This week's word of the day is Eudaimonia. Greek: ευδαιμονία [eu̯dai̯monía]
Eudaimonia is Aristotle's concept that the goal of life is happiness and it's to be achieved through reaching one's full potential
I am framing my working style through the work of Aristotle, Eudaimonia to me is working slowly and carefully, perfecting through curious repetition. This process is focused on the joy of doing, and practicing my craft without judgement. My process of art making used to be so scattered and full of judgements, fragmented by distraction, especially when the studio is at home. I tend to be distracted by judging my work a little too harshly then reverted my focus on other things like the cats, lunch, and THE INTERNET! When I frame my work around joy and curiosity, I've begun to feel that my art practice is a discipline worth keeping. Art making is work, it is observed by formalising the practice to what might be called' the office hour' approach. By organising myself as if I am going to 'work'. I wear nice work clothes, I have mascara on, and I put on a pair of heels. ( I kid you not, an excellent way to put your mind to focus at work is to wear shoes, try it if you aren't convince!).
And now here's my question to you.
How do you frame your work or practice so when you are done at the end of the day, you feel satisfied, you were lost in the process because you actually enjoyed it, and you feel you are closer to being your best self?
This is a question mostly for those in the creative field, but it can also work for non-creative jobs. Why do we need to be lost in our work? Why is the feeling so much better when organising an excel file or solving a communication issue if you are engaged curiously? The joy of being lost in your work is your experience of work through the curious self. Like a three year old child trying to draw a circle, her motor skill isn't developed yet, she will be so absorbed in the process that perhaps her tongue stick out the side of the mouth to aid concentration. There are discussion why adults still do this too here Approaching your work with curiosity also makes your focus enjoyable and lessen your chance of distraction.
I am almost sure that the curious-self exists in everyone, the enjoyment comes from lack of judgement. Judgement is electric charge that feels ugly, unpleasant, uncomfortable. That's the bit that judges the work against your worth (example: why am I doing this, I can't believe I have to do this, oh I hate this, I'm dreading this, I am better then this, I am doing worthless work,...) Imagine if you can release this judgement charge, then you can get in touch with your curious self and approach the task with curiosity instead of judgement
hey, what have you got to lose? want to try it? Here's some tricks that could help you get started:
1. Every 4 hours, stop doing what you're doing, and take 4 or 5 long and slow deep breath while looking out of a window or closing your eyes. Focus on your breath. (I have an alarm of beautiful chimes to help me keep to this)
2. Drink some water or something refreshing or hot. Feel the liquid pulsing through you. Take a minute to concentrate on this.
3. Step away from the work, and just look at it. Imagine you are someone else, someone who loves you, your biggest fan, your supporter, your instagram follower, your best friend...
4. Criticize your work, tell yourself why this could be improved, and why it's not quite as good as it could be. Feel what this brings up in you. Not so nice? Naturally!
5. LET THE JUDGEMENT GO. Throw it out. It might help if you crumple a piece of paper as a symbolic physical gesture, and literally through it out and let the judgement go out with it. You can also throw your actual work out, but I doubt you'd want to do that, because it will occur to you that it's NOT THAT BAD!
Go ahead. Now you're ready to start.
Leave me a comment if you've done it. :) I'm curious.