Season 2 – epiBLOG 22:
NOVEMBER THEME – “GRATITUDE”
I wish that someone would please tell me the difference between persistence and insanity in the real world.
The clichéd, socially acceptable definition of insanity that gets thrown around in self-help books and self and professional development seminars is that “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.”
Okay… easy solution to this definition and problem… just quit if you’re constantly failing, and pursue another goal.
According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, however, insanity is defined as “a deranged state of the mind usually occurring as a specific disorder (as schizophrenia).”
This definition obviously must include a trained medical professional.
But wait… there’s more…
The definition of the word according to Dictionary.com is “a derangement of the mind” or “extreme foolishness; folly; senselessness.” “A foolish or senseless action, policy, statement, etc.” (Merriam-Webster, 2016).
There appears to be no good options when claiming insanity.
On the other hand, the definition of persistence is “the quality that allows someone to continue doing something or trying to do something even though it is difficult or opposed by other people.”
But wait… once again… there’s more…
And this is my favorite definition of the word persistence according to Merriam-Webster’s definition because it’s short and sweet; it describes the word as “the act or fact of stubbornly continuing to do something.”
“Doing the same thing over and over again…” versus “stubbornly continuing to do something.”
Does anyone see the similarity here?
Granted, motivational speakers are more than likely referring to unproductive behavior when they discuss insanity or possibly adjusting one’s plans that are seemingly not working on the path to obtaining one’s goal. I get it. However, when you place “doing the same thing over and over again” next to “stubbornly continuing to do something,” it’s challenging NOT to compare insanity with persistence. I mean, how do you gauge when to apply which word to your own life’s ambitions?
The life of an entrepreneurial artist…
At what point do you stop pursuing your goals and dreams because you feel “insane” to continue the pursuit?
Today’s topic is being grateful for all of the experiences that you’ve had along the way to success. Obviously, this is easier said than done. Trust me, I know. The number of “no-shows” at meetings that I’ve attempted to avoid by confirming the appointments ahead of time — annoying, as I wasted time waiting on a “no-show.” The people who thought that I could never produce a dramatic LGBT movie on an independent level — the doubters. By my 400th rejection letter from a Hollywood agent (this would be 400th email by today’s standards), the “artist ego” within me grew tougher and stronger through the disappointment and the heartache. I might have cracked, but I’ve never been broken.
For some reason along the way, I discovered that there were new ways of accomplishing the very goal that I had in mind. It’s within those moments of rejection, of “no-shows,” of people doubting me, that I did a lot of soul-searching. This soul-searching created a breeding ground in my mind for ideas. Don’t get me wrong; rejection is annoying and oftentimes discouraging. I’m just being honest and real. Nevertheless, the only good that I see coming out of it is that it actually causes those of us who are bound and determined to achieve our goals, an opportunity to look from within to figure out how the external environment will line up with our inner-most desires.
It’s in these annoying moments of rejection that I discover there is more than one way to get what it is that I want. One thing that I’ve learned about human beings is that we are limited by our thoughts. As we grow and expand our minds through the people that we surround ourselves with, the books that we read, and the experiences that we have, we realize that there can be many paths along our journey that will allow us to reach our destination.
Twenty years ago, my limiting belief was that I thought the only way that I could ever get a movie made was by writing a screenplay and securing an agent. As time went on, I realized two truths: (1) I never needed a literary agent to be a screenwriter and (2) I didn’t have a portfolio of produced work 17-20 years ago to even be valuable enough for an agent to want to represent me.
As I continued to work in the film industry, I realized strengths that I never knew I had. Teaching Screenwriting at the college level, writing countless scripts, working on the film sets of other people in a variety of capacities, producing my own feature-length movie, and owning my own production company. As the years have gone by, I realized that all I ever wanted was to write and produce LGBT films and be compensated for my time. I don’t need Hollywood for that. I can do it. I am doing it.
So when I think back to all of those times over the past 20 years where I felt “insane” for continuing to pursue such an outrageous and artistic endeavor, my persistence has caused me to be redirected along a path that’s leading me to that place where I’m supposed to be. That place… somewhere between my purpose and that which brings me joy.
When you pour your heart and soul into the song that you’re writing, into the comic book that you’re illustrating, into the movie that you’re directing, rarely are you excited to hear what you could have done better once you’ve delivered the end product. But criticism and judgement are part of the process. The great thing is that you also get to hear people who are fans of yours actually praise your work. This praise tends to put a smile on your face as you constantly work through a rough sea of rejections and the opinions of others that are camouflaged as constructive criticism.
Today’s LESSON is to accept all of your experiences – the negative and positive ones alike – because they help to shape you into the artist that is within you.
FUN ASSIGNMENT: Choose a productive habit that will help you towards the path of reaching your life’s purpose. The objective here is to be persistent at applying this habit always, but you first want to begin with a 7 day commitment. After you do this for 7 days, make another 7 day commitment to continue the daily habit, and another, and another, and by the time you reach 30 full days (the beginning of your 5th set of 7 days) you will have formed a habit. The only way to progress with this assignment is by not missing a day. Choose 1 activity and commit to it. We did this assignment in another lesson, but it’s a great tool to form new habits that help you to reach your goals.
Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, 2016.