Process Saves Us From The Poverty Of Our Intentions

This is a quote, attributed to sculptor sculptor Elizabeth King, that Seth Godin uses to introduce his book The Practice: Shipping Creative Work.

I read this two ways. Firstly, that process is what distinguishes pros from amateurs – ‘doing the work’. But also that sometimes our intentions feel poor. We don’t quite know what we want to do with a project. Or we approach a subject with a small half-formed idea. and that’s OK. With a process, we can nurture that into something worth pursuing.

From Cultish Creative:

The quote comes from sculptor Elizabeth King. It’s the idea that process and the act of doing are how progress is made. The poverty of our intentions, or the obsession over only accepting narrowly defined outcomes, is the toughest obstacle we face. Fortunately and unfortunately, it’s self-imposed. We can dream of a giant snowball, but we can’t control the snowfall. All we can do is work with what we’ve got. 

When we make the decision to just act, when we do so with vulnerability and take the risk, we embrace process. If we only accept perfection, if we think we need more confidence or we convince ourselves we don’t belong, we‘re stuck in the poverty of our intentions. We’ve got to let that stuff go. There’s a form of success in each successive rolling of the snowball. We have to find it.

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