Every moment of our lives we’re either acting upon the world or reacting to it. Both are necessary. But you gotta keep an eye on the ratio.
If you’re generally reacting— in your work, in your relationships, in your dreams— you’ll end up with whatever fate hands you. That will probably be a mediocre job, meh relationships and whatever else happens to come your way.
The same is true with your creative endeavors. Whether you want to hang your art on the wall at a coffeeshop, learn how to paint watercolors, or make a movie, taking action is always the first step. Sure, you should always be on the lookout for opportunities to react to, but you’re way better off to make your own.
Bring your portfolio to local coffeeshops. Scope around the area (and online) for watercolor classes. Write a script, call some friends, pick up your iPhone and make a movie.
I teach songwriting at a college around Seattle. As one might expect, I am both dazzled and dismayed by my students. One day this freshman guy shows up and explains to me, “My homework didn’t get done.”
The guy’s homework was not a cake waiting to be baked. He did not pre-heat the oven, put his homework in there for the prescribed amount of time, and for some inexplicable reason it just didn’t ‘get done.’ He didn’t do his homework.
His language and his action were completely passive. Lame.
We had a nice little chat. I reminded him that subjects, verbs and sentence structures matter. Taking responsibility matters. Without it we’re all just bouncing around reacting to our lives.
There’s always at least some action that can be taken. If you’re bored, stuck, or have too much time on your hands, consider that an immense opportunity. Get into something cool. Make. Learn. Interact. Teach. Build. Dream. Start… anything. Or finish a project or idea that’s been languishing on the back burner.
Although not necessarily the best role model, Al Pacino’s Scarface plastered the motto “The World is Yours” in neon and gold on a statue in his Florida mansion (before getting gunned down by a small army of hitmen).
He was right.The world is yours*. Click To Tweet
*Although Tony Montana was correct with the motto, he would’ve been wise not to piss off a bigtime Columbian drug cartel.
(Every answer is the right answer)
• How have you forged your own path?
• In what ways are you reacting? How can you change?
• Scarface— hero or villain?