“Life is a journey, not a destination.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Mr. Emerson’s quote is famous for a reason. It really is an ideal way to see your existence. Adopting a viewpoint like his makes it easier to handle frustrations. To see great progress in small victories. To appreciate life as the weirdly wrapped gift that it is.
But I didn’t always feel this way.
We all have a back catalogue of things we regret doing or saying. And unfortunately, it’s all-too-available for us to use against ourselves when Life uses our self confidence as a piñata.
When we’re already low, our monkey minds go to town…blowing up minor missteps into irrefutable proof that we are complete idiots:
The time you choked during your presentation and forgot the name of your own company.
That stellar moment when you asked your co-worker when she was due. And she wasn’t pregnant.
The night where you had one (or three) too many at cousin Barb’s wedding and assaulted the dance floor with gyrations that looked like MC Hammer on peyote buttons.
This morning I watched the rough cut of my new short film Waiting for Goodbye with tears spilling into my coffee. Being that it explores the feelings of a young woman as she spends her last morning with her beloved dog, I suppose my reaction was a good sign. We were looking to capture a heart wrenching emotional journey of grief and loss, so crying my face off meant we did our job well.
But that wasn’t the whole story.
Years ago when I was still a scripting newbie, I decided to enter a fairly well known screenplay writing contest. One of the perks of coughing up the $50 entry fee was receiving an evaluation of your script by a professional screenwriter, so I was pretty excited about that. I envisioned that even if I didn’t win, the person critiquing my story would tell me that it was hilarious, engaging, unique…and, with a few tweaks here and there, virtually Hollywood-ready.
A few months later, when the winners were announced (and none of them were me), I received my evaluation via email. I was nervous as I opened the document, but still eager to receive some encouragement from a pro. Instead, my eyes jumped immediately to these words: