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Lesson 2 from: Discovering Your Creative Voice

Chris Orwig

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Lesson Info

2. Ikigai

Next Lesson: Technique

Lesson Info


Alright, so after college I had a chance to do an internship at the Walt Disney company, at their main studios in Burbank, and it was so much fun. Being there I was around all these wildly creative people and that made an impression on me, and since that time, I've made it my effort to try to figure out why is it some people do all this creative work, and they really thrive, and other people don't. Over the last few decades I've had a chance to work with world renown musicians and actors and architects, and artists and poets and whatever it is, and one of the things I've found is that the people who are really alive and who are doing all of this creative work, there's this common thread which connects them all. What it is, is that they've discovered the gift that the universe has given them and they've put effort into paying attention to that and to doing, to using that thing. Now, it doesn't change what they actually do, but how they do it. What comes to mind is this quote by Anne Lam...

ott, she says, "You can do brickwork as a laborer or as an artisan." It's really true we can do work as labor or as art. Think of someone making a brick, maybe staircase. Well, the laborer sweats and toils, and at the end of the day is frustrated. The artisan, sweats and toils, but can't you just imagine though how it looks so much differently? They probably put in more effort, but at the end of the day they go, "Ahh, I can't believe I already have to go.", and they can't wait back, they can't wait to come back again the next day. I think when we approach things a little bit differently, when we have a sense what our gift is, when we find our element, we do become more alive. We become more creative. So how do we do that? Well, one of the ways that I think we do that, is we spend some time thinking about the Japanese concept, which I have just fallen in love with, it's called ikigai, and this concept what it means is our reason for waking up. We need to begin to ask ourself, "Why do we wake up?" Sometimes, the answers are practical. "Well, I wake up because I have to get to work.", or "Get my kids to school.", or "What really gets me out of bed in the morning is getting a chance to experience and savor life with camera in hand.", or why I wake up, perhaps, is something else, like with my friends, Ian and Amber. They have a son, Andrew. Andrew is one of the reasons why they get up in the morning. Andrew is a delight, but he has some challenges. He was born without a hand. Now he gets along really well, but he's in preschool now, and a little while back in preschool, all of his buddies were jamming around the preschool playground riding trikes, but Andrew couldn't, because he couldn't steer, cause he could only hold on with one hand. So his parents thought, "Okay, well, how do we solve this problem?", right? That's what good parents do, they say, "This has motivated me to find some solution here." Nothing worked. They brought in occupational therapists, again, no solutions, until the dad duct taped a cup where the hand grip was on the bike, a plastic cup. They showed the bike to Andrew, he grabbed it, stuck his arm in the cup and then jammed off, and if you could only imagine the smile on his face. So what you and I need to do, is to begin to think about, "Well, what is our reason for being alive?" I like how Gil Bailey put it, he said, "Don't ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive and go an do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive." So as we try to explore how to do this, the exercise for this segment is to take some time and to think about your own ikigai. How do we do that? Well, I have a little pdf that you can download and fill out, if you go to you can find it there. Take some time and really think about, "Well, what is my reason for being alive?" "What is this unique gift that I've been given that can shape not only what I do, but how I do that thing?" Of course, another way to dig even deeper into this concept, is to, perhaps, read a few books. I love books because you can really sit with the concepts, and delve deeply into what this might mean. So I have two recommendations for you, the first one is "The Element", by Sir Ken Robinson. We all know him because he has the most viewed TED talk of all time, but in this book he talks about, "What is the ikigai?", "What is your element?", "How do we find this?", "How do we see this in other people?", as well. It's kind of a practical approach, it will give you some practical ways to begin to find your own element. The second one is "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho. Now this is an allegorical tale. This is more of a story that you immerse yourself in, and as you follow this character in the story, who is trying to find, in a sense, his reason for being, it might even shed some light on how you find your own. So, two different approaches, use the one or go to the book that makes the most sense for you. "The Element" is practical, "The Alchemist" a little bit more of a tale. Alright, well most importantly, more than anything, ask yourself this question: "What is your reason for waking up?", and then take some time, maybe five minutes with a journal and write down a few ideas.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Discovering Your Creative Voice - Bonus Video - HD
Creative Voice Resource Guide
Ikigai Template

Ratings and Reviews


Excellent. Would recommend this to every creative soul. Inspiring . Thank you very much Chris for this course.

Brenda Pollock Smith

Chris is an evangelist for all creatives. He facilitates expanding our creativity in very simple, practical ways. Really good stuff! Thank you Creative Live for offering this kind of soul food content.

François Morisset

Wow...we need more of Chris Orwig..His wisdom in life mix with photography is extraordinary! What a great gift I got from creativelive..that gift is Chris Orwig. thank you soo much

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