Connecting the Dots, Steve Jobs, Justin Bieber & Dreams

While trying to drift off to sleep last eve, or should I say around 2am (because of a massive creative attack), I thought of a speech that Steve Jobs gave at Stanford University. He spoke of how one can only connect the dots when looking backward, never when looking forward. Meaning...if we try to piece everything together before it happens, we waste valuable time.

Will my dreams come true?

Will my family  be happy and healthy?

Will I finally be able to own my dream house?

Will I be able to travel the world?

What about work...will I be able to keep my job?

If I completely dislike my job and decide to quit...will I be OK? Will I starve?

If I leave my dysfunctional relationship, will I ever find love again?

The list goes on and on...

The truth as Steve Jobs so eloquently put that we simply can't know. We can only make wise/bold decisions in the present moment and have faith that the dots will connect in the future. One moment will lead to the next, no matter what we do. Time cannot be halted until we figure it all out.

The key is to stay focused on what we can do in the here and now. Begin writing before we worry about finding publishers. Start running for a while before we become concerned with whether the pounds are coming off. Do our best each second to create healthy relationships with the people we love...not try to connect the dots toward forever.

We must be the task...whatever it is...otherwise we push people away, we don't focus on the actual work that needs to be done to build our dreams. I was thinking today about Justin Bieber. That poor kid has so many haters and critics. But I'm going to tell you something...

he's doing it...

he's putting himself out there while...

well...while many people are sitting on their arses doing nothing. Staring at the TV with their mouths open...allowing for their minds to grow soggier by the moment. Laugh all you want...while he's singing and dancing his heart out...and traveling the world to boot.

It's not that we all have to become fans...but really we must respect those who are out there experiencing and pushing the limits.

If you have a dream...or a hope...just put one foot in front of the other and begin to create something.

The dots will connect while we're doing our work...

- Jen Engevik

Project BE Bold

On Drama and Unrelenting Passion

Thinking today about  unrelenting passion...
I wonder sometimes about the reason for the ideas that run through our minds.

I watch people and find the unfolding human drama fascinating...
Now I'm sitting in a coffee shop across from a duo -
two professional women trying to get to know each other...
Expressing how they know certain things
that make them valid in today's world.
It appears that a part of them both wants to prove that they just know things...
that they have the solutions to the world's complexities.
They may have the answers...who knows?
If I had more time, I'd listen for an hour or two...

Last night I read how we human beings create drama, but usually the dramas we create aren't real.
The secret to a healthy mind...a healthy body...and soul
is to try to keep the mind at bay.
It's about keeping it calm.

Probably if we are worrying about wild dramas, we have too much time on our hands.
Instead of focusing on drama - or watching other people's dramas on reality TV -
what would happen if we focused on our passions? Our talents?

We just may see our dreams come true.
Just some food for thought...

-Jen Engevik
Project BE Bold

Do Do Do What You Have to Do!

Ola Salo

Yesterday I was lucky enough to experience an amazing concert in Gothenburg, Sweden that included Coldplay and The Ark, a Swedish band. Both acts were amazing as Coldplay's Chris Martin and The Ark's Ola Salo revealed their passions for song and expression. As I watched from about 30 feet from the stage surrounded by wildly excited fans who practically jumped out of their shoes (including me for sure!) while inspired songs rang out under blue skies, I couldn't help but think about purpose and dreams.

We human beings crave the ability to share what lies deeply within our hearts. We have things we need to say, things we need to do...and yet...sadly we all too often don't make it happen. Our dreams lay buried within and the next thing we know we can barely breathe.

In one of my favorite songs of the night, Ola Salo shared that "it takes a fool to remain sane." This hits home because the minute we give up on our creative spirit and what makes us unique in an effort to become conventional in every sense of the word, our sanity begins to slip. Salo's words then shifted to what would happen if he were to bury his dreams: "I'll become like the others who become unhappy mothers and fathers of unhappy kids....because they have forgotten to play...or maybe they are afraid to feel seem seem insane..."

The world we know was built  by the "insane."  Those who said it could be done when everyone else assumed it was impossible. It is easy to forget that there are visionaries behind the things we cherish...from the pyramids to our favorite cities to the arts. It is easy to take innovation for granted as we live our safe and convenient lives. The bold are those who listen to what is within...and in the words of Salo "do do do what you want to do...don't think what you have to do do do let your heart decided what you have to do."

What do you want to do?  Have you found yourself buried and unable to breathe because you have forced yourself to forget? Salo says "take it to the stage...with a multicolored jacket...with your hair dyed red and blue...and then do do do what you have to do."

Wishing you a beautiful day!

- Jen Engevik

Project Be Bold

Artist Wolfgang Bloch on Creativity & Bold Living

Meet world-renowned artist Wolfgang Bloch who understands the importance of a solid support system, true inspiration, hard work, education and humility as he lives out his dreams.

A resident of Laguna Beach, California, Bloch is proof that with hard work and the ability to share what lies within the heart -- possible is anything:

Tell us about your childhood. What things did you enjoy taking part in? Did you have any idea that you would one day become an artist?
To me it was a pretty normal upbringing; it was all I knew at the time. I was born and raised in Ecuador. My father was German and my mother from Chilean descent. We grew up in a small house in the suburbs of Guayaquil, speaking German and Spanish and intertwining both cultures.

My father didn't believe in television, so I was forced to entertain myself. Fortunately we had a large yard and our house was surrounded by open space where I learned to appreciate nature.

Being the tropics there was so much life everywhere with lots of interesting creatures.  Like most kids, I enjoyed art, specially drawing. I began collecting insects,and spent hours drawing them in great detail.

My father became my role model; I spent a lot of time with him, traveling by car throughout Ecuador on work related trips and on weekends playing tennis with him and his friends.

He always introduced me as the artist in the family, but I never imagined it as a career.

When did you decide to become an artist? Did anyone guide you in the direction of becoming one? Did you have any resistance to the idea?
I left Ecuador and moved to Florida after graduating from high school, in hopes to become a marine biologist.

I did OK with my science courses, but struggled with math for a year. I took a drawing class to fulfill my electives credits and found out that I was actually good at it.

I took more art classes and with the help of my professors, I decided to change my major into art.

Fortunately my parents were always supportive with my decision.
My father told that no matter what I decided to become, I should always love it.

What did you learn from your days in art school? Do you feel that it is essential for artists to have formal training?
I'm a big believer in college education; I feel schooling helps enlighten and expose us to the world.

I think it makes you well rounded, which gives you a broader base and deeper understanding. You can then use that information and make it your own.

I see that you have a love for the ocean. What does the ocean mean to you? What do you love most about it?
The ocean is the inspiration and essence to my work. Its size, its constant physical and visual movement, fascinates me.

It's beautiful, powerful, quiet, mesmerizing and grand. Rather than recreating something I've witnessed, in my paintings emotion dictates the pace.

Explain your use of wood within your works of art. Where do you search for it? How does it affect your paintings?
I love wood, it's a material I've always been familiar with. It provides great texture an color.

Since I use reclaimed wood, each piece has a story to tell; it was once a tree and then perhaps part of a fence, a cabinet or a house.

It's imperfect, organic and interesting. I always leave a section of the wood as I found it, to show it's original condition.

I think all of this adds interest and dimension to my work. I think it's a way for me to reconnect with nature.

Project BE Bold is an attempt to dare men and women to take chances. What advice can you give readers in respects to going for it?
It's a cliche, but I think we should always trust our own instinct. Deep inside we know what we want.

The hardest part is trusting yourself enough to take that first step and then, not looking back. If you're not happy where you are in life, at some point you have to make a change.

Life's too short to waste it doing something that doesn't matter to you.

In my mind artists are as bold as one can get because you have to share your inner world on a daily basis. Do you agree? Can you tell readers a bit about an artists inner world and how it feels to share it with the world?
At the beginning of my career it was very difficult to be as you call it "bold"; to share my work with people I didn't know, or walk into a gallery looking for representation.

Now I know It was because of lack of self confidence. Once you understand and believe that this is what you are supposed to do; it's what I studied to become, it's what I know best, then you don't see it as being bold.

I believe in my work and I understand that some people connect with it and others don't, and that's OK with me.

Any advice for artists trying to break into the art world?
My advice would be to always do it because you love it. Be original and stay true to what you are. If you're lucky enough to make a living at it, that's a bonus, but don't go into it for any other reason.

Do you have any current or upcoming exhibits that you would like to share with our readers? Any books or Websites?
My studio in Laguna Beach is open to anyone interested in looking at my work.

I'm also having a solo show in December at SCAPE Gallery in Corona Del Mar, Calif.:

In 2008 Chronicle Books published a book about my story and work titled Wolfgang Bloch: The Colors of Coincidence. It was written by Mike Stice and designed by David Carson. The book is available throughout bookstores, or directly through Chronicle Books at

Visit my website to see samples of my work, and hopefully you'll connect with it:

What is your favorite quote of all time?
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act. It's a habit." Aristotle

- Interview by Jen Engevik of Project BE Bold

Right Livelihood: Noble Eightfold Path - Part 5

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The 5th precept of the Noble Eightfold Path surrounds the way we choose to use our talents and select professions. It states that we should earn our livings legally and peacefully.

This means that we should conduct ourselves honestly, speak with kindness, honor the agreements we've made, refrain from cheating and avoiding forceful behavior in an effort to make money.

Let's face it...we've gone through a wild period of time throughout the world. Far too many of us have worked for organizations (banks, mortgage companies, manufacturers, etc.) that have been run on greed, mistreatment of employees and lies. Buddha states flatly that this is not the way to run businesses. And I'd guess that he would recommend not working for a company that lies, cheats and steals its way to success.

Many believe that the only way to get ahead is through the above practices, but Buddha would say that success is relative and that when gained wrongly will come back to bite us in the end. We reap what we sow -- whether it is financial or moral collapse -- we feel it deeply.

Our attachments bring frowns to our faces, cancer to our bodies and strife within the human family. The past few years of financial collapse and pain have revealed to us that gradual financial gain done ethically, honestly and with regard to the entire human family may have kept us from collapse.

Right Livelihood can be achieved -- it can be done by honoring humanity, choosing a profession that truly reflects our passions & talents, creating products that will better the environment,  avoiding greed, paying employees what they are worth (because they will give soooo much more), treating employees with honor and refraining from success gained by force or brutality.

A few questions we must ask ourselves include:

- Do I believe in what I work for? (if you don't -- you may want to rethink your career)

- Are my products & services causing suffering to others or the environment?

- Am I fully utilizing my talents and passions?(if you aren't, you may want to make a change -- you were given your talents for a reason)

- What steps can I take to follow my passion and/or find a career that is in line with the Right Livelihood principals?

The Noble Eightfold Path calls for us to do the right thing, even if it causes financial pain. It hinges on the reality that when we do the right thing we gain riches beyond our current comprehension!! What is the use of gaining all the riches in the world when our minds, bodies and souls  suffer as result?

- By Jen Engevik of Project BE Bold

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The Unlived Life by Steven Pressfield

Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.

Have you ever brought home a treadmill and let it gather dust in the attic? Ever resolved on a diet, a course of yoga, a meditation practice? Have you ever felt a call to embark upon a spiritual practice, dedicate yourself to a humanitarian calling, commit your life to the service of others? Have you ever wanted to be a mother, a doctor, an advocate for the weak and helpless; to run for office, crusade for the planet, campaign for world peace or to preserve the environment? Late at night have you experienced a vision of the person you might become, the work you could accomplish, the realized being you were meant to be? Are you a writer who doesn't write, a painter who doesn't paint, an entrepreneur who never starts a venture? Then you know what Resistance is.

One night I was layin' down,
I heard Papa talkin' to Mama.
I heard Papa say, to let that boy
boogie-woogie. 'Cause it's in him
and it's got to come out.
—John Lee Hooker,

Boogie Chillen'Resistance is the most toxic force on the planet. It is the root of more unhappiness than poverty, disease and erectile dysfunction. To yield to Resistance deforms our spirit. It stunts us and makes us less than we are and were born to be. If you believe in God (and I do) you must declare Resistance evil, for it prevents us from achieving the life God intended when He endowed each of us with our own unique genius. Genius is a Latin word; the Romans used it to denote an inner spirit, holy and inviolable, which watches over us, guiding us to our calling. A writer writes with his genius; an artist paints with hers; everyone who creates operates from this sacramental center. It is our soul's seat, the vessel that holds our being-in-potential, our star's beacon and Polaris

- Steven Pressfield in The War of Art