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One hand tied behind your back?

By June 21, 2022September 21st, 2022No Comments

Photo courtesy of Brian Christian

In my recent podcast interview with the author and muti-hyphenate Brian Christian, he mentioned an “origin story” moment.

As a young man, he was caught between identities. Was he a Scientist? He’d been to a STEM school and had done really well in those topics. Or was he a Creative? While at the STEM high school, he’d inadvertently won the statewide poetry competition.

At a crossroads, he enrolled in some literature courses at Brown University. And on the side of its English Department, a Gertrude Stein quote was chiseled: “And then there is using everything”.

Not this or that. Not A or B. Not one or the other.

Use everything.

One of my favourite quotes is, “Inspiration is when your past suddenly makes sense.” Seen in the light of Stein’s quote, you realize that inspiration can arise when you allow yourself to create from what Zorba (the Zorba in  Zorba the Greek) called “the full catastrophe:” your focused&diverse, scarred&triumphant, light&dark, glorious&messy life.

Now I know, also, that there’s great power in choosing and committing.

But for now … go on. You can use everything.

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Michael Bungay Stanier

Michael Bungay Stanier

I'm the author of five books that have collectively sold more than a million copies. I'm the founder of Box of Crayons, a learning and development company that helps organizations move from advice-driven to curiosity-led. I'm the host of the *2 Pages with MBS* podcast.