America is a nation who loves finishers. We are future-focused people always organizing our actions around some goal or future that we work from. Developing countries don’t have our fetish for the future; instead, they organize their lives around being alive in the present. They don’t worry about what to do for dinner while having breakfast.
When we live life in the now, we begin to realize that the future isn’t fixed, and anything is up for grabs. We shift our perspective about what wants to be born right from this moment. We sense the emerging future coming into the present. Sometimes this comes in the form of a cubic centimeter passageway, an epiphany or sudden event. The aperture is widening, will we move with it? Or will we wait and see? What keeps us from being led by this source? Answer: we don’t know how to trust it and work from it.
Because the past has got us under the spell of controlling and predicting everything, this explains why we fail to create our own luck. We build a life of predominantly staying safe. We fail to realize that what we love is what we are gifted at. We owe the world what we love doing, but we’re not serious enough about this. We’re too busy wondering if we deserve it because it seems excessively too good, too fun, too joyous compared to the average life of others we’ve seen.
Often times the end in mind is so intimidating that we fail to initiate, and instead go for perfection. We plan the car out; make sure it’s perfect before moving forward in making it. We put our business plans carefully in place before we start the business. With all these preparations and delays to avoid risk, someone else suddenly moves in to take our place. Another consequence staying safe is we limit what we attempt. To avoid failure we bank on the significant few things we want, instead of the many. When we throw all the spaghetti up to the ceiling, something’s bound to stick, some won’t.
How many times have we been struck with a great idea, waited and waited on it until the time was just right, and whammo! We got clobbered by someone else advancing on it already. We probably look around at inventions that come out and say, “I thought of that.” We probably did but we failed to initiate. Why is ready, aim, fire so ingrained in our way of creating something? What’s funny is that it’s not the way the creative process works. In fact we tarnish the fullness of the process because all of the perfectionism minimizes the immediacy of a reward. And those who act in an instant learn faster than a comparison performer, and experience the reward faster than the fear to repel initiating it.
Creating is a learning process. It’s about ready, fire, aim. Fail fast. This process happens by causing something to exist that doesn’t exist yet. By bringing that which we seek to create into being, we learn. We learn by doing. I don’t think there’s any other way to learn. Through a series of feedback points, we learn how to create by making adjustments along the way. But what happens before beginning is we are visited by the past. The past tells us how to do it, which is often the very limiting factor to creating whatever what we want. This voice is the “performer voice”, not the “learner voice.” The performer only gets one chance, while the learner has unlimited chances until the creation is reached.
What prohibits the learner from acting fast is also our story about who we are, or better said, who we think we’re not. We want “this” but “should” be that. We get overly busy in who we’re trying to be instead of creating what matters most to us. We live according to our shame we must fend off, instead of leaving ourselves alone and beginning to create what matters separate from our identity.
When we create, we start with nothing. We use alacrity (willingness; surrender) to trust our first step. Alacrity involves letting go and letting something new come. This beginning step is “germination”. Not will, but willingness. This involves not operating from our own concepts of ourselves and our world, but instead on the subject matter we’re creating. Power doesn’t flow from us, power flows from that which we create.
This transfer of power from us to the creation we have in mind is the initial spark which lights the fire. It begins with a guiding idea. This idea isn’t summoned by the conditions we have, but born out of the desired result we seek to create. This is a key piece to understanding why the past is history and the creative process is a series of experiments that help something come into being as it emerges. If we begin to compare what we want to the past (what we know), then our creative bandwidth is limited; domesticated. But if we begin by acting upon that which we desire without any knowledge, just leaping off with a beginner’s open mind, we then learn as we go along. Each creation like this has its own universe within which we learn how to originate it. Each creative process has built into it a drawn out period of assimilation to acquire and absorb what is needed to create and sustain the creation we want.
So what if the source from which we start is about beginning at the point we choose to begin, not when the conditions are right? What would we be able to accomplish with this approach in mind? What I’m suggesting is the range of current conditions from tough to easy have no influence over the causal force from which we act. We act out of what we choose to do—what we desire to create; it is not situational. It is also not eliminative. To orient oneself to the creative is to be generative; giving birth to desired creations, not ridding unwanted circumstances.
When we launch out of this choice to create what we love, we land ourselves into a universe of everything being up for grabs. We see the existing conditions in comparison to that which we seek to create, and see needed adjustments. Many unexpected things will happen. Prediction and control are not at play. It’s often surprising to me that out of this vulnerability and willingness, so many unforeseen forces come to one’s aid, as if the act of jumping with full conviction to creating what matters has formative forces that gun-shy people never discover or witness.
Therefore, we need no qualifications to create. We just do because we care enough to see something exist. Too often this isn’t good enough for the ego. We must justify our creations by impressing friends with big purposes, noble ideas that conform to a norm, or project intelligence. We don’t want people to think our dreams are crazy and disappoint them, so we sell out by making up stories. Suddenly our need for approval becomes greater than doing what matters. Sadly enough, this paralyzes creators from staying true to what they love. Their reputation confines them to the same path with no inflection point. Dreams get quarantined and sterilized in the search for normality.
Another limitation is being responsible. Creating what matters is a reckless act of not meeting one’s obligations. We fear that failing to meet them would ruin others lives we support, so we conform to what’s expected of us and bury what matters deep down. Some of us get so far as to convince ourselves that it’ll never happen, put it away, and come back to it later. Others will choose to organize their life around what matters most, and put the other aspects like responsibility (good citizenship), approval (feeling worthy), and fear (perceived danger out of self-regard) into perspective. For the experienced creator, these aspects get sidelined, benched, because bigger business (what matters) is dominant. This isn’t suggesting to neglect responsibility, it’s suggesting to head into what matters despite the conditions.
Just because a housewife has responsibilities or a single household income provider steps up, doesn’t mean we stop being true to what we want. There is great benefit in initiating from where we are despite heavy burdens. The conditions are what they are. And without any constraints, there wouldn’t be any creating. Constraints cause the creative spirit to swell. When the mind has bigger business instructions to attend to, we give it great stuff to work on and figure out, instead of just settling. People do what they do, and will continue to do what they always have done, until they have something more compelling to do.
Just start. You don’t need permission. Just ignite the flame, that’s all that’s needed. Appoint yourself to this aim and be ready for anything. Don’t judge. Don’t anticipate or expect anything. Just make a fundamental choice to become a predominant creative force in your life. Don’t just want things, choose them, and begin now to create them. The act of leaping off is a function of you deciding, not until things are the right window, or the right chance. Organize action from what you love, not from circumstances you react within. You’ll get a lot more accomplished this way and by the time you take your last breath, your lifetime report card will say “I did it.” And, you’ll be a lot more pleasurably involved in life, which is what being alive is at its core.