All creativity begins with the moment of conception.
That little piece of kindling that gets the fire going. That initial source of inspiration that takes on a life of its own. That single note from which the entire symphony grows. That single spark of life that signals an idea’s movement value, almost screaming to us, something wants to be built here.
And so, in this blog series, I’m going to be deconstructing my favorite moments of conception from popular movies. Each post will contain a video clip from a different film, along with a series of lessons we can learn from the characters.
Today’s clip comes from the dreaming scene in Rudy:
What can we learn?
Living like you used to dream. Pete says having dreams is what makes life tolerable. Beautiful. What he didn’t mention, however, is that most people only get to dream their dream. Few people are lucky enough to actually live their dream. And so, there’s a certain amount of empathy required. Because when people start warning you to test your dreams in the crucible of reality, imploring you to step out of wonderland and expose your dream to the light, begging you to submit yourself to the occasional beating by the practicality stick, it’s not necessarily malicious. And a little resistance doesn’t mean the world is conspiring to keep you from your dreams. They’re just projecting their own shit onto you. That’s the power dynamic. People are invested in keeping you where you are. At some level, they don’t like to see you pursuing their dreams. It’s disenfranchising. It reminds them how far they are from living their own. I’m reminded of an article I read about one man’s disenchanting experience of trying to make it as an artist in a major metropolitan area. The author said the city was like a giant meat grinder extruding tons of chewed up dreams. And that made me sad. Because the goal is to live like you used to dream, not the other way around. Have you let go of the dream you killed yourself for?
Dream with a pen in your hand. Every dream that anyone has ever achieved came true because they were dedicated to a process. Not because they dreamed and believed it so much that eventually the dream had no choice but to become a reality. But because they had a plan. They took steps, every day, that added energy to the system and moved the story forward. Even if that step was stupid. Because what mattered was that the step was one more tool to get them closer to their dream. What mattered was that they never allowed their commitment to be outweighed by their fear of looking like an idiot. What mattered was that at the end of the day, they put their head on the pillow and experienced the glorious satisfaction of creative overextension, the divine feeling of being flattened tired from working on their wildest dreams. And that they woke up in the morning energized by their work, dreaming of how to take it to the next level. That’s something I never understood. Pursuing your dreams doesn’t equal financial irresponsibility. Not if you have a system. Not if you use creativity to help you overcome new barriers to your dream. Not if you act on your dreams with open eyes. Over the years as a writer, I’ve worked jobs selling furniture, parking cars, even a full time job developing strategy at a marketing agency. Because I never wanted a reason to believe that I couldn’t afford to follow my dreams anymore. Are you blocking your dreams with the excuse that you can’t afford to accomplish them?
Reality may be hazardous to your health. The beauty of dreaming is, it delivers us from the rational surface of life. It floods our consciousness with wonder and mystery and possibility and whimsy. And that’s an experience that no human should be deprived of. Because there’s no upside to not dreaming. Even if the world looks at us like we’re mental. Even if our dream has no intention of coming true. We can’t let society’s security blanket of practicality squelch our most imaginative yearnings. Because what happens to people is, once their first dreams get killed off, nothing takes their place. And that’s no way to live. Einstein famously said a mind that opens itself to a new idea never returns to its original size. Dreams work in a similar way. Simply by engaging in the process of dreaming, the experience of envisioning a world even more beautiful than the one we’ve come to know, our imaginations expand. They never return to their original size. And that trains our brains to spot the beginnings of different and more courageous dreams. Rudy harbored dreams of playing college football, despite lacking the grades, finances, athletic talent and physical stature required. But although he only logged three actual plays on the field, that wasn’t the end of his dream. Ruettiger also went on to create a myriad of charitable ventures, authored several books and became a sought after corporate trainer and motivational speaker. Football was just the gateway dream. Now he breathes life and hope into the dreams of others. What dream in you that serves or helps other would cause you deep regret if you never took the risk to go for it?
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What did you learn from this movie clip?
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