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Does It Make You Happy?

Does it make you happy?

Work I mean.

Are you content with your lot?

Our western industrialised culture says that you shouldn’t be.

To be content, to be happy where you equate to lack of ambition and ultimately stagnation.

To be ambitious in the modern sense is to believe in a future where life is better somewhere other than here and now

Therefore life is not adequate where we are.

For many of us, this idea is the perpetuation of discontent and unhappiness with life.

Short-term stimulation and materialistic gain is the measure of success, and you can have it all.

So I wrote a book.

The Artist’s Manifesto

In May 2017 I wrote and published the first draft of The Artist’s Manifesto, a short ebook outlining my creative philosophy.

Like all first drafts, it was rough and in need of some refinement, but it captured something that had been with me for a long time.

It has since been edited and refined a dozen times and likely will do some more, but the core principle remains the same.

That is; to advocate for the merit in creating for the sake of it without the need of applause or reward.

In so doing, it was my wish to propose a creative philosophy that others could align with, a means of finding fulfilment, happiness, and success in our chosen work.

Because you see, too many of us work on a transactional basis, trading hours for money, doing things we’d rather not.

Either that or we end up despising the thing we love to do because it hasn’t given us the personal fulfilment and lifestyle we were convinced it should.

This idyllic lifestyle where all challenges and discomfort disappear is ultimately an unsubstantial one peddled by advertisers and corporations in frenzied pursuit of our dollars.

It has, over the last 100 years or so, become the unwritten benchmark model for success.

Those of us who seek fulfilment and happiness in the frivolous lifestyle contemporary society promises only to discover a vacuous empty shell of a thing that used to be us.

For a while it’s ok, we plough on under the pressure and demands of modern life believing someday it will get better.

At some point, however, the emptiness of the pursuit catches up.

The Artist's Manifesto Short Form Version 4.0
The Artist’s Manifesto

The Artist’s Manifesto

The Artist’s Manifesto is a short book about staying true to our art. It is a call to Artists and Creatives like you to create from the heart with passion and integrity, disregarding the need for applause and recognition.

Grab your FREE PDF copy here.

A World of Constant Stimulation

The solution is simple but not easy to execute.

In a world that demands our attention and immediate response, a world that is dominated by data, information and constant stimulation, it is a significant challenge to remain focused on one thing.

Those of us who do are often in the minority, castigated, seldom celebrated.

To be busy is right and proper you see. To be productive is paramount.

We believe that the more we get done, the more valuable we are to the world and in that outwardly focused state of mind, there is eventually disillusionment, anxiety and depression.

The solution?

Pick something that stimulates and engages you, stay focused on it for the majority of your waking hours, dedicate yourself to mastering it and do so purely for the sake of it.

Easier said than done? Maybe.

The way I see it, we have no choice if we are to find happiness and fulfilment.

We have a short time here, and none of us is getting out of here alive, therefore what other option could we possibly entertain if we are to be happy?

We believe that the more we get done, the more valuable we are to the world and in that outwardly…

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What Is Happiness?

Happiness is a false notion.

The idea of a future where things will be better than they are now, albeit popular, is illusory too.

The concept of happiness has been hijacked by marketers who understand more about how the individual and collective mind works than most of us.

They know that the brain seeks out the most efficient means of getting from A to B and they bombard that sugar fix solution to us night and day.

They know that the autonomic nervous system activates below the surface of our conscious awareness and once triggered, can motivate us to all kinds of predictive behaviours.

Behaviours of course that make us part with cash for the promise of happiness that they peddle.

Like happiness, the self is a fluctuating continually changing thing, if indeed it can be called a thing.

Much like the environment in which we live, it moves and pulsates in response to other people and circumstances.

Happiness is an individual interpretation of that change and is unique to every single human being.

What makes you happy could and does make others unhappy. Therefore, happiness is ultimately undefinable universally.

Happiness and unhappiness rely upon the idea that time and space are constant and real. For them to exist, we must reflect and compare experiences both real and imagined.

An awareness of that offers the potential for choice.

In the unawareness, there is no choice.

Generating Purposeful Accident

Favourable circumstances, events, experiences and apparent coincidences found at the opposite end of dedication and commitment to a given craft or art are what I have come to term, Purposeful Accident.

I first read the term Purposeful Accident in this article by Larry Robertson on The Creativity Post and immediately recognised the parallels with the ideas forming around This Artist’s Manifesto.

Purposeful Accident is not something that can be forced, coerced or fooled into being by shallow surface level motivation built on the unstable ground of outside influences.

Instead, it comes about by itself.

It is the product or natural consequences of being present and engaged in complex work with no ulterior motive or need to have results appear a predefined way.

This Artist’s Manifesto attempts to communicate this message through a philosophy that encompasses the principle of Purposeful Accident and other related ideas and concepts.

This book is not a quick fix life-saving solution, the systematic application of which you and I may become famous or materialistically successful from.

It is instead an arrow pointing the way towards something.

That something is often challenging to identify, but you’ll know it if you come up from your work smiling.

It is in this place we find happiness and fulfilment.

The Artist's Manifesto Short Form Version 4.0
The Artist’s Manifesto

The Artist’s Manifesto

The Artist’s Manifesto is a short book about staying true to our art. It is a call to Artists and Creatives like you to create from the heart with passion and integrity, disregarding the need for applause and recognition.

Grab your FREE PDF copy here.

To Be Completely Selfish

In that fulfilment, we may be brought to the fundamental understanding that there is no future toward which we must toil and labour unhappily for a lifetime.

If we are to be happy and fulfilled in our life and work, then we must realise that all there is is Now.

A personally unique Now ever expanding and developing through the execution of our ideas and thoughts. It is in this Now we live and have our being.

Time and space are relative.

Success is what you make it, and there is no one else to sing for.

Therefore, get busy singing for yourself, for the sake of the gratification you obtain from your work.

Not, it should be said, for the sake of the response you get from others.

Engagement in work that challenges and pushes us to higher levels of self-realisation is what we are after.

Short term gratification will never fulfil us.

It is in this intricate work, insulated from the noise and stimulation of the world that we understand the philosophy The Artist’s Manifesto promotes.

It is the assertion of this book, therefore, that in the pursuit of personal fulfilment through work, there can not only be a benefit to us individually but to humanity as a whole.

A Work In Progress

Publishing the original version of This Artist’s Manifesto was relatively easy.

To self-publish in paperback is more demanding because it has made me take a sharper look at the material.

It seems that as a real book there is more of a responsibility for me to present a better defined, detailed version of the core concept.

The more I work on it, the more I see elements that need improving.

At the same time, I understand I need to get it out there but not before it meets a standard that sits well with me.

Yes, I am a bit of a perfectionist and that is to my advantage and disadvantage all at the same time.

Writing this book feels like passing flour through a sieve, the more I do it the better the product. However, at some point, I can perfect it no more.

At that point, it will be published.

This is my work now, and I am committed to it long term.

This Artist’s Manifesto will not be the end of it.

Keep your earballs peeled for the final publication date, it’s coming soon along with a dedicated website and complementary material.

Support The Book

If you would like to receive a signed copy of This Artist’s Manifesto paperback and a mention in the book acknowledgements section, head over to Patreon and support the publication.

This article was originally published on Larry G. Maguire Shared on Medium by Medium+LGM Thanks for reading! Join the weekly Sunday Letters readers here. If you like what I write perhaps you’ll like The Daily Larb podcast too.



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Larry G. Maguire

Larry G. Maguire


Work & Org Psychologist writing on the human relationship with work | Slight Perfectionist | Introverted | Humanist Socialist |