Along the way in my “planning
struggle hell journey” I’ve faced this situation a few times: There’s me, sitting alone, in a coffee shop with my cliche moleskin notebook in front me, writing out my career options: What are my strengths? What are my opportunities? How can I make a living at this for Christ sake?!, etc etc. I’ll end up with a series of short lists under each heading and think: “Is that it? Please somebody tell me that’s not it! Please tell me my chosen career, my life contains more opportunities than playing shitty cocktail parties, producing CDs for closet storage, and ramming music lessons down some kids throat who is only there because his parents want him/her to spend less time playing World of Warcraft. Normally, after that, I’ll wish I had a considerably smaller head, so that I could shove it squarely into that freshly brewed pot of boiling hot coffee behind the annoyingly contented Starbucks employee. … And then I have my bad days.
My point is that sometimes, especially as an artist, you’ve got dreams, aspirations, passions, obsessions, what have you, but you also need to keep your feet on the ground so that you can do more than just day dream. Right? The problem enters when by “keeping your feet on the ground and your head out of the clouds” that you just come up with all the accepted, boring, “realistic” approaches that everybody else does. All of a sudden the thing you were so passionate about pursuing looks like the most mundane shit ever! As I said in this news post, I can’t stand when I hear anyone, especially myself, talk about what they/I will never be able to accomplish and then end with an authoritative yet condescending “I’m just being realistic.” Because the truth is you choose your own reality. The moment you say “I can’t do ____”, you can’t do it! You can’t do it because you’ve already decided to shut the door to that possibility and as soon as the door is closed you won’t pursue it. But, if you leave the door open to that possibility then it just might happen, or … it might not, the point is you didn’t annihilate the opportunity by declaring it impossible.
So don’t talk to me about realistic aspirations! This may sound crazy to you but I don’t want realistic dreams, I want realistic steps to reach my completely unrealistic dreams!
Um,… anyways, let me move past this rant to something actually worth your time, and that is … somebody elses writing, namely that of Tracy Goss, author of “The Last Word On Power”. Here’s a list of quotes that resonated with me:
“Life does not turn out as it should or as it shouldn’t. Life turns out the way it does.” … “Accepting that you can’t control the outcome is not the end of action—it is the opening for the boldest and most daring action. You can accept total responsibility for your choices and actions. You are free to play full-out in creating and implementing an extraordinary future for yourself and your organization.”
A Declaration of Possibility:
“The new master paradigm that you are about to invent is rooted in a particular type of declaration: a declaration of possibility. A powerful declaration of possibility can move the forces that alter the world. From the moment it is spoken, this declaration lays the groundwork for action in a new realm: a specific realm of possibility, which you define, that did not previously exist as possible.
The new realm of possibility you declare is founded solely on your stand for that possibility— without precedent, argument, or proof. Said another way: A declaration of possibility brings “what is not” into existence as a possibility.
Creating The Re-Invention Paradigm
…”The first declaration: “I declare the possibility that ‘what is possible’ is ‘what I say is possible’.”
“Playing the game (of working to achieve the impossible), you will be free to live and work in an environment of unlimited possibility, rather than in an environment of inherited options.”
“What would you do (in life) if you didn’t think it was impossible?”
Principle #1: Assume you will fail at this game.
“Ask yourself: Would I play this big new game of making the imposssible happen even if I knew I would fail? If the answer is no, then don’t play. Because you might fail. You cannot be certain of the outcome.
Remember: Your game will not turn out the way it “should.”
… Like any champion, when you lose a tournament or a series—fail to deliver on your bold promise—you will continue to play, and you will continue to reap rewards from playing the game. Besides various material rewards (if you design the game’s structure appropriately), these rewards will include the pleasure of playing at 100 percent, the thrill of not knowing what is going to happen next, and the enjoyment of spending your life engaged in something you are passionate about.
Leadership always includes knowledge of the possibility of failure. In this type of game, that provides a remarkable degree of confidence. If you operate with an acceptance of failure, you will remain confident no matter what happens during the course of the game.
You still play “to win,” of course, as without that, there would be no game at all. And there is always a scoreboard—you kept the bold promise or you didn’t. You check the scoreboard when the whistle blows on the bold promise. But the game never ends. you calculate the results and debrief on how you “played.” What’s important, because you said so, is that you move the possibility forward. That allows you to immerse yourself in the challenge and pleasure of your game, regardless of the impediments you encounter or the circumstances that you must include. They are all opportunities for building the muscles of making the impossible happen.”
I don’t know how many of you will find these quotes interesting, I just know that dreaming big is exciting for me and pursuing what’s “doable” is boring. As I’ve said before, I’d rather have challenging and exciting over easy and dull. Next week I’ll continue with the plan, but for now I must sleep.
Thanks for reading.