Art | Culture | Personal Growth | Philosophy | Writing

The What and How of Boldly Leaping

“I have learned, as a rule of thumb, never to ask whether you can do something. Say, instead, that you are doing it. Then fasten your seat belt. The most remarkable things follow.” – Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way

The hard part about writing every day wasn’t starting, it was mentioning to people that I was writing every day. Writing has always been part of my identity, it was just expressed in other ways for a couple of decades while I busied myself with other things. People tend to assume those other things are who you are. But we know better don’t we? The quiet conspiracy of expressing your identity stays with you always. One day I just started writing again, and remarkable things have followed. And really, I’ve only just dipped a toe in the waters. There’s so much farther yet to go.

“I have seldom conceived a delicious plan without being given the means to accomplish it. Understand that the what must come before the how. First choose what you would do. The how usually falls into place of itself.” – Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way

We all have bold plans. Some are fully realized, some fall aside in the grind of commitments and pandemics and other things. The world is fascinated with the characters who follow through on their boldness. Elon Musk, Richard Branson, Steve Jobs and Oprah Winfrey followed through on the schemes and dreams and truly audacious whimsies that most of us would gently set aside. First they chose what they would do, and the how fell into place.

I’m watching the kids I watched grow up wade deeper into adulthood. Their own identities are emerging, different from what we might have assumed; thinking them a basketball or soccer player, or perhaps the noisy kids giggling in the basement over a Disney movie they’ve watched a hundred times. If I’ve learned anything on my own wading into the waters, it would be to offer encouragement and support the audacious without being an overprotective “adult”. Maybe offer some ideas about the “how“. Or who they might talk to about the “how“. And then get out of the way.

So the question is, do we do that with ourselves? Do we fully support our own boldness or brush it aside as just so much nonsense? Do we focus on the “how” or the “why we shouldn’t“?

Say, instead, that you are doing it. Then fasten your seat belt... The how usually falls into place of itself.

Don’t just dip a toe or gently wade in the shallow waters. Figure out the hows: how deep is the water? How well can I swim in this? What do I need to know to stay afloat? (all of these questions limit your downside) And then quickly leap. And see how big a splash you can make.

Ready?

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