Highly prolific individuals really do follow their noses. When new ideas announce themselves, plastering posters on brick walls of their brains, these people intuit what wants to be created. It’s active listening at its most mystical.
As an entrepreneur, I’ve always had a strong opportunity agenda. When I was eleven, I converted our front lawn into a parking lot for fans of a nearby golf tournament. When I was fifteen, I taped skin flicks from the adult channel and rented copies to the football players. And when I was nineteen, I recorded music in my basement and gave the albums to girls I liked.
The point is, each of these adolescent enterprises started as an opportunity I sniffed out. Some ventures were more profitable than others. Some ventures were more work than others. Some ventures were more legal than others. But looking back, the real benefit of those business experiences was the strengthening of my opportunity muscle.
And that’s an asset that pays massive dividends in any creative career.
The tunnel was simply too perfect. The opportunity was simply too ripe.
So I took it. And now it’s mine. Forever.
A reminder that creativity isn’t just knowing a good idea when you see it, it’s executing that idea before anyone else sees it.
Timing isn’t everything, it’s the only thing. That’s the only way to extend your artistic reach. By grasping the significance of something, leaping on it with everything you’ve got, making sharp and decisive strokes without being sidetracked by secondary thought, and then trusting every purposeful action that follows, while maintaining deep belief that your initiative will be rewarded.
Quick eyes, quicker feet.
What ideas do you have that you’re afraid people will steal?
He is obliged to carve his own path. To build his own leverage. To penetrate his boredom with himself and engage his own interest, lest the first whiff of meaninglessness derails him as he stands in the void between projects.
I remember the first time I strolled through the tunnel under the historic arch in my neighborhood park. The aesthetics were inspiring, the architecture was stunning and the acoustics were shattering. There was no way I wasn’t coming back with my guitar.
Three years later, I’ve not only become a weekly performer in that space, but I also wrote, produced, directed and starred in a this documentary about that place.
The point is, making art is work, but so is creating the opportunity to make it. We can’t be waiting around for somebody to greenlight our creativity. We don’t have to ask permission to innovate.
How could you manufacture your own creative opportunities?
Reinvention isn’t about turning everything on its head for the sake of change.
Sometimes, it’s a simple matter of upping the creative ante. Sinking your teeth into a new project that’s bigger than you. Pursuing something that’s more of a gamble than a guarantee. Something that requires you to hold and nurture a large idea. Something that forces you to expand as you the idea comes to fruition.
That’s one of the reasons I decided to make a music documentary. I wanted to feel engaged and tested and stretched. To travel with an idea to a deeper place, one that I had never dared venture before.
And as we wrap up production, the feelings of fulfillment have never been stronger.
Turns out, there’s a unmatched sense of pride you feel from having lived up to the higher expectations set for yourself.
When was the last time you reinvented?
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.
Making this movie was me raising my hand. Answering the call to adventure.
The point is, 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?