September 2, 2011

Expanding Your Lane

I think it was during high school when I first saw actors and musicians stepping out and doing more than what they were famous for: perfumes, clothing lines, bedding, etc. Of course you had everyone endorsing Coca-Cola every now and then and  the famous "Got Milk?" campaign. When it happened all at once, I started to get a teensy bit annoyed. I just didn't understand why they couldn't leave the clothing lines to actual clothing designers or why they'd put their name on a cologne they had nothing to do with. Why not stay in their own lane? Eventually, it hit me. Yes, these ventures were money makers but that wasn't the end of it. The majority of these celebs are right-brained and many right-brained people are interested in a million different artsy subjects.

In a recent interview,  actor James Franco shares his interests and recent accomplishments. James is one of those professional students. He's been a student of subjects such as American literature, French, philosophy, art, and the Holocaust. His schools include Yale, Columbia, UCLA, Warren Wilson College, and Brooklyn College. Recently, James was accepted to University of Houston to complete his PhD.  He's also the star of this summer's blockbuster hit Planet of the Apes. He was the co-host for this year's Academy Awards show and he was also a nominee. Funny thing is that he missed the 2011 Academy Award nominations annoucement because he had class! When asked why and how he does this, his answer was so simple and it resonated within me. He explained that he has a lot of interests and has made time for the things he loves. Hmmm. Whatever happened to making time for the things you love? It's so simple but we make it so hard. 

Now, I'm not saying wander from career to career. James Franco is an Academy Award nominated actor. I'm sure he can afford to go to all these schools and be just fine. However, I will say that it's important to have a plan for the things you're really interested in. It can be as simple as going to the zoo once a month to learn more about the animals you've loved since you were a kid. It could be visiting all 50 states before 50. It could be getting that degree you've always wanted. If you don't have a million interests and can focus on the few you have, that's great. If you're like me and have a million different interests but just have no idea how to channel them, here are some suggestions:

1. Write it down. Find some free time and go somewhere alone. Think about all the ideas that you've put on the seemingly endless To-Do list of your mind. This could take some time so don't be surprised if an hour passes and you're still writing. What do you love? What inspires you? You have a million dollars to do whatever you want with it. Write down all the words that come to mind no matter how simple they may seem. 

2. Finding the Connection. Find similarities between the words that are written. Group the words into sections based on those similarities. What makes the most sense when put together? The purpose of finding a connection is to help make the list seem less daunting. If you're able to break life-long dreams down into shorter spurts of daydreams, it's easier to get your head out of the clouds and start living those dreams out loud! 

3. Brainstorming Time. If you have a full time schedule, it's difficult to find time for things that you love. Sometimes, you literally have to brainstorm how to make time for the things that interest you. This blog is a prime example of brainstorming time. I work full time and by the time I get home, I just want to be a zombie and stare at the TV screen. However, it got to the point where I felt a something gnawing at my soul. All the DIY projects I'd been meaning to do, the recipes I would eventually try, and new articles I would write all became a figment of my imagination. I was consumed with work and my health. In life, you really need to make time for things that will help the unbearable become bearable. Even if it means carving out 1 hour out of the day to enjoy one thing on that list, do it. 

4. Be Realistic. Q: How do you eat an elephant? A: 1 bite at a timeKnow your limits. I always read articles that talk about "setting realistic goals". Rome wasn't built in a day. You've just figured out all the interests you'd like to actively explore. You have a lifetime to explore. Don't put off for tomorrow what you can do today but don't wear yourself out today to the point that you don't want to wake up tomorrow. 

I could continue with 5,6,7,8 on how to explore. Believe me, I'm really good at researching and learning new ways to do almost anything. However, I think I'll stop here. There's lot to think about and do from these exercises alone. I'm on vacation next week so I'll be back to the blogosphere in two weeks. Thanks for reading, by the way. It's been a fun first week back. 


P.S. Please don't eat any elephants in the meantime. 

wait patiently. pray tenderly. love responsibly. forgive generously. 

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