In a recent post I mentioned how simultaneously not taking my goal seriously while taking it really seriously was one of the keys to living out my dream as a stunt man. I want to expound on that a bit because I’m hoping to apply it to more things in my life, so hopefully writing about it will make it more of a tangible practice.
First, I want to share what seems to be true for me about when it’s useful to be serious and when it isn’t:
When it’s useful to be more serious:
- Whenever I want to begin and complete an action which is already clearly defined, but I am averse to doing it. Example – I’m doing my taxes
When it’s useful to be less serious:
- When I’m connecting with others. Example – I’m meeting someone for the first time
- When I want to be creative. Example – I’m trying to think of an idea for a new blog post
- When I want to have fun. Example – It’s Friday night
I need seriousness and its opposite – I’ll call it fun. For example, in my pursuit of becoming a stunt man, I had to be serious about practicing kung fu consistently. I had to be serious about cold calling assistant directors to ask them if their production was looking for white dudes. If I wasn’t serious, I wouldn’t have done these things.
But in the back of my mind, there was always a little snickering boy, giddy about the prospect of being on a movie set. It was that deeper sense of fun that drove me forward and kept me going through the excruciating uncertainty of my time as an actor.
This is what I mean by being simultaneously serious and not serious – having the sense that the big picture of what I’m doing is fun, even if the specific task I’m currently working on might not be.
This came naturally to me in my pursuit of being a stuntman. But when I stopped my career in the film industry to become a coach, I killed my sense of fun. My life became very serious. Now I’m a business man, and need to make money, I’ve got bills to pay – this is the narrative that is on repeat in my brain. It is not fun, and also sets me up for failure.
Just recognizing that I’m telling myself this story is liberating. I also want to replace it with another narrative, one that has the little boy in the back of my mind snickering about how liberating it is to not have to work a 9 to 5, and to get paid help others grow while also growing myself. Giddy about the tapping into the freedom that I already have, and that my clients have as well.