I went to see Inside Out, the latest Pixar film, this weekend and it blew my mind.
This isn’t a film review – there are plenty of those out there already – but suffice it to say that it’s excellent. It’s an incredibly clever idea, perfectly executed (for anyone who isn’t aware of it, it’s an animation about an 11 year old girl who moves to San Francisco with her parents and how her emotions – Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness – help her deal with her new life. It’s just brilliant). They had me at the mention of Amy Poehler and Mindy Kaling. I mean, you just know it’s going to be good if they’re involved.
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the concept of a great idea and how we creative folk react in the face of one; specifically when it belongs to somebody else.
There are a series of feelings involved – curiosity, fascination, interest, inspiration – but also, if we’re honest, a touch of envy, a dose of self-doubt and, if we’re not careful, an unhealthy chunk of OH GOD I’M JUST USELESS, NONE OF MY IDEAS ARE EVEN A TEENY TINY BIT AS GOOD AS THIS, I MAY AS WELL JUST QUIT AND LIVE IN A HOLE.
Now firstly, this is symptomatic of being a creative type – we do tend to be a little on the dramatic and emotional side, it’s just part of the deal. To anybody who lives with a creative person, the best way to deal with a tantrum or momentary meltdown about the pointlessness of existence or YET ANOTHER discussion about why they’re still not Banksy/J. K. Rowling/Lena Dunham/Kevin Spacey/Oprah Winfrey (delete as appropriate according to field of interest), is by giving them a biscuit, putting them in the bath and reminding them gently that they just need to pull themselves together and KEEP GOING. Seriously, is there anything that a soak and a snack can’t fix?
Because another element of this creative sensibility is that we tend to be quite hard on ourselves – again, much like any ambitious folk – beating ourselves up because we are making progress but not at the lightning rate that we’d like, and because sometimes we have to sleep and eat meals and brush our hair and whatever which means we can’t be working all of the time. When are we going get that eighth day in the week that we’ve been promised for so long?
The world we live in can make us feel like we’re just not getting there fast enough. The internet slaps us about the face every second with what everybody else has been doing and in most ways it’s great – we get to read all of the things, marvel at the incredible ideas people have, and ponder where they all came from – and I personally wouldn’t have it any other way. But the level of information and self-promotion we see every moment can play on our anxieties too, so we need to manage how we interact with what we’re seeing and make sure our minds remain focused on being inspired rather than threatened.
Because if we deal with what we’re seeing in the right way, it can be so good for us. There’s nothing like seeing somebody doing something fantastic to drive you on to do something fantastic too. Every good thing you see has happened because somebody had the guts to do it, the energy to put in all the hard work, and the balls to call the right person and get them to say yes. And there’s no reason why you can’t do the same thing.
Every moment you spend having a meltdown you could be using to pen your own piece of genius. I mean, sure, a tantrum might earn you a biscuit, but a little focus and perspective could earn you, like, an Oscar or something. And that victory will taste better than any snack ever could.