When I sit down to dinner with new or old friends, I’m inevitably asked the same things; “How on earth did you get on Game of Thrones/go on a shark conservation expedition/publish a book/start your own business?” or “How do you fit in so many things all the time?”
The answers are pretty simple. Truly, it’s easier to do any of those things than walk into a grey walled office every day and sweat under fluoro lights where everything beeps and reminds me of what I’d rather be doing.
For me there is a formula. I follow it basically, brutally and with love.
Of course, yours may be different. But finding out is half the fun.
Playing in my curiosity
As a perpetual day dreamer, I do a lot of wondering. “What would it be like to…” When one of those wonders makes me feel like I’ve eaten pop rocks and they’re exploding down my limbs, I know it’s the Next Thing. Literally, I Google my questions and let the wondering solidify into a real idea. Then I follow the steps below. Everything fun I’ve ever done is because of a pop-rock idea that I researched into reality.
I don’t use vision boards, I don’t really journal. I feel things in pictures, and when I see an experience in my movie-mind, I know I will do it.
It’s a rare day I don’t have several of these ideas. Sometimes they wake me up at ungodly hours, sometimes they come to me on the bus. I don’t follow all of them, but I am happiest when I am having them. They are my happy place.
Identifying buzzkills and avoiding them (for a bit)
People who love me don’t want to see me fail and get hurt, so most times it will be someone close that shuts my ideas down. But no dreams were ever realised from a place of pessimism. To make a massive change I know I need to protect myself from being dragged into “reality” (read: someone else’s version of). Sometimes there is even a relationship fallout, because my ideas press fear buttons.
Often, the only person who believes a thing is possible is me, so I try to hibernate from human interaction and get on with it. I re-emerge to let them know when it is a done deal and they are always happy for me. If not, I disengage.
I am not always great at this because I value the opinions of loved ones, and I seek their comfort. But I’ve come to realise that most times people can only speak from their field of vision. If they can’t see it, they tell me it can’t be done. So I have to practice not engaging with that. Every day.
On the other hand, if I tell someone my mad plan and they laugh and say “awesome!” I keep them around. I am trying to collect these people like Lego and have a small but dedicated base which is growing all the time. This will soon be a fortress with flags and turrets.
Expecting to get what I ask for — or better
Many people I know believe in having low expectations. “That way you won’t be disappointed. Anything else is a bonus.” I feel these people have been disappointed many times. Self-preservation is a powerful motivator.
I’ve never seen that belief make any kind of magic. In my experience, even the low expectations don’t get met, and that breeds resentment. These people often give lots of advice.
Instead, I do my best to “act as if.” As if what I want has already happened, and the email/text/phone call or meeting the right person is just a formality. This has been the case in every successful thing I have ever done. I decide it’s done, and it comes.
But the devil is in the detail — if I’ve entertained too much “how will you afford it?” or “isn’t it dangerous?” or “what about responsibilities?”, I find myself faking, hard. It doesn’t work, and I have to take some recovery time to get back in the zone. Nature and silence always works for me.
A friend once told me “everything you can imagine, exists.” If it already exists, why not here and now? Why not for me?
Note to Self: Get On With It
I email the person I want to work with and I just know they will say yes. They do.
I talk about my project and just know the person I am speaking to will say yes. They do.
I work out the steps I need to take to reach the goal, and I take them.
Often I take the biggest and last step before I even take the first. i.e., I engage the media before I have a venue or a vehicle. Or I accept an invitation in a place I don’t know how to get to. I attend a casting before I have an agent. Or I agree to do something I haven’t yet learned how to do. Then I make the middle steps fit the end result, instead of plugging away at the beginning and playing small.
The middle stuff is what I call “details, details.” It is all figure-out-able once the thing is real.
Contrary to another common saying, the worst thing that can happen is not somebody saying “no”, the worst thing is never asking in the first place.
Basically, I believe we are here to play — to immerse ourselves in all the beauty, sorrow and splendour that is the human experience. I don’t believe everything must be pretty, I enjoy shadow as much as smiles; that is play too. I can explore any part of myself anytime, I just don’t have to set up camp.