The Quest2016 is so energizing. It girds me to stay grounded right now, while looking forward onto the horizon. I still have wake-up-with-Christmas-morning levels of anticipation and excitement.
Quest2016 Prompt 2 comes from Jonathan Fields, author of the book, Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt Into Fuel For Brilliance and energizer of the Good Life Project. Here is his highly hypothetical, launch-you-into-the-future, break you away from your limitations nudge toward bigness.
You wake up to discover a knock at your door. A wealthy uncle you barely knew has passed and left you a fortune. It’s more than enough to live out your days in glorious splendor, but there is a condition. To be eligible to collect, you must commit your full-time working energies to the pursuit of an answer to a single question of your choosing for the next 12 months.
You are welcome to continue that pursuit after the year ends, for years or decades if it warrants, but you must remain fully focused on seeking the answer until the last minute of the 365th day. A minute shorter, the entire inheritance goes to your annoying and equally long lost cousin, Philly.
What is your question?
So this may look familiar to you, and that’s because this is the same question (like, literally the same Post-It note) from the #DareToExcel challenge this summer. The question remains the same friends. The question remains the same. And that makes me feel, for once in my life, that I am doing something with some consistency – and that I might just be a few steps in to the path of practicing living with the answers.
About 11 months ago I made this video as part of the Quest. It took all of my courage, for so many reasons, but I started asking the first big question: HOW? That video was a tide change for me. It was a launching point. A demarcation between the ebb and the flow. Something.
So, I decided to make a video response to Prompt #2. Here’s my response to What’s Knocking, even though I’ve gone and written a whole bunch of other stuff about it here anyway.
I could just leave it there, without addressing the whole financial and other freedom to dedicate (the requirement to dedicate that time) to answering the question. But I won’t.
There’s another angle to Mr. Fields question that I’ve been thinking through too. And maybe this resonates with you. It’s a bit off the cuff – but we’ll see what comes of it. (and, let me know if this resonates with you!). If I were to accept the challenge Mr. Field outlines – if I were to accept the funds and live the question – how would that change the current balance of where I place my effort in my days?
Here’s what I mean: Right now I work full time. I love my job-job. I also am responsible for running a household-of-one (cleaning, feeding myself, paying the bills, shoveling the snow) and managing a teeny-tiny farm. Those are all, to an extent, the super-high priority things. Those are the things I have to get done because the social and economic order of the world puts priority on them. So all of this fun stuff like writing to you each day and quoting and collages and writing prompts – it has value, but no one is going to die and I am not going to get fired if they don’t get done. They are, despite their contribution to my well-rounded and need-for-creative-outlet-ness: optional.
So, what if that shifted. What if I could spend all day observing this place and writing and making a mess? Would I still want to engage with those activities as much? What if I love diving into the creating because it’s not part of the ‘have to’ list – would it be as much fun? What if it was my source of income? Or it had deadlines? Or it had to be approved by an editor? Would I be so spirited and eager to show up and generate so much
crap volume each day and think about my creative process all the time, and lose time seeing the world and wanting to translate it in my head when it becomes the thing I should be doing, instead of the thing I am doing instead of the thing I should be doing? Or would this just become on of those other should things?
I think, or I wonder, if all of this writing and quoting – if it’s so fun because it serves the purpose of distraction, of fun thing to look forward to – and how my perspective of it would change if its role in my life changed to mandatory. I don’t have answers for that right now, but I’ll think about it. And I would love your thoughts on this, and if you struggle with this too. Me thinks this is also some sort of real or perceived barrier I toss up to prevent myself from moving forward with pursuing creative things professionally – the dear that the joy would be sucked out if it became my job.
So, I guess those are all the big questions that come out when you open the door!
I wrote a whole bunch more (less refined) words on the topic (along with adventures in pig processing) in yesterday’s TinyLetter too. You are welcome to take a peek if you want to climb inside the head of a crazy person.
Time to go find out #WhatsKnocking at the doors of all the other Questers!