My personal favourite name for my generation is “Generation Comparison”. The internet has made the world a smaller place and we are literally littered with information about what the person next to us does and how. We’re extremely prone to compare our lives, our goals, our relationships, our jobs, our grades, our diets, our love-lives, our luck, our success, our failures, our everything to others. Personally, I want to be a filmmaker. Biggest aspirational-filmmaker-sickness: googling at what age big shots like Steven Spielberg made their first film because apparently that might help us in some way. He was 22. I think I’m going to go insane, approaching this same age, I am no where near Spielberg’s level of accomplishment!
What would it help anyway? Am I gonna have my breakthrough at 22 because that’s what some other guy did? Is there a deadline? What do I gain from that knowledge? Nothing. If you’re like me, you’ll feel like s*** because you’re not where you’re “supposed to be”. A personal suggestion: Any “truths” you tell yourself that look roughly like this: “I have to do X because that’s what random person/celebrity/everyone did”, are the worst friends to cultivate. Back to being where you’re supposed to be. I say you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be. Looking at the timeline of Spielberg doesn’t help you that much because it’s completely different from yours. He’s a different person, on a different path, in a different place, with a different background. He’s not you, and you will never be him. You are you, and that’s good.
Was Spielberg crazy young when he shot his first film? Yes.
Do I have to be crazy young when I will shoot my first film? Uhm, don’t know, seems like a strange criterion in the first place. If the film’s good no one cares about how old you are…
The whole idea of doing something ONLY because someone else did it is flawed from the beginning and in the process we run the risk of doing a bunch of things we didn’t even want to do in the first place and had we actually taken the time to figure out what “I”, what (insert your name) actually wanted, we might have realised that we knew what was best for us all along. So as a cure for comparing, I suggest you have a look at Thomas Edison’s biography.
Edison knew 10’000 ways how not to make a lamp work. 10’000! Same goes for you. There’s 10’000 ways that won’t make you work. Maybe only 1 will. But maybe also 7 will. The trick is finding those ways that work FOR YOU. Focus your attention on that. Imagine yourself as a steampunk sci-fi plane that’s compiled of bits and pieces taken from everywhere. The combination of parts of your plane is what makes it unique. No one will ever be able to compile this exact range of parts in this exact combination ever again. It will be hard and slow to get that thing moving because most likely it’s a bit of a mess and nowhere near as perfect a design and you’re still figuring out how to handle everything as it slowly starts rolling. But you will get into it, you will learn how to steer it, you will learn how to drop unnecessary weight, you will learn how to make it faster, you will learn how to make it slower as well, and as time goes by you pick up speed and suddenly it will be less demanding to steer the whole thing.
But one thing is certain, and I guarantee that once that plane takes off, it will take you to places you have never dreamed of and it will be very hard to slow it down; pure physics, great mass accelerated to great speed takes a lot of energy to slow down. So, get in there! Compile your parts even if they’re rubbish or lacklustre in the beginning, build your personal plane from scratch, construct it with originality and passion, ingrain your DNA in it, freakin drag it to the runaway, give it a push, hop on and prepare for the ride.
It’s gonna be a wild one.