Hugh MacLeod’s book Ignore Everybody is essential reading. It’s absolutely key for creative people, and I think it’s also highly relevant for people who people who don’t think they are or think they need to be. It’s about carving your own niche in life. Over and over again, people who work conventional jobs eventually find out that they are still at the mercy of fate until they take charge and create their own career paths. That’s going to start happening faster and faster as more industries are permanently disrupted. But I assume that if you’re reading this, you have creativity inside of you that wants to come out, so we’ll focus on that.
Art is one of those things that can be “learned but not taught.” First you feel the spark. Then, if you keep it inside too long, it starts burning a big old hole inside you. Best to get all those embers outside of yourself as quickly as they appear. (Just realized that it sounds like I’m summarizing MacLeod here, but I’m not – that image just came to me). So, reading Ignore Everybody at too early a stage probably won’t be enough to create artistic inspiration where none existed before. That’s the main problem with self-help and motivational books: They can only provide a couple of missing pieces for many people who were close to figuring out the message already, while leaving others mystified and cynical. Suffice to say that I loved this book, nodded my way through it, laughed out loud a few times, but wouldn’t have understood it 20 years ago. It’s good validation when you’re starting out on a hike, and someone who has hiked it before was thoughtful enough to leave trail markers indicating that you’re going the right way.
The most salient message from the book for me had to do with working at something that is uniquely yours, even when you’re not really sure how or whether it could ever succeed, because “If you are successful, it’ll never come from the direction you predicted.” Eventually, it turns into a well-honed, special something that the world never knew it needed, which nobody but you can provide.
I've been working with chronic disorganization, squalor, and hoarding for over 20 years. I'm also a marathon runner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid disease 17 years ago.