Fairy Tales are fantasy stories told throughout history that are often a reflection of common societal values and wishes of the time period they came from. They’re often updated and adjusted by the storytellers (or, these days, publishers) to make them more approachable to new readers but the moral principle is often the same.
Thanks to the popularization of Disney’s versions, Cinderella has become ingrained as a part of Western society and a great metaphor for today’s topic. To rehash the events of the story at its core:
Woman, unappreciated and (depending on what version you’re reading) abused by her family, makes a wish to go to a big party where all the movers and shakers of the kingdom are. She wants to be valued, she wants to be seen.
She wants it so badly that she works hard in preparation of the event only to have her unsupportive family tear her down and leave her with no hope of ever being valued at the event. Due to plot armor, Cinderella summons a fairy godmother who helps her out – gives her the nicest clothes, the nicest carriage, the nicest shoes, on the condition she has to be back before midnight or else everything will revert back. At the ball, she is stuntin’ on everyone and is no longer recognizable as the low value woman from before.
She’s the star of the ball and even the highest of high value men, the Prince, is entranced by her. She’s loving her life so much that she forgets the time and rushes home so quickly that she loses her glass shoe. Determined to find this mysterious high value woman, the Prince uses the shoe to (essentially) track her down. He finds her and whisks her away to a life of love and luxury. Happy Ending.
Don’t Be Cinderella with Your Dreams
The story of Cinderalla can accurately be a metaphor for Creatives when it comes to waiting for the fantasy of the perfect time to start their goals or begin their projects – always waiting for when the stars align, when the money is right, when someone agrees to help, when they’re more talented, skilled, or knowledgable, insert any excuse. Regardless of how it’s worded or shaped, it comes down to the same metaphor; they are waiting on their Prince Charming to whisk them away to a land of accomplishment.
This blog will explore the concept of fear and use real case examples of the consequences of waiting for the perfect time instead of simply doing, learning, and adjusting.
Live in the Present, not the Past or Future.
I’m going to use two real world cases as examples of how waiting for the perfect moment to do something can have long lasting consequences for you and others. These are not intended to be critical judgements of the individuals, but an analysis of cautionary tales.
The first example hits close to home for me. I can state with confidence that this artist is the one who started me on my artistic journey when I was 12 years old back in 2007. Many knew them as Ladre, some knew them as JBCoyote, real name John William Barber II (RIP). This artist was an extremely talented illustrator and specialized in work revolving around Japanese Anime. He had his own original projects and characters that he conceptualized, he earned a daily deviation (an award bestowed to the most popular works of Deviantart), and was a frequent con traveler, working by selling prints, merch, and taking commissions.
I followed this artist’s journey over the years in the hopes that their projects would come to fruition in the form of animations, books, mangas, etc. I would check for them online every so often and watch how they progressed and improved. I wanted to meet them at a con, find some way to express my gratitude for starting me on my artist journey, and give them everything I had to offer for free.
A week ago, I learned that he passed away back in January at the age of 31. I was shocked when I read the news and did a deep search to verify it, afterwards I was stunned and did deep reflection; the artist who I admired would never know how much of an impact they had, their projects would never be created, and their amazing work would serve a memorial to the artist they were.
Another case example. My mother has been working as a state lawyer for more than 25 years; she has seen people come and go, get promoted, get fired, get into trouble – she’s seen it all. One of her Sr. Co-workers had been working as a state lawyer for over 35 years and he was well into the stage where he could retire. But he needed more money to do what he wanted to do in retirement and opted to work a few more years to save money so that he could live happily post workforce-life.
In his final year of working, he was diagnosed with cancer. He died a few months later, never having enjoyed the retirement he worked so hard for.
It got me thinking, how many creatives have suddenly passed away without ever creating their passion projects? What were they waiting for? What killed their passion to create it? Ultimately, what makes people believe they’re guaranteed time?
Time is the Ultimate Resource
It does not matter how much money you will make or how good your work will be if you never create it in the first place. You can not get back time no matter what you do. Postponing what you love to do or really want to do in favor of an ideal fantasy scenario where the stars align and it’s the perfect opportunity to begin is a child-like fairy tale no better than the story of Cinderella.
My mentor and owner of Hip-Hope Inc, Bo James, stated one key fact, “If someone doesn’t want to do something, any excuse will do. If someone wants to do something, any excuse will do.” If one is that passionate about their craft, it does not matter what obstacle is in their way (short of a debilitation that prevents the craft from being created). They will find the education, resources, or strategies around the obstacle and, if they can’t, they’ll adjust the goal so that the obstacle stops being a factor.
Don’t Put Things Off! Get Going!
Do you want to be a forgotten creative with ideas that never came to fruition? Do you really want to bet your life that you’ll be alive long enough to reach the point where you can even start?
Stop waiting on Prince Charming to come rescue you, get yourself to the ball and build your own Kingdom! Follow my guide here: https://www.kzmaster.club/?p=136 to start and lookup what you need to get started with your project/company. If fear is deterring you, ask yourself these basic questions, used in Timothy Ferris’s Best Seller “The 4-Hour Workweek”:
Most people will choose unhappiness over uncertainty. Fear can often disguise itself as optimism. If people were confident in improvement of their situation, would they really be questioning things so? Are they better off than they were one year ago, One month ago, One week ago? If not, things will not improve by themselves.
If you are nervous about making the jump or simply putting it off out of fear of the unknown here is your antidote:
- Define your nightmare.
- The absolute worst that could happen if you did what you are considering. Envision them all in painstaking detail. Would it be the end of your life? What would be permanent? How likely would these things actually happen.
- What steps could you take to repair the damage or get things back on the upswing, even if temporarily?
- What are the outcomes or benefits?
- Both temporary and permanent of more probable scenarios? List the positive outcomes whether internal or external. What would the impact of these more likely outcomes be on a scale of 1-10. How likely is it that you could produce at least a moderately good outcome? Have less intelligent people done this before and pulled it off?
- If you were fired from your job today what would you do to get things under financial control?
- Imagine the scenario and run through questions 1 through 3 above. If you quit your job to test other options how could you later get back on the same career track if you absolutely had to?
- What are you putting off out of fear? Usually what we fear doing is what we most need to do. Define the worst case, accept it, and do it.
- What is it costing you- Financially, emotionally, and physically- To postpone action?
- Don’t only evaluate the potential downside of action. It is equally important to measure the atrocious cost of inaction. If you don’t pursue the things that excite you, where will you be in 1, 5, 10 years?
- What are you waiting for?
- If you cannot answer this without resorting to the previously rejected concept of good timing the answers that you are afraid. Measure the cost of inaction, Realize the unlikelihood and reparability of most missteps, And develop the most important habit of those who excel and enjoy doing so- action.
In conclusion, don’t let fear and taking time for granted stop you from pursuing your dreams. Tomorrow is not guaranteed, stop living in the past, stop living for a future that doesn’t exist, live for today, be present.
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