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 planning scene in Up in the Air:
Stare into the mouth
of panic and see possibility. The hard part about dreaming is, once your dream
comes true, you have to learn to live with it. You have to exist in the world
that you created. You actually have to do
something with the idea that you killed yourself for. And it’s kind of a
bittersweet symphony. Because the pride and joy and satisfaction of achievement
is quickly replaced by the fear and vulnerability and pressure of reality. Just
ask anyone who creates for a living. The moment you wrap on a new project, kick
out the press release and announce to the world that your new brainchild has
finally arrived, you’re immediately gripped with quiet panic. And you starting
asking yourself these strange new questions. Are you sure you’re ready for the
world to see you as you really are? What if you can’t afford to follow this
dream anymore? What if you’re not the same person as you when the dream
started? And if so, does that mean you have to readjust your dream so it reflects something that satisfies you when
you step away from it? Campbell explained that the final stage of the hero’s
journey was bringing the elixir back to the ordinary world. Turning back to help humanity
along the difficult path that you yourself have just walked and conquered. But
what if that’s not enough for you? What if you sense the beginning of a different and more courageous dream?
It’s highly neurotic, but it’s also human nature. And nobody seems to want to
talk about it. So we have to confront this reality. Because not facing the fire
doesn’t put it out. Can you answer all
the questions about your dream?
Create positive tension for yourself. When my wife and I decided to relocate across the
country, I wrote apress
release. Mainly because it was
funny, but also because I didn’t want to lose momentum. I didn’t want another
reason to back peddle on our dream. What’s interesting is, the moment we shared
that press release with the world, plans started to align. Not because we
earned a ton of headline impressions, but because we had created positive
tension for ourselves. The press release painted us into an accountable corner.
Not through distress, buteustress.
Constructive conflict. Intensity through total involvement. That was our
strategy to increase motivation, adaptation and reaction to the environment.
And it worked. Within four short months, we had downsized, combined, relocating
and restarted our lives. Best hundred bucks I ever spent. Proving, that when
you lose momentum, self propulsion is the only thing that will move you
forward. It’s like printing business cards for a company you haven’t started
yet. That commitment device creates social pressure and positive tension. By
virtue of physically handing them out to people, you’re forced to reckon with
the infallible judgment of reality. A place with enough social pressure to make
sure failure isn’t interpreted away.How
could you increase your commitment by creating unacceptable consequences of
Shake off the shackles of expectations. Natalie is overflowing with plans and ambitions and
deadlines for her perfect life, complete with a perfect career, perfect
community, perfect husband, perfect car and even a perfect dog. But she’s
discovering that life can be wildly underwhelming. And that people will thwart
your expectations every way you can imagine, and in many ways you can’t. This
movie reminds me of my twenties, when I had enough goals to keep god busy. And
I accomplished every one of them. But the strange part is, I wasn’t any
happier. I just had a thicker resume. And so, I started to realize that I
didn’t need a goal, I needed a process. A system. A set of practices I executed
on a regular basis to increase my odds of happiness in the long run. As my
favoritebookstates, only reasonable goal in life is maximizing
your total lifetime experience of something called happiness. So I focused on
that. And life got a lot happier. Because when you prioritize achievement over
contentment, burdened by the belief that you haven’t done enough to be okay
with yourself, happiness has a hard time bubbling to the surface. You have to
roll an awful lot of rocks up an awful lot of hills, just to get a taste of
that sweet air. But when the anxious part of you is finally resting, no longer
suffocating under an avalanche of expectation, it’s amazing how freely the
vomit of happiness spews out. Lesson learned, goals are overrated, deadlines
are jokes and plans are procrastination in disguise.What if you allowed themes to emerge in your life, rather than force
your own expectations upon it?
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What did you learn from this movie clip?
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That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.
Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.
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