Grow A Buddha

Setting aside the likelihood that this novelty insults some Buddhists (and makes other Buddhists laugh), let’s use it as analogy.

First, we need to understand how this novelty works. The “buddha” starts off about 1.2 inches tall when taken right from the package. “Made of a sponge-like non-toxic material”, the small buddha expands 600 times when submerged in water for 72 hours.  So you know have a 7 inch “buddha” in a jar of water.

What Do We Need to Grow 600%?

There are many things we would love to grow 600% in just a few days: our talent, skills, knowledge, insight, marketability, recognition, and more. Add water and boom! That would be nice, wouldn’t it.

Not on the list is something that makes a big difference.  It is something that remains hidden, that seems insignificant because it is subtle. But subtle stuff can have a big impact.

Look here at this example at something that starts off small but thing grows many, many times: I asked my wife when she “knew” she was a runner.  She answered that it was some time after she completed her first half-marathon.  Makes sense. An unsurprising answer, one that most of us would give. My follow-up question: What difference does it make now knowing you are a runner? Answer: I feel more confident. I have put on the mantle of  “runner” and with that, embraced much of what that role entails (the glory, the expectations, the challenges). I now have a place to stand; I feel more secure and centered in my practice running, recovery, and doing other races.

O.k., fine, but what was she before she completed that particular race?  Running ten miles at a time didn’t count?  Running eight miles three times a week to build up for this race didn’t count either? Is the only difference 13.1 miles? Or was it the over-sized, unattractive, medal she received at the finish line?  In her mind, only this race was important enough to convince her she was a runner.

Another example: A friend didn’t realize she was a painter until she cataloged her works, added up her recent framing bills, and saw her calendar filled with the things painters must do to get their works in show.  Putting all of this data down, the picture emerged that she “was a painter.” This accidental analysis, “made things real.”

Question: Do we have to wait so long down the line in our efforts before we can get the benefits of “knowing we are a Creative”?

Back to the Grow A Buddha, non-toxic novelty (I will make this analogy work no matter what).

This buddha is smarter than the majority of us. You put the 1.2 inch buddha in a jar and pour in water.  What does it do and do very well? It soaks up the obvious thing that surrounds it and it grows. We however, surrounded by things pointing to the fact we are a Creative, don’t grow fast. . We hide from ourselves the aha experience of realizing what we are: we are a Creative (or a painter, or a photographer, or a writer, etc. if you prefer those terms). We stunt our growth by picking some big goal, way down the line as the point at which we can start to grow into the role we have already been living. There we sit, surrounded by that which could make us expand 600% but nothing happens. We would toss out our Grow a Buddha if we saw nothing happening in our water filled jar. “Hey, what is this? I followed the instructions but it just sits there (like a buddha).”

We can’t afford to stunt our growth. The risk is always very high we will be diverted from our work, lose interest, drive, inspiration for our project.  We have to see early progress or we are highly likely to give up. Progress outside and progress with a creative market can take a very long time to make itself evident so we must be very attuned to recognizing progress within ourselves.

When we have a gut felt and heart-felt certainty that we are a Creative, things start to happen. Our confidence increases which means we take more risks, we tend to have more energy, more focus, and certainly more dedication. We expect more of ourselves and we go out and do it. Our earlier scattered thoughts and energies align around our new role as a Creative.

How to Grow Quickly Towards Your Own Knowing:

-Don’t dismiss minor milestones for the really big accomplishment way in the future

-Don’t poo-poo insights, half-ideas, fits and starts, raw drafts. Throw out nothing. Every action and thought on your journey counts. All expand you.

-Define for yourself what it takes to call yourself a Creative. Don’t adopt other people’s definitions of what makes a creative or when a person becomes a creative. 99% will have no idea or a very distorted view at best.

-Think of yourself as being on a map. Sketch out your starting point on your creative journey. Next, mark down everything you can think of that has come after your starting point (everything you have done; lessons learned; people in the field met; training; etc.). Take a few days to add to this list.  Don’t short-change yourself by leaving things out, list it all.

That’s where you have been. Looking at all of that, where are you today?  Where do you stand now on this map?  Appreciate the distance that you have come. Visualize your starting point and contrast that with where you are now. Play through your mind’s eye your journey. Savor and embrace how you have changed. Now for the real question: Is there somewhere on that map you can clearly mark that you, by your definition, became a Creative?

We can grow dramatically like the non-toxic* buddha if truly work the steps above and watch for growth signs every day. We won’t grow 600% in 72 hours but we get much, much larger faster than we ever thought was possible.

* Actually: Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate Copolymer, Acrylic-Based Water-Absorbent Resin, Pigment

Where to get a Grow A Buddha (if you must) – link

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