A Work in Progress: A Memoir by Connor Franta
Words like “wisdom” or “experience” lead our imagination to stereotypes like gray hair, honorary titles, a long Wikipedia entry filled with plenty of information and references…
Youth and wisdom don’t seem to be in the same boat.
Connor Franta’s A Work in Progress: A Memoir breaks this stereotype and brings us a whole new image of what learning from experience really means.
As the title suggests, it’s a story about Connor Franta’s struggles and the events that shaped his persona, from infancy to adulthood.
AGE-FREE WISDOM / A WORK IN PROGRESS
It’s packed with wonderful pictures to go along with the stories. A Work in Progress captivates your attention by enabling you to relate to the little discoveries that everyone makes on the road to adulthood. One of them is the realization that:
“Family and home are the bedrock of everything we’ve gone on to do. It’s our base camp. Our refuge.”
It’s engaging, genuine, and… I’ll let you fill in the blank for yourself after you’ve read it.
Now back to the writer. Connor Franta was born and raised in small-town Midwest, and became an Internet prodigy. He adores coffee, so it’s no wonder that he’s the founder of Common Culture Coffee. Besides that, Connor loved doing charity work from a young age. Today he’s closely involved with The Thirst Project, which provides clean drinking water in Africa.
The main idea of A Work in Progress gravitates around concepts like family, friendship, school, and creativity. It’s structured in a distinct way – the 37 mini-chapters aren’t numbered – like a journal that contains lessons of courage, respect, faith, and hope. Connor Franta also tackles social media, scars, labels, and fame, among others subjects, by showing how these are affecting him and those around him.
Topics like this will make us wonder:
Do we really recognize the value of every person we know?
We don’t have to, just to answer this question. To clarify this “enigma” we can apply the 5 levels of friendship that Franta writes about:
- Best Friend: The one that stays with you through thick and thin; you can talk about anything and everything with them, but also be comfortable sitting in silence on long car journeys. Practically they are part of your family.
- Good Friend: An individual you can have a one-on-one conversation for hours and catch up with from time to time; someone who you share adventures with, but not your deepest struggles and secrets.
- Friend: Someone you socialize with in a group setting every now and then.
- Acquaintance: Someone you know on a first-name basis and say “hello” to, but that’s about it.
- Strangers: Everyone else (and all your possible best friends in the future).
This approach to friendship is quite interesting, especially because it helps us, somehow, to resize our friendship list. Makes us reevaluate the “best friend” concept. We are tempted to use this term – friends – too easily, too often. In this “social” world, our number of friends seems to matter the most. The truth that stands behind this number is less important. Connor Franta’s approach helps us understand how important it is to whittle this long list of friends down.
Anyway, once you delve into the pages of A Work in Progress you’ll notice Franta ’s extensive insight on the subject of friendship, which comes from a candid state of mind. I think we can all agree that:
“What matters is meeting like-minded people who get you, accept you, and will do anything for you.”
But the friendship topic isn’t the only interesting approach in Franta ’s book. Maybe the most well-known existential question is: “How should we live our lives?”
Trying to do things perfectly is usually exhausting and, in the end, useless. On the other hand, mediocrity is a disease that leads our souls to ignorance and to a life without meaning. We hear and read about DREAMING BIG all the time. In real life, those big dreams seem to be unrealistic.
Can we find the line between fiction and reality? Between what our souls want and what our rational sides ask for? A Work in Progress proves that it’s in our power to find that gray line between dreams and real life. And that gray line is defined by the things we do to improve our way of living:
- Don’t search for perfection. You only have one take, and it’s going to be unedited, imperfect, and littered with mistakes. So make the most of it. Real life can’t be ‘picture perfect’ – all shiny, like a movie that won an Oscar for cinematography.
- Take a long walk at dusk in the park. It will clear your mind and shift your perspective. It’s much better if you’re with a trusted friend who you can talk to about everything and nothing.
- Stop worrying about what you miss out! If you really want to be elsewhere, then be there! If you really can’t, then enjoy the moment which is right in front of you. Don’t sulk over lost opportunities. Move on.
- Remember your end goal. Most of the time we forget why we are doing something by getting fed up with some aspects of our existence. Eyes on the prize at all times!
- Start crafting your own vision into something tangible – it nurtures your being like nothing else on this Earth. You already know what makes you tick. If not, please find out ASAP. It’s crucial to create, to cherish your talents and passions, for your own good. So, do them as often and as soon as possible.
Usually, I have a soft spot for memoirs because you can learn so much about another person’s experience. It requires guts to write about your life at only 22, like Connor Franta, and I must admit that A Work in Progress: A Memoir surpassed my every expectation.
This book is more than a lesson in introspection. It’s filled with plenty of wise words that will stay you. If you want to give it a try, check out some of my favorite nuggets from it. And you can start with this one:
“The future is as bright as you let it shine. Don’t be tricked into seeing it dimly.”
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