Sarah Kay on working

Maria Popova (Brainpickings) is so great at interviewing, and shares my fascination with work and how people approach work. She just posted a great interview with poet Sarah Kay, about being a working artist, about kindness and empathy and vulnerability, and about approaches to work.

Kay tells a fable:

A girl walks up to a construction site and asks the first man she sees, “Excuse me, what are you doing?” And he says, “Oh, can’t you see I’m laying bricks?” She then walks up to the second man she sees, who is doing the exact same thing the first one was doing, and says, “Excuse me, what are you doing?” And he says, “Oh, can’t you see I’m building a wall?” And then she reaches the third man, who is doing the same thing as the previous two, and she says, “Excuse me, what are you doing?” And he says, “Oh, can’t you see I’m building a temple?”

She goes on to draw parallels to her own work — what parts of it are brick laying, what parts are wall building, and what parts are temple building. She adds: “But what’s so wonderful about all of this is that if you focus on one of the three for too long, you lose sight of the other two — so it requires a lot of shifting and balancing in order to get anything done at all.”

Lovely complement to Derek Sivers’ recent post about needing to consider all three elements (happy/smart/useful) in his work.

 

 

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