After reading Lawrence Yeo’s excellent description of the game that is “Unlived Life” about the dreams we’re not living, I thought hard about my own writing career. How was Resistance getting in the way? How could I beat the bosses on three levels, namely Laziness, Self-Doubt and Uncertainty.
I marvelled at the accuracy he’d pinpointed the three levels of Resistance preventing us from Nirvana, or the “Unlived Life”. If you’re also starting on your new path towards living a more creative life, creating your own serendipities with the work you create, check out Lawrence’s walk-through of the game, “The Quest to the Unlived Life” so you can formulate your personal strategies for dealing with the bosses which stand in your way.
I’ve found, as an extrovert, that it’s good to surround myself with people who are relentlessly exploring the possibilities. The great thing about these people is that unlike 98% of the population they know exactly what they want and how to work to get it. If you’re lucky you don’t have to look far to find these people. In my case, some of these people are the very members of my own family.
Yup, family was an institution I largely overlooked because of mum and dad’s dysfunction. There are super-functional members of my family, I’ve discovered, and they are turning out to be a gold mine of inspiration.
Coincidentally, both sides of my family have people in different generations and fields, who have broken through their comfort zones, gone outside of their immediate circles, which are cosy, warm and nourishing, to find the pieces of their unlived life to claim as their own. They are actively going out, exploring the unknown, bring it back home, processing it some more and taking it back out onto the world.
Basak, my second cousin on my dad’s side started her career as an architect. She restored an old mansion on the North side of Bosphorus where the waters meet the Black Sea.
Somehow she caught the Jazz bug (Basak, how did you get into Jazz? Please fill me in on this. I’m curious) and started following it all the way to winning local Jazz vocalist competitions, to world renowned Jazz schools and even to the birthplace of Jazz, New York City. She placed in international competitions, released albums with her Jazz heroes and appeared on radio programs in her home town, Istanbul. She’s currently teaching music and is one of the members of the Istanbul Composers Orchestra.
The few times I’ve come across her on social media, she’s sharing her love of music and the joy she founds in the playfulness of the universe which she echoes in her style of telling her stories, through song.
Accomplishing all of these things did not happen over night. She had to overcome many obstacles. One being, she’s a Turkish national where Jazz is not a part of the culture. She’s unusual int he regard. Secondly, the country’s economy and political stance largely prevents its citizens from being welcomed with open-arms in all corners of the world. Visas can be difficult to obtain and Turkish Lira is a weak and unstable currency. This means everything appears more out of reach for people from this part of the world. The call of her unlived life (meaning in Jazz melodies) has her overcoming tough barriers.
My second cousing on my mum’s side, Emirhan, founder of Turkish Kit, a community of Turkish Apple iOS developers, had a dream a few years back and became the first Turkish person picked out for the Apple WWDC16 and then again for Apple WWDC17. For as long as I’ve known Emirhan he’s been obsessively learning, putting his learnings into practice, gaining experiences and then sharing his experiences to educate and inspire others. He’s been a TedX speaker not once but twice. He’s someone who walks the path without fear and encourages others to do the same. In our ever changing world, the biggest risk is not taking any risk and living a life within one’s limited comfort zone.
When I look at my immediate family, my partner stands out as someone who’s dedicated to the work he wanted to do since he was a teenager. He’s been investing and trading since he was young and now all that practice has paid ofe gets off. He’s trusted to invest a lot of other people’s money.
As for me?
It took me a long time to own this thing that I’m a writer. Perhaps it’s not as socially acceptable as being a technologist or a fund manager, which are all professions deemed respectable and hence rewarded handsomely financially. Basak went out on a limb as a vocalist because she could not ignore her talent and where the universe was leading her. Emirhan joined the army of coders rewriting our world. I can do the same with my ideas which I put out as textual words, scripts and digital experiences. It’s exciting times and I truly feel that the keyboard is mightier than any weapon we’ve known as humankind.
It’s time to put aside all excuses, overcome laziness, self-doubt and all the other bosses described by Lawrence Yeo and keep doing the work.
The people who do the work, who don’t complain about the economy, politics, social media, their fellow human beings, their own circumstances are those who I need around me to feed my flame.
The only way to find and reconnect with these people? It’s through doing the work.
Keep getting up to do the work. Especially when you don’t feel like it. It’s the only way to exist in this world and reach immortality in the hearts and minds of generations to come.