I watched a google talk by Amanda and really admired her personality. I love people who choose to live differently; they absorb the world differently and create beautiful beliefs, they leave some beliefs on display for people to ponder and ask about- like shaving your eyebrows and painting them instead, and other beliefs that only time would dig out. She sang one of her songs and read a few pages from her book.
I decided to read the book.
After launching an extremely successful kickstarter campaign and became the first indie singer to pass the million dollar mark, Amanda wrote 'The Art Of Asking' to share how it all happened.
The more pages I turned the more it seemed that asking was really about trusting. The more you trust people; you believe that they can help, that they care, that they are 'good' humans, and that it's ok to sometimes be vulnerable around them, the more you'll ask for and accept their help.
I am trying to practice 'asking' more often, I do ask strangers for things like carpooling, or reusables for upcycling workshops I join, I mean these are pretty good causes, who would say no to that! But when it comes to things that revolve around 'dina' and who she is, I think twice.
Were you ever haunted by the thought that you are a fake? That little voice that tells you that you are not a real designer, artist, or fill in the blanks. It's ok, You are not alone! Even a recognised artist like Amanda Palmer thinks she's going to be chased off by the 'fraud police' as she puts it.
I agreed with many things she said, for instance, that creativity is all about collecting, connecting and sharing. I see this pattern in everything I do, I collect pieces of information from all around me, with time connect the dots together and share them with others. Asking can happen in any of these phases. I find it most difficult to ask during the 'sharing' part.
I have very diverse working experiences, one of which involved getting users and asking people from my network to try out a product. I was extremely uncomfortable while doing this, I felt like I was spamming people! After reading the book I realised that this was because I did not believe that I deserved the help, like I had to earn it somehow. Most of these people were acquaintances, people I barely knew, I never helped them out before so that they'd help me now. It just took a second to realise that I would never think like that if a stranger comes and asks me for help, it doesn't workout this way, there isn't a help balance that should be maintained, it's all in my head.
Here are few parts from the book that highly resonated with me and/or made me go 'hmmm'
Asking for help requires authenticity, and vulnerability. Those who ask without fear learn to say two things, with or without words, to those they are facing: I deserve to ask and You are welcome to say no. Because the ask that is conditional cannot be a gift.
When you're afraid of someone's judgement, you can't connect with them. You're too preoccupied with the task of impressing them.
Those who can ask without shame are viewing themselves in collaboration with- rather than in competition with- the world.
And the funny thing is, the less you like asking, the worse off you can be when you finally do.
... at the end of the day, we're all human. We're all broken in a way, and we're just trying to feel whole.
The book was fun to read, she shares a lot about her journey as an artist and her relationship with her fans, so I highly recommend it for all the indie artists out there.
If you are wondering how her kickstarter campaign was so successful, there are no strategies, or plans, it's really too simple to be true: she always accepted help from her fans, she always trusted that people are born givers.
Too cheesy to be believed?! Read the book and tell me if it is.
Have you read the book? Share your thoughts down in the comments section! What should I read next? Am I missing out on a really good read? Share your book recommendations!