“People like genuine people. People like people who are authentic, people lke people who show up with their true identity. And being Chickasaw is part of who I am.”-Heath Clayton
One of the areas in which I love to dabble is what I call “life system hacking.” The basic idea is finding ways to create a life, circumvent expectations or bypass the norms of which we all are led to believe cannot be bypassed or circumvented. There are a lot of people who write about the subject online, and it can get a bit of a reputation as self-help like content. But I continue to expose myself to it because I think there are gems that can be found, if you know what you are looking for. I was excited to interview someone I think hacked the system quite successfully. That person is Heath Clayton (Chicksaw).
Heath earned a Bachelor’s degree for about $3,000 without stepping foot onto a university campus. After “college” he worked in the White House at age 21. Not after 21 years of working in politics. At 21 years old.Continue reading →
The first time John Pepion (Piikani) appeared on NextGen Native, I titled the accompanying blog post “Up and Coming Ledger Artist.” About 1.5 years later John returned to catch up, and from our conversation, the title was accurate! John’s on the move, and if you’re not familiar with his work, you should check it out.
We discussed how he has grown as an artist and businessperson recently. He mentioned he started growing even more when he opened himself up to learn and take feedback from others. This mindset can be applied to any job or activity. It can be hard to open yourself up to feedback, but it empowers you in a way that few other things can.
As John opened himself up to feedback, he started engaging more and more with communities. His Instagram page shows tons of photos with him at schools. He also mentioned he spends time with elder groups. And through this service, he gains new insight and perspective on his art that he can use to grow, even while giving back to others. Continue reading →
Our wide-ranging conversation touched on two issues that I am still thinking about several days later. First, we discussed the need to be vulnerable to learn language and/or culture. I think it is a common experience that people our age grew up afraid to admit we didn’t know as much language as others, or we were worried about making mistakes. The alternative is to avoid it and avoid that experience. We need to foster environments that encourage learning and make it easier to be uncomfortable and make mistakes. As a new parent, I am thinking about how to teach my child about who we are, and that requires me learning even more along the way, too. Continue reading →