Maria Popova's definition of success and how to be present
The perfect pairing: walking in the woods with Beans and an On Being interview between Krista Tippet and Maria Popova. Every time I discover an interview with Maria Popova, I jump to listen. She is quite young, but has an old soul. Maria is a breath of fresh air in the face of modern day society. I want to share a couple quotes from the interview, and I encourage you to take a listen for yourself. It’s moving and forward-thinking.
If you’re like me, and the deadening lull that is your Facebook feed is weighing you down today, some of these words might take some of the weight off:
On claiming knowledge:
“As a culture, you’re right, we seem somehow bored with thinking. We want to instantly know. And knowing of course is the cessation of thinking...Why think about what constitutes a great work of art when you can skim the 20 most expensive paintings in history."
“The reason we’re so increasingly intolerant of long articles...is that we’ve been infected with this kind of pathological impatience that makes us want to have the knowledge, but not to want to do the work of claiming it.”
On how we deal with the different stages of life, and our perspective on the world:
"We never see the world exactly as it is. We see it as we hope it will be, or how we fear it might be, and we go spend our lives going through modified stages of grief about that realization...and eventually we come to see it...William James said ‘My experience is what I agree to attend to and only those things which i notice shape my mind.’”
Perhaps these life processes embolden us to approach life with a little less resistance. She expands on her view of success in day to day life, and why she goes out of her way to reject external measures and metrics of success in her work:
"Once again, I am going to side with Thoreau...he said something like...'If the day and night are such that you greet them with joy and life emits a fragrance like flowers, it’s more elastic and more starry and more immortal, that is your success’ and for me that’s pretty much it. Waking up and being excited and curiously restless to face the day ahead and being very present with that day and then going to bed and feeling like it actually happened. That the day was lived."