The Best Advice I’ve Received

Sometimes folks share advice. Other times, someone will just say something, and it unintentionally sticks with us. Either way, the right advice at the right time, can really make a positive effect on our lives.

The following are the best pieces of advice I’ve received:

  • Do the best you can, with what you have, where you are.
    • Anxiety comes from worrying more about the future, or the past, than the present. It’s helpful to learn from the past, or plan for the future. However, when action needs to be taken, you can’t sit there and not do anything for too long. At some point after going in circles in your head, you have to take a deep breath, figure out what you can do with what you have, where you are. It’s all you can expect of yourself.
  • No one owes you anything, and you don’t owe anyone anything.
    • My dad told me this, years ago, and it really stuck. He was explaining that when you do something nice for someone, you do it because it’s the nice thing to do, not because you expect anything in return. Also, it’s natural to want to return the favor when someone is nice to us, but in the same regard, it’s awesome they were nice to us, but it doesn’t put us in their debt.
  • Don’t be lazy.
    • This was a sleeper for me. A friend said it to me in a random situation, but I found myself repeating it in my head in random situations. When I walk by a piece of trash, sometime’s I’ll quickly think “should I pick that up?” The next thought is often “don’t be lazy.”There are many other examples of when such a simple phrase is applicable. Easier said than done, especially in certain situations, but still a good one.
  • If your shit is good, people will notice.
    • Pardon the language, but this is another simple, awesome phrase I try to remember. I’ve seen and read many versions of it, but while reading an article written by Travis Jensen (dope San Francisco photographer), it stuck out to me. I was thinking about the FM Brand while clicking around for photography inspiration, and came across that line. I sometimes find myself comparing my brand, or my art, or my accomplishments, to others. It’s so easy to start to concern yourself with others’ accomplishments, and why they have what you don’t have. This quote reminds me to stop worrying about other people, and do me. If I stay true to myself, improve whenever possible, and work hard, my work will get noticed.

These phrases/concepts have had a lasting effect on me, and I’m thankful for the wisdom.


Inspiration Refill

Take a second, and think about the things that inspire you. Is it a certain song? A certain band? Going to an art exhibit? Talking to a certain someone? A certain movie?

Inspiration is a hot word in popular media. Let’s take a second and consider what it means to be inspired. Inspiration refers to feeling mentally stimulated to pursue action or feeling, often attributed to artistic expression. The funny thing about inspiration is that we can’t choose what inspires us. We can try things that have inspired others, but we can’t MAKE something inspire us. The magic and beauty of inspiration, is that it just happens. It’s unexpected. You experience something, and BOOM, you feel energized. Sometimes you feel energized to take specific action, other times you might feel energized to do SOMETHING but you don’t know exactly what. It’s a special occurrence.

Life get’s busy. School. Work. A relationship. Family. We all have many pieces of our lives that require attention. Some we choose, others we don’t. That’s how life is, and it’s completely understandable. However, if we aren’t careful, we slowly stop to be a part of the things that inspire us. We leave that instrument untouched for days, months, years. We realize we haven’t picked up a paint brush for years, etc.

Ever since my first live concert, a Beatles impersonation/cover band, I knew live music was special to me. I remember leaving the show, completely blown away. Years later, at my first concert with my friends, on our own, I remember feeling the same thing. The music was loud and energetic. The crowd was yelling each lyric back at the band. The band soaked up that energy, and reflected it back to the crowd. I couldn’t put into words how it made me feel. Throughout college, friends and I would routinely drive an hour or two, for a show, and come right back on the same night. As time passed, as I continued to grad school and as I started my career, I stopped going to as many concerts. Months started to pass by. Next thing I knew, I couldn’t remember when I had last been to a show! I realized I needed to specifically make an effort to go to a concert I wanted to go to, even if it was a bit inconvenient.

I now go to shows more consistently than I did during my concert hiatus. I am no less busy now than I was, but I am reminded that every time I go to a concert/show of bands I love, I almost can’t contain the inspiration/energy I feel. I feel inspiration to apply myself to MY creative outlets; my brand, music, fitness. I have made it a point to continue this inspirational source. I can’t always make it to every show I want to go to, but I’ve realized that the effort it takes to involve myself with these shows is worth it.

The purpose for this post is to remind us that sometimes inspiration has to be pursued. Most of the time, if not always, we are glad we put in the effort to get that refill.

What inspirational sources do you keep consistent? What inspiration have you let slip over the years? What are your plans to pursue inspiration again?


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