This week I have noticed a theme in blogs and Tweets I’ve been reading from others. You have to fall sometimes, or take a step back, in order to go forward with greater strength and find success.
This past Thursday morning, while thinking about this theme, I dreamed about a football play. It was an unconventional play. The QB tossed the ball, underhanded, to a receiver some 5 yds ahead. He caught it, looked around, and saw the defense closing in; he could see he had nowhere to run. So, he threw it back to another receiver behind the QB. The player there caught it and, also seeing the defense about to close in on him, he threw it even further backwards to a teammate back near the other team’s goal posts. I knew as the dreamer that the intention was to open up an area without defensive players, so a player could run forward less obstructed after catching the ball from well behind the line of scrimmage. The last player trying to catch the ball, did not, but neither did the opposing team’s players intercept. The play was dead. But it had only been a 1st or 2nd down, so the same team lined up again at the line of scrimmage and the next play, the QB passed a regular forward pass that was caught for a 1st down; forward motion was restored.
Writers and other artists are very often the Innovators for art itself and for culture. New ideas have to start somewhere and it often takes an unconventional thinker or artist to advance ideas and to “change up” how we think about or view the world. This is the basis , to me, of the Beatles’ wild success; it was not that they started by doing anything entirely new, but they ‘changed up’ the way it was being done. They set a new beat that perhaps changed up slightly the heartbeat of the collective world. They broke up thought forms by being unconventional in several ways. Their haircuts—at the time; in retrospect this seems silly now—astounded and offended many parents of their young, devoted fans. Teaming with the Maharaji, courting “revolution”, daring to “Imagine”, they changed up rock and roll and, with it, they elevated an entire generation around a basic theme: openly expressed, unconditional Love.
What’s the message here? CHANGE IT UP! What do we have to lose, really? We must be true to ourselves and forge new grounds where that seems the direction we are given to go with our talents.
If the backwards seeming football play I dreamed of this morning had succeeded, it would have been a wild success; it would have forged a whole new concept in how to move a football forward on the field of play. If, on the other hand, it had been intercepted back near the opposing team’s goal, of course it would be seen as a monumental failure. But, in the end, what does that matter? A “touchdown,” points scored, on this side or that, is only that. I admire the player who got the random idea to “Change It UP!” and started the ball rolling in an entirely new direction. In the dream, on the next play, his team moved conventionally forward again, anyway. Still, the game was forever changed. The other team now knew their worthy opponents might do ANYTHING to succeed. It would be more difficult to defend against this new form of play. It was, in my view, an artistic accomplishment. Perhaps, by the next game, it might become a formal new play in the team’s playbook, one they might incorporate into their team strategy, with tweaks, over time.
What, to you, is an example of this Better Endings principle of “Change It Up”? If you are forging new directions, pushing genre boundaries, Change It UP! Follow your OWN North Star!