I Hate Learning

I was wasting time in WHSmith the other day, before catching a train, and after perusing the book section (must admit, I look mainly to see what’s is popular on the covers, sad, I know) I moved onto the magazine rack. I saw lots of magazines on cameras, and there was one specifically for Nikon, to teach you how to use your DSLR properly. I thought to myself – that would be a good idea, I would like to know how to use it properly, not just fiddle about with the settings until it looks about right.

Then immediately after that thought, came another one that went along the lines of – How boring to learn how to use my camera from a magazine.

The thought made me stop for a moment, and I realised that yes, if I had bought the magazine, I would probably never read it, and it wouldn’t help me use my camera better. Because actually, I hate learning.

I hated school. I hated reading books of facts or history or data. I tried to go to university. Twice. I hated it. I hate reading lengthy articles, and the only non-fiction I read is generally self-help or spiritual or metaphysical, and even then, if it’s a bit dry or dull, I won’t finish it.

I have been trying for some time to find a course I could do to qualify in something that would give me a job or career that paid well, so I could keep doing my books but not expect the royalties to support me. But there was nothing I could think of, nothing that I could find that I knew I could stick to.

I hate learning.

However, I love discovering.

I love reading stories, novels or blogs that inspire, inform and teach me something – without trying to. I love discovering some new random fact or bit of history that I didn’t know before.

I love to discover new things from movies and TV shows, obviously, much of history in movies is skewed, but that’s okay, I still discover things.

I love to discover new information from talking to friends, from watching TED talks, from being shown how to do something, or being given random advice by a stranger.

It might seem like a bit of a pointless thing to do, to make this definition between learning and discovering, after all, they’re essentially the same thing, but for me, it has been a complete eye-opener. Knowing that I would rather discover something for myself, even if I make mistakes while doing so, rather than being shown or have to read a manual to learn – is a huge realisation for me.

I can stop looking for courses now. I can stop pretending I will ever get a boring qualification to do something sensible. Instead, I will seek new opportunities to discover new things, try new things, and allow myself to play and figure things out. I plan to visit a friend who is an awesome photographer, to get some tips on using my camera better, and how to get specific shots I really want to get.

What about you? Do you love to learn? Or would you rather discover?


The War of Art

Image from Amazon

Image from Amazon

Having come across the title of this book a few times, I decided to pick up a copy on Kindle and have a read, and I have to admit, I am halfway through reading it again, after having stayed up most of the night the first time I read it.

To begin with, the super-short sections and simplicity and brevity of the passages put me off – after all how could such simple paragraphs really be very effective? But when relaying some of the messages to my mum, the deeper messages started to sink in and I had some pretty big insights into my own ways of working, and into my own life and mindset.

The first part of the book is all about Resistance. About what it looks like, what it feels like, and how it stops us from achieving our true potential. Much of the ideas I had seen before, but compiled in this way, made me realise that truly, resistance is the only things that holds us back – it just has many guises. I love the fact that the author is honest about that fact that there is no way to permanently get rid of resistance, but all we can do is to keep going, and not let it win.

The second part of the book is all about the differences between the professional and the amateur. Of course I have read all of the usual comments on professional writers or successful writers being those who write every day, who have a routine, who treat it like a job, etc, and of course, being the creative, sometimes lazy person that I am, I have always ignored such advice. But the way it is presented in the War of Art, made much more sense to me, and changed my perspective entirely. He says that the professional (by which he means someone who makes a living from what they do)  treats their art, their vocation as though it were their job, in that they show up every day, they put in the hours and they don’t over-identify with what they create. I realised then, that when I have a normal job, I of course turn up on time, do my hours and I don’t take it personally when things I do are criticised. So why can I not apply those same abilities in myself to my writing?

I had a lightbulb moment then. I realised that I was programmed to take my work more seriously when I was being paid by the hour, than when I was creating my books. So instead of fighting that, instead of trying to reprogram myself and get rid of my conditioning, I figured – why not just pay myself to write? And not only that, but why not create a contract with myself, outlining the projects I want to do, the amount of hours I need to write per week and how much I will pay myself? Seems a little bit like the kind of playing I used to do as a kid, when I had my own shop or library, and used to stamp the books my friends borrowed, but I think that doing this, even if it is a little bit like playing, will change the way I view my writing completely.

The last part of the book is about the mystical side of creation. About our genius, our muse. It reminded me very much of my favourite TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert which I mentioned in my post of favourite TED talks. I do very much believe that when we create, we are plugged into a source of inspiration outside of ourselves, and I feel very honoured to be able to plug into that source on a regular basis.

Overall, I would recommend this book because I got some amazing insights into my own ways through reading it, and not to be put off by the simplicity of it – it really does have genius within those simple words.

What Does Success Mean to YOU?

Success. It’s a word with a lot of weight attached to it. A lot of feelings and emotions, not all positive ones. When you hear the word – what is your reaction? What does it mean to you? Do you think you’re successful? Do you compare your own successes to others? Do you hate those posts on Facebook, which declare the ‘top 5 things successful people do’ or the ‘10 things successful people never do’? Do you read them and think – if I want to be successful I need to change all my habits – and then feel like you will never be successful because that seems to big a leap to take?

My number one most hated question that people ask me most often as an Indie Author is – How many books have you sold? I hate the question for a number of reasons, but one of them is that I know people are asking so they can determine how successful I am – because they are basing my success on sales numbers and therefore my income. Another reason I hate it is because the answer to that question makes me feel far from being a successful author.

At the same time, I know that I don’t want to ‘success’ to only be linked to how many books I’ve sold and how much money I make, so I realised I needed a new way.

During my conversation with my soul, which I posted on Monday, my soul pointed out that it was up to me to choose what my definition of failure and success were. Intrigued by the idea, I used a method from a TED talk I watched the other day, and decided to get very clear about what my definition of success was.


I went on a bit of a journey, in my bid to discover what success really meant to me, and in doing so, realised that I had created a little process that others may also find useful. I wanted to share the process with you, but instead of simply writing a blog post and posting pictures, for something different, I thought it would be cool to host a google hangout session, and take people through the process step by step, in the way that I created it and discovered my personal definition.

So, having never done this before, I have decided to hold the session on Monday 23rd February, at 8pm UK time. There is an event page on Facebook that has more information, (even if you don’t have a Facebook account, you can still view the page and see all the info you need, such as the link to join in and watch the session, and also what materials you will need to take part), and I will be posting updates there until the event. I won’t be recording the session (too many technical issues) so if you really want to attend the session and cannot make Monday night, do get in touch, because I may host another session if there is demand for it.

Just to make it clear – this is a completely free session, and there will be no selling whatsoever done within the our time together. It is purely and simply going to be me, taking you through the process I went through, to discover what success really means to you. I may ask at the end for feedback on what you discovered from the session, and if it seems like the process works for others, I may then put a video together to post on YouTube.

Really can’t wait until Monday night! Hope to see you there.