#41 Keep Going | Austin Kleon (Thoughts)

From one of the pages in Keep Going by Austin Kleon. I love how deceptively simple this is but so well articulated (or visualized).

I finished the book in one hour. I did it in a flight over a can of beer. The beer I finished in 15 minutes but the book gained a headstart because no refreshment was supposed to be served during takeoff. I'm about to launch into a crazy, raving mode of how much I love Austin Kleon's latest work BUT I'm going to exercise self-control.


So by now you'd know I love Neil Gaiman, and Ryan Holiday is one of my favorite guys, not forgetting Tim Ferriss. We have a long history together and we shared beds. Well, not physically but through the pages they have produced. I'm talking about reading in bed (if you still haven't got a clue what I'm saying). Austin Kleon is another such guy.

My relationship with Austin Kleon started in 2012. It's been going strong since then. Going back to Keep Going, it's a brilliant book. The 10 points—or ways—nicely given to us, read like a dream. I've been doing a lot of the things mentioned in the book, loving the routine (people close to me know how much I love routine) so that I can go, plan, and do something exciting, thinking about certain things like doing stuff just because I'm happy doing them not because I want to prove anything, not wanting to monetize my hobbies, and you know what? This book that I was holding in my hands—the book that I bought on 4 April (0404)—actually articulated my thoughts.

"I think I need to keep being creative not to prove anything but because it makes me happy just to do it... I think trying to be creative, keeping busy, has a lot to do with keeping you alive." —Willie Nelson

Austin says,
The important thing is to make it to the end of the day, no matter what. No matter how bad it gets, see it through to the end so you can get to tomorrow. [...] Some days you just have to get rid of [the day] as best as you can.

This is very true in my own life. In my younger years, when I was about to enter university, it didn't go well with me because of my family situation. I had to leave that dream behind despite having done all I could by achieving excellent results, was a head girl at school and held several society positions so that I would be a great candidate for university. I had it all mapped out and ready to enter the next phase of my academic life. I love studying. And then things happened and I had to 'recalculate'. Tough days ahead and being the eldest, I started working to support my family. I adjusted. Learned along the way. Struggled. And did the best I could at that time. In Austin Kleon's words, no matter how bad it gets, see it through to the end so you can get to tomorrow. It was exactly that and it was exactly what I did. I didn't care about my job titles but I did make sure I did so good a job, my employers couldn't ignore me.

Job title can mess you up. Job titles, if they're taken too seriously, will make you feel like you need to work in a way that befits the title, not the way that fits the actual work. Job titles can also restrict the kinds of work that you feel like you can do.

When I read this book, almost every part of it resonated with me and I have my life experiences to thank for. All the books I've read since I was a kid, all the books I've read as a young adult in the workforce—just because I couldn't attend university like my friends—nothing stopped me from gaining knowledge elsewhere. So I started young. I love exploring ideas and experimenting. I've experimented with my jobs. I've moved states to try different things. My life now is a testimony of this, too, shall pass.

Source: Keep Going on Austin Kleon's website
1) Every day is a ground hog day.
2) Build a bliss station.
3) Forget the noun, do the verb.
4) Make gifts.
5) The ordinary + extra attention = the extraordinary.
6) Slay the art monsters.
7) You are allowed to change your mind.
8) When in doubt, tidy up.
9) Demons hate fresh air.
10) Plant your garden.

Airplane mode was mentioned on page 51. I finished reading Keep Going while being in an airplane in this mode. I've read many books while flying. Although reading doesn't sound very glamorous, it is enriching. I can keep going about Keep Going but I really hope you would read it for yourself. He mentioned taking walks too and I love walking. Seriously, everything he's said makes good sense. They're practical and proven. I wish I've written this book but I'm glad Austin Kleon did it instead. In parting,

"I don't know what I am. I know that I am not a category. I am not a thing—a noun. I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process." —R. Buckminster Fuller


Alice (Blog Author) said…
Just wanted to highlight this. Ryan Holiday’s email newsletter on 22 April (The Reading List) was a great one because:

a) It was about a reading list, AND
b) It mentioned Austin Kleon’s latest awesomeness, Keep Going.

Ryan wrote about Keep Going:
I have been waiting to recommend this book to all of you since I read an early copy this year. I've always been a big Austin Kleon fan and frankly I was a little nervous about this book. Following up a successful series is really hard, especially a monster hit like Steal Like An Artist...but Austin not only does that here, he crushes it. This book is so good and so perfect for the moment, whether you're an artist or an entrepreneur, a parent or a movie producer. There are so many strategy for pushing through despair, chaos or that looming sense that the world is falling to piece around us. Austin doesn't promise any magical solutions but he does think that all of us sitting down and getting to work--making good stuff--can add up in a big way. I think he's right and I really loved this book.