Creating the Impossible. A 90-Day Programme to get your dreams out of your head and into the world by Michael Neill (2015)

, 23 Feb 2019

Creating the Impossible is an easy-to-read soulful book, the main aim of which is to unleash your mojo to start up, follow through and finish any project, creative, business or personal. You can read this book just to get you motivated with your current project, to wisely choose one among your many projects, or even to think of a project that you haven't thought yet and create it from scratch.

The project or program is thirteen weeks long. The first week is devoted to the basic principles of creation, and the second week to help you choose the project you will be working on the remaining eleven weeks. Each week has an impossible challenge or exercise based on the principles of creation. Each chapter corresponds to a day, and each day/chapter starts with a quote and a brief essay that works as a catalyst to give you insight and get you out of your square thinking, to get inspired and take action; some days also have suggestions for different exercises or experiments. There is a day off a week just to breath, rest, refuel and look back at what you've done in the last seven days. The book can be used step by step or randomly, as a kind of biz oracle. 

THE CORE KEYS
> The ultimate formula for successful creation according to Michael Neill is:
+ Show up, i.e. be present with anything you do.
+ Begin moving in the direction you want to create what you want.
+ Things will show up as soon as you move, but things won't never show up if you don't move.
+ Respond to what it shows up: good things, bad things, new people, new side projects, new circumstances. The steps of the path will appear at the same time as you move.
+ Take a leap of faith in whatever you do.
+ Do this on a regular basis. If you do this, you will get there.
+ Our experience of life is created from inside the mind.
> The main rule for choosing a great project is asking yourself: Does the thought of it make me gasp, grin, or giggle?
> The main difficulty to carry out a project is not starting it, it is following it through to fruition as the space between the beginning and the end is a muddy land that you have to work through. And how do you do that? Just work on it, every day, consistently.
> Get out of your own way.
> Cultivate your 'inner knowing', commonly called 'intuition'.
> Have fun in whatever you do, so your project doesn't become a burden and you are fully engaged.
> Operate with an acceptance of failure. 

THE GOOD
> The book is really good at shifting your way of thinking to get you unstuck and away from your usual patterns of thought and behaviour that sabotage any project you might undertake. Neill makes you think about business, creativity and new projects from a different angle, i.e. think out of the box. Each chapter ends with a small feedback form in which you report to yourself what you did, how you did it, and in which way you showed up for your project; even if you don't fill it in, it allows you to be honest with yourself about whether you are doing much, enough or not enough to carry out your project.
> If you want a hand-on book, practical and guiding, this is exactly what you need. 
> The examples and stories that Neill uses to illustrate each entry's main point are interesting, right to the point and illustrative.
> Neill makes a brilliant distinction between effort and reward to get productivity: The ratio between your effort and the reward you get for that effort.If we get high levels of reward for each effort, we are highly productive; if we don’t, no matter how much time and energy we’re putting into the job, we aren’t. Yet typical productivity systems are based on the idea that there is always a 1:1 ratio between effort and reward, so essentially one unit of effort will bring one unit of reward. (p 31-2).
> Neill also makes a brilliant distinction between success and personal worth, or vice versa. Something that most people should remind themselves of on a daily basis:  It’s easier to just win a race than it is to win a race in order to prove you are the fastest animal in the world. We often believe that our value and worth in the world are dependent on our performance. In fact, our value and worth in the world are a given, and have nothing to do with what we do or don’t do with our life. No amount of success or failure will make us any more or less worthy of love and respect. (p. 138).
> Each chapter ends with a summary of the main points discussed in it, which makes it really handy for re-reading. 
> I started reading the book when I had already started my own project and, honestly, some of the things that Neill says resonated with me because I've  experienced them to be the case.
> Neil has an infectious way of writing and of believing that you can do anything, so that's always a great start! He's your biggest fan and cheerleader.
> Nelil's method, if meticulously followed, works. There are a few success stories in the book and among the reviewers that prove it. I think that there aren't more success stories because the two main difficulties entrepreneurs have to hurdle over are their own procrastination (something that only you can prevent from happening and this book doesn't dwell upon) and  being stuck in your mind, mindset, or blocking your creative ideas, and not knowing what to do, and this book will help you with that.
THE SO-SO
> Neil's main points are a rehash of things said by other creativity and business gurus. He relies a lot on Syd Banks, and some of the things he says are something you don't need to buy his book to learn. For example: Thoughts are things. Or also Start something, do something regularly, keep on keeping on regardless of what shows up, don't obsess about it, give it time to mature, and you will eventually get there. Anything that you didn't know already?
> Sometimes the advice is a bit to vague to be useful.
> There are too many quotes in the book.
> Each chapter finishes with an exercise for you to get your juices flowing, but some of them are a bit vague.
> You'll need a book on how to defeat procrastination because, if that is your problem, you won't find a solution here; at best, you will notice that you are procrastinating.
> Sorry, but synchronicity is not luck at all. If you want to talk about lucky coincidences that's fine, but don't call that synchronicity because it is not. 

EDITION
It would have been great having some cross references found in the Kindle format linked back and forward. E.g., I found a reference to page 35 in page 126 , but there was no hyperlink.

BONUS MINI-SEMINAR
One can access a seven-part free talk on the main ideas of the book given by Neil himself, by following the prompts in this book. I think if you got to see those seven videos, you'd realise that those are more than enough to get what Neil is saying in the book.

IN SHORT
A good encouraging book that will make you think about your project differently. You have certainly head many of the things said here elsewhere, some of them fall into the category of common sense, but Neil implements a method that will support your mental shift, win over your worst enemy -- you! and defeat your self-defeating ways of thinking, behaving and creating. Neill is your biggest supporter, and that's priceless.  


Cicada by Shaun Tan (2018)

, 21 Feb 2019

This is a short story about a cicada who works in a  human corporate building, and feels mistreated and unappreciated.

The way the story is painted and the main character are an example of Tan's artistic mastery.  I love the grey and green main tones of the story, the wondrous Etcher-like settings, and the awesome atmosphere, something that looks effortlessly easy because Tan is a genius at what he does.  The precision of his drawing pen and the artistry of his paintings are totally awesome, as well as his chiaroscuro work. The book has a cinematic feeling to me, too.

The story, though, is simplistic, which is understandable as the target readers are both children and adults.  As an adult who has read almost everything published by Tan, I feel that the story is a bit sketchy and might not resonate with everyone. That's my case. Yes, for sure I can get the story lesson. I'm sure that it will help children and adults see that one can always escape oppressive circumstances, people and settings and fly away, choose how one lives; however, the way the story is narrated feels a bit lacking to me. Put it differently, the book feels more like a sketch of a story to be further developed than a round story.

I love everything that Tan draws and paints, and buy almost everything he publishes, but the storytelling here feels a bit hurried up and not polished enough to me.