EMBRACING UNCERTAINTY FOR A MORE CREATIVE LIFE
J. Michael Dolan
“There’s a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot.”
—“Salmon Fishing in the Yemen”
I’M DONE WITH GRANDPA’S WORN-OUT MOTTO: “Go with the flow.” The only thing that goes with the flow are dead fish, and soccer balls named “Wilson.”
I’d rather take a chance and go against the flow, like a crazy salmon. They’re one of the most rich and famous fish in the world! Why? Because against all odds, they “spawn” (or get laid) against a raging current—they risk it all and swim against the stream with joy and abandon! Other fish must look at them and think “Boy, those salmon sure are nuts!” But the crazy salmon swim against the flow anyway. All right, they have a very short lifespan. But that’s not the point. Here’s the point:
I loved the 2011 British film comedy, “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen.” It’s all about going against the flow and taking a leap of faith, against all odds. Make the leap, and you could find yourself swimming in the river of dreams. Don’t, and you may continue on, day after day, stuck in the rut of mediocrity and hopeful thinking. That’s the point. You either make the leap, or sit by and watch the river flow. You either get up every day with the intention of “making a dent” and creating something that matters…Or you don’t.
Romancing the (Heavy) Stone
According to Greek mythology, as punishment for his trickery, King Sisyphus was ordered by the god Zeus to roll a huge boulder up a steep hill. Before he could reach the top, however, the massive stone would always roll back down, forcing Sisyphus to begin again and again, for eternity. However, as the tale goes, Sisyphus was quite content with his destiny because at every punishing push, at every sweaty shove, and at every steely step forward, the desire to succeed and the anticipation of victory made him stronger and gave him hope to carry on.
It is a myth that rolls on, inexorably, today. Once the show is over, the product has shipped, the website launched, the record released or the book is published, the customer returns home to enjoy the rewards of her new purchase, and the fans leave the stadium with gratification and exhilaration. But the professional artist and the committed entrepreneur will return the next day to the studio, the workshop, the warehouse or the office and start the process all over again, pushing the giant stone up the mountain.
This is the true joy for any artist or entrepreneur: to be given the opportunity to wake up the next day into a crazy, uncertain, exhilarating, creative lifestyle and manifest your art—day after day. And the big payoff for your efforts is not just the ultimate financial prize; it’s the tenacity it takes to win it.
Best-selling author—and founder of Music Connection magazine—J. Michael Dolan continues to augment a successful entertainment industry career with publishing, coaching, teaching, producing, blogging, graphic arts, digital media and performing. In the late 1960’s and early ‘70’s he worked at literally every major motion picture studio and every major television network in Hollywood, gaining valuable knowledge and experience along the way.
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