I edit for a living. Actually, that’s not true. I am a brand strategist. And at the beginning of every big project I amass a vast array of information, ideas and opinions.
My job, as the brand strategist, is to clear away the clutter, expose the truth that sits at the core of this array of information, ideas and opinions, and shape the words that articulate this truth in a powerful way.
The process is very much like being a sculptor, chipping away at the rock diligently and purposefully until the image reveals itself – a concept Michelangelo spoke of often:
I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.
For Michelangelo the idea was already there, inside the slab of stone, and his eyes and hands were the vessels by which the idea was brought forth. Sculpture, like editing and brand strategy, is about chiseling away at the unnecessary, at the external, in pursuit of the truth within.
Now I’m a pretty avid consumer of books in the self-help, motivational, growth and inspiration space. Watkins’ Spiritual List of the 100 most spiritually influential living people includes many of my enlightened guides. The Dalai Lama [at #1.]. Eckhart Tolle [at #3.]. Deepak Chopra [at #4.]. Paulo Coelho [at #7.]. Richard Bach [at #14.]. And Neale Donald Walsch [at #21.].
At the core of all their work is the human condition, and how to deal with the stress of leading a cluttered, confused life, and the fear of an ultimately meaningless existence. I see these people as guides, each issuing their own call to action to shedding the excess baggage, the dead weight, and silencing the noise. To choosing yourself. To living your truth. And they are incredibly in demand across the globe. Why is that?
I reckon it’s because we live in an age inundated with ways to connect, things to watch, and stuff to buy. Our mantra has become “bigger, faster, better, more.” None of which brings us nearer to our truth. In fact it does the exact opposite – it alienates us from the things that really matter.
More and more we are beginning to realise that, and so we are in search for ways to cut through the clutter. We want simpler, more meaningful lives, filled with people and experiences and things we actually do care about.
What The Dalai Lama, Eckhart Tolle, and Paulo Coelho offer us is precisely what Michelangelo did, what editors do, and what brand strategists do. A big fat personal edit of the clutter, the excess baggage, and the dead weight, so we can each get closer to our own truth.
I began the editing process for myself with big, rudimentary chips at the slab of stone. Less trying to impress or please others. Less buying stuff to look good. Less mindless dinner parties and polite conversations. Less meetings and emails.Less choices and options. Fewer “friends” on Facebook.
Now I have more time and energy to spend with my family, on my self, and doing the one thing I love doing most of all – waking up people’s tigers [which includes having the headspace and the time to write articles such as this one].
It wasn’t easy, but I slowly chipped away at the excess and clutter and, as a result, the angel in my marble is starting to emerge.
I edited my world, and you can too.