In the book Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, John Gray says don’t argue, but instead listen. I have tired arguing with my Muse before. When I win, I lose. When I lose, I win. My usual manner of arguing is to delay and procrastinate on my work until I can’t stand it, or myself, anymore. Then guilt, disgust, or knowing that life is better if my Muse wins gets me started. This doesn’t mean I’m not self-disciplined. After over 760 blogs, I think I’ve disciplined myself well, but there are still areas to improve. This is how it works: The Muse should always win. If she doesn’t, the Enemy wins.
Who is the Muse playing against? What is she trying to win? What happens if she loses? What happens if she wins?
The Muse is playing against the Enemy. The Muse is that part of us that must create, that must see us live out our purpose. She is benevolent, but that doesn’t mean she is easy. She expects us to work, as much as possible and as often as possible. I’ve mentioned before that each of us has a different Muse. To me she is a woman. She can be a man or the Holy Spirit. She can be someone you love or someone you’ve never met. She can be the person or people you’re doing your work for. She can be you. It’s not good to argue with any of these people.
The Muse is playing against the Enemy. I use the word “playing” loosely. Really, it’s a battle to the death. It’s a battle for our souls, our lives, and our time. The Muse wants us to be creative, happy, and to contribute our gifts to the world. The Muse wants us to be honest with others and with ourselves. The Muse wants us to be ourselves. She wants us to be productive and clear about our purpose in this world. The Enemy wants us to be the opposite of all those things. If it can’t make us miserable, it hopes we will at least be numb. If we spend the rest of our lives never questioning, never striving, never trying to make the world a better place the Enemy will be happy.
If the Muse loses then someone doesn’t get his or her work done. Someone lives a life without any reason to be here but to survive, or to keep busy and entertained until our last day. When someone gives into despair, procrastination, bad habits, self-destruction, or anything that keeps us from reaching our full potential, then the Muse has lost. The good news is that she doesn’t give up easily. That’s also the bad news. We ignore her at our peril. Many people can confirm this. Calvin Coolidge was right when he said,
“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”
In other words, life is quite difficult for those who ignore their Muse.
What happens if the Muse wins? Life is still difficult. In some ways it’s more difficult. I could be sleeping or reading a comic book or watching a movie now. Instead, I’m here (and fighting sleep besides) trying to get one more piece written. This is not easy. It’s not fun as many people define fun. The irony is that I’ve rarely had more fun in my life. I’ve rarely felt better about myself. And I’ve rarely felt like I’ve accomplished as much as I have in the last two years. That’s what happens when the Muse wins. I Get Started and I Keep Going. Every time I do my work, my Muse wins. I hope she will win for the rest of my life.