You Are a Circle

"This is not really a book. This is an experience, a visual meditation on creativity and life – just for you, my creative friend. This is a moment of peace, inspiration and introspection."

- You Are a Circle, page 7

Reading this book is a fun process, as you can pick any page to get inspired, even for just a few minutes. Unlike other long-winded books on creativity, You Are a Circle goes straight to the point.

You don’t really read it as a regular book, but rather explore it. Guillaume Wolf calls his work  a concept book. It is a—successful—experiment in creative self-publishing. The left-hand page contains a few short sentences: a quote, an inspirational message, or a challenge. On each right-hand page, there is a circle, a handmade woodblock print. As you’ll discover, the design is pure minimalism and joy.

The book covers several aspects of the creative process—and talks honestly about the challenges of the creative journey and how you can move beyond them to grow and succeed.

The Big Idea

The Big Idea: The biggest takeaway from the book

Creativity is a Gift

"You are a circle, living in a square, making triangles."
- You Are a Circle, page x

Say what? That was my first thought. What is this quote supposed to mean? I was trying to figure out the point he was trying to make. These kinds of sentences make me confused. What is the meaning? What is the author trying to tell me?

After a while I got it. Maybe there is no specific meaning at all, and the sentence serves its purpose: to make you ponder and unleash your creativity.

This is the goal we often want to achieve when reading a book or something that looks like a book. We immerse ourselves in the experience, not just for the mere fact of reading the words, but to engage with the text. We want the experience to inspire us, to help us find answers for problems or situations we are facing.

You Are a Circle takes this concept quite literally. You don’t just read this book, you experience it. It helps you to take action, to do something, to create. Life itself is an infinite movement of creation. When you are creating, you’re one with life—you’re truly alive.

Insight #1

An actionable way to implement the Big Idea into your life

Creativity is Boundless

"Remember, infinity is everywhere."
- You Are a Circle, page 118

Guillaume inspires in several ways throughout his book, both with words and images. How many different circles can one draw? It’s fascinating how many different kinds of circles one can draw. They all look similar at first, but once you progress further in the book, the more you start to notice the subtleties. Words can be dry, and the circles give you that extra open space and imagination to explore your own reflection of thoughts.

Creativity doesn’t have to be complex. When you open your heart and project your enthusiasm into life, you create a small opening for grace. Something in you changes and life around you changes as well.

Often we are bound by our own limiting ideas and concerns about what other people might think. Guillaume encourages you to go beyond your own doubts. I especially liked the idea where he says: “Do not ever, ever, try living someone else’s life, dream, or passion. It can’t be done.” Envision, empower, create. This is the core of infinite creativity. Practice it in your life and you’ll grow stronger and wiser.

Insight #2

An actionable way to implement the Big Idea into your life

Creativity Contains Transformation

"Are you stuck creatively? Look deep, my friend, until you find your dragon. Don't let your fears prevent you from creating. Do it anyway. Let's see what comes up."
- You Are a Circle, page x

What blocks our creativity? It’s always about fear and resistance. This book is an invitation for you to find the courage to create. It pushes you to bring beauty and meaning to your life and the world, and to share your gift. And as the author shows with this book, there is an infinite number of ways to be creative.

Creativity is a transformative vehicle and experience. It transforms both yourself and the world. It’s an encouragement to give things a try even if they look like stupid ideas at the beginning. You just have to get over the initial threshold of fear. If we can remember that all things will transform eventually, it can give us the courage to begin. The key here is to have faith, even though we cannot see the result yet. That’s the whole point in fact: daring to take steps into the void. Guillaume definitely did it with this experimental book. He encourages you as a reader to think and act further than reading the book (or looking at the circles). Subtle hints and assignments push you in a new direction. Don’t be afraid of your dark side.

Gratitude is one of the most profound tools for transformation. When you make a habit of counting your blessings at this very moment, you center yourself within your heart and you enrich the relationship you have with life. Be grateful that you’re walking on the creative path, like Guillaume says. It is a gift.

Reading this book was surprising, challenging, inspiring, funny, and weird. It was a joy and I will definitely open it several times more in the future to get inspired. Don’t put it aside directly, even if that might be your first thought. The more I browse through it, the more I appreciate it.

Thanks Guillaume for your inspiration and work, for making me think outside the box.

Can you sing? Can you draw? Can you dance? Can you perform? Can you tell a story? Yes, you can. Move beyond your doubts. Jump over your fears. Focus. Get back to work. Try again.

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Dennis Swennen

ABOUT Dennis Swennen

I consider myself an idea machine and seeker for knowledge, inspired by life's great possibilities and choices. I am an incrementalist, shifting between phases of dreaming and doing...
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