I’ve been thinking a lot about risks, in light of two works I’ve been influenced by lately: Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic and the movie Interstellar. You may be thinking right now that these two creations don’t have a lot in common, but hear me out. Granted, I've read about 60% of Big Magic, according to my Kindle (I just finished Tana French’s In The Woods for my book club and it’s deliciously creepy, albeit frustrating at the end), but I’ve listened to all of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Magic Lessons Podcast (it’s amazing – go check it out), so I’m getting her theme, which is simply to go ahead and create something. After all, what are you waiting for?
She manages to demystify the act of being creative and putting yourself out there in an amazingly accessible way, which made me feel (by the time I finished listening to her podcast) that I am truly a creative person who has something to say.
And if I am creative, then so are you.
Maybe when I actually get around to finishing the book I’ll feel differently, but as of now, she’s pretty darn inspirational. Her message is simple – create something now, because everyone has something to create. Gilbert says, "Through the mere act of creating something—anything—you might inadvertently produce work that is magnificent, eternal, or important." I love that idea.
It makes me feel like I have permission to go ahead and pursue my passions, and that, I believe, is the very best kind of permission to receive.
Interstellar, on the other hand, a three-hour tour of outer space, is supremely depressing. In a post-apocalyptic world that seriously resembles Grapes of Wrath, a team of explorers goes to see if there’s any planet, even beyond our galaxy, where humans can go to live. The kicker though, is that they go through space and time and don’t age on their journey, yet on one planet for every hour they are there, seven years pass on earth. They essentially miss the lives of their families while they are out there. And then there’s some weird muddled explanation of a black hole, and gravitational pull, and a tesseract, and then…I lost it. I spent about an hour after watching the movie trying to figure out what had happened in the movie, and thankfully realized that other people had the same reaction. But, I digress.
The main feeling I had throughout the movie was how precious time actually is. Even if the science didn’t exactly hold up, seeing this man’s kids age decades while he’s in space for a few years was jarring, to say the least, not to mention heartbreaking.
It kind of drove home this point that time really is precious, and that it certainly isn’t an unlimited resource.
So, if time is just flying by, and anything we create will inevitably be useful in some way, then what prevents us from just going for it? Why do we overanalyze, become so afraid, and psyche ourselves out when we want to do something the most? I’ve found that whenever I’m the most excited about anything, I immediately start to push on the brakes – hard. The fear, the pressure, the stories I create – they all hold me back.
Sure, I’ve started my own business, but I am scared all the time. It’s so easy to hold myself back from the projects I really want to pursue. Thinking about time marching on and giving myself permission to just go for it, I’m making a big push to put myself out there more. For me, it means starting a writing group, committing to making my Storyologist podcast happen within the next 6 months, and starting a family stories offering (check it out here).
So, what would happen if everyone who wanted to pursue something in their lives just did it, without all that stuff behind it? What would happen then? I can only imagine how amazing that would be.
I’ll leave you with another quote by Elizabeth Gilbert: “Let inspiration lead you wherever it wants. For most of history people just made things, and they didn’t make such a big freaking deal about it.” True story.
Below in the comments, I would love to hear about something you are wanting to do, and the steps you will take to just DO it – fear, pressure and negative stories aside!