Sunday, November 09, 2014

Moments of Conception 132 -- The Apartment Scene from Dumb & Dumber

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 apartment scene in Dumb & Dumber:



What can we learn?

Let me give that no thought. Growing up, I was the kid who always raised his hand. Didn’t matter what the teacher or the coach or the parent was asking us to do. My hand just shot up. Usually before the question was done being asked. What can I say? I wanted to participate. To be part of the experience. Everything was just another chance to dance with the universe. And what’s interesting is, as an adult, that inclination hasn’t waned. Especially when it comes to work. Because I’m so profoundly grateful and enthusiastic and enriched by even the tiniest opportunity to contribute and create value, that anytime someone is willing to pay me money to do it, I raise my hand. I pull the trigger, ride the bullet and call whatever I hit the target. Lloyd finally has the same revelation. He knows that the only ticket out of his crappy apartment, dead end job, lonely existence and unfulfilling life is to track down the owner of that briefcase. That’s the experience he needs to say yes to. Because if he doesn’t do it now, he may not get the chance again. So he raises his hand. He answers the call to adventure. And what awaits him on the other side is life changing. Reminding us, that we shouldn’t have to talk ourselves into opportunities. Feeling fully alive is always on the other side of saying yes. What is the opportunity that’s going to pass you buy if you don’t act on it?

Efficiency is eloquence. Harry and Lloyd set out on a cross country road trip to return a briefcase to a woman they hardly know. That’s not exactly efficient thinking. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Stepping over dollars to pick up dimes, using time to save money instead of using money to save time, that’s a poverty mentality. And it’s no way to live your life. Abundance, on the other hand, comes from practicing the economy of effort. Creating systems to do the heavy lifting for you. Spending as little energy as possible to get things done. It’s simply a matter of finding the catchall in each situation. A comedian, for example, knows that if he just keeps getting better on stage, everything else will take care of itself. A cartoonist knows that if he just keeps publishing his drawings with his fans, everything else will take care of itself. And a writer knows that if he just keeps blogging every single day, everything else will take care of itself. And so, the catchall is the central lever that galvanizes the whole machine. The crucial stone that kills all of the birds. The single activity that can be trusted to take care of everything else. All progress flows from that. What’s the one activity, if practiced consistently, would make the biggest impact on your creative life?

Remove what robs you, embrace what excites you. Lloyd asks a crucial question. One that most us don’t realize is actually a stepping stone to transformation. What the hell am I doing here? Next time you find yourself wondering that same thing, don’t run away from it. Dig down through the many levels of why. Figure out what life is asking of you. Because it’s not just a question, it’s an invitation to live a better story. When I was a senior in college, standing in the doorway of the career fair with a stack of resumes in my hand, I remember thinking to myself, what the hell am I doing here? When I was writing on my first book, working full time selling couches at a discount furniture warehouse, I remember thinking to myself, what the hell am I doing here? When I was writing my second book, working nights and weekends parking cars at a luxury hotel, I remembering thinking to myself, what the hell am I doing here? When I was dating the wrong girl, stuck in a relationship that made me hate who I was, I remember thinking to myself, what the hell am I doing here? And when my creativity crashed straight into a brick wall, trapped in an environment that was limiting my growth, I remembering thinking to myself, what the hell am I doing here? The point is, each time I threw my hands up to the sky in frustration and asked that crucial question, it disturbed me enough to take massive action. To remove what robbed me and embrace what excited me. How can you take a bad situation and turn it into a new direction?

What did you learn?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter. 
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.

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