June 28, 2010

An argument for now.

Blaise Pascal warns that we should not live in times that are not our own. His thought is that while we think about yesterday or tomorrow, we completely miss out on all that needs our attention today.

Too often, I hear people talk about what could have been if they would have been born a few years later, or a few years earlier. "If only I had been born a few years earlier, I would have published my own book before the print industry went down the tubes." "If I would have been born a few years earlier, I would have secured a great record deal and would now be living off of the royalties the rest of my days." "If I would have been born a few years later, the technology to make my dreams come true would have been available and I would have created something really remarkable."

The encouraging truth is that now is the greatest time for you to do what you dream of, because you have been uniquely designed for now. It isn't daring to dream that is difficult. The challenge is in doing something to make the daring dream come true.

Do you want to write a book? Then check out the self-publishing options that are available. Do you want to captivate the world through your lyrical muse? Then record something and get it out there. Perhaps, you are somewhat uncomfortable with digital this and 2.0 that? That's okay too. With a little creativity, there are many low tech options at your disposal right now that will allow you to change your corner of the world.

Honestly, the time to impact the world has never been greater. Yet, I see people back off and avoid all that they could become because they don't believe that the time is right.

The time to do something remarkable will never be perfect or optimal, so why not at least try to do something now?

June 20, 2010

Childish Authenticity

The other morning, I woke up to find two remarkably great pieces of art on our kitchen table. In my home, the wall in our kitchen is covered with art more beautiful than any I could possibly find in some stuffy museum. All of these masterpieces were crafted by two of the most skilled artists that I know, my children.

As I beamed with joy (and of course a little pride) over the two new additions to our collection, it occurred to me that one of the reasons people are so frustrated, angry, and depressed is because somewhere along the way, they forgot to be childishly authentic.

When we were children, we created art with childish authenticity. We would paint masterpieces with nothing more than mud and a sidewalk! We would sing out loud for the world to hear our song! We would hit home runs and score touchdowns (yes, there is art in this too)! We would write poetry that changed the world!

We didn't do these things to become superstars or rockstars. We already were, and we wanted the world to know it!

And then, something happened.

We were told by someone in a position of influence in our life that we should stop playing and dreaming and focus more on our studies. Perhaps some of us endured ridicule for the art that we created and so we simply stopped, allowing our gifts and talents to be carried away from us like a leaf on the wind. Others of us may have abandoned our art because it wasn't "cool".

Honestly, these are ridiculous excuses that we use because we are afraid of failing. These excuses prevent us from doing what we have been designed for and from living the magnificent life we were meant to live. Sadly, many of us fall into the trap of blaming others for our inaction, and the rest of the world suffers as a result.

The choice is yours. You can go on blaming others, or you could be much happier, as could the rest of the world, if you stopped being mature and making excuses and started being childishly authentic again.

June 13, 2010

The beauty of rehearsal

In live theater, a lot can go wrong. An actor could forget his lines; An actress might miss her cue; A lighting technician may accidentally illuminate the wrong area of the stage entirely. All of these things could happen, and in some theaters, they do happen.

However, I venture to say that in professional theaters, events like these are few and far between. How, with all of the variables and crazy stuff that could occur, does the theater "go on?"

Rehearsal. Lots of it.

During rehearsal, it is okay to make mistakes. In fact, a lot of mistakes get made. Especially during the first few rehearsals. However, as more rehearsals take place, fewer mistakes are made. When the first night of the big show finally arrives, many of the things that could go wrong have already occurred and have been accounted for.

Our lives are no different. In order for us to be the best parent, or writer, or doctor, or religious leader, we need to practice at it. The difference between an inspiring performance and a mediocre performance is rehearsal. It comes down to what you are filling your time with between performances.

The only real mistake you can make when it is time to rehearse is not rehearsing.