Monday, April 28, 2008

Old Habits Die Hard

I'm a little late to the party on this one (tons of people blogged about it when it first came out, which is why I've always had it in the back of my mind that I needed to read it when I got a chance) but you never know when a book or an article might hit you just right and give you some inspiration just when you need it. So I'm going to go ahead and tell you about Twyla Tharp's book The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life and hopefully someone else will find it as helpful as I have.

Here's one of my favorite parts of the whole book. She writes this under the heading of How to Be Lucky:

"Be generous. I don't use that word lightly. Generosity is luck going in the opposite direction, away from you. If you're generous to someone, if you do something to help him out, you are in effect making him lucky. This is important. It's like inviting yourself into a community of good fortune."

Now, of course we all try to help people whenever and wherever possible. But to frame it in this way, by pointing out that generosity is really luck going in the opposite direction, somehow puts it in a new light. There's a lot of power in the realization that you can positively affect someone's situation, make them "lucky", just by being generous.

Tharp goes on to say that whenever she's "....working in a groove it's invariably because I feel I am being the benefactor in the situation rather than the beneficiary. I am sharing my art with others, lending my craft to theirs, interest-free with no IOU. I want the dancers to look great, so I try to give them great steps. In return, they live up to the potential I see in them. Then I am the one who feels lucky. In the luck equation, who is the winner here?"

Isn't that a great way to put it? I checked this book from the library but I'm definitely going to get my own copy because a) it's the kind of book that you could pick up at any time just for a mini-dose of inspiration and b) there are a lot of good creative exercises that don't necessarily need to be done all at once. Again, you could pick it up and do one of the exercises when you need to shake things up a bit.


Lori said...

Hey, I have this book too! You have inspired me to take it out of the old bookshelf and do a little refresher.

Melissa Kojima said...

This sounds like a great book. I like what she wrote about generosity and luck. Very cool way of looking at it. Thank you.