Stella Duffy is a writer and theatre-maker. She is co-director of the Fun Palaces campaign for wider participation in all forms of arts and culture, with a pilot national project on 4/5 October 2014.
My Definition Of Success | I think when I was younger I probably used to define ‘success’ in terms of money or status or fame. Even though I knew these things weren’t truly about ‘success’, I’m sure I assumed they made a difference. And it’s true that having enough money is very useful – because it frees up time to be creative, to make a difference, to do work that I’m moved by. I’d like to have more money for my projects, especially for Fun Palaces, so we can support more people to make a difference in their own communities – as for fame and status; I no longer think they have anything to do with success. To me, success is sleeping really well after an extremely hard day’s work.
I Am Driven By | Making a difference, helping people to create, being useful, helping other people to see how brilliant they are and that they can make a difference themselves.
The Difference Between Good And Great | Luck – to get noticed, to get help, to get support – and also persistence. To keep going no matter what.
Step 1 – find something that excites you
Step 2 – decide to do it, begin to do it, EVEN IF YOU DON’T YET REALLY KNOW WHAT IT IS, even if you don’t have any support or help, even if you have no training for it – start doing it anyway. (This is how I wrote my first book, directed my first play, started Fun Palaces – I started each of them long before I really knew what I was doing.)
Step 3 – keep going
Step 4 – allow the thing to change. Sometimes a good idea morphs into a brilliant idea, while you’re working on it. Let it.
Step 5 – keep going
Step 6 – share the brilliant idea with other people, get them excited about it, if it’s truly wonderful, why keep it to yourself? Bring other people in and let them contribute – risk letting them change it.
Step 7 – KEEP GOING!
Principles I Live By | I have been practicing the Buddhism of Nichiren Daishonin for almost 30 years – we try to create value through our practice, and we vow to practice for ourselves AND OTHERS. I try to make a difference, to create value, in my life – for my own life and for that of others.
Dealing With Doubt | I have had cancer twice in my life, once at 36 and once at 50. Both times I had horrid treatments and was very unwell. Both times I chose to keep on working (also, I had to, as a freelancer, I had no sick pay!) What I learned about myself was my own strength and resilience – of course I wouldn’t wish serious illness on anyone but, as with any challenges, it was possible to learn and grow from it. I chose to learn and grow from it.
Resources I Use To Stay Inspired | I have my Buddhist practice, which is of great value in learning and growing. My wife and I have been together for 25 years and our relationship is a continual source of nurturing and growth for me. I learn from new projects all the time, and from friends old and new. I often take on new challenges – often before I know exactly what I’ve said yes to – and learn in that way too.
The Best Advice I’ve Received | Say yes. And then say yes and …?
Advice On Building Wealth | The only reason to grow rich and build wealth is to make a difference in others’ lives. Make sure you know what you plan to do with the money before you get it. And then give it away.