Friday, December 25, 2009


One reason for this time away is to reflect on and demystify my personal definition of success. Somehow, my understanding of success has been overburdened by certain personal, familial and social expectations: to be at the forefront of my field, to earn "lots" of money, to take care of my family, to give back to the community, to be an engaged, informed citizen, to be selfless and self actualizing, to blaze a path for all my communities, to be "happy," to inspire.

I hope that this process allows me to distill these expectations and to better articulate a personally fulfilling and sustainable vision of success. I start with this litany.

Artistic Integrity
-Unity, Balance, Contrast, Proportion, Variety, Rhythm

-Holding myself to a RIGOROUS AESTHETIC process that centers on an intellectual and emotional consideration of COMPOSITION (line, form, depth, color and text), HISTORY (a focused research of past and present objects, soundscapes, gestures, rituals, histories, laws, etc.), and SPACE (a unique environment where the compositions and histories intermingle across time and media)

-Asking CRITICAL QUESTIONS of myself, collaborators and audiences about state, culture or identity

-Inspiring DIALOGUE by acknowledging and implicating the audience

-Imparting SKILLS and ACTION by offering the audience space to create or respond

Financial Stability
-Pursuing and choosing projects that provide the FINANCIAL FREEDOM to pay my bills, afford rest/rejuvination, invest in relationships and accrue emergency savings of at least 10 percent of my income, annually

-Contributing an additional 10 percent of my income to a LOW-RISK RETIREMENT SAVINGS, annually

Disciplined Rest, Rejuvenation and Reflection
-Scheduling, planning and saving for substantial BREAKS BETWEEN PROJECTS

-Going on at least two NON-WORK TRIPS every year

-Committing to weekly time for WRITING, SILENCE, SOLITUDE, and THERAPY

Enduring, Intimate Relationships
-Preparing and sharing MEALS

-Being FORTHCOMING with my fears, anticipations and reflections

-Planning and following through with INDIVIDUAL dates with friends and family. These dates should not be for work related events - but should occur in spaces or involve activities that inspire us to be fearless, trustworthy and supportive of one another


  1. Niegel, this is comforting and inspiring to me. I think I'm going to make my own sort of list like this over this glorious winter break. Hope you're being replenished as much as you seem to be...

  2. Thanks Ganch. Would love to do a skype conversation with you and record the audio. Are you up for that?

  3. Yeah I would completely be up for that. I'm glad I checked back to see if anybody responded!

  4. Not surprisingly, you have a great capacity for introspection, to identify our collective, mediated expectations, and, now, the power to resolve them and find your beacon. I have been inspired, too.