on discontent, sabotage, & leaps

I’ve been starting to catch up on my second major booklog backlog of the year — it seems like taking a hiatus last year while rebuilding the site has only inspired me to take more breaks. It’s been a struggle and frustration to not have the focus since this has been the most consistent practice I’ve maintained over the years.

While listening to Debbie Millman’s Design Matters* interview with Tina and Ryan Essmaker, who run The Great Discontent, I found myself relating to their discussion of what their name represents, as well as creative sabotage and risks. First Debbie mentions sabotage:

You talk about the notion of sabotaging yourself in relation to your ambitions and your goals. And you talked about sabotaging each other... You quote Steven Pressfield on the Discontent, I believe in the about section... “Rule of thumb: The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.” ... These moments of resistance or fear really tell us quite a lot about what we want. I don’t think we would feel fear about something that we were ultimately indifferent to.

Ryan then goes into the idea of “being content in your discontent”:

You can’t let that feeling of dissatisfaction or discontent keep you from doing the things that you want to do. You have to use that to propel you forward to new things and greater things.

Later Tina talks about taking leaps, the theme of their first print issue:

I put off taking risks for a very long time, and I tried to be very safe, and it just wasn’t working for me. I think after talking to enough people about the risks they’d taken and reframing it and realizing that you only have one life—

At which point Debbie interrupts to say, “—and what are you waiting for?”


*One of my favorite podcasts. It encompasses a range of creativity beyond just design. I especially enjoy to listen to it while cooking.