Making something happen

“Every creative act is open war against The Way It Is.  What you are saying when you make something is that the universe is not sufficient, and what it really needs is more you.  And it does, actually; it does.  Go look outside.  You can’t tell me that we are done making the world.”-Jerry Holkins, writer/co-creator of “Penny Arcade”

I found this quote a little while ago, and it’s stayed with me and made itself applicable in a number of situations. Naturally, I think of it when I’m writing, but I’m also realizing how it makes perfect sense in the context of leadership. In both situations, there’s no clear instruction from above you, mapping out your next steps and scooting you along if you doddle. When you decide to insist to the universe that something should be different than it is, you’re on your own. Turning your vision into some semblance of reality takes a level of commitment and persistence that’s impossible to teach. Only the experience of trying to change the world and failing lets you learn how to fail less spectacularly the next time. Eventually, you fail at failing and end up in a strange place.

Along with the commitment and persistence, you need an ample supply of self-esteem to fuel all of this audacity. Insisting that the world needs a little bit more you takes a robust ego, especially when the worlds begs to differ with your insistence. And, not to belittle the commendable efforts of Mr. Rogers and the world of feel-good PBS/TVO programming, but you can’t instill self-esteem into a child. You can encourage them to develop it, but too much encouragement without legitimate accomplishment creates a fragile creature who expects to be fantastic at everything. Avoiding the sting of failure is impossible, and the more effort you put into it, the worse it will be when you finally trip and fall. The best support a parent or educator can give a child is brushing off their wounds, giving them a hug, and sending them back out into the world to try again.

 

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