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Sunday, 22 May 2011

Great spirits, Einstein! Should you really try the impossible?


I have been sucked into MY OWN novel!

Yes, it is true. Well, not literally true. For if it were, then who may I ask is writing this blog?

But true in a very abstract not-really-true type way. I have been sucked into my book, and am facing the type of "impossible" challenges my characters would face - just with a tad less fantastical slant.

Like my book's characters, I am taking on the world despite those who try to stand in my way. Creatures known as the nay-sayers.. and if you read my previous blog entry, it is a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy. I said they'd be there, and lo and behold, they are.

Did I predict it or did my expectation open my eyes to it? Bit like "which came first, the chicken or the egg?" For those playing at home, according to a panel of experts that included a philosopher, geneticist and chicken farmer, it was the egg. So, good.

(See: http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2006/may/26/uknews for more on this age-old problem finally solved.)

But to be great, I think you do come up against great opposition. In fact, is any dream big enough if most people think you can do it? According to a panel that consisted of me, myself and I, the answer was unanimous "no". The conclusion came after minimal serious back and forth deliberation in front of the mirror.

In fact, the second in fact for this blog entry, it was my good pal Albert Einstein (a pal in the very abstract not-really-true type way) that famously said:

Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.

He clarifies that:

The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices, but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence and fulfils the duty to express the results of his thought in clear form.

Now I am not really sure if he had me in mind when he said this... but it is perhaps unlikely given I was not born yet. (But the statements perfectly dovetail my hypothesis that to realise a big dream, you will come against opposition and nay-sayers)

This of course, is not to say that I am (and you are) a great spirit and my (your) nay-sayers are mediocre minds (especially since many of your nay-sayers may be related to you or your friends). More to say that we are all mediocre minds until we realise we are actually great spirits and reach for the "impossible"... did that sound corny to you too?

And although at first the nay-sayers can drag you down with their 'advice', once you realise the above you realise the nay-sayers are really your greatest supporters (in the not-really-abstract very true type way).

When people say you can't do it, that it's "impossible", but you do it anyway, then you have done something they will describe as "great". If not "great", then (at the very least) they scratch their heads and call you "lucky".

But in the end, it doesn't matter what they think, because luckily they can't think your thoughts. What matters is you did it.

So take this away. If you are wanting to self-publish, or do something others think is 'impossible', you have been blessed with a great opportunity. A great opportunity rather than having been burdened with a 'I must prove you all wrong' attitude, or a 'they stole my dreams' complex. Actually the former of the two might not be such a bad attitude.

In the comment section I'd LOVE to read what 'impossible' things you have pulled off despite a herd of nay-sayers muttering, shaking heads and rolling their eyes in your larger than life shadow. Let's laugh in the faces of the hoards of tall poppy cutters.

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