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Ideas and stories from my growth journey. Warning: If you are interested in a casual, comfortable life, this blog will be counterproductive for you.

Rejected By Your Husband? Your Cat Exploded? Advice from Neil Gaiman On What To Do With Pain

I was moved by some of the comments of Neil Gaiman, international best-selling author of books, comics, and movies, when he gave a commencement speech for the University of the Arts, class of 2012.
He said…
“When life gets tough, make good art. I’m serious.
Husband runs off with a politician–make good art. Leg crushed, then eaten by mutated boa constrictor–make good art. IRS on your tail–make good art. Cat exploded–make good art. Someone on the internet thinks what you’re doing is stupid or evil or been done before–make good art.
Probably, things will work out somehow. Eventually, time will take the sting away. Either way, do what only you can do best–make good art. Make it on the bad days; make it on the good days; make good art.”
Whether you’re an artist or not, you have a choice what to do with your pain. You can either use it as jet fuel for achievement–or you can wallow in it until it slowly evaporates. If you do choose to lean into that pain and make something valuable out of it, not only will your life take one more step towards exceptional, but your pain will also dissipate much faster (though pain often leaves a stain, no matter how long ago it faded).
Whatever your field, art, business, education, ministry…do  what Gaiman says and use the failures, rejections, and tragedies of life as fuel to “do what only you can do best”.
(If you want to watch his entire 20 min speech, use this link: http://vimeo.com/42372767.)
When have you been able to use your pain as fuel for good? Share a story with the rest of us, if you can.
Scott WozniakRejected By Your Husband? Your Cat Exploded? Advice from Neil Gaiman On What To Do With Pain
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  • Anonymous - June 1, 2012 reply

    My father taught me to run off pain or steam. One good thing is you get a work out at the same time! At a crucial moment in my life, God revealed to me something during a blowing off steam run that has changed my life for the good! It felt like a Forest Gump moment as I had run further and faster than I should have been able to at the time and then I felt led to stop and turn around. I just so happened to have turned around before the home my family and I currently live in! (before we ever realized we would live there!)

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