That little piece of kindling that gets the fire going. That initial source of inspiration that takes on a life of its own. That single note from which the entire symphony grows. That single spark of life that signals an idea’s movement value, almost screaming to us, something wants to be built here.
And so, in this new blog series, I’m going to be deconstructing my favorite moments of conception from popular movies. Each post will contain a video clip from a different film, along with a series of lessons we can learn from the characters.
Today’s clip comes from the shanks scene scene in Tin Cup:
What can we learn?
Avoid the cold start. Your brain is a machine. And like any mechanical device, you need to bring it up to operating temperature in order to run properly. Without that crucial warm up cycle, the motor is vulnerable to errors, misfires, wasted energy, toxic emissions, even full blown system failures. And so, when you sit down work each day, consider using a centering sequencebefore pulling out of the creative driveway. A ritual that keeps you from doing things that you regret, things that come from the shadowy parts of your personality. For many years, I’ve been using a tool from a program called Ten Zen Seconds, which is an approach to mindfulness and an invitation to live a more centered, grounded, and meaningful life. The way it works is, you use a single deep breath as a ten second container for a specific thought, matching the rhythm of your respiration to the symmetry of your words. Every morning when I sit down to write, this centering sequence brings my brain up to operating temperature. It’s how I avoid the shanks. How are you warming up your mental system?
My brain burns with their color. Roy was so in awe of the golf legends lined up on the driving range, hitting beautiful shot after beautiful shot with graceful ease, his brain got in the way. But once he got out of his head and into the present moment, once he reconnected with his body and accessed his authentic swing, he hit a perfect seven iron into the trees. Creators could learn from this experience. We’re a group of people with notoriously racing brains, and we have to be careful not to do too much work in our heads. The goal, after all, is to relieve ourselves of the necessity of remembering, not to add more mental bricks. To help our minds peacefully return to their natural state, not strain the brain. That’s why the tradition of making mental notes is a terribly unhealthy, unwise approach for organizing ideas. The mind is a terrible office. We don’t need to make mental notes, we need to make notes. Writing everything down relieves us of the necessity of remembering and opens our mind to receive new ideas. Writing everything down directs the traffic flow of our overcrowded minds. Without adopting this habit, our brain will be too overwhelmed to keep the ball in the fairway. Are you prepared to kill the virus in your brain?
Getting ready for the job of creating. Golfers go to the driving range to work out the shanks. To loosen the lid on the pickle jar of peak performance. To flush the bad shots out of their system before hitting the lynx. It’s a practice that takes discipline, but one that also takes humility. Notice the golfers at the range are daring to do their work poorly in the beginning. They’re allowing themselves to be bad. And they’re accepting failure as a necessary part of growth. Artists should be no different. Even if our first ideas impress us so little that we see no good reason to continue, we should never stop ourselves from hitting those shots. When we practice forced vomiting, for example, we release our thoughts without committing to keeping them. We create off the record, making things without the burden of evidence, following our most impractical curiosities. It’s the work before the work. The driving range of creativity. And we find our rhythm, our groove, the tempo of our creative nature, by hitting enough balls until meaning and truth finally manifest. Do you have a daily psychological holding environment?
What did you learn?
* * * *Scott GinsbergThat Guy with the NametagAuthor. Speaker. Strategist. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.
Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.
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