Attachment Is Optional

I’ve been re-reading Seth Godin’s The Practice (as you can tell from few of my most recent posts) for the third time since it was launch last month. It’s one of the best books on creativity I’ve read in the past ten years. And if you haven’t bought it yet, you should. The ideas will change the way you think about creativity and your work, er, practice.

One of the great ideas that Seth expounds on our attachment with our work, the outcomes we produce, other people’s comments, and their perception about our work. None of which, ironically, helps us in our practice as a professional.

Attachment gives us a false sense of security by creating a place to hide or something to hold on to or stand on, like a foundation. At the same time, we process everyone’s feedback, interpretations, and perceptions. And all that pondering doesn’t offer any respite but keeps us from doing the work that matters the most.

What happens if we stop looking for something to hold onto?
What if we stop seeking validation?
What if we detach ourselves from the outcomes, comments, and other people’s perception of our work?

A whole lot of work gets done should one choose to detach themselves from all that. One of the most profound experiences I’ve was that I was able to show up every day with so much less stress and anxiety. It freed up my brain to focus on a whole lot of doing than hoping, worrying, and expecting.

The challenge with attachment is that it keeps us from doing what we’re supposed to do — your practice. The art that you want to create for yourself, your genre, your minimum viable audience, and to change the culture.

Detachment helps you build a solid foundation that’s based on your body of work and your audience; the ones who genuinely care about what you’re putting out. And not the ones who have lots of expectations and interpretations about you and your work but still won’t buy from you.

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