A few weeks ago, I wrote a tongue in cheek blog called Stairs Are playing off a sign that I found in a local arena. I observed that many people have trouble accepting the way things are. The danger of this approach in real life means that we might not confront the finite resources we have to work with. Time and money are the big ones. We may procrastinate or live beyond our means. In ambitious projects we are also confined by the limited availability of skilled labour. In my film world, we are also bound by the footage that was shot. You simply cannot edit what you don’t have.
I often compare our film projects to a sandbox. The sandbox is this big and has this much sand. These elements strongly influence what I can do in my sandbox. Wanting it to be different does not make it so.
This desire for things to be different often results in spinning. People do not want to accept the situation or commit to a course of action. They would prefer to hold out and wait for divine intervention. Deus ex machina, it is called literary circles, where a seemingly impossible problem is solved by the hand of god. It is like waiting to win the lottery.
They like the odds. Acceptance for them means locking in on what they perceive to be a substandard outcome. If they keep the door open demanding more and more changes, and not ever allowing the project to be completed, they keep alive the possibility that it may turn out the way they hope.
I could spend a lot of time and energy wishing that things were different. How amazing this show would be if we had an extra $100,000 or we didn’t have to deliver the tapes next month. The truth is, I would be wasting my time. Daydreaming about what could be if the variables were different takes me away from working with what I have and making the most of it. We only make true progress when we begin with acceptance. To bring it back to the Buddhist phraseology, this being the case, how shall I proceed?
As my white board reminds me every day, “Disappointment is only the death of illusion.”