Only work when your guts and instincts propel you to work, to create, and to produce. Whenever we “force” ourselves to work or create, it will never be any good.
Create out of super-abundance
It seems essential to put yourself in the ideal situation and circumstances to allow your work spontaneously create itself (wu wei). For example as I type these words, I’m enjoying JAY Z (Black album) in my headphones, I’m standing at a really cool hipster coffee shop in Condesa Mexico City, I have a good coffee buzz (7pm, I’ve fasted all day), pleasant stimulation from all of these interesting folks surrounding me at the coffee shop. I’m also typing this on a “split keyboard” (software in iOS) on my iPad.
Right now wanting to type this— it ain’t because I want to force myself to be “productive”. Instead, I feel a superabundance of gratitude towards life, that I wish to type this!
Which makes me wonder:
With any work in life — perhaps the only work worth doing is the work that we don’t need to “force” ourselves to do.
Action without action, or effortless action is described as “wu-wei” in Taoism. The idea is that you don’t need to force yourself to do the work, the work does itself spontaneously and on its own!
But how do you enter this state of “flow”? I cannot speak for you, but these are my personal ideal circumstances:
- Being at a lively hipster coffee shop, with a good amount of folks around myself
- Listening to my music through my headphones (JAY Z, KANYE WEST) to block out distracting conversations by strangers
- Good coffee buzz (lots of black coffee, no sugar, no cream)
- Fasting state: I cannot do any creative work if I’ve already had some food or a meal. I fast religiously from breakfast and lunch. My first meal of the day is dinner. And my personal rule is that I’m not allowed to do any work after eating dinner. I will usually reserve the evenings to reading or conversations with Cindy.
Never do any work that you don’t want to do
Assuming you weren’t born into slavery, there is no work that you “must” do. Of course you gotta pay rent and feed yourself, but doing this is often quite simple. No disgrace in holding down a day-job to pay the bills. But I do think it is ignoble (not noble) to become a slave to your job, and to trade more of your free time in order to make (a little more) money.
Furthermore, I don’t think you should equate your own personal identity with your job. Your identity is your artistic identity.
Thus beyond the mere basics of paying your bills and feeding yourself, refuse to do any superfluous toilsome labor (what a lot of people call “work”).