Wednesday, November 23, 2005


Harvey Pekar. You know, the guy that American Splendor is about. I listened to him being interviewed on NPR, and it was fascinating to hear how this guy, who had been beaten up every day at school, had such low self-esteem that he chose to do a lowly clerk job so easy that he felt he couldn't do it badly. Still, in the depths of his self-styled minimum wage madness, he created extremely insightful populist modern art and thereby carved his own niche of fame from it.

That is empowerment, in my book. He may not have seen the direction American Splendor was taking him, but Pekar saw his opportunity to do something he thought would be cool... and he did it. And, by the wind of good graces, other people thought what he did was cool, too. The point is, he embraced his dream and the universe rewarded him for staying true to his honesty. He took action.

So this post is... an invitation to explore what empowers you. Maybe you work a stupid job for a stupid boss for a stupid wage. Or you're a stay-at-home parent and your daytime is Oprah and Judge Judy. Maybe you even make $1 million a year, but you still feel something fundamental is missing in your life.

What inspires you? What really fires you up? What makes you stay up until dawn without knowing time has passed? Do you even remember the last time that happened? It's there, inside you, waiting for you to open the door and let it dance around the room. So wander around that grand hallway of imagination for a while, try this door and then that door, jiggle all the handles to see which door wants to be opened. Then open it! Find your dream. Get in touch with that part of yourself you remember as a child that was so facile and fun. Maybe you won't find it for a while. That's okay... keep looking. You know it's there, as do I.

Now—if you've successfully unearthed that glittering diamond—I offer you a challenge. In this age where the internet has leveled the playing field for businesses to compete, if you're dependent on a stupid job to make your mortgage payments, can you take that passion that fires you like no one else and turn it into a business to make you money? Or, if you already make a kajillion dollars, can you take that passion and turn it into an idea that makes the world a better place? Money is not the goal here—living with your passion on a daily basis is.

No one watches The Matrix fight scenes or listens to Star Wars: Episode I's Pod Race sequences for cool sounds as much as I. No one studies the story structure of The Usual Suspects as much as I. No one thinks every day about how to break into the film business, and reads in their spare time on how to do it, as much as I do. No one loves a well-made film as much as I. Why? Because film is my passion. Film is how I feel empowered.

So what empowers you? What could turn your life into what you want it to be? I don't want comments (unless you feel like volunteering them)... I want you to think of this as an invitation to find out what you really love doing, and ask yourself if you are in fact doing it. And if not, why not?

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