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 boat scene in My Best Friend’s Wedding:|
What can we learn?
Nothing comes from out of nowhere. One of the mantras I’ve lived by for many years is,
the door must be opened from the inside. Meaning, we have to go happen to
things. We have to put ourselves in the way of success. Otherwise we’ll never
hear the sound of opportunity knocking. This is a movie about the special
someone who gets away. When it first went to video, my high school sweetheart
forced me to watch it at least twenty times. I hated it. This scene, in particular, infuriated me. Michael gives
his best friend a clear opening. A blatant invitation to confess her true
feelings for him. But she just stands there like a dolt, letting the moment
pass her by. Julia, you magnificent putz. What
are you thinking? Regret is the price you pay for not having any balls. Whether
it’s with your relationships or with you work, the antidote to a lifetime of
misery is decisiveness. Commitment. Taking action to move the story forward.
Even if that means the painful death of other choices. Even if that means
rejection. At least you tried. At least you answered the call to opportunity.
All love, after all, is saying yes to something. How could you live your life in a way that eliminates the need to
The universe will not deliver itself to us. When I relocated across the country in search of new
creative opportunities, my mentor said something I’ll never forget. His advice
was, you have to find the people who have what you want, grab them by the lapel
and tell them who you are and why they should give it to you. That terrified me. As a passive person
by nature, I wasn’t accustomed to that level of assertiveness and directness.
But I knew that in a big city, nobody was going to give me an outlet to prove
how talented I was. So I manufactured my own opportunities. I created my own
leverage. Instead of sitting back and waiting for the world to fall in love
with me, I set myself on fire and gave people front row seats to watch me burn.
And it worked. Julianne, on the other hand, didn’t take that step. She stood shoulder
to shoulder with the only man who ever felt like home to her, looked him in the
eye, and said nothing. Nothing. And the opportunity vanished like a vapor
trail. A powerful reminder to lovers and artists alike, we can’t wait around to
be saved. We have to believe the world is now ready for the love we are here to
deliver, and we have to go out there and ask the world for our proper place in
it. It’s a daunting experience, but it’s also one of those moments that make us
happy to be human. How will you overcome your fear of asking?
Buttress passion with pragmatism. This movie is a love story, but it’s also a parable
about business and creativity and ambition. I’m reminded of a famous research
study about how passion blinds
entrepreneurs, leading them to get overconfident and make bad choices at the
worst times, potentially dooming even the most promising startups. Turns out,
the very thing it takes to start a business often ends up destroying it. Who knew? And so, passion alone doesn’t
pay the mortgage. What matters is production, proactivity and performance. If
we want to turn our personal obsession into profitable enterprise, we have to
buttress passion with pragmatism. However, I still believe that passion helps. It
may not be a panacea, but it’s certainly useful when times are tough. I’m
reminded of another case study about a lawyer mom who managed to find the time to
author her first novel with two toddlers and a booming mediation practice. She
said she made it all work
because she was running on passion, writing in the cracks of time, viewing
every hour as a commodity that had to be budgeted like it was money. Perhaps
passion is more productive than we realize.
Are there at least ten other people out
there who are successfully making money from a passion similar to yours?
What did you learn?
* * * *
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.
Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.
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