Flim-Flam

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This was my dad’s word for the barrage of verbal stuff that happens when you’re prevaricating, making excuses , or otherwise not getting to the heart of the matter(my interpretation). It seems a slightly more genteel relative of its american cousin, BS. I don’t think it exists in any dictionary, apart from the unwritten one in my family.

I’m reading Eric Maisel’s book, “The Van Gogh Blues”, which is, in a sentence, about overcoming the anxiety that blocks creativity. The conversation that you have with yourself that goes, ‘what is the point of doing this – no-one will ever want to read it/look at it/hear it’ (circle according to your preferred medium). It’s the conversation that convinces you that the really exciting project you thought you were about to embark on is in fact worthless, meaningless and a complete waste of time.

Maisel invites us to ‘opt to matter’. It’s about hearing all the flim-flam and choosing to ignore it and go ahead and create anyway. There are no guarantees that crowds will begin to form at your door the minute whatever it is is completed. But it does mean that you have absorbed, processed and responded to the world in your unique way. No-one else can do that. Except you. And you will feel better for having made some sense of the world.

By co-incidence, I followed a few links yesterday evening and came across a talk by Seth Godin on tribes (he has a book by the same name). He is a very entertaining speaker, and I liked the message of daring to challenge the status quo. Surely that is what brave creative people do too. Maybe they go unrecognised in their own lifetime, as they’re sometimes a little too different from the prevailing tastes of the time. Maybe they find like-minded people who connect with them. From small beginnings, these are the people who change things.

The message is not to stay small. It serves no-one. So it doesn’t matter whether you are an artist, a sculptor, a writer, a coach, a manager or a leader. Say what you need to say. Cut out the flim-flam.

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