Friday, November 07, 2014

Moments of Conception 131 -- The Boat Scene from My Best Friend's Wedding

All creativity begins with the moment of conception.

That little piece of kindling that gets the fire going. That initial source of inspiration that takes on a life of its own. That single note from which the entire symphony grows. That single spark of life that signals an idea’s movement value, almost screaming to us, something wants to be built here.

And so, in this blog series, I’m going to be deconstructing my favorite moments of conception from popular movies. Each post will contain a video clip from a different film, along with a series of lessons we can learn from the characters.

Today's clip comes from the boat scene in My Best Friend's Wedding:|

What can we learn?

Nothing comes from out of nowhere. One of the mantras I’ve lived by for many years is, the door must be opened from the inside. Meaning, we have to go happen to things. We have to put ourselves in the way of success. Otherwise we’ll never hear the sound of opportunity knocking. This is a movie about the special someone who gets away. When it first went to video, my high school sweetheart forced me to watch it at least twenty times. I hated it. This scene, in particular, infuriated me. Michael gives his best friend a clear opening. A blatant invitation to confess her true feelings for him. But she just stands there like a dolt, letting the moment pass her by. Julia, you magnificent putz. What are you thinking? Regret is the price you pay for not having any balls. Whether it’s with your relationships or with you work, the antidote to a lifetime of misery is decisiveness. Commitment. Taking action to move the story forward. Even if that means the painful death of other choices. Even if that means rejection. At least you tried. At least you answered the call to opportunity. All love, after all, is saying yes to something. How could you live your life in a way that eliminates the need to regret things?

The universe will not deliver itself to us. When I relocated across the country in search of new creative opportunities, my mentor said something I’ll never forget. His advice was, you have to find the people who have what you want, grab them by the lapel and tell them who you are and why they should give it to you. That terrified me. As a passive person by nature, I wasn’t accustomed to that level of assertiveness and directness. But I knew that in a big city, nobody was going to give me an outlet to prove how talented I was. So I manufactured my own opportunities. I created my own leverage. Instead of sitting back and waiting for the world to fall in love with me, I set myself on fire and gave people front row seats to watch me burn. And it worked. Julianne, on the other hand, didn’t take that step. She stood shoulder to shoulder with the only man who ever felt like home to her, looked him in the eye, and said nothing. Nothing. And the opportunity vanished like a vapor trail. A powerful reminder to lovers and artists alike, we can’t wait around to be saved. We have to believe the world is now ready for the love we are here to deliver, and we have to go out there and ask the world for our proper place in it. It’s a daunting experience, but it’s also one of those moments that make us happy to be human. How will you overcome your fear of asking?

Buttress passion with pragmatism. This movie is a love story, but it’s also a parable about business and creativity and ambition. I’m reminded of a famous research study about how passion blinds entrepreneurs, leading them to get overconfident and make bad choices at the worst times, potentially dooming even the most promising startups. Turns out, the very thing it takes to start a business often ends up destroying it. Who knew? And so, passion alone doesn’t pay the mortgage. What matters is production, proactivity and performance. If we want to turn our personal obsession into profitable enterprise, we have to buttress passion with pragmatism. However, I still believe that passion helps. It may not be a panacea, but it’s certainly useful when times are tough. I’m reminded of another case study about a lawyer mom who managed to find the time to author her first novel with two toddlers and a booming mediation practice. She said she made it all work because she was running on passion, writing in the cracks of time, viewing every hour as a commodity that had to be budgeted like it was money. Perhaps passion is more productive than we realize. Are there at least ten other people out there who are successfully making money from a passion similar to yours?

What did you learn?

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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.

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