There was an ad running on television a couple of years ago that always caused me to stop and watch it. It featured forty years of photos with narration that goes, “This is Paul. He’s been a Quarryman, Beatle, Wing, poet, painter, father, frontman, producer, business mogul and if that weren’t enough, a knight. The key is, never stop doing what you love.”

In many ways, that seems truly radical. We all know that Doing What You Love is not a course offered by many schools. But the notion that love is the key to discovering multiple parts of ourselves is one really far out message.

There was a time, of course, when it was assumed that a person could be many different things. During the period known as the Renaissance, when the creative spirit was in full bloom, it was not unusual for an individual to be a poet, businessowner, artist, soldier, linguist and lover.

Although such thinking fell out of fashion (and with it came less creative thinking), all sorts of people have told me they always suspected they were in possession of a Renaissance soul. I believe we all are and that feeding that soul is an exercise in love.

Love Me Do

Love and work sounds like an impossible combination to many people, but it’s the starting point of all great (and many small) undertakings.

“The real purpose of work,” says Claude Whitmyer, founder of the Center for Good Work, “is to give us an opportunity to practice being human—to discover everything we are and all that we can be, both as individuals and as members of a community.”

Getting Better

It’s not unusual for me to receive  messages from frustrated people who feel stuck because they don’t know what It is for them. Nothing they’ve tried seems to satisfy.

The passport out of this discouraging state is to step back and give serious thought to purpose. To never stop doing what you love, you have to start doing what you love.

Yup, those same puzzling questions that philosophers have discussed for centuries still matter.

One of the best explanations of purposeful vocation comes from Patricia Ryan-Madson. She wrote, “It is possible to seek and find work that consistently supports some purpose of mine. For example, my purpose may be to make the world a more beautiful place. To that end, I may choose any number of jobs that focus my time and talents on creating  aesthetic environments.

“I can serve that purpose, not only when I work as a graphic designer, but also in the way I set the breakfast table for my children. I can serve that purpose by picking up trash in the park or in my neighborhood. I may serve that purpose as well when I refrain from rough language or gossip.

“So the answer to the question of purpose precedes and informs all that follows in the search for my true work.”

Here, There and Everywhere

The aforementioned Paul knew from early on what his bigger intention was. He explains, “See, my trick in life is to get away from having a job. That’s been my guiding light.”

Not working for someone else may not be the only way to feed our Renaissance soul, but it’s the best way I’ve seen to develop multiple talents.

At the same time all the recent emails of frustration were rolling in, I was also deluged with messages from numerous new entrepreneurs who had a different story to tell. The common thread in each of their accounts was that their business was teaching them new skills or opening them to things they’d been avoiding.

One woman said she was finding herself in leadership roles for the first time in her life. Another is doing her first media interviews. Over and over, they told me about discovering the unmapped territory inside themselves.

“When you work ,” goes the well-known passage from Kahlil Gibran, “you are a flute through whose heart the whispering of the hours turns to music. To love life through labor is to be intimate with life’s inmost secret. All work is empty save when there  is love, for work is love made visible.”

There’s a silly scene in Wayne’s World which finds Wayne and Garth lying on the hood of their car at the end of an airport runway reveling in the wake caused by planes taking off.

Mike Myers says this scene was inspired by a favorite pastime of his family called No Money Fun. The idea, of course, was to come up with entertaining activities that didn’t cost a dime.

When I heard Myers tell that story, I thought, “No wonder he’s so creative.  What a great thing to learn early in life.“  No Money Fun is a terrific way to activate the imagination and it comes with a built-in reward of all that free fun.

There are two ways to bring more No Money Fun into your life. You can take advantage of the free things around you such as strolling through a beautiful public garden or museum. The other option is to use alternative currencies.

No, I’m not suggesting that you take up counterfeiting. I am, however, challenging you to become as creative as possible about finding alternate routes to have and do more of what you want.

Before I go farther, I need to issue a couple of warnings. I’m not talking about becoming a certified cheapskate. In fact, you’ll notice that the very wealthy are masterful at using alternative currencies in place of cash. Cheapskates, on the other hand, pride themselves on deprivation.

So how can you cultivate alternative currencies?

Begin by refusing to ever, ever use  lack of money as an excuse. You can only master this if you understand that this is a very practical exercise in creative thinking and living.

Here are three easy ways to start having No Money Fun on a regular basis.

* Cash in rewards. Frequent flier miles have long been a popular way to travel with free airfare. Several credit card companies also offer reward programs that let you cash in earned points for merchandise, travel or, even, tuition.

Some people rack up thousands of points by using their credit cards to pay for everything from the mortgage to gas and groceries. (The key here is to pay off those credit card bills promptly, not accumulate more debt.)

* Sweat equity. This term may be a bit rigorous for the things I’m going to suggest, but essentially you trade your time and/or talent and get something wonderful in return.

Love the symphony? Be a volunteer usher and listen for free. There are plenty of participatory opportunities in the arts, sports and community events.

You can travel on sweat equity, too. Organizing and leading tours in exchange for a free trip of your own is a popular option.

One of the best stories I heard was from Tom Cook whose wife is a genealogist who does seminars every year on cruise ships. Tom said they once took a Mediterranean cruise that would have cost them $25,000 had they paid for it.

Of course, many successful businesses never would have survived if not for the willingness of the founder to invest sweat equity at the start.

* Barter. Similar to sweat equity, barter allows you to trade services and products without money  being exchanged.  The tricky part of this is figuring out what’s an even exchange. That’s where barter clubs come in allowing you to accumulate credits. (Do an Internet  search to track down a club that suits your needs.)

Many people, especially new business owners, find that bartering allows them to get all sorts of things they can use without having to spend cash.

Mastering No Money Fun is first and foremost an exercise in learning that there’s never just one way of accomplishing things. This is a powerful lesson to master.

Have you created a project using alternative currencies? I’d love to hear about it.

Late in March, 2008, my sister Margaret and I headed to UCLA to spend an evening listening to Elizabeth Gilbert and Anne Lamott. At the time, Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love was holding a spot on the NY Times best seller list that lasted for a whopping 187 weeks.

The book also caught Oprah’s eye and she devoted two programs to it. Gilbert was the media’s literary darling of the moment.

Lamott, on the other hand, had been quietly building a loyal fan base for over a decade. I had seen her years earlier at a small independent bookstore in St. Paul where a handful of her fans came to spend an evening with her.

As a fan of both of these authors, I was thrilled to be able to listen to them in person.

The program opened with someone from UCLA welcoming us. I don’t remember much about that but am guessing we were thanked for coming, told that we were in for a fine evening and asked to give a warm welcome to the first speaker, Elizabeth Gilbert.

Despite that wretched introduction, Gilbert walked out on the stage and promptly won us over by telling us how excited she was about her new boots. Then she charmed us with stories for half an hour or so.

At the end of her talk, she introduced us to her companion speaker. Gilbert told us how honored she had been when Anne Lamott agreed to write a cover blurb for Eat Pray Love. She confessed that on learning the news, she’d celebrated by drinking two margaritas and eating a bag of Halloween candy.

What I remember most about that introduction, however, is that Gilbert told us the two of them had first met 20 minutes before the lecture was to begin. She sounded slightly star struck.

Then she said, “If she had not done this, there wouldn’t have been a path. She proved to the world that you can write about divinity in a way that does not make intelligent people want to projectile vomit.”

That personal introduction had the entire auditorium anticipating what was coming next. Every speaker should be so fortunate.

Sadly, great introductions are all too rare.

(I confess, however, that my most memorable introduction came from a woman who showed up drunk to a singles’ event. After rambling on about her sex life, fellow organizers convinced her that I had to leave and needed to take the stage.

She pulled herself together and said, “Our speaker tonight is Barbara Winter and we’re lucky to have her because she agreed to talk for half her regular fee.” The audience was so embarrassed that I could have read from the Yellow Pages and they would have given me a standing ovation.)

Should the time come when you find yourself in a position to introduce someone to an audience, take your assignment seriously. Whether the person being introduced is as well known as Gilbert and Lamott or not, your job is to get the audience ready to pay attention.

This is true whether they’re reading an interview on your blog or sitting in a hotel meeting room. Reciting the facts won’t cut it. The best introductions share a personal story.

Why are you excited to bring this person to your event? How have your lives intersected? What difference did this person make?

Whatever you do, never, never, never say, “So and So needs no introduction.” Of course, they do. Otherwise why are you standing there taking up our time?

The same holds true when you are introducing yourself on your website or marketing materials. Stories trump facts every time.

“Sometimes we get so busy running our businesses,” Oprah once observed, “that we forget why we started the business.” Oprah is not the only one dealing with that predicament.

Sooner or later, we all get swept up in the logistics of keeping our businesses running and temporarily overlook our real reasons for going out on our own.

It seemed appropriate to end this challenging year with some reminders about why the Joyfully Jobless path is one worth taking. Throughout December, I’ll be reviewing and reminding myself (and anyone else who cares to listen) about the rewards of working independently.

I’m starting with a short list I’m calling Self-employment is the Place Where…

° you discover ideas you didn’t know you had

° you discover friends you didn’t know you had

° you discover you can make a bigger contribution

° you set the rules and live by them

° you discover what one-of-a-kind means

° you flaunt your individuality

° you discover that you’re media worthy

° you discover that experimenting is fun

° you discover that failing isn’t fatal

° you discover that beginnings are exciting

° you discover the importance of taking care of the boss

° you discover the power of setting boundaries

° you discover that there are many forms of payment of which money is just one

° you discover you’re more creative than you realized

° you discover that you still have dreams that deserve to come true

Most importantly, you discover what poet David Whyte meant when he wrote, “Anyone or anything that does not bring you alive is too small for you.”

What discovery do you want to remember?

There are hundreds of perfectly smart reasons to be joyfully jobless, not the least of which is that people who are doing work that they love tend to be, well, more loving and joyful. Want to bring more fun and joy to your business? Here are a few well-tested ideas.

Keep having Firsts. Challenge yourself to do things you’ve never done before. It can be as simple as trying a new food or taking a yoga class. This is harder to do than you may think since we humans tend to build habits and then operate in familiar territory. Having Firsts requires conscious, creative effort.

Exercise your entrepreneurial thinking to keep it in shape. You build entrepreneurial muscle by studying other enterprises, by acquiring new skills, by taking risks. Just like physical fitness, it needs to be a daily activity if you want maximum results.

Don’t be afraid to be whimsical. Small businesses shouldn’t look like miniature corporations. Lighten up. Create a costume and wear it when you work. Have toys or a guitar in your office for play breaks. And if whimsy’s not your style, purposely do something out of character once in a while.

Celebrate all victories and milestones. One of my favorite celebrations comes from Karyn Ruth White. When she had been in business for 6 months, she sent herself 6 roses with a congratulatory card. At the one-year anniversary, she increased that to a dozen. She’s continued the tradition although she topped off the size of the bouquet at a dozen and a half. Find your own way to celebrate your progress.

Turn ordinary chores into satisfying rituals. Got bills to pay? Instead of gritting your teeth, light a candle, put on some lovely music, pour a cup of tea and make it an event. Slow down and express gratitude for your current abundance. Look for ways to make the most mundane chores fun…or at least pleasant.

Plan Joyfully Jobless gatherings. Find five other self-bossers that like each other and let each one plan a monthly gathering just to have fun. You could find yourself salsa dancing one month and picnicking in a park the next. Hanging out with other entrepreneurs can be a lovely tonic, but don’t wait for somebody else to get things rolling.

Support that which supports you. This has been my personal and business policy for a long time and it hasn’t failed me yet. It’s partly a way of putting values to work and partly a way to acknowledge people who are helpful or enthusiastic customers and clients. This also has application when it comes to personal behavior.

Be kind. Stephen Covey writes that when we commit an act of kindness our endorphin level goes up. Likewise, when we receive a kindness it raises our levels. However, it’s also been found that if we merely witness an act of kindness, it raises endorphin levels, too. So go ahead and spread kindness around.

There is no question that a playfully light attitude is characteristic of creative individuals. ~ Mihalyi Czikszentmihalyi


There are dozens of things to love about being joyfully jobless, but at the top of my list are the fascinating people that I would never have met had I stayed put in my old life.


For many years, relationships were something ordained by blood or geography. Even as I became an adult and expanded my world a bit, I mostly knew people who worked with me or attended the same church. Of course, I liked some more than others, but I had no idea that there were so many fantastic people in the world and that knowing them would enrich my life. 


That discovery didn’t happen until I became self-employed.


I thought about this blessing of people on a recent morning when I sat down to check my messages. Besides all sorts of intriguing posts from my Twitter friends (many of whom I’ve never met in person), there were several lovely e-mails from new readers of Making a Living Without a Job.


Then there was a message that said, “Hi Babs! Where are *your videos?* I miss seeing you speak. You’re smart and you’re fun.” That nudge came from Barbara Sher and it made me giggle. Then there was a delightfully excited message from Valerie Young who was about to spend the day with Sir Richard Branson. I was almost as excited for her as she was.


These pleasant encounters got me thinking about an important-—but seldom talked about—aspect of moving ahead in life.: the cast of characters in our life is going to change when we do. And that can be terrifying.


Consider what Steven Pressfield says about that very thing in The War of Art. “We know that if we embrace our ideals we must prove worthy of them. And that scares the hell out of us. What will become of us? We will lose our family and friends who will no longer recognize us. We will wind up alone, in the cold void of starry space, with nothing and no one to hold onto.


“Of course, this is exactly what happens. But here’s the trick. We wind up in space, but not alone. Instead we are tapped into an unquenchable, undepletable, inexhaustible source of wisdom, consciousness, companionship. Yeah, we lose friends, but we find friends, too, in places we never thought to look. And they’re better friends, truer friends. And we’re better and truer to them.”


Last year, Seth Godin shone a spotlight on our need for connection when he wrote Tribes and set up a Website to foster connections between kindred spirits. He explains, “Human beings can’t help it: we need to belong. One of the most powerful of our survival mechanisms is to be part of a tribe, to contribute to (and take from) a group of like-minded people…Tribes make our lives better.”


Several years ago, I began to notice that when I led a two or three day event, people would start saying, “I finally found my tribe.” There always sounded a bit giddy at having made this discovery because they knew it was going to make their own life better.


If you aren’t actively looking for your tribe, you’re missing one of the great bonuses of the joyfully jobless life—rich relationships that are the result of choice, not chance.




You can connect with the Joyfully Jobless tribe at our upcoming Follow Through Camp on November 6 & 7 in Chaska, MN. Even though that’s coming up fast, we still have a spot left. Is it yours?


Every time my UPS driver delivers another case of Making a Living Without a Job books, I am reminded that this idea almost didn’t happen. In fact, I was downright clueless about how big an idea it was.


Several months after I moved to Minneapolis, I discovered Open U, our local independent adult ed program. I thought this might be a good place to try out some ideas I had for seminars so I sent them a proposal. Making a Living was one of those ideas, but I didn’t think it was the biggest. Although I’d met a number of people in my new hometown who seemed intrigued by my joyfully jobless lifestyle, I suspected it was too radical to be popular. Maybe I’d do a session or two, I thought.


Thousands of seminar participants and tens of thousands of readers later, I am still astonished at how excited I get every time I walk into a meeting room to talk about my favorite subject. Helping others become self-employed has been a continuous source of joy and satisfaction for me.


So here’s a little secret about ideas: we can’t possibly know ahead of time which of our ideas are the real winners. The only way to find out is by putting them out into the world and seeing what happens.


Sometimes ideas arrive too early for the marketplace. Sometimes we discover when we try something out that it’s not as much fun as we thought it would be. Sometimes we don’t get the response we’d wanted, but still love the idea so much that we start looking for better ways of delivering it. It’s all a fascinating experiment.


We can’t know until we get into the game. It’s as simple as that. As Paul Hawken points out, “Owning a business and working for one are as different as chalk and cheese.” Surmising, fretting and musing about being an entrepreneur may be an interesting mental exercise, but it’s only by doing what an entrepreneur does that you can know what it’s really like.


I’m not the first person to discover this, of course. One of my favorite entrepreneurial role models was the late Dame Anita Roddick. Here’s what she had to say about her journey:


There are no rules or formulas for success. You just have to live it and do it. Knowing this gives us enormous freedom to experiment  toward what we want. Believe me, it’s a crazy, complicated journey. It’s trial and error. It’s opportunism. It’s quite literally, “Let’s try  lots of this stuff and see how it works.” 


My thinking was forged in the 1960s and in those days I would rather have slit my wrists than work in a corporation. So we had no organizational chart, no one-year, five-year plan. What we did have was management by our common values.


Entrepreneurs want to create a livelihood from an idea that has obsessed them. Money will grease the wheels, but becoming a millionaire is not the aim of the true entrepreneur. In fact, most entrepreneurs I know don’t give a damn about the accumulation of money. What gets their juices going is seeing how far an idea can go.


And I only know one way for that to happen.



The brilliant Chris Brogan talks about Overnight Success and Excuses. Check it out.



Hardly a week passes without some study or article about what it takes to be an entrepreneur appearing. One of the latest purports that entrepreneurs are born, not made. While I couldn’t agree less, there is one quality that seems to be present in all successful entrepreneurs: resourcefulness.


Resourcefulness is a close cousin to ingenuity. My dictionary says it’s “clever at finding ways of doing things.” I think of it as valuing and using the resources at hand.


In her wonderful book, If You Want to Write, Brenda Ueland tells would-be authors, You must become aware of this richness in you and come to believe in it. But it is like this: if you have a million dollars in the bank and don’t know it, it doesn’t do you any good.” It’s not just writers who need to take Ueland’s advice to heart. 


The best way to cultivate resourcefulness is to purposely practice it in everyday life. Here are a few ways to do just that:


* Ask Resourceful Questions. Is there a better way? Who would find this useful? How can I do this in the most creative way? Questions like these will add momentum to your ideas and you’ll start bringing more of them to life.


* Go on an Idea Quest. “Anyone can look for fashion in a boutique or history in a museum,” says Robert Wieder. “The creative explorer looks for history in a hardware store and fashion in an airport.” 


Although entrepreneurs sometimes bemoan the fact that they have too many ideas, that doesn’t stop them from getting more. Ideas, after all, are our real stock in trade. Keeping the pump primed means paying attention to unlikely, as well as obvious, sources of inspiration.


Whenever your creative spirit needs a lift, intentionally go looking for ideas. Sign up for a seminar or sit in a park or mall and watch people. Visit a business you wouldn’t normally go to and open your mind to the unexpected.


* Find Your Funny Bone. Laughter not only reduces stress and has a positive impact on our health and well-being, it can also put us into a more resourceful state of mind. Last year, I stumbled across an audiobook at my library that had me in stitches. It was a collection of Prairie Home Companion’s Joke Shows. Lots of the jokes were corny, but there were plenty that were hilarious. I couldn’t stop telling my favorites to anyone who would listen. I’m sure it’s no coincidence that several great ideas for new projects popped into my head after this laughter fest.


* Notice and Respond. When I received a clipping about an interesting business idea from one of my subscribers, I also noticed this invitation printed above the story. It said, “Have you taken the bold move of stepping out into the world of entrepreneurial self-employment? Send the Tribune a 150-word description of your business and we will enter your business in our editorial lineup.”


Opportunities are everywhere if  we open our eyes—and accept appropriate invitations.


* Make Brainstorming with a Group of Creative Thinkers Your New Hobby. There’s nothing quite like spending time getting and giving fresh ideas and perspectives. Start your own small group and commit to meeting (in person or by phone) once a month for half a year and see what happens. Sharing ideas with others opens your mind to new and better ideas of your own. Nice bonus.


Of course, events like Follow Through Camp are packed with creative brainstorms. Avoid such experiences at your own peril.


* Notice resourcefulness in action. I was delighted to receive my new copy of one of my all-time favorite books, Make the Impossible Possible by Bill Strickland. Although I’ve read it twice, I promptly began reading it again. This true story of resourcefulness in action takes my breath away. It will take yours away, too.

LIke most Americans, I grew up with frequent reminders that I was living in the land of opportunity. Sometimes my elders even mentioned that the free enterprise system was what set us apart from struggling parts of the world.


Ironically, nobody ever suggested that I could personally take advantage of all this opportunity by engaging in entreprise myself. Instead I was groomed to be a servant to someone else’s dream.


Since becoming entrepreneurial, I’ve learned that  while we might still be spreading the Land of Opportunity Story, the enterprising spirit is not limited to any geographic locale.I see evidence of that every day. For instance,  this morning I had a delightful Skype chat with a budding entrepreneur from Geneva, Switzerland. A few years ago, I taught a Making a Living Without a Job seminar in London that had participants from France, Sweden, Scotland, India and Germany.


Of course, succeeding at business isn’t limited to those countries, either, as has shown us. This impressive micro-lending program has connected us with businessowners in places most of us have never heard of, much less visited.


It appears that geography has almost nothing to do with success, but other factors such as desire, willingness and innovation do need to be present if we’re to build something of our own.


Yesterday I received an e-mail that reminded me of how universal the entrepreneurial spirit is. I was so thrilled by her story that I shared part of it on Facebook. Here’s the message in its entirety. 


 I have read your fantastic book Making a Living Without a Job and I would like to thank you so much for your help! It was one of the best books I have ever read on the subject of being my own boss. 


I come from Slovakia, a post communist country where I was brought up believing the state will take care of me. Going from one corporate job to another I was coming home late in the evening everyday not having time for anything else. In first ten years after school I believed this is the way  how it should be, working for somebody else, building a career. Only after some time I have realised I have destiny in my own hands and I don’t have to sit in front of the computer all day long in a job I hate. 


I have moved to the Netherlands with my partner and I was struggling to find a job. Now I  have ended up in a job which I truly  hate from all before. This job made me realise its time to finally do it, and after I have read your book I made a business plan and next month I am going to start my own portable career. 


I bought some other books but they were most like dry manuals probably written by some bankers ;~  They did not have that soul searching bit I was looking for. You have become my friend, my guide, my inspiration through your words, quotes, advices and exercises. You have made a difference in my thinking and my future path. 


 Andrea Zátoriová


I probably don’t have to tell you that this was my favorite message of the day.

At the end of every year, I pick my favorite books from the ones I’ve read in the previous twelve months. When I came upon Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art a few years ago, I declared it one of my favorite books of the decade. It still is.

Whether you’ve discovered the book for yourself already or not, I am delighted to share Steven Pressfield’s answers to my questions. Here they are.


 My  enthusiasm for The War of Art comes from having a whole new understanding of the nature and role of resistance. How did you begin to recognize resistance and deal with it in your own life?

 I first tried to write a novel when I was 24, quit my job, etc.  (I told this story in The War of Art, but I’ll tell it again here.)  I got 99% of the way  through and I totally fell apart.  Couldn’t finish it.  Bottom line: divorce, heartbreak, causing terrible pain to people I love, years of wandering, working weird jobs, etc.  It was very clear to me that SOMETHING was screwing me up; I just didn’t have a name for it.

Finally, finally, finally I realized that all my troubles stemmed from that one failure of courage (and a million other such failures thereafter.)  I had to go back and do it over.  Not that same book but another one.   Along the way, I came to call that negative force in my mind “Resistance.”  That’s what it felt like to me.

It seems to me that nurturing inspiration is a powerful way of dealing with resistance. How do you feed inspiration and what inspires you personally?

 I’ve never thought about it that way, Barbara.  That’s pretty cool.  You may be onto something there!  The positive force that actually produces Resistance as “an equal and opposite reaction” is an Idea—for a book, a movie, a business, whatever.  That’s the baby  that wants to be born.  So the more you can feed that embryo, the stronger will be the mother-love and the urge to be born.

I realize, thinking about it (thanks to your question) that I really do cultivate my ideas, when I’m lucky enough to get them.  I raise them in secret, inside myself, like little hothouse tomatoes.

One thing: I don’t talk about them.  I don’t dilute their force by blabbing to everybody.  The pregnant mom metaphor is pretty good.  You gotta protect that “baby bump”  and give it time to grow.  Once it’s really growing, it produces an irresistible power to be born.  Even Resistance is no match for it then.

How can a new writer or entrepreneur or musician put fear of rejection into perspective?

Great question, Barbara.  I’m not so sure it’s all about fear of rejection.  Fear of success may be the bigger issue.  The bottom line for me (and I suspect for many other writers, artists and entrepreneurs) is that the pain of NOT taking that chance is greater than the pain of taking it.  It’s like you have a choice of two forms of difficulty—the difficulty of facing your fears and doing the work you were born to do …  and the difficulty of losing your mind, your wife and family, etc.  I know that sounds pretty hard-core but I think it’s true.

People seem to flock to how-to formulas. Do you think it’s possible to live a creative life if we don’t leave room for mystery?

How-to formulas help, but they can also be a particularly insidious form of Resistance.  We spend all our time studying “how,” and forget to actually “do.”

There’s a great quote from Plato, which I can’t remember even close to verbatim.  He puts it in the mouth of Socrates, who says something like, “The skilled poet is no match for the divinely inspired fool.”  In other words, it does all come down to the mystery, which is really not so mysterious at all—it’s just hearing the voice in your head or seeing the vision in your heart and believing it in enough that you find the courage to actually manifest that voice or that vision in the real world.