Thursday, March 28, 2013

The driving force

No, this isn't a blog post about cars! I'm talking about our motives as people to go out and achieve things in life - some things which have simply never been done before.

I often think back to the Star Wars - Special Features DVD I have as part of my collection which details George Lucas' making of the three original Star Wars movies - in particular, the first one. To be quite honest, it appeared to be absolutely shambolic. They went way over budget, way over deadline, most of the actors thought the dialogue (and indeed the whole movie) was a bit strange and they were constantly beset with problems - especially when a sandstorm destroyed their movie set out in Tunisia. They were also inventing all kinds of new technology to get the cinematic shots they wanted. No easy task.

I began to think of just how incredibly easy it would have been for Lucas to just give up and pack the whole project in - especially seeing as at one point he was hospitalized for chest pains. The whole thing just seemed to be an absolute mess and now his health was at risk as a result. Yet he simply did not quit. He just kept on going, kept persevering despite how drained he was becoming and eventually this project began to take real shape and ended up becoming one of the most classic movies of all time which set George up to make the next two films (and the prequels many years after that - but we won't get into those right now!!)

I thought to myself - if I were in his shoes I probably would have quit about a week into production. I would have been overwhelmed by the magnitude of the task I was trying to accomplish and would have quickly decided that this was a bad idea from the get-go, and that it was best to kill it off before any further damage was done and any further time and money wasted. I find it baffling that George didn't do this himself. Perhaps he did consider giving up, but he persevered and came out the other end with something that, in many ways, changed the world and certainly changed the way we look at movies.

The reason I believe he never quit was because he had the driving force to do this. He just knew it was what he was meant to be doing and that he wanted to make this film, and that despite the problems he had the talent and the resources to make it work. He knew that eventually his dream would be realized. This is what drove him. There was no half-heartedness about him and this project in any way. He knew he was going to finish this movie and that he was going to go far and every single obstacle that stood in his way simply became a stepping stone he eventually got over on the course to reach his goal.

I used to find myself fascinated and very envious of people like this. In the face of constant turmoil and dysfunction, they still continued to keep going and keep believing in what they were doing. They were willing to put everything on the line and risk it all in favor of what they believed in. I wished I could be one of those people. I tried at different times over the years to set goals that I planned to reach with the belief that nothing would stand in my way - but they just ended up petering out into nothing. One of those goals was to become an incredible, potentially genre-defining guitarist and songwriter. Don't get me wrong, I love playing the guitar and I believe I will always love it. But despite the best of intentions that I had to achieve this goal, my heart at the end of the day, wasn't really in it. Deep down, I knew that although I probably had the ability to achieve this goal, I didn't really have the desire to put in the work required to achieve it.

I used to think I was a bit useless for this very reason and that I'd never make my mark on the world, that lots of people were far braver than I was and that I'd never amount to anything simply because I didn't believe in anything enough to see it through to completion. But then I discovered that I had a gift for writing - and that God wanted me to write a book. Immediately I threw myself into this project wholeheartedly, writing almost constantly, chopping and changing here and there, developing ideas and cutting them out if necessary, mixing paragraphs and chapters around. The whole time, I had a clear vision of what I wanted to see in this book, and I just had that fire and that drive to do it. A lot of people start writing books and never finish them. For me this simply wasn't an option. This book was going to be finished, and that was that.

As many of you know, once the book was complete it was uploaded to Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing and I made a few sales and received some very positive reviews - marking the book as a "fascinating read" and "a journey that smashes the boundaries of mental illness". Eventually, my book was picked up by a huge publishing firm in Florida, USA and has now been printed as a paperback and is scheduled for a worldwide release in the very near future. I sunk countless hours into this work and would often spend entire evenings and weekends writing, reading, re-writing and re-reading even though I was still holding down a very demanding full time job. I realized that I was doing exactly what George Lucas was doing and why he just wouldn't quit. I had the same, unstoppable driving force to achieve my goal as what he did - for him it was to make movies, for me it was to write books.

Now as the book borders on a worldwide release and I'm getting people requesting signed paperback copies already, I am about to reap the rewards of the hard work I've done. All of those long evenings sitting over a stack of paper with a red pen, cutting and pasting on the computer and constantly formulating different ideas in my head are all about to start paying off. And its all because of that driving force I had.

I realize that the driving force of just knowing you are meant to do something and that no one can tell you otherwise is what has got me this far. It's not just "hard work and determination". You have to really believe in what you are doing - it's almost like it consumes you, you can't imagine ever not doing what you're doing and it doesn't really seem like work (even though it is). I didn't know what my driving force was until I discovered it was writing. I believe there are many people who also feel a bit useless and possibly feel like failures as I have done - but in many cases I don't believe it's because they just gave up. I believe that its often simply because they don't know what it is that they really want to do with their lives because they don't yet know what they are created to do. Once they find that - then it's all on.

So if you are out there and you are feeling as though you are a bit of a failure because you haven't found that all consuming drive to do something in your own life yet - don't panic. Each person is on their own personal journey. It could be that you have a little more growing to do as a person before your true heart's desire that no one can quench will be revealed to you. But I believe your all consuming desire is in you - you just have to find it. Once it's revealed to you - you'll know without a shadow of a doubt. There won't be any uncertainty, confusion or disillusionment - you'll know where you "fit" and no one will be able to tell you otherwise.

Take care.

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