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This week we will dig deeper into the 3rd part of our Creative Genius Equation - Desire. Let’s look at how Desire + Belief marry themselves to help you be successful despite all odds.
When paired positively together, Desire and Belief are in fact a serious match made in heaven.
How do you maintain that spark of desire?
When things don’t happen at the pace you think they should, often doubt starts to creep in. Doubt is your last-ditch attempt by your brain to keep you from doing things differently and breaking through some of your old patterns. Mike’s story is a good example of how that doubter default works. You may have heard me tell his story in my TEDxBend talk “Creative Genius You”, but it bears repeating.
Mike was an assistant director on many films, but his secret dream was to make a film of his own. One year, when he was shooting a commercial in Bali, he got an exciting idea for his own short film. Coincidentally, a friend had just sent him a link to Draw Your Future, my 2011 TEDxRainier talk, so he watched it and with a group of friends one night, he drew a picture of his dream; saw himself shooting his short film. He imagined the first screening, the audience raucously applauding, and himself accepting the multiple awards that his film would win. Then he chose 3 Bold Steps to activate the dream, 1. Write the script, 2. Start a Kickstarter campaign to crowd-source partial funding, and 3. Assemble a film crew. He carries out all three and, wham, one year later he’s in Bali shooting his film!
After his first cut he starts thinking, you know, maybe this movie isn’t very good, ‘I don’t have nearly enough money to finish the movie’ and ‘I never should have quit my job!.’, on and on. He panics and eventually is paralyzed by his doubt. It was at this point that he sent me an email telling me that he’d felt like his 3 Bold Steps had taken him exactly where he’d dreamed of going, but now…well, he was stuck. Nothing was happening the way it should. Was he on the brink of failure?
I wrote back, encouraging him to keep on going, and assuring him that eventually he’d find his way if he didn’t lose faith in the desire that fueled his dream. I also suggested he go back to that picture and “double click” in his mind on one of the images to reboot the strong desire that got him to make that film in the first place. I was speaking to him as well as to myself. I’d faced similar doubts when it seemed I was lost.
As a cyclist exploring a new city, I know that whenever I feel lost, if I just keep pedaling a little farther, eventually I’ll find my way. These days, when I’m on my bike or working on something I really want to have happen and I start to worry, I gently remind myself that if I wait just a little longer, the way will become clear and I’ll find that I am right on track. I shared some of this with Mike and he listened quietly.
Next time I heard from Mike he made my day. His film, Made in Bali, had been screened at the Cannes Film Festival and 25 other festivals, and had won multiple awards in numerous countries. He was busy preparing to shoot his first feature film. His desire and sustained attention to his dream worked hand in hand.
Lots of people spend hours longing for something to occur, and asking themselves why is nothing changing? Unleashing the full capacity of your Creative Genius takes belief and determination, fueled by desire. Einstein wore a damn hole in the floor pacing in meditation while running his thought experiments! Bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert still forces herself to her desk every day to face the blank page and start to write. Former first lady Michelle Obama wrote about when her kids were young, she would get up at 4:30 AM to work out before her kids were up and her long busy days began so she could achieve her fitness goals. Tour de France competitors train in every kind of weather, drilling over and again on the same routes, preparing themselves for anything and everything. The desire is the spark that keeps you going when you put your nose to the grindstone to get back to work.
It helps to remember that when you feel stuck you naturally get lulled back into old subconscious patterns of thinking and operating. These patterns are like old outdated movies that feature a version of you from your past, often as you were at age 15 or younger. But if you can train yourself to tap into your imagination and rekindle the desire that started you on your way, you will find creative ways to remain focused and immune to doubt.
Of course, staying focused isn’t easy. Everyday life is full of distractions - social media, email, text messages, phone calls, the flow of people around you - all trying to get your attention. Without constant motivation, it’s easy to lose your desire and shift your focus to other things. If you aren’t careful, your dream can easily get swept away into an infinite sea of distractions. Claiming your Creative Genius requires consistent attention and lots of creative problem solving.
This week your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to create a mural of that secret dream.
Draw it as if it is living on a fantastic island in any completely magical setting you wish. Then surround it with the tsunami like sea of things that tries to, and often successfully does, sweep you away. Fill that sea with all the trash of your distractions, you know TikTok or that Netflix series you binge watch, add some worry, pandemic news and other things that take your eyes off your prize.
Now…create a lifeline for your focus to pull your back, and identify what that lifeline for you is – it might be meditation, it might be taking action, it might be ripping up the sea, or putting a stronger motor on your boat to get you there faster.
The only thing between you and that dream is…belief. So flip your beliefs to a positive frame and close that gap.
You can do this! I believe in you (and you do too!)
Be well and be bold,