also be very damaging in the long run.  Fighting this natural tendency takes some effort.  Ultimately, you have to choose what kind of impact you are going to have.  You can let other people’s negativity influence you, giving way to more negativity or you can choose to inspire positivity for other people in your life.

Know Yourself

You should make an effort to know how you respond to both positivity and negativity.  How do you set up defenses against negativity?  What makes you happy?  I happen to be an introvert, so having some alone time is not only necessary for me, I actually get really excited to spend time alone!  Just taking a walk by myself helps clear my head and refocus my energy.  If you’re an introvert like me then you can probably relate!  No matter what your personality is like, just make sure you take care of yourself.

positivity

 

Keep a Record

Sometimes it helps to keep a record of things that make you happy or things that you are trying to accomplish.  For a while in high school, I would write down all the goals I had for the day during breakfast.  My goals were usually small things like compliment 3 people today, smile at someone you don’t know, get my homework done early, etc…  (I lost the journal I kept these goals in, that’s why I stopped.  Oops. 🙂 )  Even if you never get around to your goals, it helps to focus your mindset on positivity at the start of your day.  You can also keep a Pinterest board with positive quotes or motivational inspiration just to stay in the right headspace.

Rely on God

If there is one thing that I’ve learned, it’s that the ultimate peace comes from our God.  I think keeping positive relies on emotional stability, and for me that 100% comes from God.  God didn’t create us to live in a sludge of negativity.  Through Him, we have so much to rejoice in.  He is the one to whom all our gratitude should be directed.  He wants us to be happy.

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  -John 14:27

All in all, it sounds pretty simple to keep a positive outlook, but I’m sure it’s no surprise that many people fail daily at this simple concept.  The good thing about being positive is that you get points for trying!  So, from a friend to a friend, I hope these points were helpful.  Please leave any advice on positivity!  I’m sure we can all learn from eachother.

Why Every Blogger Should Read “Big Magic”

why every blogger should read big magic inspirationWhen I was a new blogger I thought I would never run out of ideas.  I think that’s the reason why most of us start blogging- because we have ideas.  That’s great!  Whether you are inspired by fashion, food, finances, or fob watches, we are all lucky to have the opportunity to write about the things that excite us.  Feeling inspired is simply wonderful, but in case you haven’t figured it our yet, inspiration doesn’t happen all the time.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched bloggers bust out three posts a week while I’m still trying to think of a single idea.  The wealth of inspiration I thought I had soon dried up.  The ideas just weren’t coming.

Then I read “Big Magic” and everything changed.  I love a good inspirational book, but this book completely blew away my expectations.  I hadn’t even gotten to the 3rd page and I was already near tears.  Immediately I could see how this book would not only help me in theatre, but blogging as well.  In fact, I think this book could help everybody.

What is “Big Magic”?

Author Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love) describes Big Magic as the relationship between a human being and the mysteries of inspiration.  In other terms, it means creativity.  The book is divided into 7 brilliant sections: Courage, Enchantment, Permission, Persistence, Trust, and Divinity.  These chapters serve as a guide to creative living beyond fear, which is the ultimate goal for Elizabeth Gilbert and anyone who reads her book.

Liz (I always called her Liz when I was reading this book 🙂 ) fills the pages of Big Magic with stories of her own struggles and triumphs in her personal journey to creative living.  She has gathered a multitude of vivid examples in a stunning narrative that will leave everyone feeling inspired.  Big Magic is nothing if not empowering to the creative soul.  I could go on and on, but I think it’s best if I just tell you the most important things I took away from the book.

Top 5 Things I Learned

My perspective on inspiration has certainly shifted because of this book.  What I love most is that Big Magic doesn’t just give you inspiration, it teaches you how to use it.  I cannot express how full this book is of ideas, so I narrowed it down to the most impactful things that I took away from it.

1. Fear is not needed

Who among us does not have some degree of fear?  I believe that bloggers have their own special brand of fear.  Fear of not reaching our goals, fear of criticism, fear of taking a risk, or fear of investment.  However, living a creative life doesn’t leave any room for fear in our work.

“I also realized that my fear was boring because it was identical to everyone else’s fear.  I figured out that every one’s song of fear has exactly that same tedious lyric: ‘STOP, STOP, STOP,STOP!'”

We are tied down by fear.  It is the force that compels us to behave like everyone else and avoid taking creative risks.  The sooner you learn to let go of fear, the sooner you will feel more at ease and more pleased with the work you have done!

2. Education does not always equal creativity

I am pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, however, Liz allowed me to see that achieving my degree is not the key to my life as an artist.  Like many other creative souls, I enjoy studying something I love and I can see how it will benefit me.  However, I have now chosen not to let the weight of my future fall on the education I am getting now.

“…I worry that what students of the arts are often seeking in higher education is nothing more than proof of their own legitimacy- proof that they are for real a creative people, because their degree says so.”

I’m glad she said it because somebody had to!  I see people every day in my department that need to be reminded that school does not have the final say in their futures.

I think bloggers are an excellent testament to this idea.  I mean, have you ever heard of someone getting a degree in blogging?  No.  Yet people are continually succeeding in this field without a specific diploma.  Your past experiences and your creative vision are all the education you need.

3. You need to give yourself permission

If you think a diploma is the only thing that can give you permission to be creative, think again.  People like to look for permission from their family, their friends, their schedule, their career, or even their past experiences when the only person that can allow you to be creative is you.  The best way to write your own permission slip is to embrace the idea of creative entitlement.

“Creative entitlement doesn’t mean acting like a princess, or acting as though the world owes you anything whatsoever.  No, creative entitlement means believing that you are allowed to be here, and that -merely by being here- you are allowed to have a voice and a vision of your own.”

I think creative entitlement is a struggle for most bloggers at some point in their career.  When you compare yourself with other bloggers who have been going at it for twice as long and seem to have 10x the traffic, your sense of belonging can be skewed.  Learning to find permission from creative entitlement means that you are content with expressing your own voice no matter how loud it may be.

Related: Why Everybody Should Be A Diva

4. Don’t make your creative works support you

I believe many bloggers share this focus!  Who doesn’t want to earn a little cash from all the work you pour into your blog?  As college students, it can be especially appealing to have your blog pay your rent.  I think we would all rather work at home than work in a cafeteria.  However, our dear friend Liz says to be cautious about this.

“There is no dishonor in having a job.  What is dishonorable is scaring away your creativity by demanding that it pay for your entire existence.”

Of course, making money off of your blog isn’t a bad goal to have.  You just can’t expect it to be a genie in a bottle that grants all your wishes.  The moment it becomes more of a job than a source for creativity, our inspiration suffers.

5. The back-door creative method

“Einstein called this tactic ‘combinatory play’ -the act of opening up one mental channel by dabbling in another.  This is why he would often play the violin when he was having diffuculty solving a mathematical puzzle; after a few hours of sonatas, he could usually find the answer he needed.”

This is perhaps the most impactful message I have taken away from this book.  Liz provides several examples of this “back-door-creative-method” as I like to call it.  Ulterior creative methods can range anywhere from gardening to painting to playing ukulele to soap making.  As bloggers, we cannot rely on our blogs as our only outlet for creativity.  If we do, our creativity will suffer.  Investing in other creative outlets has been nothing but a good experience for me and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to feel more creative!  For myself, I have taken up playing guitar, word art, and even a little bit of watercolor.  What I like best about these hobbies is that I haven’t put any pressure on myself to impress others.  I am simply playing.

inspiration

So Why Read It?

You are not a creative person because you are a blogger, you are a blogger because you are a creative person!  You will be most happy when you abandon fear and embrace the creative gifts you have been given.  Even if you are not a blogger, I would totally still recommend this book.  Why?  Because everybody can live a creative life in some way!  Personally, I found that this book was exactly what I needed to invite inspiration into my life and embrace my creativity.

I hope this was helpful and inspiring for you!  Have you read Big Magic?  If so, I want to hear what you thought about it!  What are some other inspirational books that you would recommend?  I am always looking for new suggestions. 🙂

Why Everybody Should Be A Diva

why everybody should be a diva

What do you think of when you hear the word diva?  Chances are you think of someone who is really stuck up, covered in expensive couture, and bossing people around.  The word “diva” has come to mean someone who is generally pretty dislikable, but still seems to get everything they want.

Hang on.  Here is the dictionary definition of what a diva is: a famous female singer of opera.  That’s it.

The term diva has evolved over time, and it is still evolving to this day.  It used to simply mean an accomplished singer, but I frequently hear it being used as an insult or descriptor word of somebody that is pretty high-maintenance.  But as the word has continued to evolve, I think the term diva has come to a completely different definition altogether.  I think the best and most relevant definition of a diva is a person who values their creativity, respects themselves as an individual, and draws attention to themselves because of their authenticity rather than their ego.

Some classic examples of modern divas would be Whitney Houston, Barbra Streisand, Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, and Beyoncé (duh).  These people have achieved diva status not only because of their amazing talent but because they are truly one of a kind.  There are many other singers you may not be aware of who actually do sing opera, and sing it very well.  These people are first-class divas too.

This kind of diva sounds like someone I want to be.  In fact, I think anyone with a creative bone in their body should aspire to become their own brand of diva.  Since I aspire to be both a singer-diva and an overall-creative-diva, here are some steps I’m taking that may help you become a diva as well.

Divas don’t try to copy others, they love being themselves

Has anybody ever become successful by copying others?  No matter what field you are attempting to achieve diva status in, I’m sure you have people you look up to.  However, aspiring to be exactly like these people isn’t your key to success.  I think it’s wonderful that there are so many incredible people that feed my inspiration, but if I’m ever going to be that kind of inspiration for anyone else, I must be totally confident in being myself.

They look fierce all the time

Of course, it is natural to assume that divas “look the part” all the time, but that is not necessarily true.  Real divas own whatever they are wearing because they don’t get their confidence from the clothes they wear or how their makeup looks.  Divas wear whatever they like, even if it doesn’t conform to current trends.  In modern terms, these divas are called trendsetters.

Divas value their own creativity

One of the biggest mistakes an artist can make is selling themselves short.  It’s easy to compare yourself to others and see that you haven’t accomplished as much, but give yourself credit where it is due!  I am so guilty of undermining my success, but it is something I am working on improving.  Every diva knows that what she creates is worth her time and a success in itself.  So don’t sell yourself short!

Every diva knows that what she creates is worth her time and a success in itself. Click To Tweet

They may have fear, but they don’t let it stop them

Obviously, you can’t be a diva if you are constantly checking for approval from others.  No one can truly escape fear, but that doesn’t mean you should let it control you.  Any good diva will look fear in the eye and move on with her life.

Divas lift up themselves by lifting up others

One of the problems I have with the popular definition of a diva is that it seems to imply that divas don’t care about other people’s work, or will even slam the work of others to build herself up.  Divas are of course honest all the time, so when she sees something she likes, she will, of course, say something!  Take every opportunity to praise other divas; they will surely return the favor.  True divas are not threatened by the success of others.

True divas are not threatened by the success of others. Click To Tweet

They don’t need the approval of others to be happy

Divas sing or act or write or paint or do whatever because they love it.  Of course, it’s always nice to have the approval of others at hand, but take it or leave it because you should only be trying to make yourself happy.  If your work can make others happy, great!  But your work doesn’t need the approval of others to survive.

Divas graciously accept compliments and critique

Do you ever find it hard to accept compliments?  I know I do.  Sometimes all you need to say is a simple and sincere “thank you” and leave it at that.  When people compliment you, it’s because you earned it.  So like I said before, don’t sell yourself short and simply accept the good that others see in you.  Likewise, critique can be equally hard to accept, but the same procedure applies.  Whether or not you agree with the critique, smile and say thank you.  It’s the least you can do, and it may help you improve yourself.

While I am still aspiring to become a singer-diva, I am taking these steps so that I can become a diva in all areas of my life.  I believe that divas are a powerhouse of confidence, which they exude in all areas of their life.  In fact, I’m sure we all know plenty of divas in our own lives that are pretty fierce!  It might be your mom, or your best friend, or one of the upperclassmen at your school.  Either way, I believe we all have the power to be a diva.

Oh, and I also think guys can be divas too. 🙂

So, what do you think of this?  Do you like this new-and-improved definition of a diva?  Let me know in the comments what you think about aspiring to become a diva or some divas that you might look up to! 🙂