“Begin with the end in mind”
Recently I’ve seen this little piece of wisdom everywhere; quoted in books and hung on classroom walls among brightly coloured posters.
In a lot of ways, this statement makes sense. This statement is logical. Before you start a project, it’s important to know what the end result is going to be. If I’m going to build a puzzle (a task I recently discovered I lack the patience for), I better have a picture to follow. Before I start to assemble ANYTHING from Ikea, I better have a good, clear diagram of which piece goes where, or else my dresser is going to become a desk with a lot of extra pieces. It’s great to know where you’re going. It’s not a bad thing to have a clear goal or vision.
I had adopted this phrase for years, drawing up every part of my life into goals and deadlines and maps. I thought, if I have a destination painted then perhaps the steps that I take will lead me somewhere worth going. That’s what we want, it’s it? We want to see a map of where we’re going and the 5 easy steps we’re going to take to get there. We want to know how many chapters this story is going to be. We want a predictable ending; a safe story.
But what would happen if we gave this all up? What if we gave up the safety of having an end in mind and just started? What would happen if we allowed this life to take on a life of its own? What if we threw away the destination and just took off on this journey, giving everything we have to the people and projects that are right in front of us?
I want to live in today. I want to give everything I have into living today well. I’ll still plan, but I won’t allow these plans to stop me from starting something new and unscripted. Just because something isn’t in The Master Plan does not mean that it isn’t worthy of pouring my energy into.
To be honest, I’m still not entirely sure what I want to be “when I grow up”. I might be a lot of different things.
I don’t know if I want to be a counselor, I just know that I absolutely love people. I could listen to people talk all day long. I’m not sure that I want to be a writer, I just know that I love to write. I love to tell stories. I don’t know if I want to be a photographer, I just know that I have this overwhelming desire to freeze time in order to capture a moment and allow someone else to have a glimpse at the beauty my eyes are beholding. I want to hold up this frozen moment and say, “Look, I know life isn’t easy. Sometimes we lose and it’s hard and it isn’t fair, but look. This makes it worth it. This makes this life thing sweet. Stop and look. Revel in the masterpiece that was painted in the sky. This life thing can’t be an accident.”
Plans are great, and I know this piece would drive my sister, the type-A wedding planner, absolutely mad. But not everything in this life has to be scripted. I’m learning that it’s okay to do things just because you love them, and not because they will take you somewhere. Maybe starting something new will take you to a new destination or career path, and maybe it won’t. In the end, doing something you’re passionate about is always worth the risk. It’s okay to start projects and not actually know what it’s going to look like when it’s finished.
Some pictures take on a life of their own as the brush hits the canvas. To stick only to what the script first dictated would be to cut the circulation of creativity. So take a risk and just get started. Buy a camera and start taking pictures. Write songs and share them with your friends. Write a story, paint a picture.
This week, don’t allow the fear of not knowing what the product of your creativity will bring you stop you from starting. Don’t just create for a product, or for ‘likes’, or for an end or approval. It’s not only about the outcome, the process is just as important. Just get started.
In the words of Nike and Shia, “Just do it!”