Hello and welcome to Film Pro Productivity the podcast which helps film professionals and other creatives to live a more focused, effective and HAPPY life. My name is Carter Ferguson and this is EPISODE 31 – WHY IT’S OK TO GIVE UP
If you Google why you SHOULD GIVE UP ON STUFF you’ll get a thousand hits that say the exact opposite - the message is strong and positive and seemingly sensible – NEVER GIVE UP – but this is not a black and white issue - there’s nuance here – You’ve already caught the episode title, and I say – let’s just wait a second here – and talk about this.
I mentioned in the last show in I’m waving the white flag and giving up on my passion for filmmaking – that is directing and producing films - AS I’VE HAD ENOUGH.
The amount of time and energy and money I have given to other peoples projects on which I have been invited, manipulated or otherwise drawn into, and on which I have been treated very poorly has gotten ridiculous. And many of these have never even seen the light of day .
And my own projects have been fewer and further between and have regularly been short-circuited as I’ve been let down by many of those that I put faith in - to the point where I find myself again and again - financially, mentally and creatively SPENT and no further forward for the effort.
To end this little rant I must also mention the complete waste of time that goes with interacting with the funding bodies in the UK, but that’s going to get a whole episode to itself in season 3 so I’ll leave it till then. In short it’s a death to creativity following that path.
And I’ll frame this by stating that I am very passionate about filmmaking, and making stuff that matters or is creatively interesting or fun or entertaining or all of the above. I’ve been passionate about it for years, and it’s been my main creative drive for at least the last 10 - but that passion has cost me dearly. I’ve got nothing much to show for it. A lot of awards yes: but in the grand scheme of things, seriously folks, they mean nothing at all. I’ve worked with some great people, and have had some fun and some creatively rewarding experiences and I am certainly proud of many of my films - but when looked at in the cold light of day the bad experiences far, far, FAR outweigh the good.
I’ve given up on a few friendships too - because some difficult, aggressive and manipulative people are just too abrasive to my life. Not having these people, no matter how talented or they are or how long I’ve known them – not having them in my life far exceeds the benefits I ever had from having them there. Every day I breathe a sigh of relief as I can be in control, without fear of the phone call or text that will manoeuvre my time and energy and wallet into someone else’s dreams or ambitions.
And I’m not the only one giving up on things. One friend of mine left a group she’d been working with for years as her priorities had changed and another gave up on screenwriting, a field in which they are both expert and experienced as he felt that the odds were being stacked against them – and for the record – I think they were too.
“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” — Seneca
I list these examples to highlight that NEVER GIVING UP on something is romanticized in today’s culture, especially for creatives - but making the decision to give up on things or people you care about deeply about in order to get yourself back on track - is essential and often ABSOLUTELY THE RIGHT THING TO DO.
Time and again I talk here about increasing our self-awareness, of working ON your life and career at the same time as you find yourself living and working IN it. Self-analysis, though, is a great weakness of the creative, as romanticizing our work often blinds us to truths that would enable us to move on. It stops us from finding happiness and leads us into a headspace where we are no longer in control - FROZEN WITH AN INABILITY TO LET GO because we fear we may be perceived by others, or perhaps even in ourselves as failures. This is an extremely damaging place to be.
F. Scott Fitzgerald said: “It’s never too late to become who you want to be. I hope you live a life that you’re proud of, and if you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start over.”
If you dig deeper in Google you’ll find some advice on this topic. LARA RUTHERFORD-MORRISON wrote an article for bustle.com which I’ll link to in the show notes called 8 Times That Giving Up Might Actually Be A Good Thing.
She says -
If you know in your heart that something is not going to work out.
If you don’t want a thing (or person) anymore.
If pursuing your goal is making you really, really unhappy.
If the only reason you haven’t quit already is because you’re worried about what other people will think.
If the only reason you’re sticking with it is because you don’t know who you are without it.
If pursuing this path, or staying with this person, is preventing you from going down a road that would make you happier.
If your inability to accomplish your goal is making you hate yourself.
If the idea of giving up floods you with relief.
Then maybe it’s time you let go of that particular goal or dream or project or person, and give up on it.
MORRISON goes on to say that giving up doesn’t always make you a bad person, or failure, or a deserter, or whatever bad thing you’ve been telling yourself. Sometimes giving up means that you are someone who is mature enough to know when to cut your losses and move on, someone who has the bravery to protect your mental health, someone who is willing to take the risk of changing course.
I’m not saying that when you hit a bump that you shouldn’t persevere and I’m going to be tackling that topic in another show which will focus on Resilience, but I wanted to introduce to you today the possibility of a new way of thinking. When you consider everything, you must truly consider GIVING UP, and yes sometimes that might mean giving up on a dream, or a relationship or something else - that’s life– but it’s not the end of the world.
And we all have something in us that allows us to dream big, but we can get caught up in the vision or feel of the dream and that can stop us from seeing the bigger picture and re-evaluating our goal, or our dreams. It’s a positive mind-set trap and that stops us from proceeding, and succeeding with those goals.
I’ve given up on filmmaking in order that I can achieve other things, but I fully expect to revaluate my situation again and return, having had a holiday from the problems which will allow me to return with a freshness that could change everything.
Call To Action
Your call to action today is to take this opportunity to re-evaluate your situation – your dreams and relationships – and to seriously consider giving up on something or someone that’s holding you back.
Thanks again for tuning in to Today’s show. I hope that I’ve been able to help in some small way. You can help me still by spreading the word about the show. If you’re listening you could perhaps take a screengrab of it and put it out on social networking. With your help the show will live on. I’m still planning a crowdfunder to pay for year 2 btw – so watch out for that in a few weeks time.
I’ll end today with the words of Napoleon Hill who said “When defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans are not sound, rebuild those plans, and set sail once more toward your coveted goal.”
Lao Tzu said “New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.”
Now - take control of your own destiny, keep on shootin’, give up on something or someone that’s been holding you back and join me next time on Film Pro Productivity.
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