Bruce Benderson talks about living a full life, even if others are critical of the way you live, in his letter to James Harmon for Harmon’s book, Take My Advice. The quote from Benderson that I highlighted is, “Art is the radical decision to enjoy yourself at all cost.” When I reflect on this quote what I love is the idea of having a craft (drawing, writing, singing, bowling, etc…) and fully embracing and enjoying myself in the moment of executing a craft. Benderson encourages us to think of our art as play, which to me means that we are always willing to try something new, change our approach, and look at things from new perspectives, because in the end our goal is not success as outsiders may define it, but the goal instead is a fullness that comes from expanding ones talent.
In his message is the idea that we can work our way forwards in our art or craft by remembering what it is we enjoy about the craft, and what pushed us to begin the craft. I think we can also take this message and apply it to other areas of our life. Reminding ourselves what we love about our loved ones, the city we live in, and the job we have may help us appreciate those things. I just finished a book called 59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot written by Richard Wiseman. In his book he writes about the scientific backing to strategies, ideas, and myths that are popular in self-help communities. What he pulled from scientific literature on happiness is the idea that people who sit down and write out their thoughts about what they love in another person or what they are thankful for in their life tend to be happier and have stronger relationships.
I think we can combine these two ideas and start to develop a greater appreciation for the life and craft that we have. We can focus on why we do what we love to do, and what we enjoy from the jobs we do to sustain ourselves and family.