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 new 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 shanks scene scene in Tin Cup:
What can we learn?
Avoid the cold start.
Your brain is a machine. And like any mechanical device, you need to bring it
up to operating temperature in order to run properly. Without that crucial warm
up cycle, the motor is vulnerable to errors, misfires, wasted energy, toxic
emissions, even full blown system failures. And so, when you sit down work each
day, consider using acentering sequencebefore pulling out of the creative driveway. A ritual that keeps you from doing
things that you regret, things that come from the shadowy parts of your personality.
For many years, I’ve been using a tool from a program calledTen Zen Seconds, which is an approach to mindfulness and an
invitation to live a more centered, grounded, and meaningful life. The way it
works is, you use a single deep breath as a ten second container for a specific
thought, matching the rhythm of your respiration to the symmetry of your words.
Every morning when I sit down to write, this centering sequence brings my brain
up to operating temperature. It’s how I avoid the shanks. How are you warming up your mental system?
My brain burns with
their color. Roy was so in awe of the golf legends lined up on the
driving range, hitting beautiful shot after beautiful shot with graceful ease,
his brain got in the way. But once he got out of his head and into the present
moment, once he reconnected with his body and accessed his authentic swing, he hit
a perfect seven iron into the trees. Creators could learn from this experience.
We’re a group of people with notoriously racing brains, and we have to be
careful not to do too much work in our heads. The goal, after all, is to relieve ourselves of the necessity of
remembering, not to add more mental bricks. To help our minds peacefully return
to their natural state, not strain the brain. That’s why the tradition of
making mental notes is a terribly unhealthy, unwise approach for organizing
ideas. The mind is a terrible office. We don’t need to make mental notes, we
need to make notes. Writing everything down relieves us of the necessity of
remembering and opens our mind to receive new ideas. Writing everything down
directs the traffic flow of our overcrowded minds. Without adopting this habit,
our brain will be too overwhelmed to keep the ball in the fairway. Are you prepared to kill the virus in your
Getting ready for the job of creating. Golfers go to
the driving range to work out the shanks. To loosen the lid on the pickle jar
of peak performance. To flush the bad shots out of their system before hitting
the lynx. It’s a practice that takes discipline, but one that also takes humility.
Notice the golfers at the range are daring to do their work poorly in the
beginning. They’re allowing themselves to be bad. And they’re accepting failure
as a necessary part of growth. Artists should be no different. Even if our first
ideas impress us so little that we see no good reason to continue, we should
never stop ourselves from hitting those shots. When we practice forced vomiting, for example, we
release our thoughts without committing to keeping them. We create off the record, making things without the burden of
evidence, following our most impractical curiosities. It’s the work
before the work. The driving range of creativity. And we find our rhythm, our
groove, the tempo of our creative nature, by hitting enough balls until meaning
and truth finally manifest. Do you have a
daily psychological holding environment?
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.
Now booking for 2014-2015.
Email to inquire about fees and availability. Watch clips of The Nametag Guy in action here!