"When things get tough, this is what you should do: Make good art. I’m serious. Husband runs off with a politician — make good art. Leg crushed and then eaten by a mutated boa constrictor — make good art. IRS on your trail — make good art. Cat exploded — make good art. Someone on the Internet thinks what you’re doing is stupid or evil or it’s all been done before — make good art. Probably things will work out somehow, eventually time will take the sting away, and that doesn’t even matter. Do what only you can do best: Make good art. Make it on the bad days, make it on the good days, too." via Make Good Art: Neil Gaiman's Advice on the Creative Life
Neil's talking about art, life, to a graduating class of 20-somethings.
Lexicon aside, he's also talking ... engagement.
When things get tough ... engage.
Boss ignores you ... engage. Desktop crashes and the Help Desk can't get to it until tomorrow ... engage. How? I don't know. That's your job, that's your challenge. Your other option is to pout and sulk. I've done both. I prefer to engage.
Someone on the internet thinks your post or ad or slogan or new website is rubbish ... engage. Engage with them, engage with your team, engage with your spouse and ask them "what do you think?"
Probably things will work out ... they always do. The trick is not to backfill realities and justifications and revise memories to meet today's reality. The trick is to engage. Right now. And the next now. And the next and the next.
It's not your manager's job to get you engaged; nor is it HR's. It's not their job to spoon-feed your meaning and purpose. Sure, it's great if they do. (Enjoy it, too.) It's your job to define your job's meaning for you, your life, your family and their lives, your community.
It's your job. It's our job. We're all adults. I don't care if you have a roomful of trophies for all the days you just showed up, all bright and shiny. You're an adult, now.
When things get tough ... engage. Do what you do best. Engage. Do what only you can do in ways only you can do it.
And engage on those days that are best described as "sucked" and those days that are best described as "wow, amazing."
* And after you engage, while you're engaging, be sure to subscribe to BrainPicking's newsletter. There's lots to keep you engaged creating "wow, amazing" days and lots to inspire you to keep engaged when yesterday "sucked."