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Life hacks to live by

Ross Liew at work.
Ahead of Artweek Auckland, artist Ross Liew looks back to give us his best advice.


Kia ora e hoa,

I vividly recall what it is to be 22. To run on instinct, unshakeable self belief and the type of confidence the young hold. So it feels silly offering any kind of advice as I know you really don’t want to hear it. Regardless…...

Stay Ignorant

Your experience of life gives you just enough insight, and your youth more than enough ignorance to create an incredibly productive environment in which you can continue to trust your instinct and plough ahead. Hold onto that ignorance as long as you can - it will ensure you continue to move in tune with your gut. “Knowing” is all good and well but it can be a prohibitive pain in the ass too.

Accept Your Creative Compulsion

Your instinctual rejection of material measures of success is right on the money. As those around you pursue more conventional paths and accrue… stuff. Society will not abate in its promotion of success as the accumulation of things and status.

Where I sit now, I can tell you that success is measured by your ability to walk the path ahead,  how effective you are at sharing that path with others and by how you care for and maintain this path. The reward is the pursuit of creative fulfilment and the acceptance of creative compulsion will sustain you longer than you can live. 

Growing Up

Despite what you hear your disdain for goals and planning isn’t going to hold you back. When you get the chance to do something, do it. It’s an approach that works. It’s how you’re going to meet your wife. Yeah, I know you reject all forms of ceremony, but that you change your mind on marriage says a lot about the woman you’ll marry doesn’t it?

When you get the chance to lead, do it. It’s never fun, nor easy but you learn so much more when you operate from a place of discomfort.

Oh, and when you get the chance to lead a group of more senior colleagues, please channel your 22-year-old self and don’t accept the shit you’re going to encounter.  'Adults', they really can be dicks!

Speaking of Dicks...

Anxiety is a real dick, it shows up unannounced, at any hour,  it doesn’t care about your plans, it makes everything so much harder, so hard that you really just want to shut down completely.   And then when it finally leaves you’re never sure if it has truly gone or is just hiding down by the letter box ready to barge back in. And the mess it  leaves behind after a visit... worst guest ever. Do yourself a favour and just don’t invite it in, you really don’t want it in your house. 

Take Care

So take more care of yourself, your system. It seems like everything bounces right off, but it doesn’t. Revel it it, this place you carelessly occupy.  Value your health, your ability, your swagger. And remember this path has no end so there’s no point sprinting down it, take your time and appreciate the fact that you found it. Not everyone is so lucky.

See Ross Liew’s work kè kǔ nài láo (刻苦耐) as part of Changing Lanes during Artweek Auckland, 12 – 20 October 2019. 

Written by

The Big Idea Editor

9 Oct 2019

The Big Idea Editor