Ran Elfassy's Blog

350 Rans and So Can You!

How your frustration with the status quo is an end in itself
June 21, 2015

There is great value in accepting and nurturing dissatisfaction. Rather than avoiding these feelings, they can reveal ways you can act to make a difference. As a case in point, I'll describe the time I made 350 selfies and called that performance art. It all began at about two in the morning on a Wednesday, back in 2004...
My wife and I had moved to Hong Kong from Montreal. We were both working and finding our feet in this thrilling, fast-paced metropolis. Alas, one source of frustration simmering inside me was the lack of an art community or a creative outlet. Montreal, although far less financially developed than our Fragrant Harbour, encourages creative expression in ways that dwarf what we find in Hong Kong. Back in 2004, the frustration grew until I just had to do something about it.
I got out of bed, grabbed my camera and headed for the Spartan bathroom in our apartment on Lamma. I made a self-portrait with the mirrors on the wall and headed over to my computer. I logged onto Ebay, the online selling portal, and put the image up for auction.
For a title, I typed in "350 Rans". Under the description, I wrote that for the next 350 weeks – six and a half years – I would make a conceptually different self-portrait each week. Why 350? Because it was big. No other reason. For the following 350 weeks and without fail, I challenged myself to be in a 'creative moment' at least once per week, the result of which would be the self-portrait. 
One week, I was training with Alain N'Galani, then-world-heavyweight champion in Muay Thai kickboxing. Another week, a golf ball was hit from my teeth atop the Prince's building. One week I was in Ethiopia being robbed and another week my wife and I were caught in the Boxing Day tsunami while we were taking surfing lessons. One week I was juggling rocks in the Azores in between doing whale and dolphin research, and the next I was launching Shark Rescue from "ground zero" of the shark trade.
Sure it was self-centered. Of course I was using self-promotion and had the gall to try and sell these things. Then again, it's more surprising that strangers actually bought the prints. 
Being full-on is that moment when you take a breath and get fully committed to a goal. Maybe it happens at two in the morning after weeks of tension that builds around something close to your heart. Maybe it's for a creative project. Or maybe it's a conservation campaign. Maybe it's for helping those who are less fortunate or anything else. The result or the 'end' isn't as important as the decision you made to commit to something you care about.
People who start campaigns, who launch companies, who get into the creative act or who break with the status quo have this in common: they were all compelled to act after they came to terms with their frustration. Rather than avoid this feeling or try to disempower this feeling you can use it to get moving.
So what are you waiting for? When will you move into action?
►  How will you move into action… Today?

►  What in your life brings you frustration? Can solving this help you and other people?

►  If you can do anything or be anything, what do you want to do or be? 



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