The more you sit around thinking about doing something, you’re screwed. We think about making that phone call to someone who can help us, starting that business we’ve been dreaming about, taking a writing course, going to Spain. And the more we think, the less we do. All sorts of reasons, excuses, rationalizations, arguments (read: fears) invade and pollute the mind with how this isn’t possible. We listen to those lies and end up retreating from life’s moment-to-moment experiencing and get ourselves stuck in the cerebral and judgmental. We get trapped asking ourselves, “What if… ” So what originated as an exciting, inspired idea eventually becomes an afterthought. We do nothing. We let the dream die.
Let’s say you’re an artist trying to get more work but haven’t had much luck. Suddenly, you’re seized by this great idea to start calling art agencies and design companies and invite them to come see your work at a new art opening. That’s a great idea. But what happens? We share the idea with a friend and he says, “I don’t think they’d be interested in taking the time to come down, but go for it dude!” Then we start to think. Uh oh. We obsess, “My friend’s right, they’re just going to say “no.” Or “What if they hang up on me?” Or “The assistant is never going to put me through to anyone important anyway.”
If you don’t ask, the answer is always going to be “no” anyway.
With action comes possibility. The comedian, Jerry Lewis, calls the doubts other people place into our heads “little drops of poison.” They stop us in our tracks.
Before we know it, we’ve gone from an inspired idea to thoughts about the idea to thoughts about thoughts about thoughts about that original idea. Brain Drain! We’re no longer connected to the original feeling of excitement and hopefulness that were engendered when we first thought it. We’re screwed.
This is what Goethe was referring to when he said, “Begin it now.” He didn’t say think about it and then begin it. He didn’t say obsess about it. He didn’t say question it and then attempt it later. He didn’t say put it aside and ask for the opinions of other people. (Gawd, no!) He didn’t say sleep on it and re-examine it tomorrow. He said do it. NOW.
He was aware of how powerful the movement is from the imaginative realm into the physical realm of creativity. But we have to take action. We have to begin it. And any kind of action is better than sitting around and coming up with all the reasons something won’t work. Even if what we were hoping doesn’t manifest; by playing in the realm of possibility, we create forces that present something else to us. New creativity becomes available, new ideas and new information are accessed that may lead to something even better than the original idea. But we have to act on it.
Part of our dilemma in our culture is that we try to conform to the images we’re being fed through the media. We think we have to be like that person in order to get a job, or a book, or a commercial, or secure an agent, or write a novel, or sell a painting or be a success. We do what we think we’re supposed to do as opposed to following our own instincts and creative inquiry.
Quit that. Follow yourself.
You’re comparing your dress rehearsal to someone else’s photo-shopped final performance!
All life is dress rehearsal. Always.
So begin it now, think less, take action and be amazed by what you can accomplish.
Excerpt from the Book At Left Brain Turn Right
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Anthony Meindl is an award-winning writer/director/producer/teacher and Artistic Director of Anthony Meindl’s Actor Workshop – where the “right brain rules” – in Los Angeles and New York. He is endlessly inspired by his students’ fearless creativity and is tireless in discovering new ways to help us all get out of our own way a little bit more each day. He just finished writing/directing his first feature film, Birds of A Feather.
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