Lately, I’ve been having some troubling feelings connected with my latest book, Blessed By Less: Clearing Your Life of Clutter by Living Lightly. It was published almost 3 years ago and won a number of awards. I’m understandably proud of it, but I find myself feeling dispirited by not getting enough credit for it. For example:
- Another blogger published a similar book with an almost identical cover a few months ago. I respect this author and our take on living simply are very sympatico, so I sent him a copy of my book soon after it was published. Maybe it was just a coincidence.
- I was listening to a homily about humility at Mass during which the priest, a good friend, focused on the need for us to let go of self-righteousness and become less smug. Hmmm, One of the sections in my book is called “The Smug Factor.” I would have been honored for him to say something like, “And hey! We have an author who covers this concept sitting right here with us. (I, of course, would humbly, with a half embarrassed smile, nod modestly.)
- Another well-known author (much better known than I) recently announced a “30 Day Give Away” challenge to his readers. Hmmm, sounds like my original idea of giving away 1 thing a day during the 40 days of Lent.
Now all of these could simply be coincidences of people independently coming up with similar ideas. After all, many in our culture have been moving in the direction of countering consumerism and letting go of extra stuff for the past several decades. Hoarders are pitied, not admired. But still, I found myself wanting to get credit for my work. As I took this to prayer, eventually I came to two rather obvious insights:
- Let go of wanting credit. After all, where did I get MY ideas – probably they bubbled up from a variety of things I had read or heard others speak of. Is any idea totally original? (Note to my publisher: This doesn’t mean I’m declining royalties. It’s fair to compensate writers for the time they put in to create intellectual property so I can live to write again.)
- Give credit. Why not replace my desire to be recognized with finding opportunities to give credit to another for a good idea.
Question to ponder: Who can I acknowledge for a talent, a service, a job well done this week? Give credit to others.