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Updated: Mar 22

I once spoke with author Gary Lippman book We Loved the World But Could Not Stay. The book itself is quite impressive. He wrote THREE HUNDRED one-sentence stories for it. We joked about him possibly setting a world record for writing the most stories in a single book. And at the time of this blog post, he's yet to claim the unclaimed prize.

But then the conversation got deep.

Gary spoke candidly about how he once had an inability to finish writing stories because of his perfection, something many of us creatives struggle with.

He mentioned the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi, which defines as "an aesthetic concept that finds beauty and serenity in objects, landscapes, designs, etc., that are simple, imperfect, and impermanent." Embracing wabi-sabi, Gary says, is akin to “flying your freak flag.”

While execution is key to success because great ideas mean nothing without it, the quest for getting it “juuuuuuust right” can oftentimes hinder our progress as well. In some cases it can even keep us from getting off the ground.

Instead, welcoming the imperfections of our work—despite our best efforts—guarantees growth. If it doesn’t go as planned, then we can reflect on our mistakes and course correct. If it does go as planned, then we reap the rewards of a job well done.

None of those happen when we obsess over planning and revising and tinkering when the original draft of something was done months, YEARS ago.

At some point, we have to let go and leave it up to the universe to decide what to do with our creations. Then it’s on to the next project.

So let’s fly our freak flags and channel that wabi-sabi!

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