Nearly everyone has been impacted by the work of Dr. Stephen Covey. Even if you don't know his name, you have probably heard of his famous book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I have a copy of this book in paperback, as well as on audio and have listened to it on long trips, rolling the principles over and over again in my mind.
Am I effective?
Am I highly effective?
Probably in some ways yes and in other ways I have a long way to go. There are usually three areas of my life that I feel like I am probably lagging behind in, while there is often only one area of life where I feel like I might actually be making it just fine. I don't know if anyone else can relate, but gee, I think it would be swell to feel like I was highly effective!
My favorite part of the 7 Habits is when Dr. Covey talks about the principles of investing in relationships. He talks about how it is often a bit counter-intuitive to our general ideas of working on something. When we have a relationship with a friend or a child or a spouse or partner, spending time listening and being present is the key. When we are able to be present in simple ways, the relationship grows in trust and openness and respect. Our children, students, friends or partners are more wiling to share with us when we listen to them on a regular basis. The opposite effect happens when we jump in and out and move too quickly to really listen. We try to problem solve in 5 minutes because we are busy and we need to get things done. Quick, let's get this thing with your homework fixed, let's finish this conversation up, we have more to do. Dr. Covey says that when it comes to relationships, slow is fast and fast is slow. Meaning that slowing down to take the time to listen and be present creates exponential growth and positive effects. Hurrying slows down the growth and depletes the health of the relationship.
When I pondered over these words, listening to the audio book of the 7 Habits in the car, they clicked over and over again. It is not just my relationship with others, but also my relationship with myself that functions on these same principles. If it is also my relationship with myself, then it is most certainly my relationship with my art. I can't rush around depleting all forms of energy, care and concern outwards and then expect that I have anything left to pour into my creative work. When I am too busy to even sit with myself, how can I expect creative greatness from myself?
Slow is fast.
Slow is ok.
I have to remind myself of this, as the world pushes me to speed up faster and faster. I have my e-mail at the tip of my fingers, as well as texts and calls and the answer to any question that may pop into my head throughout the day.
My phone is smart.
My computer is smart.
My schedule is full.
And I... well, I'm having allergies and feeling tired, wishing I could spend more time in the studio on some paintings, drawing and writing. Sometimes I am too focused on the next thing and the next thing and the next thing..... that I don't slow down enough to sit with my relationship with my art and I end up missing out on what my, "the next" creative thing will be!
Slow down seems counter-intuitive when we continue to hear the message that more more more is the only way to get anywhere with anything. We compare ourselves and our accomplishments to those of others, thinking that more of what they are doing must be the answer for us.
For now, I'm recommitting myself to less running around from place to place and more sitting in my studio, listening, doodling and playing. Sitting with myself and my relationship with my art. It is a good commitment, probably one that will save me money on gas and keep the stress out of my life.
If you haven't checked out The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Dr. Stephen Covey, give it a whirl, definitely some life-changing insightful stuff.
Also, the Kickstarter campaign is in full swing to get Art Nurture:The Book published. I seriously cannot do this without you, so if you want to collaborate with me on making this book a reality, then please back it and share it with anyone who may be inspired to do the same!
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"Court has a knack for supporting others in tuning into the artist within..."