Your One Thing

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Remember that scene from City Slickers? The one where Curly tells Mitch the meaning of life?

Here’s the clip:

I’ve been thinking about that clip a lot lately. I know my one thing. But I’m very good at putting my one thing off, or frustrating it, or setting up road blocks to make it harder to achieve.

Am I the only one who does this? Am I the only one who thinks there’s something really kind of scary about actively pursuing your dream? Because…well…what if I achieve it? It’s that whole fear of the unknown thing. Or maybe it’s fear of success.

On my desk I have a framed copy of Marianne Williamson’s “Our Deepest Fear”. Have you read it? It begins:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”

And later it reads:

“Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.”

Bingo! Cue lightbulb.

Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time — and most of my creative energy — on work that is something other than my one thing. And while the work was at one point satisfying, it recently took on a vampire quality. It’s been sapping my energy with little in return. That’s a hefty exchange: I give my creative energy for…next to nothing. Not a good investment.

Pearls before swine? Maybe.

Here’s what I’m learning about creativity: When you are pursuing your one thing, your creativity increases. It builds on itself. It multiplies and grows. It flourishes. When you ignore it, push it down, or squander it, it withers and dries up. Dies.

The other night, my husband made me a deal. He said, in essence, “Give up that other work and put all your effort into your one thing. If the one thing pays off, great. If it doesn’t, you’ll still be happier than you are now, because you’ll have been living your one thing. And also, regardless of the outcome, I love you and support you.”

Now that’s a good exchange.

Time to make my one thing my one thing.

What’s your one thing? Are you pursuing it? Are you making good investments with your creative energy? Do you frustrate your own dreams? I’d love to hear from you.

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11 thoughts on “Your One Thing

    Lisa Nowak said:
    March 9, 2010 at 9:53 am

    Yup, I’m pursuing my one thing. Unfortunately, there are a lot of other things in life that demand a fair share of my time. The hard part is juggling so you don’t let your one thing die of neglect.

      Amy K. Nichols said:
      March 24, 2010 at 10:07 am

      I hear ya, Lisa. It is hard juggling. I just spent the last week or so juggling and not getting much of anything done as a result. Balance can be so elusive. Wishing you luck as you pursue your one thing.

    Cathy June One Thing Pursuer :) said:
    March 9, 2010 at 10:27 am

    Go get ’em, Amy! Thanks for the inspiration!

      Amy K. Nichols said:
      March 24, 2010 at 10:05 am

      LOL! Look at your name! Rock on, Cathy June. Thank you for reading and commenting!

    Amy S said:
    March 9, 2010 at 10:50 am

    I’m going through something very similar right now, and I agree with you completely! Let me know if you want to swap moral support. šŸ™‚

    strugglingwriter said:
    March 9, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    I love that scene.

    I’m not sure I have a one thing. I spread myself pretty thin. I think I need to find and concentrate on my one thing.

      Amy K. Nichols said:
      March 24, 2010 at 10:01 am

      When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? What were your dreams and passions then? Maybe thinking about those will help lead you to finding your one thing.

    Megan Abrahams said:
    March 10, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    I agree that creativity is a catalyst for more creativity. FYI – I’ve given you a One Lovely Blog Award – today on my blog.

      Amy K. Nichols said:
      March 24, 2010 at 10:02 am

      Wow! Thank you! I am woefully behind on responding to comments, and I find this! I really appreciate it. Thank you.

    Nicole Langan said:
    March 22, 2010 at 9:43 am

    doing my one thing, for my one dream.

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