I watched a TED Talk by actor Ethan Hawke entitled, “Give yourself permission to be creative.” He said you must ‘play the fool’ sometimes and be vulnerable. Go out on a limb. He caught the acting bug after his first stage performance at age 12 and he has been at it ever since. When he and his brother walked out of the movie Top Gun years ago, they were both so affected by the tale. It made Ethan want to tell stories as an actor and it made his brother want to join the military. They both followed those passions and were extremely successful with acting awards for Ethan and a decorated military career for his Green Beret brother.
He said that many people don’t have time for the arts but then when they hit a life crisis… lose a love or a job or a person who they are close to, they look for meaning in poems or books or other creative outlets.
Ethan said as an actor he has played saints and sinners, police officers and criminals. And he has found something in each role that is part of who he is as a human too. We are all more alike than different. And we all have something that makes our heart sing.
He recalled that when his great grandmother Della was on her death bed, she wrote a 36-page autobiography about her life. Her first husband got one paragraph and the farming she did for 50 years got a mention. But she spent five pages on the one time she had made costumes for a local theatre production. That was her thing. What made her happiest. The most valuable way she could use her gift.
What is our one thing? What would get the most pages in our own personal story if we were writing it at the end of our days? Are we doing enough of that one thing? Are we being creative and being vulnerable while trying?
If we’re not, what is stopping us?