Dear Rachel

I solemnly pledge that this blog will not become an advice column!!!

That being said... today is all about advice. And not necessarily advice for you. But you're welcome to it if you want it. :)

I seem to have been picking up advice left and right lately and not necessarily from obvious sources. In fact, every wise little tidbit has come from a super random place. Like, really, really random.

And I wanted to write them down. So that I remember them.

This blog USED to be my personal blog. And, ok, it still is. But I mean really, really personal. It mainly used to be about my kids and life and basically how crazy I was. And while the argument could be made that it still is, rest in the knowledge that it used to be worse. But one day I'll look back on those early blogs and treat it like a journal of my life.

That's what today's blog is about. I'm writing these down for me but also for you- just in case you could use a little something-something on this early Monday morning!!!

This came from Ashton Kutcher. I know. Believe me, I know. No one was more surprised than me when this guy had something inspiring to say. I watched his Teen Choice Award speech like most others connected to the internet and whilst I'm still wondering if he hired a speech writer, I'm going to give him some credit. Because he had a LOT of great things to say. But one stuck with me more than anything else. And I have not been able to get it out of my head. It's probably my favorite piece of advice I'm sharing today.

1. Opportunity looks a lot like hard work.

Isn't that great??? Because it's so very true. Nobody successful just accidentally stumbled into their fortune. They worked for it. They worked hard for it. And they didn't stop working for it until they got it or after they got it. No matter what it is, good things take time and attention. In my opinion the greatest rewards come from the greatest investments. Time is an investment. Hard work is an investment.

And in the same vain, I would say Talent looks a lot like hard work too. This is something I'm told whenever I get a sweet or encouraging email. I hear, "You have 'talent.'" a lot. But the truth is... it's not something I was born with. If I ever let you read the first book I wrote, you would understand. It's AWFUL. Truly, it is. And trust me when I say not every single thing I write today is all that inspired. In fact... talk to The Relentless Warrior. It is getting a makeover. But the reason there's a marketable product is because I pour my time and energy into everything I write. I make it good- or try to. That doesn't happen by accident. Talent looks a LOT like hard work.

This next one is from a car commercial. Yep. I have a thing for commercials in general.... I don't watch a ton of TV- or like any, except for Duck Dynasty. And I can't find the exact quote. But I think it's from a KIA commercial.

2. Life isn't about finding yourself, it's about creating yourself.

Or something similar to that. But that's what I took away from it anyway. I actually snapped my head up for this one. It was on during a Premiership halftime break- my husband is obsessed with EPL... OBSESSED- and we watch a lot of soccer around here. Anyway, I thought it was a fantastic thing. Because while I will preach to the day I die, you HAVE to know who you are, and that requires a good bit of "finding" or searching, you also have the freedom to create yourself.

Not that I'm saying be dishonest, but strive for a better you. Create the person you want to be. Create the life you want to live. That sounds so hokey, I know. But it's still true. It's all that "follow your dreams" stuff. If you have a dream follow it. If you don't, create one. It's up to you. No one else is going to get you there or give you something to work for.

Also, upon Googling this phrase to make sure I was quoting it correctly, I learned that it's actually a George Bernard Shaw quote. So congrats Kia on actually thinking this one all the way through. :)

This one is from a website called Bookbaby. I don't actually remember signing up for emails, but as soon as I published my first book, they started showing up in my inbox. And mostly I skim over them- especially when the title of the email is something like, "Publishing your book for less than $49." I don't need that because I publish for free. :)

But it's a reputable site and sometimes emails come through like, "10 Tips for Writers" and they catch my interest. If you haven't noticed, I LOVE advice. And I will take anything and everything I can find. Even apart from this blog, I just love hearing tips and how-to's. Even if I never apply them to my life, I still just like to know them.

Anyway, 9 of the 10 tips were things I already knew, or kind of knew. But one stuck out louder and clearer than the rest.

3. Talent is Overrated: Hard work and dedication are the keys to success.

I LOVE this. And while it sounds a lot like the first piece I discussed. It's so much more. For me it's like, relax... you don't have to worry about "talent," just work hard. And working hard is a whole lot easier than digging for talent that doesn't exist.

While some of my projects are completely and absolutely inspired, not every moment of every day is spent basking in the light of my writing muse. Sometimes it's simply "work." Sometimes I have to force myself to finish, or write the next chapter, paragraph or sentence. Sometimes it's more about perseverance than utter belief in my own work. And while it would be nice to only ever write from my heart and my well of pure creativity, I'd never get anything done. And you would never get anything to read.

So heck yes, Talent is overrated. Talent doesn't pay the bills, hard work does. Talent might start a book, but hard work finishes it. Talent might create characters but dedication brings them to life and gives them substance. Talent might give me a name, but blood, sweat and tears keeps it from fading into oblivion. Never rely on talent. Talent may get you to the starting block, but hard work crosses the finish line.

This next one is also from a commercial. I told you, I have a thing for them. Sometimes I pay more attention to the commercials than whatever show I'm watching.

But it's from a Nike commercial.

In general, I find all things sports-related incredibly inspiring. Remember the Titans, Miracle, The Mighty Ducks... those are my favorite kinds of movies. Probably it has something to do with playing contact sports while growing up. I can easily relate to team oriented activities and all that.

Anyway, this commercial is particularly inspiring.

4. Move yourself. Challenge yourself.

The whole premise is that if you can do something, like run a mile, do more, like run a race, run a marathon. If you can do something, do more, challenge yourself, do everything.

Obviously, they're talking about physical activities- they want you to buy their shoes. But I think it's a principal we could apply to every part of life. If you can write a paragraph, write a page, write a chapter, write a book. Or in how we help others. If you can volunteer in your kid's classroom, volunteer at church, volunteer in a homeless shelter. If you can be patient with your screaming kids, be patient with your husband, be patient with the stupid slow driver making you bonkers. :) If you can be, be more, be everything.

I just love that. And probably it has something to do with Lebron James and his insane dunk at the end... but it's still a very neat principle to pick up from a commercial. 

And the last one for today. So you can go back to your normal life where people don't try to indoctrinate you... :)

This one's from a Facebook eCard. Obviously the holy grail of inspirational quotes.

Although this one is more practical advice than all the others.

5. If you have burnt food on the bottom of a skillet or pan, add two inches of water and two drops of dish soap and then bring to a boil on your stove. You can boil the soap and the food will lift.

Right?? Now that was worth reading to the end. Usually, if that happens to me, I just make spaghetti sauce, but truth be told I'm not always in the mood for spaghetti and this happens way more than it should. I'm so trying this.


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1 comment:

  1. I agree with everything you have listed here! I was told by someone close to me that I was wrong for dedicating so much time on my writing. That they would never stay home to write instead of going out with their friends, etc. That readers can wait a year or more for each book to come out, so I shouldn't be writing all the time. People who think like that don't understand how making a dream come true takes DEDICATION, time, SACRIFICE, hard work, and effort. The same concepts you have listed in #1 & #3 were screaming in my head when they said that, and it further instills those values in me each and every time I hear someone else say them. So thank you so very much for posting this, Rachel! Everything is so very true! <3