Why Be Extraordinary?

Who knows what lurks at the dark edges of The Great Unknown?

Indeed, “Why be at all?” One might ask, as so many have. What is the point? What is the purpose? What makes an artist an artist, or an explorer an explorer, and why should anyone care? There are plenty who try to make the leap, but fail. They will never see an inkling of what they would perceive to be a valid level of success. An aside: the term, “artist,” for the purposes of this post, means “One who creates or envisions at a quintessential level.”

Does culture reflect art or does art reflect culture? This question was posed last week in my group at the Creativity Works event in Milwaukee. I think it’s both. How is culture developed? Try this on for size: There are people who unwittingly (and sometimes wittingly) stomp on the spirits of those trying to make something great out of nothing. Or, they laugh or jeer. Anything to eschew whatever comes across as different, strange–and extraordinary. It could be dangerous, after all… or risky. Yet, invariably, they are the same folks who will celebrate the accomplishments of those that they had formerly dismissed or ridiculed–as if it had been their idea, all along.

Here are the definitions from http://thefreedictionary.com/

cul·ture (klchr)

n.

1.

a. The totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought.
b. These patterns, traits, and products considered as the expression of a particular period, class, community, or population: Edwardian culture; Japanese culture; the culture of poverty.
c. These patterns, traits, and products considered with respect to a particular category, such as a field, subject, or mode of expression: religious culture in the Middle Ages; musical culture; oral culture.
d. The predominating attitudes and behavior that characterize the functioning of a group or organization.
2. Intellectual and artistic activity and the works produced by it.

3.

a. Development of the intellect through training or education.
b. Enlightenment resulting from such training or education.
4. A high degree of taste and refinement formed by aesthetic and intellectual training.
5. Special training and development: voice culture for singers and actors.
6. The cultivation of soil; tillage.
7. The breeding of animals or growing of plants, especially to produce improved stock.

8. Biology

a. The growing of microorganisms, tissue cells, or other living matter in a specially prepared nutrient medium.
b. Such a growth or colony, as of bacteria.

tr.v. cul·tured, cul·tur·ing, cul·tures

1. To cultivate.

“Culture” is something nearly everyone wants to participate in, yet it is also something that only a few wish to work at or develop. Some cultures are random and shapeless, while others are hewn, forged and carefully defined.

Artists and entrepreneurs are often one in the same. Inventors and scientists–I believe, are, in many respects–artists on whole different level. They are pioneers and visionaries… and many times, they are outcasts and “crazy fools…” until they hit on something, and when that happens, so does culture, in a manner of speaking. It’s not an easy calling. To be an artist and to have a dream or a vision takes a commitment. Many sign up for film, music or art school–or medical school–only to find that it wasn’t the life that they had had in mind. There are no guarantees. The investment is costly, and the outlook on the ROI can appear very bleak. Because many times, it is. This is not something they tell you upon entering school. Afterward, many will teach or work in some related area while continuing to work on creative goals. Sometimes this works out well, and other times, not. We all need to find ways to survive, but finding the balance between work and creativity can be trying, frustrating, humbling and even crushing. Very few manage to obtain the opportunity to work solely as an artist–or to conduct research and experiments to their hearts’ content. Many will give up entirely and find something else that is easier. Fitting into a groove that someone else has already created is typically far easier than creating your own. Someone else has already taken the risks, the falls, etc. It’s not scary, and often, it’s pretty safe. Comfortable. For some, however, this prefabbed groove is not comfortable for some reason. It just never seems to fit quite right. We may even struggle and keep trying to fit into it, to finally come to the realization that it isn’t going to happen. It’s never going to fit. That is O.K. And that is the time at which we realize that to stand out–to rise to a higher plain–takes another kind of desire, attitude and level of commitment. The ones who push themselves to figure out how to cut an extra two or three hours out of each day–the ones who are willing to search and hunt and dig to find it–and who then take the extra effort it takes to put that extra pressure on that ugly little rock–are simply put–the ones who get the diamonds.

So why be extraordinary? Maybe the real question is, “Why not?” We get one shot at our time, here. Yes, it’s risky. Yes, it’s dangerous. And no, you don’t know how it will work out. Maybe the world is flat, and you’ll go sailing off the edge. And maybe you won’t. Who knows? The thing is… if not taking that chance to find out what could be–is killing you… then you already are extraordinary. The desire or even the need to put yourself out there, and to take risks–for everyone to see… your thoughts, your work, emotions and opinions–is not normal. Who gets up on a stage with no clothes on and says, “Hey, everybody! Look at me! What do you think??” Artists–entrepreneurs–Creative Beasts do. Regularly. It’s crazy. It’s brave. And it’s extraordinary.

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  1. Demitra
    May 29th, 2010 at 08:36 | #1

    I always say we are, Cursed with the Gift of creativity.
    “There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable it is, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open….”
    George Carlin
    “No artist is pleased……(There is no) satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others”
    Martha Graham to Agnes de Mille

  2. May 29th, 2010 at 11:28 | #2

    Well spoken, Demitra!

    I’m desperately trying to be.

  3. thaus
    June 1st, 2010 at 08:23 | #3

    Great quotes, Demitra! …Perfect.

  4. Jeff Allen
    June 20th, 2010 at 04:50 | #4

    You’re hitting on a couple of different ideas here. In his book “Trust Agents” Chris Brogan talks about “making your own game” as a means of finding what everyone else is doing, and then finding out what works for you. What makes yours stand out.

    As creatives, we create because of some inborn need to do so. Oftentimes the people that ridicule us do not actually live to society accept what we did as genius, or groundbreaking. But for the creative mind there is something in each of us that says “If for no one else, I do this for me and the world be damned.”

    We know the world may laugh at us, or ridicule, give us the “stink eye”, or what have you. The world is full of critics and cowards who belittle our work. And it is through knowing this that we, as creatives, realize that we have the courage to create, to take that chance. We are just as willing to succeed as we are to fail.

    Creativity is a both a blessing and a curse. It is that double edged sword of synapse and soul that exudes from everything we are and everything we do. Sure, we all want to be accpted, loved, and admired for our creativity and our work. It’s just that it never happens as often as we’d like and when it does happen we wonder if that was what we ever truly wanted at all. Or is what we wanted instead just to create?

  5. Beth sahagian Allsopp
    August 3rd, 2010 at 11:53 | #5

    Trish your blogging is Extraordinary yes I mean that. I can’t wait to dig in further.

  6. thaus
    August 4th, 2010 at 07:41 | #6

    Thanks, so much, Beth! I really appreciate the feedback!

  7. January 23rd, 2011 at 16:37 | #7

    im not trying to get rude here but i’d be ashamed to add content material this silly on my web site. no offence.

  8. thaus
    January 23rd, 2011 at 19:00 | #8

    Hey, thanks for the comment, I really appreciate it; especially from one who is so articulate.

  9. thaus
    February 3rd, 2011 at 17:28 | #9

    Thanks, very much!

  10. March 18th, 2011 at 21:11 | #10

    Are you making this up as you go along?

  11. March 18th, 2011 at 22:29 | #11

    What do you think?

  1. August 7th, 2010 at 23:05 | #1