“One thing I’ve learned. Never set limits on yourself, not in the race, not in life. You may not win every battle, you may not win every race, but there is glory to be found in any worthwhile human endeavor.” –Hobart Brown
Hobart Brown, a metal sculpture artist, was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 1998. The reason? He has made happiness his occupation.
And, as he says, by “following my heart, by doing what seems to be the most fun at the time and by not doing those things that weren’t fun, I think I’ve lived a useful life.”
Indeed. Not only has this zany artist put Ferndale, California, his home of several decades on the map, but his invention of kinetic sculpture racing has inspired millions of people to take life less seriously.
As he likes to say, “It seems to solve the problem of how to have fun as an adult.”
When Hobart moved to Ferndale in 1962, this little dairy community of 2500 was almost a ghost town. The glorious Victorian homes were selling for a song, and city fathers were thinking about tearing them down, replacing them with modern structures. A great dissension reined between the farmers who had been there since the late 1800’s and the artists who were turning the cheap Victorian into funky studios.
Hobart’s crazy brainstorm, which eventually turned into the World Championship Great Arcata to Ferndale Kinetic Sculpture Race, brings a quarter-million people to town every Memorial Day weekend, pumps more than $2 million into the economy, and has totally healed the rift between the farmers and the artists.
Kinetic sculptures, in a nutshell, are works of art that move. Shaped like everything from giant bananas to two—ton dinosaurs to floating wheelchairs and 75-foot iguanas, these human-powered vehicles are peddled, pushed, paddled and pumped, Fred Flintstone-style. They’re made from scrounged bicycle parts, discarded lawn mower gears, painted septic tanks, old bathtubs and anything else inventors can come up with. Each machine is a testament not only to childlike imagination and engineering genius, but to artistic ingenuity, camaraderie, and well…insanity.
Hobart proves my point. One of the greatest ways to serve your fellow man is to figure out a way to enjoy yourself and to let people know that enjoying yourself is a good thing.
Vow today to approach your life with a sense of aliveness. Intentionally decide that you’re only going to look for the good and concentrate on the beautiful.
When you decide to practice the attitude of happiness, boredom turns into exploration. Canceled flights turn into a party. Waiting in line becomes a great opportunity to meet new people. Vacuuming the floor is a ballet performed to Van Morrison. And, of course, a rainy day calls for an indoor picnic with five kinds of cheese.
Make this revolutionary attitude switch now. Your joie de vivre will be contagious. Maybe you’ll even make the 6 o’clock news.