Love it. Do it. Share it. Repeat.
Late last week I got a very pleasant phone call from an unexpected source: Major League Baseball.
They are re-populating their video opener to the games that they produce, filled with video clips crowd-sourced from the ‘net, and they saw my film, “The Alabaster Bears,” and wanted to license a short section, and there will be a by-line provided on their website.
Needless to say, I eagerly agreed.
The thing that’s most wonderful about this little experience is that, “The Alabaster Bears” was my first attempt at any kind of professional video, and was done purely and solely out of love for the experience. I did it because I wanted to simply do it. There was no attention given to what it might ultimately attain. It was done for joy.
“Do, or do not. There is no try.”
This is easily one of my favorite lines from the inimitable Master Yoda, and a hallmark of the philosophy that, on my best days, I come only reasonably close to emulating: Taoism.
Maybe it’s better termed, “Nowism.” You know, the joy, the flow, the relative ease, of living in the moment; when “the moment” is a constant state of Right Now.
The Holstee Manifesto is a remarkable, contemporary swat in the cheek that dares all of us to leverage this Now Power. Read it. It, (along with tons of other pretty notable authors, luminaries, and I dunno, founders of world religions) that happiness in life really is all about simply doing that which you love.
Nike had it right, over a decade ago: do it. The activity of doing what you love to do creates magical things. Energy attracts — and increases — like energy. It’s really that simple.
Do you love gardening? Then get out and dig in the dirt. Plant some damned tulips! Do you love cycling? Get out there and ride your bike. Now! Screw it if it’s raining. Go ride your damned bike!
“What’s the point,” you ask?
Well. If you have to ask, you’re missing the point.
In the process of doing what you love to do, you will attract other people who have the same level of intensity and perhaps those who have even more intensity of love for the same things that you are doing and together, you will have the opportunity to do great things.
This leads us to the next great reality: sharing what you love to do.
When people who love the same things band together, you start to do the things that you love in an even greater way; a way that you couldn’t do if you were simply solo. So, success or happiness or whatever specific noun you wish isn’t about figuring out how to do something well, it’s about simply doing what you love, and doing it intensely. Absorbedly. Fully. In a way worthy of sharing.
Doing versus doing in a sharable way. It’s a subtle difference, but it’s a huge difference. My best friend has a few sayings about this that she pulls out whenever she sees me running out of gas. (This is another benefit of sharing; you gain a support network!) One isn’t really hers at all; she’s quoting from the film, Finding Nemo. Those powerful words from Dory, “Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming.” Other times she’ll put her elbow in my ribs and encourage me to “just keep moving those balls.” And she’s right. Keep up the activity. Keep your focus on what you love, and keep on doing what you need to do. There is more magic in this mixture of perseverance and passion than probably anything else, and it’s something that all of us can easily understand.
Lastly, it leaves all of us without any excuses, except one: if you don’t know what you love, then you’re going to have to dig a little deeper. You have to have something to love.
You say you don’t have a passion? You don’t have something that consumes you; something you just ache to be doing and sharing? Then you’re going to have to find something to love.
Navel gazing won’t work. Simply “going inside” isn’t going to help you. Even honest meditation will only have so much value here. It’s back to the notion of activity; of doing.
During one of the first weeks of college in my graphic design classes, I had a professor who had a great ritual he took us through to de-virginize our drawing pads. He had us hold them up, over our heads, with the cover of the fresh, store-bought pad in one hand, and the rest of the sheets and their thick, cardboard backing in the other. And on the count of three, he had us mercilessly rip off the cover.
Why? Because the cover kept the pad “precious.” Somehow, it kept it pristine. But there is nothing precious about a clean, unused pad. That pad is meant to be used and abused. It’s where a designer thinks. “You think out loud. You think on paper,” he would say, constantly.
Put pencil to paper. Put shoulder to grindstone. Put hand to shovel.
Keep doing something, anything until you find something that you truly love; something that captures your imagination; something that, once you do it, you lose track of time.
That is the Happy Zone: the place where time is revealed to be the big impostor that it really is.
Sir Paul and John nailed it: love is all you need.
Love, which generates activity. Actively doing that which you love attracts others, and the attraction of others doing something passionately that they love turns into shared activity which ultimately generates even more good lovin.’
Congratulations. You’re on the success train, or the happy train, or the peace train, or whatever choo-choo you like. But you’re moving. You’re going somewhere. You’re doing.
Stasis. Vacuums. Nature hates ‘em. And you tend to be a pretty sad sack when you’re there. Admit it.
So what am I going to do to finish out my day? I have more photographs to take. I have photographs that I have taken that I have to retouch. I have more digital films to craft that I have to plan for, and people who I would like to make videos of that I need to contact. I’m going to keep doing it, and who knows, maybe more MLB’s will contact me, and maybe some of them will even want to pay me. But that isn’t the objective.
The objective is doing what I love.