Fulfilling Your Dreams
Not Minding That It Hurts…
Guest Blogger: Ken La Salle
This has been a particularly tough month for writing anything approaching a self-help piece. Once I got to thinking about it, though, I realized that every month is pretty tough. There’s really nothing easy about having a dream at all. And my dream to make a living as a writer is actually quite small in the grand scheme of things. Think about those who dream of curing cancer or of affecting social change or of overcoming great adversity—there are people out there facing a lot more hardship than myself.
So, then, how do we do it? How do we hold on to these dreams and pursue them each day? In order to do this heady concept justice, I realized this is going to be another two-part entry and I’ll start this one with a movie quote. This comes from the beginning of the wonderful David Lean film Lawrence of Arabia. T.E. Lawrence (played breathtakingly by Peter O’Toole) has just extinguished a match between his thumb and forefinger. William Potter (played by Harry Fowler) surreptitiously attempts the same.
Potter: Ooh! It damn well ‘urts!
Lawrence: Certainly it hurts.
Potter: What’s the trick then?
Lawrence: The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts.
Not minding that it hurts. What an amazing idea!
I work with artistic people quite often and I’ve noticed that there is a period of development that tends to focus on the pain and revel in the pain. I’ll call it the “Drama Period” because that’s when artists get so absorbed in their drama. They tend to equate the drama with the art and believe that the drama is what makes great art. Believe me, I’ve been there myself. I think it must be this way with many of us who pursue our dreams. We equate adversity with the importance of what we’re doing. We believe things like “If it was easy, it wouldn’t be worth it.”
If we’re lucky enough to stick with it and acquire some wisdom, we realize something very different. And that is pursuing a dream, dedicating yourself to something important, actually being devoted to something is hard enough. We don’t need the drama! There’s plenty of drama already, thank you very much.
And so, we push away all the childish egomania, the need for self-importance, because we know that the truth is it’s never really going to be easy. We want to make things easier, not harder. We move beyond the adolescent suffering as our dreams mature and strive for the control T.E. Lawrence had. We try not to mind that it hurts.
It’s certainly not easy. Most dreams don’t come with the benefit of measurable results and fall victim, sadly, to the opinion of others. I’ll give you an example. As a writer, I am constantly at the mercy of the judgment of others: theaters that reject my plays, agents who aren’t fans of my work, and on and on. And those judgments hurt, no matter how calloused you get. On top of that, I’m sometimes questioned as to why I even bother, what I could possibly get from this, what’s the point—it doesn’t end.
The truth about having a dream that few people will tell you is that it’s a gauntlet. It’s a test. There are no right answers and, sometimes, you don’t even know what the questions are. And you create the test and you are the proctor and you’re the only one with the answers. It’s the most difficult test you’ll ever face. It will make you sweat. It will make you cry. It will cause you pain in ways you can never expect.
And, somewhere in the midst of all of that, the trick is in not minding that it hurts.
Join me next month when I’ll talk about taking this idea to the next level: Loving Your Dream.
About the Author
Novelist and Playwright, Ken La Salle grew up in Santa Ana, California and has remained in the surrounding area his entire life. He was raised with strong, blue-collar roots, which have given him a progressive and environmentalist view. As a result, you’ll find many of his stories touching those areas both geographically and philosophically. He’s also very funny. His plays are often seen in theaters on the west coast of the U.S. and many of his books can be found in ebook format on Amazon.com (for the Kindle) and Smashwords.com(for all e-reader formats). Ken La Salle is represented by Sullivan Maxx Literary Agency